Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary (photo by James Rosemergy)
For characters like Cinderella and Rapunzel, living in a royal castle was just an unattainable dream. Gazing out the window, they would sit for hours imagining what life would be like within the walls of such a majestic place.
If you’ve ever been to a Disney park, those dreams and wishes may pop into your head when you first set eyes on the magnificent castle; the symbol and iconic center of the park. Today, I will be sharing a brief history of the very first Disney palace: Sleeping Beauty Castle in California’s Disneyland.
This is the time to turn on “Once Upon a Dream” or “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
I’ll wait for you to pull up the song….
*Twiddles thumbs, looks out the window, checks phone*
The Sorcerer’s Hat is one of many recent departures from Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Another day, another closure. The Magic of Disney Animation has seen its last pen stroke, adding it to the ever-lengthening list of attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that have been shuttered without any replacements announced. Indeed, in the time it’s taken you to read this opening paragraph, Disney has probably closed 3 more attractions. With this being the state of affairs, you may be thinking that there’s no good reason to bother with Hollywood Studios in its current form and that you should cross it off your list until some time in the 2020’s — and that seems to be a popular refrain within the Disney fan community.
This perception notwithstanding, however, the reality is that most of the closures were of attractions that were already waning in popularity, while the things that have served as the backbone of the park over recent years are still alive and well. While it would be tough to argue that Hollywood Studios is a “must-do” or that you should build a vacation around it at this point in its life cycle, there remain plenty of good reasons to pay it a visit:
Each year, guests marvel as they walk along the street, gazing up at the beautiful lights, made even more spectacular when they start to blink and dance to the musical tracks. It’s great to grab a beverage (my choice is a cup of hot chocolate or coffee…no matter what the temps are…it is Christmas after all) and walk along marveling at the gorgeousness.
In addition, continuing for 2015, guests who purchase Made with Magic items will see them interact with the lights as these items have been programmed to light up, both matching the colors of your surroundings and flashing to the beat of the holiday music.
For those who are unaware, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights started modestly in Arkansas as each year, Jennings Osborne and his family set up an elaborate collection of holiday lights. Over time, the collection of lights grew until 1995, when the lights were brought to Walt Disney World Resort and have remained ever since.
Oh and the best thing about this spectacular is that it is included in your park admission!
Looking for the best breakfast spot in all of Disney World? Look no further than the Boma breakfast buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Nestled in a quiet spot on the first floor of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House, you will find this hidden gem. Known for its delicious as well as adventurous dinner buffet complete with the famous Zebra Domes, many guests are unaware that a spectacular breakfast is also served here. The Boma breakfast buffet offers an amazing variety of tasty foods so even the most picky of eaters, like myself, can find plenty of things to try. Boma is my family’s favorite breakfast place in Disney World and when we visited again last month, it did not disappoint!
Thinking of checking it out for yourself on your next Disney World vacation? Read on for everything you need to know about the Boma breakfast buffet.
Three months ago the tiki gods smiled upon Walt Disney World with the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This ornate tiki bar on steroids is a must-do for tiki culture enthusiasts and Disney fans alike. Now that the initial wave of hype and pandemonium has receded, the Grog Grotto is even more enjoyable.
One of the best features of this exotic themed bar are the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto tiki mugs. True to the authentic tiki bar experience, there are a variety of souvenir tiki mugs that are quite the hot ticket items. I am a fan of the tiki culture, though not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. However, I love both Trader Sam’s locations and have acquired a collection that I would like to share with you along with as much information as I can about these unique keepsakes.
Tiki mugs 101 – a brief history
I know I have a lot to learn about this fascinating, entertaining fandom. Suffice to say, I dabble. So in recognition of my basic knowledge I took to the interwebs to get some knowledge. At the most basic level, it is understood that tiki bar culture and the ritual of elaborate ceramic tiki mugs started in California. After World War II many service men return to the United States with a hunger to enjoy South Seas culture. Tiki bars and Polynesia style restaurants became all the rage. It quickly became customary for the delicious, exotic elixirs to be served in elaborate ceramic and glass tiki mugs at such establishments.
