I Have Returned!

I have recently returned home from a wonderful trip to Walt Disney World and Disney’s Vero Beach. Over the next several articles, I’m going to take the time to critique FastPass+, explain how to use the My Disney Experience app, discuss the new Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train ride and many other topics. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will do my best to address them to your liking.

Have a Disney Day.
Walt

Fortresses of Disney Solitude

 

Lots of us have been to Disney… lots of times. We’re always eager to come back again and again because our love for Disney goes beyond the major attractions. Sure, we love the rides and shows, but we find so much more to love: the grand theming, the small details, the hidden gags and so much more. I find myself drawn to specific areas of the park that are often empty, private, or a bit ignored. I love these spots and look forward to enjoying them every visit. These are places I take refuge in. The surroundings are familiar and the atmosphere is quiet and comforting. So I’ll present to you, in a series of blog entries, specific places you can go to get a break from the hustle and bustle…. My fortresses of Disney solitude!

 

Fortress of solitude #1

When I think of a quiet, secluded place in Disney, there’s one location that rules them all. Not surprisingly, it’s in Epcot. Epcot is home to many alcoves and private spots, especially in and around the world showcase. If you head to Morocco, you will find the granddaddy. There’s lots of fun alleys and rooms here, but there is one section that holds a special place in my heart. I didn’t know it existed for quite some time. I was in Morocco with friends who thought, “Why not open this unmarked door?” Once we did, we were bewildered by a wonderful hidden world of Moroccan delights. (We stumbled upon the side entrance. There IS a more marked main entrance as well.)

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There are three rooms in this area behind the doors. The two outside rooms hold some exhibits displaying garments, jewelry, and other Moroccan adornments. In the center room you will find a full sized horse and Moroccan traveler, and as an extra bonus: benches! What I love most is that you are fully enclosed. The doors close behind you and you are treated to silence and complete peace. I can’t think of a time I came in on anyone in this area. It always seems you are treated to your own private exhibit. My friends and I would explore the exhibits, look at the architecture and tile-work on the walls or just sit and chat. We are even known to lay down on the floor for a relaxing recharge from time to time.

So, if you are exhausted from running from attraction to attraction, or from waiting 6 hours to meet Ana and Elsa, why not take a break? Head over to the Morocco fortress of Disney solitude and soak up all that is there.

New Partnership

wdw big qSince the day of conception on this blog, I have attempted to put out to the world my thoughts and feelings related to Walt Disney World. Well today, the Walt’s Disney World blog has tbe taken a step to expand. I’m very proud to announce a partnership between Jesse Bisceglia and the wdwblog.net. Jesse is not new to the Disney scene. He is the brains and talent behind the WDW BIG Q podcast. He is now going to lend his knowledge to the wdwblog.net. So I’d like to say welcome to Jesse and hopefully this will be a long partnership and friendship.

Have a Disney day.
Walt

The Perfect Disney World Day

I looked at my phone this morning and realized that there is only ninety days left until my next visit to Walt Disney World. I started thinking about the good times I was in for. And it occurred to me, “What would be the perfect Disney World day?”

So what activities would create a day good enough to be considered perfect in my mind. Would it be the dining experiences, would it be the E-ticket rides with no wait, or would it be the picturesque images of perfectly designed sceneries scattered throughout the Disney property? I believe it would be a kaleidoscope of all three ideas.

My perfect Disney World Day starts off with me waking out on my balcony to giraffes and zebras at Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Now that I’ve enjoyed the view and cleaned up for the day, I would head down to Boma – Flavors of Africa. After sampling the delicacies of Africa, I would head out to the bus stop and board an almost empty bus to The Magic Kingdom.

The first thing that I would do upon entering The Magic Kingdom would be to stand in the middle of Main Street USA and suck up the whole atmosphere. After about ten minutes of just looking around, I’ll move on to Space Mountain. From there I would go for a ride on Haunted Mansion. Being that I’m a huge Disney Pin collector, I would stop in at the Frontier Trading Post. Once I have my fix of Disney Pins, I would mosey on over to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I would finish my visit to Pirates of the Caribbean for a swash buckling good time.
Now that I have finished an action packed morning in the Magic Kingdom, I would catch the monorail to Epcot where I would head straight for the Yorkshire County Fish Shop for an order of Fish and Chips with a pint of Bass Ale. With a stomach full of goodness, I can now begin my tour of Epcot. Heading back to Future World I would hit Pin Central in the shadows of Spaceship Earth before walking over to Mission: SPACE. Being that I just ate, I would make sure that I take the more gentle training, the green team. To help my stomach to calm down, I would take a look through Mouse Gears and pick up some of my favorite Mickey garb. I would then make my way to the Mexican pavilion where La Cava del Tequila can be found. After I get seated, I would order a La Cava de Tequila Flight. I wouldn’t waste a lot of time there because many good times still await my arrival. My next point of interest would be the Germany pavilion where I would peruse the selection of beer steins. While there I would stop for a pint of Beck’s Dark beer at the Sommerfest. One of my favorite activities in World Showcase is to people watch as I walk around. This would occupy my time until I make it to the France pavilion where I can pick up a Grand Marnier & Grey Goose Orange Slush. Well, by this time I would start to feel a little too good, so it is time to get some supper. And when one is in Epcot for the perfect supper, one must visit Le Cellier for a Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon and a bowl of Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. What a perfect way to end my visit to Epcot.

