Magic Kingdom

SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2014

by on November 27, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2014 was a great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning, to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, I ask that Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with….

# 6 – Disney and Universal Merchandise is Better than Ever

It wasn’t long ago, that the only merchandise people were buying at Universal were Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts. Over at Disney, almost every single store, whether in the parks, hotels, or Downtown Disney, was selling the same generic”Disney Parks”stuff. A seismic shift started to occur in 2010, when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, and blew the doors off everyone’s projections in the area of merchandise and Butterbeer. Guests were now walking out of Universal with house robes, wands and chocolate frogs in hand. This success was then repeated throughout both of their theme parks, with unique and exclusive items found everywhere you looked, from the EVAC action figure at Transformers gift shop, to the faux girl scout cookies in Despicable Me’s Super Silly Store, to my personal favorite – The Film Vault –  a whole new store focusing on retro merchandise.

MarketplaceCoop_Glover

Jungle Cruise merchandise found at the Marketplace Co-op in Downtown Disney. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: November 27, 2014

by on November 27, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a look at resort decorations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, stopping by the Magic Kingdom to check out the new Peter Pan’s Flight queue, and wrapping up with a visit to Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom. I have so much to share, so let’s get started! :)

And what better way to start than with the stunning lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge? After all these years I’m still amazed walking in here. I think it might be my favorite hotel (and not just because Jiko is hiding inside). The tree towering inside looks perfect and coordinates with all the garland strung around the lobby. While there isn’t much else at the resort in the way of Christmas decorations, what more could you ask for? Be sure to click below to see what else is new this week.

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Menu Monday: How to Order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

by on November 24, 2014

Looking for a way to make a special meal at a Disney World restaurant even more magical? How about something to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, proposal, or milestone? If so, this Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert may be just what you’re looking for! What is it? It’s a perfectly royal way to satisfy your sweet tooth and to celebrate a special occasion at Disney World. It consists of a chocolate shell shaped as Cinderella’s famous glass footwear, along with a few other sweet compliments and a personalized message tailored to your celebration. Find out how to order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert for your next special event at Disney World.

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Location

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: November 20, 2014

by on November 20, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a look at resort decorations at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, then heading to the Magic Kingdom to check out the Jingle Cruise, and wrapping up with meeting Baymax at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We might even sneak in a little mini golf! :) So let’s get started! Anyone that’s read before knows that I normally try to start with a smaller photo, but this one was too good to shrink. This is the new Frozen gingerbread display for this year at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It replaces a gingerbread tree with a more colorful Small World theme from years past. Want to hear more about it? Click “read more” just below the photo. 1

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurants in Magic Kingdom

by on November 17, 2014

Be Our Guest RestaurantPicking your favorite Walt Disney World counter/quick service restaurant is like picking your favorite child, sure on some days you may like one more than the other (come on, we’ve all been there!), but overall, you just can’t choose a favorite! Dining in Walt Disney World has become a favorite past time among repeat guests. And now, more often than not, first time guests have their own “bucket list” of restaurants to eat at or snack to try. With this increase in demand and expectation, Disney has responded by adding more restaurants and expanding the menus of their current restaurants. These adjustments also come with price increases. As Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin from ABC’s Once Upon A Time always reminds us, “all magic comes with a price” even Disney’s pixie-dusted munchies. But fear not intrepid traveler and foodie, you can indulge your taste buds and save your budget with the counter/quick service restaurants available at every Disney Park and resort. But with literally, over a hundred to choose from (seriously, 102 – I counted!), I’m here to help you select the best of the best, park by park and even among the resorts. This article will focus on the counter service options of the Magic Kingdom. The focus will be on restaurants that offer a full meal option. Though there are many additional locations I could have included in this list, I narrowed it down to exclude those counter locations that really only sell snacks. After watching hours of Master Chef and Chopped, I’ve devised a ranking system that will incorporate four criteria into the ultimate calculation for the best counter service meals.  The criteria are:

  • Best value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Be Our Guest – New Fantasyland

This latest addition to the Magic Kingdom dining line-up has everyone crazed to make dinner reservations or snag the elusive lunch FastPass+ option. The menu is a bit pricier than other counter service option, and it’s only available as a counter service during the lunch hours (10:30am to 2:30pm). Starting at 4pm, Be Our Guest is considered a Table Service restaurant where prices increase and the menu changes a bit.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Contemporary Resort

by on November 15, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Contemporary Resort. After examining some of the value resorts on Disney property, including Pop Century and Art of Animation, it’s time to head straight to the top of the WDW resort food chain and see the benefits a deluxe resort brings to the table. First stop, The Contemporary. As a long time Disney fan, I have wanted to stay at The Contemporary since I was a little kid, but my parents always booked hotels off-site to save money. As an adult planning my own trips, I would often price out a stay at The Contemporary, only to end up choosing a cheaper alternative myself. I’m not a big fan of the cliche you only live once, but if there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that the biggest regrets are not doing things when you have the chance, because those opportunities may not be around forever.  So whether it was philosophical reasons, or the fact that I felt the awesome Contemporary Resort Monorail Toy Accessory was taunting me, I decided to fulfill a near lifelong dream and book a stay at The Contemporary this year.

