Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: August 21, 2014

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1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to say goodbye to The American Idol Experience and The American Film Institute Showcase. Next, we’ll stop in to see how things are going with the Polynesian Resort refurbishment, and then we’ll wrap up this week at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s get started by taking a look at American Idol. While I’m not surprised that this show is going the way of the dodo, I’m sad to see people lose their jobs. Hopefully there are better plans to utilize this space for all the talented actors who worked here. In the short term it seems pretty obvious that with the Frozen Sing-A-Long suddenly offering FastPass+ on September 2 that the show will be moving into this space. Does anyone want to see video of American Idol before it closes on August 30? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to include it next week.

Already closed as of August 17 is The American Film Institute Showcase. I stopped in this weekend to get a final look and video walk-through for you, but first, the gift shop:

Click to read more and more see video of the Showcase.

Below is my final walk through of the display. It’s sad that I’d never really paid attention to what was in here. There were amazing movie props, including a lifeboat from Titanic and the ax from The Shining. Is anyone interested in seeing a blog on the props? I took a ton of photos on all the displays. I wonder if these pieces will turn up somewhere else on property?

While I was at the Studios, I noticed that Halloween has arrived on the store shelves. Last week the merchandise was available at the Magic Kingdom, but as of Sunday the window displays are still decorated for the summer. I love fall at the Magic Kingdom, so I can’t wait for all the decorations to appear on Main Street. Remember, you can click on smaller photos below to see them larger.

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A new, spooky merchandise find was this group of cute Nightmare Before Christmas dolls. They were pricey at $16.95, but when these hit the outlet, they are mine! (Speaking of the Outlet, it had great stuff this past weekend. I can’t wait for Derek’s next shopping blog!) Also, if you enlarge the photo on the below right, you can see what looks like some new merchandise for this year!

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Below is something that is new for sure! Check out these Haunted Mansion Vinylmations! I had to really resist picking one of these up, but the $24.95 price tag helped. It’s funny: if these were more reasonably priced I’d have a big collection. They’re just plastic, so I can’t imagine Disney wouldn’t make a big profit even if they were half the price. Any Vinylmation experts out there? Am I totally wrong about that? As it is, I can only justify picking up an occasional blind box.

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Despite Elsa’s magic, it was getting pretty hot in the park, so I decided to head over to Polynesian Resort. I’d heard that things were looking better with the construction and that Captain Cook’s head reopened, so I wanted to share that with you. Taking a look at the restaurant, it is much nicer than before, and Tonga Toast is still on the menu! Also, the electronic ordering panels are gone. They were a pain, so I’m not sad to see them go!

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While I was wondering around, I noticed this sign. On all of my trips to Magic Kingdom in the last month the Express Monorail hasn’t been available before park opening. I never heard an official announcement that it’s opening at 9:30am these days, but that appears to unofficially be the case. Frankly, I prefer it. Before opening Disney provides air conditioned buses that are much more comfortable than the monorail, anyway!

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While the Polynesian still looks rough with walls up everywhere, the resort has put forth some effort to make it more pleasant. The walls now have art renderings of what the resort will look like in the future. Even cooler, there are Disney characters all over the walls for family photos. This tactic looks like lipstick on a pig on the Magic Kingdom construction walls, but it’s actually pretty nice at the Polynesian.

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I also stopped in BouTiki while I was there. More than any other Disney resort, I feel like Polynesian has lots of merchandise specific to the hotel. This shop is so richly detailed that it feels like a little, mini trip to Adventureland. I found myself lingering in the shop, just drinking in the tropical music and dreamy atmosphere.

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Of course, I was also taking about a hundred photos! Here are just a couple of the unique items. Of course, they are outrageously priced (i.e., Disney-priced). But it’s fun to scout things out here and wait for them to come to an outlet! I lost track of time poking around the resort and realized I was going to be late for my FastPass+ reservations! I hopped aboard the Resort Monorail and was whisked away to Magic Kingdom.

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I made it just in time for the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. I knew it would make me a little late for my FastPass+, but who can walk past this? I was thankful that FastPass+ offers a 15 minute grace period for arriving late. I saw the parade coming and grabbed a prime spot in the hub before the music started and the crowd gathered. 

