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Disney History: The Carthay Circle Theater

by on September 28, 2016

carthay

Carthay Circle Theater

Do you remember the first Disney movie you saw in theaters? I sure do! Even though that first time was years ago, I still love going to see Disney’s film at the theater, and I bet you fellow Disney fans do too! But have you ever thought of the first theater to ever show a Disney movie?

That honor belongs to the Carthay Circle Theater which was the site of the premiere for the first full length animated film in history, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While the actual Carthay Circle Theater is no longer standing, it lives on in the Disney Parks! In this article, I’m taking a closer look at the presence of this historical theater at both the Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Disney History: The Carthay Circle Theater.

carthaycircle2

Inside the Carthay Circle Restaurant

History of the Carthay Circle Theater

The Carthay Circle Theater first opened its doors in 1926 in Los Angeles, California. The design of theater was a tribute to California’s history with its Mission Revival style of architecture and interior paintings and artwork. It’s glittering sign, iconic octagonal bell tower, and sweeping floodlights could be seen from afar and served as the backdrop for a number of Hollywood premieres that rivaled that of Grauman’s Chinese Theater at the time. In addition to hosting the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiere in 1937, the Carthay Circle Theater also hosted the premieres for Gone with the Wind in 1939 and Fantasia in 1940.

These premieres were elaborate affairs. For the opening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a replica of the dwarfs’ cottage and diamond mine was constructed. Costumed characters from the film also entertained guests in attendance, and welcomed celebrities such as Shirley Temple, Charlie Chaplin, and Ginger Rodgers!

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Top 6 Overlooked Restaurants

by on September 23, 2016

One of the toughest choices to make regarding a Walt Disney World vacation is deciding where to eat. With all the options available at this amazing resort, it’s overwhelming for anyone planning their trip, whether they’re first-time visitors, or seasoned annual passholders. If you’ve done your research, you’ll see the pattern of some of the same names coming up over and over again in reviews and recommendations (Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Le Cellier, etc).

Disney Dining DonaldBut hopefully, after reading this article, I can introduce to some of Walt Disney World’s unsung restaurant heroes. I have selected my own top six overlooked restaurants at Walt Disney World. Each of these offers great food, value, and even atmosphere but somehow seem to get left out of the top popular recommendations. The plus side, is that because these are often overlooked, that means they are often less crowded and have open reservation availability. These aren’t ranked in any particular order, and range between table service and quick service, but you’ll find one selection from each park, a resort, and Disney Springs.

 

 

Animal Kingdom

First up, the overlooked restaurant in Animal Kingdom, Yak and Yeti. With all of the publicity of the newly opened Tiffin’s and the standing popularity of Rainforest Café, Yak and Yeti often gets forgotten as a wonderful table service option. As far as atmosphere, there are two levels to the restaurant with multiple rooms on each level, and each room is adorned with unique, ornate decorations. Every detail leaving the guest of an experience of actually eating in a quaint restaurant in Asia.

As for the menu, it definitely offers some unique Asian fusion options that you find everywhere. Some guests may pass by Yak and Yeti because the menu seems too ethnic or daunting for their taste buds. Any guest who does venture in will be richly rewarded.  I can honestly account that the Kobe Beef Burger I had here was the best burger I’ve had anywhere. So, if you’re in Animal Kingdom, or looking for a fun and rewarding dining experience, be sure to not to overlook Yak and Yeti.

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Five things you might not know about Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on September 19, 2016

If you’ve never walked through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, either as a guest or just a visitor, you’re missing some of the Imagineers’ best work on Walt Disney World property.

Yes, the location is a bit further off the beaten path than other Deluxe Resorts, but that could be considered intentional. It’s set apart because it’s unlike any other resort on property, both aesthetically and culturally.  When you enter the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you entering a place where the Disney characters have been pushed to the background and the African continent is front and center.

So in that spirit, here are five things you might not know about the Animal Kingdom Lodge that help make it well worth a stay or visit.

Authentic African art

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to the largest collection of African art outside of the African continent. Many of the most impressive pieces, like the 16-foot-tall Igbo Ijele mask, are in the lobby. You can find even more pieces of art just walking the corridors of the resort. Between Jambo House and Kidani Village, more than 800 artifacts are on display, making the entire resort a museum of sorts. Take the time to browse the displays, many of which have descriptions and countries of origins listed.

Igbo Ijele mask in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby, featuring chandeliers designed to look like Maasai shields.

Igbo Ijele mask in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby, featuring chandeliers designed to look like Maasai shields.

An African garment adorns a corner in one of the hallways of African Kingdom Lodge.

An African garment adorns a corner in one of the hallways of African Kingdom Lodge.

It’s not just the sights of all the artwork. The sounds of the African background music played throughout the resort transports visitors as well. After returning from a stay at the Lodge, you might just find yourself scouring the Internet for the music you heard. Here’s a listing compiled by the AKL Resort site with links to purchase many of the songs on the resort background loop.

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Finding The Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part Two

by on September 15, 2016

Welcome back to our musical adventure, highlighting the works of Robert and Richard Sherman! If you haven’t already read Finding the Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part One, go read that now. Today, we wrap up our look at the dynamic song writing duo known for so many Disney classics.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Before they skyrocketed to fame with “It’s a Small World” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” they wrote a little song for Walt’s first Audio-Animatronic attraction. Let’s fly over to the original tropical hideaway!

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A Parent’s Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

by on September 13, 2016

2016-09-02 20.39.46Before school had started in some states, Disney was already ringing in the Halloween season with the 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (often referred to by the unpronounceable MNSSHP). My husband and I had gone once in our child-free years, but with our daughter now six years old, we thought this would be the perfect time for a repeat of the party. In the end, it was a marvelous time for us, but we saw a number of families who were having a less than magical experience. Here’s some tips to make the evening truly not so scary.

 

Pick a Date that Works with Your Schedule

Staying up until midnight on a school night is not the best option for younger children. For this reason, we chose a Friday night leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend. (There are no Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties on Saturday nights.) This meant that our daughter was in school that day, and we had her take an hour of “attempted nap” between school and heading for the party. If you’re on vacation, you may want to skip visiting the parks altogether on your party night. At the very least, you’ll want to take most of the afternoon for down time to have your best shot at making it through the whole party with everyone in good spirits.

Dress Sensibly

It is perfectly acceptable to go to the party without wearing a costume, or just wearing a Halloween-themed t-shirt. For some people, wearing a costume is part of the experience. Hurricane Hermine had pushed through the state less than 24 hours before our party, and thankfully we had selected costumes that could be scaled back for the possibility of rain. Knowing the weather in early September in Florida trends towards hot, we also made sure our costumes would be comfortable in 90-90 weather (90 degree heat, 90% humidity). In the end, we were able to keep a bare minimum of our costume intact and get huge amounts of laughs and love for our simple costume idea. We went as a game of Duck, Duck, Goose basically by two of us wearing white shirts with large wooden signs around our neck saying DUCK (with a small duck figurine) and one wearing a white shirt with a sign saying GOOSE (with a small goose figurine).

On the flip side, I saw many families wearing heavy, bulky, and downright uncomfortable costumes–or having their children dressed up in costumes that had no breathability. The heat and humidity will sap your energy faster than anything. Think about your costume choices as if you were going to run a race in it. How will it look and feel when hot and sweaty? Those cute specialty shoes with the costume might be great for going around the block, but how will they feel after putting on several miles of walking? If you must have a certain costume for some of the experience, consider bringing a change of clothes and renting a locker.

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Finding the Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part One

by on September 12, 2016

If you are a fan of Disney parks, then you are a fan of the Sherman Brothers. You may not even realize it, but I can guarantee this to be true. The song writing team of Robert Sherman and younger brother, Richard Sherman, have combined to write more motion picture musical scores than any other song writing team in history. In addition to their motion picture work, the brothers served as staff writers for Walt Disney Studios.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

The Sherman Brothers are responsible for many of the Disney songs you grew up singing, as well as the music you can’t stop humming when you leave the theme parks. Like most supremely talented artists their story is complex; creative geniuses in their field, but a lifetime of personal struggles in their relationship with one another. For our purpose today, we are focusing on their positive and prolific influence inside the Disney parks. What better place to start then the song that never ends?

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Dine or Dash? Epcot’s Food and Wine Booths (Part 3)

by on September 12, 2016

Some say that bad things happen in threes, but I’m a mojito-glass-half-full kind of person. When it comes to booths at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, a review in three parts is far better than one. So it is with great irony that I start off with the booth that has the one food I will absolutely positively not be eating at Food and Wine. (Oh, and if you missed part 1 or part 2, feel free to catch up before diving into this one.)

*Indicates item returning from last year.

Japan

  • Grilled Spicy Edamame tossed with Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, and Chili Powder
  • Spicy Sushi Roll: Tuna and Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce
  • Marinated Shrimp sautéed with Garlic and Butter, Served Over Rice

I’m very fortunate that I have outgrown many of the food allergies I had as a child, but one still causes me an anaphylaxis reaction–concentrated amounts of soy, like those found in tofu or in edamame. As a result, because I value my life, I’ll be skipping the Grilled Spicy Edamame. I know my husband will be more than willing to take one for the team and try it, as this sounds like a great snack option. I’ll likely skip the sushi roll–if I want sushi, there’s so many good options at Walt Disney World to have a seat for a full sushi meal. On the other hand, I’m excited about the shrimp dish. My only hope is that the shrimp will have the tails already removed, so I can chow down without having to juggle a knife and fork.

Mexico

Mexico_Shrimp_Taco

  • Barbacoa Enchilada: Corn Tortilla filled with Beef Barbacoa, covered with Oaxaca Mole
  • Taco de Camaron: Battered Shrimp served over a Flour Tortilla with Crispy Purple Cabbage and Chipotle Mayonnaise (Pictured, but slightly changed this year)
  • Flan de Chocolate Abuelita

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Dine or Dash? Epcot’s Food and Wine Booths (Part 2)

by on September 9, 2016

Time for the next column of this culinary cabaret of cuisines. In part 2, some old favorites are back, but some new booths are making their debut. Let’s get right into the action. (And if you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.)

*Indicates item returning from last year.

Farm Fresh

Farm_Fresh_Loaded_MacnCheese

  • *Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions (Pictured)
  • Chicken & Dumplings: Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach
  • Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts

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The Great Irish Hooley to Occur at Raglan Road This Labor Day

by on August 29, 2016

The Great Irish Hooley

©Raglan Road

Did you know that we are close to the halfway point of St. Patrick’s Day? How would I know something like that? Because once again, it is time for The Great Irish Hooley. The Great Irish Hooley is a celebration of that halfway mark and it will be taking place at Raglan Road this Labor Day weekend at Disney Springs.

This year is the fifth year for this fun-filled event that consists of traditional live music, dancing, and delicious Irish cuisine. Festivities begin at noon on Friday, September 2 and will run through the evening of Monday, September 5.

This year’s party will included performances by nine top Irish bands, authentic step dancing, and first-rate contemporary Irish cuisine.

The entertainment line up for this year’s event includes:

  • Screaming Orphans
  • The Raglan Roots Coalition
  • Flat Out
  • The Marianne Fraser Band
  • The High Road
  • Cooney & Ryan
  • Swingin’ On The Gate
  • The Flyin’ Marys
  • Jake Richardson

Guests will also be able to enjoy the Raglan Road Irish Dancers. The infamous dance group will be found performing throughout the weekend. They will also teach Guests some traditional Irish steps. The Hooley also will feature Celtic face-painting Saturday through Monday.

For more information visit raglanroad.com/great-irish-hooley

This event is certainly packed with the best of Irish music and entertainment. If you’re in Disney Springs this weekend, you don’t want to miss this unique experience!

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10 Things to Do After You Book Your Disney Cruise

by on August 12, 2016

So you’ve booked your Disney cruise!  Woohoo!  After the high of booking starts to wear off and before the low of the credit card bill arrival, what’s next?  Well here are ten things!

Day 1 0241. Find Your Documentation – Do not wait until the last minute to find your passport or birth certificates. Don’t do it. Now is the time to go locate whatever you need to travel.  Now, when you still have time to get new copies of the one you were so sure you had is missing or expired.  Lay eyes on it.  Check the expiration date.  Don’t assume and get into a bind when it’s time to sail!

2. Join Your Cruise Group – If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend finding the cruise group for your cruise and joining. Search Facebook for your ship name and cruise date and you’ll usually find it. These groups are full of great information. Many groups set up meets onboard, private mixology and tasting groups, fish extender exchanges and more. Many years ago, we were able to tour the Walt Disney Suite on the Disney Magic when a member of our group invited everyone for a tour. Sometimes you’ll find a family who wants to book a cabana but doesn’t want to pay full price for it and you can share one for the day! You’ll also often find people joining together for private tours and renting cars together. Even if you’re not into socializing with people you met on the internet (valid), there is still a lot of good information shared. Recommendations for port adventures, updates on what’s booked before your booking window opens, dining rotations, and more! Join! What have you got to lose?

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