Now that it is crossed of the bucket list I can report back that…. I loved it. The stay confirmed several things I thought The Contemporary would be like, and opened my eyes to amenities I did not know much about before. Today we are going to countdown six takeaways from my experience, starting with…

# 6 – A Million Dollar View

Contemporary_View

View from Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

 

The views from The Contemporary A-Frame building are spectacular. One side faces Bay Lake, the other faces the Magic Kingdom.  Waking up in the morning we could see Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village, the Grand Floridian, the monorail passing by, ferry boats in the lake, the Walt Disney World Railroad, and not to mention the Magic Kingdom itself, with icons such as Cinderella’s Castle and Space Mountain. I’ve stayed at on-site hotels at various theme park resorts, and hotels across the United States including Las Vegas, Boston, San Diego, Times Square, and Hawaii, but this was the most amazing view I have ever had. I was able to enjoy fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant, two of my favorite things at WDW, from the room. I was speechless. I knew it would be good. I didn’t know it would be this good.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: November 13, 2014

by on November 13, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re attending the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, stopping by Downtown Disney and Epcot, then checking out the Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Phew – that’s a lot!  Let’s get going! :)

I was absolutely over the moon when I got the email from Touring Plans asking if I wouldn’t mind attending the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The truth was I’d been on the fence about going the first night, but the tickets sold out before I pulled the trigger. So let this serve as a warning to all of you to not delay picking up those party tickets! But what if you can’t make it this year? Well, no worries! Just click to read all about it. 

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Honoring America’s Veterans: Flag Retreat Ceremony

by on November 11, 2014

Visiting the Disney parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, is a quintessentially American experience. Even though the parks have expanded beyond the United States and attract guests from around the world, they are still, to quote a popular attraction, “a tribute to all nations, but mostly America.”

When Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland, he knew the spirit of America had to be represented. “Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to the world.” Even after 59 years, this quote is still true.

Walt at Disneyland's opening day Flag Retreat.  photo courtesy of Susan Emslie via Facebook

Walt at Disneyland’s opening day Flag Retreat. photo courtesy of Susan Emslie via Facebook

In this spirit, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have a daily Flag Retreat Ceremony. It generally takes place at dusk (5pm in WDW) at the flag in the center of Town Square. Honorary veterans are chosen to participate from each day’s visiting guests. It is a very moving ceremony that has quite a large group of followers. The Disneyland Flag retreat even has its own Facebook page, which honors the ceremony, the veterans, and the resident guard in charge of lowering the flag.

My Flag Retreat Experience

This year I traveled to Walt Disney World fell over the Memorial Day holiday. My husband and I decorated our resort room’s window that morning with red, white, and blue and then headed over to Magic Kingdom dressed in our patriotic T-shirts. Our goal for the day was to thank as many veterans as we could identify.

As it was nearing 4pm, we made our way towards the train station to have a bird’s eye view of the Flag Retreat below in Town Square. Just before we reached the end of Main Street, a group was gathered watching the Dapper Dans. We stopped to listen a few minutes and noticed a veteran in a scooter near where we were standing. As the crowd started to break, we walked over and thanked him for his service and all that he had done for our country, and then proceeded to the train station for those coveted seats.

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My Favorite Disney World Treats That Don’t Have Ears

by on November 10, 2014

Walt Disney World is not only magical, it’s also delicious. Disney World offers dozens upon dozens of restaurants and snack stands throughout the parks and resorts to tempt your taste buds and to keep you full; but my favorite dish is anything sweet! Most guests visiting the Most Calorie Laden Place on Earth who have a sweet tooth like me, tend to gravitate towards the traditional Disney treats, like the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars and Mickey-shaped Candied Apples and those giant Mickey lollipops. I know anything Mickey-shaped is hard to resist, but there’s a whole other world of delicious treats to be discovered at Disney World that don’t resemble everyone’s favorite mouse. So take a look at a few of my favorite Disney World treats that don’t have ears!

Zebra Domes

Zebra Domes

Zebra Domes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This treat is a creamy, savory sweet treat topped with chocolate stripes, just like a Zebra! Naturally, this dessert can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma Restaurant as part of the dinner buffet. Boma is a popular dining destination for many guests and is priced around $35.99 per adult and $16.99 per child. If this doesn’t fit your budget, there is still a way you can enjoy delicious Zebra Domes. Animal Kingdom Lodge’s food court, The Mara, offers packaged Zebra Domes in the refrigerated section for $3.99!

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First Look at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

by on November 8, 2014

The Castle lights are a highlight of the party. Photo - Laurel Stewart

The Castle lights are a highlight of the party. Photo – Laurel Stewart

The fine print: my ticket to this party was courtesy of Disney and WDWToday. I had already purchased a ticket, which I was able to pass on to the lovely Daisy Lauren, so there should be lots of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party coverage from TouringPlans this week.

Despite the fact that you’ll be still writing “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” on your checks for a few more weeks, the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the holiday season was last night, November 7, at Magic Kingdom. TouringPlans is here to give you a look at what to expect if you’re thinking of going this year.

As always, while the official start time is 7:00PM, guests with party tickets are allowed to enter the park and get wrist banded at 4:00. This allows Disney to help spread out the exiting day guests and entering party guests in addition to giving party guests a few extra hours in the parks. Try not to arrive right at 4 or right at 7 to avoid crowds.

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