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I take this parade for granted because it rolls through three times a day. Most days I just walk right past it, but it’s really well done, and there’s never a need to wait for excellent viewing. If you’re heading to Magic Kingdom, be sure to make time for it. However, be advised that if you’re in the hub you’re pretty much stuck there. I waited until they announced that the parade floats were stopping for the dance party, then dashed across the street so that I wouldn’t miss my FastPass+. A cast member yelled at me for doing it. I didn’t mean to break the rules and was really shocked by her reaction.

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So what ride was I running off to? Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, of course! I know I’ve shared full ride through videos before, but I didn’t want to leave it out. So here’s my favorite part! Want more? You can check out the California version of this ride here.

Next I had a little shopping to do. I’d heard that some new Frozen merchandise had arrived, and I had to see it to believe it. I love the new shirt on the left. On the right, well, do you want to wear a snowman? That’s right, it’s a hat! Olaf basically straddles your noggin! This one is just too weird for me, but it would be fun to wear on my upcoming trip to Tokyo Disneyland!

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This next video I’m sharing as a public service announcement. The below video is an example of tourists behaving badly. I’ve filmed The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh many times trying to get it just right for you. I’m a perfectionist about these things, so I’ve changed lenses, frame rates, and exposure trying to get it just right. I finally figured out the optimal settings and have just been waiting for kismet to put me in the front row. It finally did this weekend! Then the family behind me proceeded to pretty much yell during the entire ride in another language. Can anyone understand what they’re saying? 

Of course, I’m joking. How could anyone complain on such a breathtakingly beautiful day in the most magical place on Earth? It’s even started to cool down a bit. I’m certainly not suggesting that the low 90′s are cool by any stretch, but I’ll take it over the high 90′s! In the afternoons the skies fill up with clouds, and it really isn’t too bad.

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I also managed to catch Space Mountain with the lights on this weekend. While the ride itself just looks like a tangled ball of metal in the light, the below scene looks pretty nice! I never seem to notice it when I’m rolling by in white-knuckled terror on the actual roller coaster!

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I have one last very lucky photo to share from this weekend. Check out the hitchhiking ghosts below! The ride actually broke down, leaving us directly in front of this scene. I think I filled half my memory card taking advantage of this extremely rare opportunity!

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That’s all for this week. If you’re heading to Disney World next week, here’s a look at what you can expect:

Crowd Calendar: With local schools starting back up it seems the worst of the summer rush is officially over. Enjoy these lighter crowds before the holidays!

Weather: While the crowds are decreasing, so is the temperature. It’s still warm out there, but it isn’t as hot as we’ve seen the past couple months. It also isn’t raining everyday. Overall, this is a great time to visit!

Remember: There are only a precious few more weeks of late summer nights at the parks and water parks. Enjoy them before they are gone!

Here’s my top tip for this week: Tired in the parks? Head over to a Disney Resort and explore. You’re always free to stroll around one of the hotels or enjoy a meal. The theme of each hotel is beautiful and immersive. Try to check out at least one on your next trip!

Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!

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Posted on August 21, 2014

16 Responses to “Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: August 21, 2014”

  • Quick!! Someone call a doctor to the Polynesian for the Captain!! His head is going to need more stitches!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    • Haha, Tom! I was so confused when I saw your comment and had to go hunt for it. I think I’m going to leave that typo so other can enjoy your comment. It made me laugh out loud! :) Thanks!

  • Cooling off? Have you seen the forecast for this weekend? I’ve been in Jersey all summer where, well, there’s been no summer. Heck I’ve even put the heat on in the car a few mornings. Get to WDW tomorrow night (8/22) and I have a feeling the heat may break me before the weekend is over. lol. Looks like it cools down next week though.

    • by Daisy Lauren on August 21, 2014, at 6:21 pm EST

      Maybe the heat has cooked my brain! ;)

      Yeah, this weekend is going to be a scorcher but next week in the low 90′s actually sounds pretty nice after the past couple months. I’ll take it!

      I hope you have a great trip!!

  • Daisy, I want to start by mentioning that I really enjoy your blog posts and look forward to reading them. Since I live too far away to visit frequently, being able to look at your pictures and read about your park visits helps me out during the long periods of time between my visits. Thank you.

