In many ways I consider myself a lucky man. One of those ways, albeit a minor one, is that I have had the opportunity to stay in all four of Walt Disney World’s Moderate level resorts within the past 18 months or so. The first thing you may notice is that I said four, even though Disney technically lists five: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans – French Quarter, Port Orleans – Riverside, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. I am omitting the Cabins from this comparison for a few reasons: Firstly, the Cabins are quite a bit different than the other moderates as they are larger, capable of housing more people, and more expensive. Secondly, and more importantly, I have never stayed in one, so a writing of my personal experiences would be very, very short. Read the rest of this entry »
For the second in the series we’ll be looking at the site of Mickey’s PhilharMagic and time traveling all the way to 1971 to see what has lived in this space over the ages. If you haven’t already read the history of Stitch’s Great Escape in part one of the series you can find it here. One housekeeping note: a lot of this is written from my memories. If you remember it differently please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from everyone.
If you hopped into the Wayback Machine and set it between 1994 and 2002 you’d emerge to find The Legend of the Lion King. This was one of my favorite shows, and I was really sad to see it close. This was one of the last few attractions to actually open WITH the movie. Can you imagine a big Rapunzel show opening at the Magic Kingdom just weeks after the movie hit theaters? This used to be common for Disney, but it seems like nowadays the company sits back and makes sure it has a hit first. (And sometimes after a mega hit…we get bathrooms!) I was a little old to buy into it completely, but for my younger sisters The Legend of the Lion King seemed “real” and was a way to visit the most recent Disney story. The fun started when you entered the pre-show area where a live actor dressed as Rafiki introduced the story before you were ushered into the theater. Inside the theater was a show like nothing before or since at Disney. The story of The Lion King was told with projection screens, puppets, and effects. I could go on about how great it was but there are several videos on YouTube that do it more justice. Not that I don’t think Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a great show, but I’ll always think Lion King was better! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s one of the best parts about Epcot’s holiday festivities…the Holidays Around The World. This edutainment event, which takes place from November 29 through December 30 this year, celebrates the festive season by introducing guests to holiday traditions from around the globe.
Guests are immersed in cultural heritage of each nation by letting them get up close and personal with holiday storytellers who share customs from each country. Some of these storytellers include Father Christmas from the United Kingdom, Père Noël from France, the Monkey King from China, and La Befana from Italy.
In my personal tally of how many times I’ve stayed at each Disney World resort, the clear winner, with more than 15 stays, is the Beach Club and Beach Club Villas. There are many hotels we love, but we continue to circle back to the Beach Club for two reasons: the proximity to Epcot and the rockin’ awesome pool situation. Stormalong Bay, the pool complex shared by the Yacht & Beach Club, is 3+ areas of fun, nearly a waterpark unto itself. If you’ve got water lovers in your party, Stormalong Bay may be reason enough to make the Yacht or Beach Club your Disney resort of choice. Here’s a tour.
As a first step, take a look at our general guide to the Disney World pools. This covers things like lifeguards (there are lots), floatation vests (they’re free), towels (take as many as you need), and water temperature (warm)!
Moving on to Stormalong Bay specifics, this is the map you’ll receive during check-in. You can see that Stormalong Bay (those amorphous blobs in the center) is neatly centered between the Yacht & Beach Clubs. All guests of those resorts are entitled to Stormalong Bay access, even those staying at the Beach Club Villas. It’s worth noting that Stormalong Bay access is strictly limited to use by Yacht & Beach guests, you will need to show a valid room key or have your MagicBand scanned for access. They’re quite strict about checking.
Now let’s zoom in a bit and take a look at an aerial view from Google Maps. I’ve added some labels so you can get oriented. All those red dots are lifeguard station umbrellas.
A brand new gallery called Norsk Kultur (meaning Norwegian Culture) has officially opened in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. Norsk Kultur was created in conjunction with the opening of the Disney movie Frozen. It can be found inside the Stave Church that’s located in the front part of the pavilion.
The artifacts found in the exhibit are on loan from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, which is located in Decorah, Iowa. Twenty-one artifacts have been included in the new gallery, and they will be at Epcot for three years, according to an article in the Decorah Newspapers.
Items that can be found in the exhibit include:
an authentic hand-made bunad, the traditional costume of Norway
a hardanger fiddle, as well as other handmade instruments
hand-carved artisan furniture, including a carved wooden chair called a kubbestol
a small loom
a men’s Southern Sami outfit
examples of rosemaling (traditional Norse decorative painting)
November 17 to 23, 2013, ended up being a great week for low crowds at Walt Disney World. Our Crowd Calendar predicted low crowds all week with the exception of Saturday. In fact, wait times came in even lower than our predictions, including on Saturday. Although our predictions hit the mark at the park level for some days, in general we overshot by one index level. If you used our calendar and selected last week for your trip to Disney World, you experienced some of the lowest wait times of the year.