Posts Tagged ‘disney world’

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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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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The Most Underrated Walt Disney World Attractions

by on October 3, 2014

t_logo_fbWell, you did it. I hope you’re happy with yourselves. We weren’t the first to pass that way, but soon we’ll be the last, because Maelstrom, the troll-tastic boat attraction located in Norway at Epcot, is officially closing its doors on October 5th 2014 to make way for a new themed area celebrating “Let it Go.” But as sulky as I and others may be about it, it makes you realise something. The Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Test Track at Epcot. The bag check line at the front gate. There are a lot of Disney World attractions that people tend to think of immediately before any others, and for good reason. They’re big, flashy, exciting, and Patrick Warburton’s voice is like buttah. But it’s easy to get stuck on the big ticket thrill rides, or just the attractions with the most flash and that new magic smell and think of the rest as “filler.” Kids can basically be dazzled by just about anything, but teens and adults are harder to win over if something doesn’t involve at least three inversions and an animatronic yeti. Most of the time, when people talk about Disney World attractions, there’s a handful that always get brought up, and some that, well, just don’t as much as they should. Here’s a list of just some of the best, most underrated Disney World attractions the parks have to offer, and why you should make every effort to catch them on your trip, too. As for the most overrated attractions, well… that’s a whole ‘nother flame war, and my flame-retardant suit is in another castle.

And hey, when you’re done reading and you’re back from your trip, make sure you fill out the Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World Survey to help refine our ratings and our information for the future. Teens, nobody but us needs to know you really thought Wishes was the most spectacular thing ever… your cool, detached demeanor is safe with me.

Disney's Maelstrom at Epcot's Norway Pavillion

Disney’s Maelstrom at Epcot’s Norway Pavillion

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – Is it cheesy? Yes. A little goofy? Sure. But this 21 minute long animatronic show located in Magic Kingdom is still one of the most impressive things Disney World has done. Guests sit down in theater style chairs on a revolving floor that takes them through a series of scenes following a family through the seasons, and through the years. The characters don’t age, but the emphasis here is on, well, progress. Little things, like how the icebox works, the cost of food, travel times, all of it is presented in such a way as to provide a great example of how much things have changed. All of this is narrated and acted out by a series of remarkably well articulated animatronic folks. (Still not as creepy as CGI Jeff Bridges.) Most amusing of all, the most “recent” era the show will take you through is going to feel pretty recent indeed thanks to new technology like the Oculus Rift and even “smart” ovens, despite being something the show clearly intended to be futuristic. Light-hearted, silly, and yet still relevant and interesting, it’s a great way to relax. Just don’t expect to get that song out of your head anytime soon.

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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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Epcot DiveQuest and Epcot Seas Aqua Tour Review

by on September 28, 2014

Photo Credit - Disney

Photo Credit – Disney

My husband’s aunt and uncle are huge Disney fans. Not only have they made countless trips to the Disney parks, they have been on several in-park tours as well. While chatting with Uncle Keith, he told me all about his experiences with both the Epcot DiveQuest and Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, and I thought I would share his adventures with all of you. If you’d like to read a review of the Dolphins in Depth tour, click here.

Let’s dive right in!

DiveQuest is a three hour experience giving you the opportunity to scuba dive in a 5.7 million gallon tank with over 6,000 sea creatures. In order to take part in this experience, you must be 10 years or older and be SCUBA-certified. (If there are actually any scuba-certified 10-year-olds out there, I applaud you.) To make reservations, call 407-939-8687. The cost is $175.

Keith was told to show up at the main entrance of Epcot about 15 minutes beforehand. The only things he was asked to bring were his swimsuit and scuba-certification card. After arriving at the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, he was brought backstage to a classroom. Here, Cast Members summarized the entire program, told everyone what was going to happen, and noted how long everything would take.

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Best Video Games To Play Before Your Next Disney Vacation

by on September 26, 2014

Disney Infinity

Waiting for your next Disney vacation can be grueling. Especially when you get closer to the big day, it becomes almost impossible to focus on anything that isn’t magical and amazing and oh come on why isn’t it here yet? Utterly unbearable anticipation aside, I love the time right before a Disney vacation because it’s usually when I go back and revisit some of my favorite Disney things to remind me of the fun I’m about to have. If you’re reading this site, I’m sure this isn’t a novel concept to you. People watch classic Disney films, research any and all new additions to the parks and do countless other activities in preparation for their vacation. For me, I love to play certain video games that remind me of the Most Magical Place on Earth. For those of you that have the same passion for games, there are several that you can play that evoke the same mood and joy found within the Disney Parks. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite video games that you should try if you’re looking to get excited for your next Disney vacation.

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Disney Life Hacks: Five Things I Will Never Forget To Pack Again

by on September 25, 2014

t_logo_fbPacking for your Disney vacation doesn’t have to be a stressful part of your planning, and there are plenty of checklists to help you do it. You’ll usually remember to pack sunscreen, bathing suits, and toothbrushes, but what about the things that you might not have thought to put in your suitcase? Money-savers like ponchos and glow sticks from the discount store or gum (which isn’t sold anywhere on Disney property) are among the things most often suggested by Disney Parks veterans, but I’ve got five more things to pack for Disney World.

Trust me on this – it only takes one experience to learn the hard way! Here are a few of the things you shouldn’t leave your home without:

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Creating a Disney World Challenge: The Facebook Photo Challenge

by on September 25, 2014

We received 39 photo challenges from friends and family.

We received 39 photo challenges from friends and family.

Ed. – today we’re running two articles with ideas for silly things that can make your trip to Walt Disney World even more fun. Has your family ever done anything like this? Talk about it in the comments.

This past spring, TouringPlans blogger Erin Foster wrote a blog article about Disney World challenges – defined as anything that can turn your trip into a game, and add a little extra spice. It struck a familiar chord with me, as I’m always looking for creative ways to add fun. In fact, I’m no stranger to the concept as a couple of years ago I created my first Disney World challenge, although it was more of a challenge for my friends and family. I dubbed it “Where in Disney are the VanderVoords” and set out to take pictures of my family in obscure locations around Disney World. I would then post them on my Facebook page with the tag “WIDATVV?” and let my friends and family guess where we were. It was a fun time interacting with our loved ones who couldn’t be with us while sharing a little of our trip.

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