    The people behind you at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh are speaking Spanish. During the loudest part, they are calling “Hello Tigger (tiger)” with their child. I am not sure that this should go into the category of tourists behaving badly, though. I wasn’t there, so I do not know how old the child is, but I will admit to pointing out things to my young children on attractions. Of course, we usually are not sharing a vehicle with people outside of our traveling party. There is just so much going on during some attractions that little ones can become overwhelmed and not know where to look. Sometimes, this is just a way to ensure they enjoy an attraction by helping them to focus in on the things that are meaningful to them. Small children who are enjoying an attraction are far less obnoxious than those who are overwhelmed and overstimulated by one.

    I like to think that although I am not perfect, I am usually thoughtful and polite. I take my manners with me on vacation, too. And I certainly do not place a higher priority on doing everything to maximize my personal vacation experience at the expense of other vacationers around me. I would never talk or distract others during a stage show, but this attraction is a loud ride-through and I think that there is a lower expectation of quiet from those around you. It all sounds loud to me on the video, and it is hard to tell how loud the people behind you actually are. Your video sounds a lot like every video I have ever taken at Disney, with lots of “ambient” noise. I have low expectations for my videos, because I know that they will be full of other people enjoying their vacation in the moment.

    I wonder whether you would have found them to be obnoxious if you weren’t trying to capture video for the blog. I wasn’t there, so I cannot say. Maybe in person they were the most obnoxious tourists ever. My point is that a little benefit of the doubt, along with a decent dose of tolerance, is something we could all use from time to time at WDW. That is just my opinion, though. Others might have another perspective. :)

    • Amy,
      All of your points are valid and I think had she been serious it would have been important to mention them. BUT… “Of course, I’m joking.” was the first sentence of her next paragraph. I think Daisy knows they were having an appropriately good time.
      On a side note, I’ve never noticed it in the parks so it must be a side effect of camera microphones, but it did seem generally really loud in there. I think that once you mentioned it I dawned on me that like you said all ride-through videos sound like the ride is happening on a convention floor.

      • by Daisy Lauren on August 21, 2014, at 6:37 pm EST

        Yep, what Brian said! ;)

        Since it was roughly my 874569756 time to ride Winnie the Pooh it doesn’t matter. I will say, my microphone was facing forward so they were about twice as loud as they sound. If it were my only ride I would have been very disappointed to ride with them. But, they were having a blast! And really, that’s what matters!

        PS- I don’t have kids or go to the park with kids so it’s important to call me out on what’s normal sometimes! :) I do appreciate it!

        • Woops! I owe you an apology. Usually my reading comprehension is a little better than that. I really blew that one!

          • Hey Amy! Please don’t feel that way, if you posted it lots of people were thinking it. I also reread my comments and I did sound pretty snarky! I appreciate that you took the time to write out such a well thought out response. And like I said before, I do sometimes need that reminder about kids since I don’t have any!

      • Hi Brian,
        I want to thank you for pointing out my mistake in such a kind way. Your point was a constructive one, and I appreciate the tone in which it was delivered. :)

  • Hi Daisy. Where is that Frozen merchandise? I’m coming this weekend and my husband hates spending time in shops I love it but if I had an idea where it is I can be quicker! Thank you.

    • by Daisy Lauren on August 21, 2014, at 9:21 pm EST

      Hi Ginette! I have the opposite problem. While I love to poke around in Disney shops I like to get things done quick (or online) in the real world. My hubby makes me crazy shopping! :)

      The Frozen goodies can be found at Sir Mickey’s. It’s just beside the Frozen meet & greet. However, the best selection of Frozen goodies is at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post.

      I hope you have a great trip this weekend! I’ll be there too. ;)

      • Thank you! I’ll look for you and maybe I’ll see myself in your next best week ever!!!

      • Hi Daisy, one more question. Do you know where I can find Frozen merchandise “quickly” at Downtown? I assume in World of Disney on the princess side, but do they have a good worth it should I go there selection? Assuming I don’t go to the parks. Thank you again for everything.

  • Thanks for posting the videos of the showcase and shop, Daisy, as I don’t think either were accessible in February and now we won’t have the chance to see it on our visit next month. :( I’d love to see a blog detailing some of the props!