Going into the evening, I would jump on a boat outside of the gates located at the end of the England pavilion and trek on over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In this park there are several rides meant for the adrenaline junkie. I would first hit Rock-N-Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith quickly followed up by The Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror. Next I would slow things down a bit with a visit to Star Tours. The final ride that I would take part on is Toy Story Mania, probably my favorite ride in all four parks. I would end the evening up with a performance of Phantasm.

Remember, this is MY perfect Disney World Day. Things may have changed a bit if my family had been part of it. But if I was spending the day alone, this is how I would spend it. Let me know how you would spend YOUR perfect day.

Have a Disney Day.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas time is the most magical time of the year. And Walt Disney World is the most magical place on Earth. Put the two together and you truly have the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! There is a multitude of seasonal activities to partake in around the Disney property. These range from giant Christmas Trees at the parks and the resorts to magical experiences such as making it snow in Florida or thousands of lights performing a ballet for the senses. I’m going to look at some of the major attractions that you can see in both the parks and some of the resorts.

Magic Kingdom

28-Street-Light-Christmas-Decorations-Main-Street-Magic-Kingdom-Walt-Disney-WorldUpon entering through the tunnel onto Main Street, one is engulfed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the park. It is quite apparent that the park has received a Yule tide makeover. All of the street lamps have Mickey shaped Christmas wreathes and crossing over the street is garland that is lit up. At the end of the street is Cinderella’s Castle CCastlewhich is now covered by 200,000 LED lights which shimmer in the night. The remainder of the park is decorated likewise. Not a penny was spared in making the Magic Kingdom look festive. But look are not where the holiday revamp stops.

 

Epcot

Similar to the Magic Kingdom, the entire park is decked out in candlelightChristmas decorations. The world showcase presents Holidays Around The World. Each country represented puts on a small show about how Christmas is celebrated by their citizens. At the America Pavilion, the Candlelight Processional is performed nightly. A full orchestra and choir backs a guest narrator who reads the story of Christ’s birth. The music helps to enhance the story and brings about a yuletide feeling.

Disney Hollywood Studios

osbornelightsHollywood Studios lives up to its tinsel town name during the holidays. The streets are decorated in 50’s style glitter and lights. And there is a special feeling in the air. But something changes as the evening comes along. One can feel the electricity in the air, especially when traveling back to the Streets of America. Then you go around the corner to see what appears to be a million lights dancing and flickering to festive music. It is called The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and it is nothing short of magical.

Resorts

gingerbreadBy far, one of the most overlooked holiday transformations occur at the resorts. Each resort decorates their lobby and puts up a tree that reflects the characteristics of the resort. My favorite is the tree in the lobby of The Animal Kingdom Lodge. But trees are just a start for some of the resorts. The Grand Floridian has a life size ginger bread house that guests can walk into and purchase goodies. And other resorts have their own variation of ginger bread edifices. And that’s not the end of the yuletide spirit. Over at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort they offer Holiday Sleigh Rides.
Basically, there is a plethora of activities to allow oneself to enjoy the holidays at Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. Enjoy yourself.

Have a Disney Day
Walt

Living vicariously through podcasts

It has been a long while since my last post. Life has been pretty busy for me.

I’d like to discuss some of my favorite Disney podcasts. I am not fortunate enough to live within driving distance of Walt Disney World, so I must live vicariously through others’ experiences at the parks and resorts. A good way to get my Disney fix is to listen to podcasts. A podcast is an audio file that can be listened to on many electronic devices. There are even video podcasts which, as the name implies, give you the ability to watch the podcast similar to a television show. The following are the podcasts that I have on my mobile device. There is no particular order to them.

unofficial guideThe Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill Hosted by Len Testa and Jim Hill, the podcast discusses the history of Disney Parks. Jim Hill’s knowledge of everything Disney is nothing short of amazing. And his story telling skills keep the listeners wanting more. Len Testa is the moderator whose job is to keep Jim Hill on target. Len is also the president of TouringPlans.com which gives him access to a database of values and park attendance numbers. The partnership of the Jim and Len leads to a hilarious discussion of every aspect of Disney.

disdadsThe DISDads Aaron Rittmaster and his weekly panel discuss matters that relate to Disney properties. Each week he has a different panel of dads that weigh in on the topic at hand. Some topics include reviews of recent Disney trips, planning budget meals, and reviews of parks. The strongest attribute of this podcast is the robust forum at the website: www.disdads.com.

wdw big qThe Walt Disney World Big Q Jesse Bisceglia and his panel of friends take a more quirky look at Disney podcasts. The panel discusses their top three things that would answer their question. Some of their questions include, “If you could teleport to anywhere at Disney World for five minutes, where would it be and why?” as well as, “If you were permitted to take one item of specific size from Disney World, what would it be and why?” I truly enjoy their answers which definitely reminds me of WDW!

wdwntThe WDW News Today Podcast Tom Corless and his panel discuss news and rumors related to Disney World. Each member of the panel has a turn to present their point of view on the topic. Humor is mixed in throughout the podcast. Unlike most of the other podcasts that I’ve come across, the WDWNT podcast runs for about an hour. Every so often, the team puts together one of their top ten shows in which each panel member creates a top ten list of whatever the topic is. My favorite was the top ten Disney World bathrooms.

dfbDFB Podcast AJ Wolfe and Brad Johnson host a truly unique podcast. Their show, the DFB Podcast, covers food offerings at all Disney properties. AJ’s bubbly demeanor makes listening a pleasure. And Brad’s dry humor is a perfect match. Each show has a different topic and the hosts’ approach is a light hearted discussion with each giving their own opinion.

rsz_3resortloop_logo_august_smallerResortLoop.com a Walt Disney World Podcast Bob Coller and Tim Scott have created my favorite podcast. The two Disney fanatics from Ohio use their friendly, hometown attitude to describe topics that include Disney parks and resorts, Disney films, Disney productions, and Disney Cruise Line. Bob and Tim quite often bring family members on to discuss their Disney trips. One of the best parts of the show are when Bob and Tim give shout outs to those who have communicated with them via Twitter, FaceBook, or email (although I’ve not made it on yet!). The two have definitely found winning combination.

My Top Five Favorite Tips

top5Being that I have visited Disney World a number times, I am often asked for advice on planning an enjoyable trip to the Disney World parks and resorts. So I’ve decided that this Top 5 Favorites would be dedicated to useful tips. Some of these are fairly well known while others are just common sense. But put them all together, and it will help to save time and money as well as let you get the most out of your next venture to Walt Disney World.

Number 5 on my Top 5 Favorite tips is the Disney Dining Plan. Rather than paying for each meal individually, Disney has been using a meal plan in which you pay a fee up front and when you go to a restaurant, you don’t have to pay at the table. At a table service eatery you usually get your choice of entree, an appetizer or dessert, and unlimited soft drinks. The more food that you eat, the more this program saves you money. There are several variations of the meal plan available and each has its own daily cost. You can read up more on this at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/.

Number 4 on my Top 5 Favorite tips is timing. Try to arrive at the park early. Eat an early lunch and enjoy shorter lines while a majority of the guests eat their lunch between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Repeat the same trick for supper. Another way to take advantage of short lines is to avoid the parades and fireworks and instead, get in shorter than usual lines for your favorite ride. And lastly, take a break from the park between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This is usually the busiest time of the day, (and the hottest in the summer). Maybe head back to the resort for a swim or over to Downtown Disney for some shopping.

Number 3 on my Top 5 Favorite tips is relax. Take your time and enjoy all of the splendor of Disney World. Sit back and take in the views. Enjoy a day by the pool sipping on a beverage. Sample meals from one of many of Disney’s restaurants. Just don’t let the vacation slip by to quickly.

Number 2 on my Top 5 Favorite tips is to stay at one of the Disney Resorts. Take advantage of the extra magic hours. Every day, one park opens an hour early or stays open up to 3 hours later. But the catch is that only guests of the Disney resorts can take part in these events. Another advantage of staying on site is that you are only minutes from the parks. You can partake in the transportation system and catch a bus, boat, or monorail and go almost anywhere on property.

And number 1 on my Top 5 Favorite tips is to research and plan. Start your planning at www.disneyworld.com. There is a plethora of information available at Disney’s website. Also, you will find that most people enter the park and follow a counter-clockwise pathway around the park. Instead, come prepared knowing what rides you want to ride and head straight to them. Disney offers free maps online at: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/maps/availability-in-advance/link-maps/. And if you have a smart phone there are available a multitude of apps with maps of each park. Make sure that you plan your restaurant visits out and make reservations. You can start reserving online or at (407) wdw-dine up to 180 days before your arrival.

Once again, I invite your comments and criticisms. Follow me on Twitter @wdwblognet or on FaceBook @Walt’s Disney World Blog. I hope everyone has a Disney Day.