A menagerie of styles all over the country could be found. Varying from tall highball style to short, rotund and even large bowls, all in a vast assortment of shapes like coconuts, barrels, hula girls, bamboo stalks, parrots, the list is nearly endless. One of the motivations for these ornate tiki mugs becoming such a large part of tiki culture is that they are meant, in part, to represent the tiki totems found throughout the South Seas. Often carved in wood, the primary purpose of a tiki totem or statue is to scare away evil spirits. So with that purpose in mind, what better way to get happy than to sip a refreshing rum drink from a tiki mug?
Rum flight mini Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto tiki mugs
I’ve read many a post on what to bring to Walt Disney World. In fact, I’ve even written about the topic here and here! However, I don’t often see posts on how to maximize the space in ones suitcase. So, today I bring you just that. Whether its a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, here are my space-saving tips!
Note: This article is targeting toward a more casual vacation. I’m hopeless when it comes to packing for business & formal events. Huge overpacker.
Make a packing list
For me, this is crucial. It is the ONLY way I won’t forget anything. As you place the item in the suitcase, cross it off your list. This may also prevent you from overpacking.
Extra tip: The night before, I like to make a list of all the last minute items I’ll need to add (i.e. phone charger, toothbrush) the morning I leave.
Rope Drop: A term referring to the time at which a Disney theme park opens.
Making It To Rope Drop With Young Kids: The seemingly unreachable goal attempted by many enthusiastic parents visiting Disney World.
See also: crying children, stressed-out parents, the impossible dream
If you are planning a Disney World vacation you’ve probably already heard the all important tip…”If you do nothing else, you must make it to Rope Drop!” Frequent visitors to Disney World will tell you that those first two hours of the day in the parks are absolutely critical to maximizing your vacation fun. If you are anything like most of us parents after you heard this, you thought to yourself…”How the heck am I supposed to get my entire family up, ready, fed, out the door, and to the park so early in the morning? This is never going to happen!” Well, stress not, fellow parent! Follow these simple tips for an easier morning and an awesome viewing spot up front at the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show.
Now, I’m going to assume since you are a reader of TouringPlans that you are not opposed to planning. I sure hope so, because making rope drop with young kiddos in tow takes a fair amount of effort in advance. But believe me, when you walk right on Peter Pan with no wait, you’ll be so glad you did the work!
Preparing For Rope Drop Before You Leave Home
Believe it or not, making rope drop starts before you even leave home. Some good advanced prep work and packing is the key first step. Now grab yourself some Ziploc bags and let’s get busy!
It’s hard to truly grasp the scope of the lost and found operation at Walt Disney World resort. Tens of thousands of guests lose thousands of items every day. Working at Magic Kingdom Guest Relations, I became part of the system that tries to reunite guests with their lost items. Seeing the items guests lose every day, I saw some patterns I hope will help you keep all of your belongings.
The Theme Park Lost and Found contains thousands of hats, sunglasses, and MagicBands. Photo by Maddi Higgins.
Sunglasses and hats are easy to lose.
Sunglasses and hats are far and beyond the most often lost items in the park. The lost and found has more Ray Bans than a Sunglasses Hut. While I’m sure your Gucci shades look really cute, you will be very disappointed when you inevitably leave them in the pouch of Space Mountain. And those warnings to stow your hats and sunglasses on the wildest ride in the wilderness are no joke: huge bags filled with hats and sunglasses are lugged every night by Cast Members from the roller coasters who spent the evening clearing the track of lost items. It’s often difficult to reunite guests with their lost sunglasses or hats just because of the sheer volume that must be sorted through to find the right ones, especially at the end of the night.
Do you ever just sit and daydream about your favorite meals?
…Oh, that’s just me? Well, anyways…
One of my favorite parts of visiting Walt Disney World is trying out the different cuisines and restaurants on property. As I live in the Midwest, I’m limited in the number of times a year I can travel and satiate my palate.
So in an effort to get my Disney food fix, I’ve researched the internet and found recipes for two Disney dishes that I will be recreating for you today!
First up, Gratin de Macaroni which can be found at the France Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot.