Magic Kingdom

Wearable Halloween Costumes + MNSSHP Experience

by on October 17, 2014

Photo - Keith Dahlgren

It’s raining, it’s pouring….

With Halloween creeping closer and closer, it’s finally time to start getting those costumes ready. Today, I’ll be sharing my experience attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, as well as what costumes we wore. Now, let’s grab our candy buckets and be on our way!

We attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on September 19, so we were ahead of the game when it came to costume planning. Our family is pretty low maintenance when it comes to Halloween costumes, and as we’d be running about all night, we dressed for comfort. We decided on a group costume, so off to Neverland we went. First up was our little pixie, Tinker Bell.

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Cast Member Chronicles: Chef Kevin Marshall

by on October 12, 2014

Photo Credit - Derek Burgan

Crystal Palace

I met Chef Kevin Marshall at a dinner party while visiting Orlando this past September. He is a friend of my Uncle Keith, and was gracious enough to share his culinary talents as our personal chef for the evening. As he prepared a scrumptious feast for us, I interviewed him about his diverse and fascinating career at Walt Disney World.

In June of 1989, he was a man fresh out of tech school. He applied at Walt Disney World, but soon learned there was a hiring freeze for positions he originally desired. Because he had previously managed a Wendy’s restaurant, he was offered a job in food and beverage at The Crystal Palace. As part of the culinary staff, he moved around to different positions, soon cooking alongside professional Disney chefs.

While working at the Crystal Palace, he and two other coworkers were asked to carve a 700 lb pumpkin for Halloween. They were told to carve and hand paint the ‘Blustery Day’ scene from Winnie the Pooh. It took two weeks of overtime and 90 man hours to complete this masterpiece. It was displayed outside the restaurant, surrounded by bales of hay to prevent guests from touching it. One day, a Cast Member saw a little boy ignoring the bales and and putting his hands on the carved image of Pooh. Originally thinking the boy was causing mischief, the Cast Member told the boy to refrain from touching the pumpkin. As it turns out, the little boy was blind. He never knew what Pooh and his friends looked like. From the carving, the boy was able to feel and learn the character shapes. It was his own personal braille pattern. Kevin said it made all his hard work truly worth it and is a memory that touches him to this day.

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Unexpected Disney Souvenir: Shoes

by on October 10, 2014

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When you think about Disney parks souvenirs, the products that typically come top of mind include t-shirts, ear hats, and plush toys. While these are certainly all easy-to-find items, another surprisingly prevalent product in the parks is shoes. These range from inexpensive flip-flops to performance athletic equipment, and everything in between.

In addition to being a fun souvenir, many of the shoes sold in the parks can fill the gap if emergency strikes and your luggage is lost or if Little Billy decides that your vacation sneakers are the perfect place to store the leftover half of his Mickey bar.

Here’s a sample of what was available in the parks and resorts in early autumn 2014. The exact designs do change from time to time, but the range of styles and price points generally remains consistent.

BASIC FLIP FLOPS

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: October 9, 2014

by on October 9, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Epcot to say goodbye to Maelstrom and have more fun at Food & Wine Festival. Then we’re heading over to the Magic Kingdom to see what’s new there and ending with a view of Happy HalloWishes from the ferry boat dock. Sounds like fun, right? Let’s go! :)

Walking up to Maelstrom this weekend it was very obvious that a cult following had shown up to see the final days of this classic ride. I didn’t try getting near the ride on Sunday but we stopped by Saturday and found the line already 60 minutes long! Luckily I had planned ahead with FastPass+ or I don’t think we would have ridden one last time.  If you’d like to ride one last time along with me then please click to read more! :)

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Disney World’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique-A Dad’s Perspective

by on October 8, 2014

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Worth every penny.

Living close to Walt Disney World, our trips are usually short ones. We have always opted for frequent, short visits, rather than infrequent, extended stays. This year was going to be different, however. We had the trip to end all trips planned. We were set for the first week of September, in hopes of taking advantage of low crowds and free dining. We were also going to splurge on a few things we had yet to do in our years as Disney enthusiasts, and one of those things—the one we were most excited about—was taking our four and six year old daughters to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. After years of watching them gawk longingly at little Princesses walking up and down Main Street, U.S.A. it was finally going to be their turn.

