Observations

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 26, 2015

by on February 26, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re spending evenings in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, having dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby, and visiting Animal Kingdom for some bright blue skies. Three parks in one week! This is going to be a blast, let’s get going! :)

First, check out this view from the entrance of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios! You can almost see what this will look like once the hat is completely removed. While it was sad to watch it come apart, in the end I’m glad it’s gone. I can’t wait to see the last pieces removed and this view restored. What do you think now that it’s coming together? Do you still miss the hat?

301

Want to see more fun from all around Disney World this week? Click to read more. 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Best Themed Restaurants at Disney World

by on February 23, 2015

CrystalPalace

The level of detail that Disney Imagineers put into the theming of the parks is astonishing. If I can be perfectly content just sitting in an area and soaking in all the details, then that to me is a wonderfully themed area of a Disney park. The same goes for Disney dining. Obviously, food quality comes first but with the premium that you’re going to pay at Disney, I always try to eat at restaurants that are immersive and give me that feeling that I’ve actually entered the setting that the Imagineers were trying to convey. If you have that same desire to be transported away during your next Disney dining experience then you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of my personal five best themed restaurants at Disney World. Each of these restaurants has excellent theming that will surely enhance your meal. Luckily, the food happens to be great at each of them as well.

 

5. Flame Tree Barbecue

Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the...snakes?

Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the…snakes?

Starting off our list is the only quick service entry and the only outdoor entry on our list. Located in Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue is my favorite place to eat a meal outdoors in the parks. Animal Kingdom is already a beautiful park so it’s no surprise that Flame Tree lives up to its park’s reputation. There are both covered seating areas and more sunny areas that are overlooking the water with Everest in the distance. There’s also a beautiful pond/pool towards the back of the seating area as well. Along with the great views, the covered areas I mentioned before are cool looking and come complete with a surprisingly “real” Circle of Life theme. Each patio features a predator eating its prey, which shows that Disney can take the kid gloves off every once in a while without going over the top. When it comes down to it, Flame Tree has arguably the best counter service food and best outdoor seating areas in the parks, which make it my fifth most atmospheric restaurant at Disney World. Note: Flame Tree is currently closed during Rivers of Light construction at Animal Kingdom, though some of its seating is open and you can find your smoked meats other places in the park.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney World Planning Challenges: First-Time Touring at Crowd Level 10

by on January 15, 2015

Fantasyland - December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

We finally took the plunge this year. After multiple trips to Walt Disney World in assorted months, my family decided to take a trip during the absolute busiest time at the World, between Christmas and the first few days of January. As first-time Christmas time visitors at Disney World, we had certain expectations about how it would be to tour with the masses of people visiting during the holidays. This article tells how these expectations matched up with reality as well as how well our planning and previous trips prepared us for the trip. But first, here is some background on how we got to the point of braving Christmas time crowds at Disney World.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 25, 2014

by on December 25, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios, checking out some sweet treats at the Contempo Cafe, and taking another detailed look at the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I can’t wait – so let’s get going! :)

Now, you might be asking yourself why I’m not covering the new Polynesian lobby or the Comedy Warehouse returning to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While I pride myself on bringing you guys the latest news from the parks every week, I’m home enjoying some time with my family for the holidays. Rather than leave you without any Disney goodness at all, I decided to pull some extra fun from the past couple of weeks to share with you. I’ll be back next week to share the latest news and to get ready for the craziness that is New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! How are you celebrating? I’d love to hear in the comment below!

We started celebrating a couple weeks ago in the Disney parks. As you can see to the left, we wanted to build a snowman! While it was only about six inches tall, it was the best these Floridians have done in a while. ;) Want to see what else we did? Click to read more.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 18, 2014

by on December 18, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to check out a Cars suite. Then we’re stopping in the Magic Kingdom to see some parade taping fun, eating at Liberty Tree Tavern, and playing in the park. Lastly, we’re heading to Downtown Disney and even dropping by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort! Phew – I’m tired already! Let’s get going! :)

I was really looking forward to checking into our Cars suite. I’d previously stayed in The Lion King section, but since I love Cars Land I thought this would be my new favorite. After a stop by the front desk to switch rooms (we’d been in The Little Mermaid section earlier in the week), we were off to the races. Or were we? You’ll have to read more to find out! 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: November 6, 2014

by on November 6, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Epcot for a quick update and an awesome concert. Then we’re heading to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios for more fun.  Let’s get going!

The weather could not have been more perfect this weekend. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the air was cool and crisp. It was even cold in the evenings! If you take a look at the photo on the left you’ll notice the fountain in front of Spaceship Earth isn’t working. It actually hasn’t been for a while. Our joke has been it’s the mosquito breeding exhibit. ;) Hopefully they’re able to repair it soon.

Want to see more exciting updates like this from around Disney World? Click to read more! 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Observations from Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest Lunch Changes and New Tomorrowland Colors

by on October 29, 2014

WDW’s Magic Kingdom gets ready for another Halloween party as I make observations from the park’s eastern attractions (photos by Seth Kubersky).

After a week of sailing on the Disney Magic, it was a little surreal to step back into the Magic Kingdom again for my first post-Disney Cruise visit to Walt Disney World. Even at Orlando’s oldest theme park, things are always on the move, as I discovered in my mid-morning trip around the park’s eastern half. Here are some fresh observations from Magic Kingdom on 10/23/2014, including policy updates at Be Our Guest lunch, a bold new Tomorrowland color scheme, and the finale of Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It.

Be Our Guest Lunch

Fantasyland‘s popular Be Our Guest restaurant has bedeviled guests in recent months with its evolving lunch policies, which have shifted from favoring walk-up counter service toward FastPass+ reservations.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Observations From My First Trip To Tokyo Disneyland

by on October 28, 2014

Tokyo DisneySea is the most beautiful Disney theme park on the planet.

It’s hard not to be hyperbolic when talking about Tokyo DisneySea. It’s amazing, incredible, and jaw dropping, any superlative you can think of applies to DisneySea. There are hundreds of details to discover in every bit of the park, and what’s most impressive is how it all is brilliantly blended together. Whether you’re wandering around the streets of an early 20th century recreation of New York in American Waterfront, exploring a dense jungle in Lost River Delta, or venturing deep in to a smoldering volcano in Mysterious Island, everything flows together perfectly.

DSC02920

Tokyo DisneySea’s Mount Prometheus

A key factor to any Disney theme park is the entrance experience, and DisneySea has one of the best. You start off by walking through a breezeway that goes through the beautiful Hotel MiraCosta. This is where you will catch your first glimpse of Mount Prometheus, the centerpiece of the park. Basically it’s the park’s castle. Mount Prometheus can be seen from almost anywhere in the park, and even though you’re seeing the same mountain, it will look different depending on what land you’re in. So if you’re in Mediterranean Harbor it will look like a towering ominous volcano, but if you’re in the Cape Cod section of American Waterfront it will look like a peaceful mountainside. It’s a very impressive effect.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

This Ain’t Disney World! – Planning a First Visit to Universal Orlando

by on October 15, 2014

The scenery may be beautiful, but the line is VERY long.

The scenery may be beautiful, but the line is VERY long.

On our first visit to ‘the other Orlando park,’ my oldest daughter and I attended a viewing of Universal’s Horror Make-up Show. During the show, the volunteer, a nice woman ended up covered in red-dyed corn syrup. The hosts threw a towel out to the woman and called after, “That’ll be $14.50!” We all laughed, but knew it wasn’t exactly distant from the truth. Certainly, we knew most of the major differences between Disney World and Universal Studios. We weren’t, however, expecting to encounter such a myriad of differences between the two parks. Hopefully, some quick research, a planned touring plans itinerary, and this article can help you get a quick overview of what to expect at your first visit to Universal Orlando Resort.

The parks are over a small area. Really small. If you could walk through a few buildings, you could easily get back and forth between the parks. We could see Dr. Doom from our window at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. You can also take Hogwart’s Express between the two parks at any time, too. I’d avoid going during the surge of the middle of the day, but make certain to go both directions, so board at Hogsmeade Station, as well. Each ride is a bit different. The walk wasn’t quick, but it was awfully close.

Don’t, however, mistake close for convenient. I could see the park, but our walk to the entrance was about fifteen minutes each day along a winding path that seemed to close back over itself. We ended up walking to and from the parks every day, but getting through Universal can’t always be done quickly.

The queue and exit line for every ride can be pretty long, if they are needed or not. The line to get onto Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure is filled with beautiful pieces, the Triwizard Cup, banners for each champion, and VERY few people. Most of the occasions we were on the ride, it was essentially a walk-on. The theming was much better than I had expected, but the walk was LONG. The wait may have been longer for Flight of the Hippogriff than it was for Dragon Challenge. The queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was long, as well. It was filled with stations throughout Hogwarts, talking paintings, and myriads of setup. Perhaps the rides were purposefully trying to delay our boarding, but on multiple occasions, I wondered why I STILL had to walk through tons of labyrinthian mazes to get on the Seuss High in the Sky Trolley ride. The exit for Ripsaw Falls, I felt like I had mistakenly gotten back in line for another ride. Even the pathway between our hotel and Islands of Adventure I felt like it had carved out a purposefully winding path to throw off our pace. Each day, my pedometer on my iphone killed its battery. I never had an accurate step count, but I was well above 15,000 steps.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Observations from Halloween Horror Nights and Updated HHN24 Touring Plans

by on October 8, 2014

Hhn24 touring plans

Plan your Nights of Horror with our updated HHN24 touring plans (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Halloween in still three weeks away, but Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24 is well underway, and as always the event — and therefore our HHN24 touring plan — is ever evolving. After experiencing the rain-soaked chaos of opening night, I returned on a precipitation-free Thursday without the benefit of an RIP guided tour or Express Passes.

The good news is that I was able to experience all 8 haunted houses, and both shows, before the evening ended even without those extra-cost line-cutting perks, but it wan’t easy. To update my previously published Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide, here’s a summary of my recent observations, followed by an improved edition of my HHN24 touring plans to plot your escape from the evil of overstuffed queues.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print