Then, as the best laid plans of mice and men often do, things changed. Nothing earthshattering, yet the budget for our once mammoth trip was sudden smaller. Much smaller. Things would have to be cut, and as my wife and I began whittling away, we both knew what the biggest piece of the pie was. Still, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. Instead, we decided to cut our trip down to two nights, downgrade our hotel to All-Star Sports, and just be otherwise thrifty where we could. Sure, I debated on if this was the right decision in the weeks leading up to our stay. For reassurance I consulted our daughters on which they would prefer—a longer trip or to keep their appointments at the Boutique—and both were certain they wanted their royal makeovers. In truth—as much as I wanted to spend the extra time on Disney property—I was glad they had stuck with the Boutique. There was no assurance we would be able to take them in the future if they passed on it now, and though my oldest was only six, I feared this would be the last opportunity she would have to really enjoy the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience before she outgrew it. And the last opportunity we would have to enjoy her enjoying it.

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Memento Mori: A Hauntingly Good Time

by on October 7, 2014

IMG_0196Hello all you guys and ghouls! Just in time for Halloween, a new gift shop has opened right in front of The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom. To be precise Mementi Mori, opened on October 6, and we were there to check out all the new goodies so we could share them with you.

If you plan on stopping by, be aware that you might encounter a line just to enter the newest store in the Magic Kingdom! At roughly 7pm the line stretched nearly to Fantasyland and took just shy of 20 minutes to wait through. Once inside, the tiny shop was crammed wall to wall with people. Luckily, everyone inside was a fellow fan of the ride, and everyone was pretty civil. 

 

So want to see what horrors are inside this creepy shop? You’ll have to read more to see! :)

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The Disney Dazzle: Wishes Fireworks Cruise

by on October 7, 2014

Photo - Keith Dahlgren

Mom and Dad sharing a special moment

Today, I’m going to share my experience attending the Wishes Fireworks Cruise. I first went on this cruise in 2011 and again in September 2014. This most recent time, it was a birthday surprise for my dad. If you know me personally, you will understand just how hard it is for me to keep a secret. The cruise can be booked as early as 180 days in advance, but mine was booked about 90 days beforehand. That’s 90 whole days I had to keep my lips zipped…I barely made it! After a fun day at the parks and a delicious dinner at The Brown Derby (Yes, he was spoiled rotten!), we arrived at the Contemporary. We led my confused dad through the lobby and outside to the marina. He had no clue what this birthday surprise could be!

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Character Spotting at the Magic Kingdom

by on October 4, 2014

IMG_5751Recently the brilliant Adam Britten took us on a walking tour of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to determine what characters you can see in those parks. About three seconds after the first article was published, I asked if I could steal the idea for our parks! So here we go character spotting at the Magic Kingdom, but before we get started there are a few important things to remember. The characters available in the parks and their greeting locations are subject to change. While things have been pretty steady recently, it’s always a good idea to check your times guide or My Magic Experience App for the most accurate information. However, this will give you an idea of who you can expect to see. Also, if you see a (FP) beside a character, that means that FastPass+ is available for that greeting. With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Adventureland:

Peter Pan - While lately I’ve seen Peter greeting just outside of Adventureland I’m still counting him as part of this land. You can’t miss him if you enter Adventureland from the Hub. Edit: Stopped by 10/5 and hub construction has moved this meet and greet. You can now find Peter just as you cross the bridge into Adventureland on the right. The past few times I’ve also seen him greeting with Wendy Darling, so you might just get lucky and get to see them both! :) You can normally find Peter out in the afternoon. Since he just meets near a planter, his line isn’t normally more than 20 minutes.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: October 2, 2014

by on October 2, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by the Disney’s Hollywood Studios to say goodbye to the Backlot Tour. Next, we’ll stop by Epcot for the last day of Off Kilter and some more Food and Wine fun. Lastly, we’ll stop in the Magic Kingdom to ride the Astro Orbiter on the first day it reopens. Who is ready for an awesome week? Let’s go!

Bright and early on September 27, I set out to ride the Backlot Tour. Upon first arriving it looked like any normal day, the crowds didn’t seem to know they were experiencing an attraction on the last day. The queue was short and the area was eerily quiet compared to that madness at Toy Story Mania next door.

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PHOTO REPORT: Atrium Club Level at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

by on October 1, 2014

Recently I had family staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for a week, and I joined them for one night to check out the Atrium Club Level experience. I have stayed Club Level at several of the Universal hotels, including the Royal Pacific Resort and Portofino Bay, and have always enjoyed it, so it was time to see what Disney provides. I’ve priced out options at staying Club Level at the Polynesian and Animal Kingdom Lodge before, but eventually get scared off by the price and ended up booking a room at value resorts like Art of Animation or Pop Century. For this stay I booked a Club Level room with the Special Offer: Passholder Room Offer for Late Summer discount. The total was $616.79 for one night. Was it worth the cost? Let’s check it out….

AtriumClubLevel_ViewFromMainRoom

View from the shared area of the Atrium Club Level.

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