Hello, my lovebugs! I’m so excited to be able to share this week with you. Hopefully I’ll be getting back into rotation with the team moving forward, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other! This week I visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and had a surprise two night adventure at Disneyland. (I know, right??) So let’s get started with one of my favorite views in the Magic Kingdom.

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I know, it’s a bathroom, but doesn’t it look majestic? Of course, I was excited to see anything after 67 days away from the parks. We decided to downgrade to silver passes this year and while I had a couple of tough days missing my “home” over the summer, it was overall a positive experience. I think we’ll continue with passes at this level in future years. What would you do? Do you think we’re crazy skipping the summer and peak holidays? Let me know in the comments.

There’s so much more to see – click to read more. 🙂

I pulled this photo from last week because you can see heat lightning glowing in the distance. While we haven’t gotten as much rain this summer, the lightning has been impressive! You can also see the Main Street Electrical Parade in the distance. What do you think of this parade leaving the Magic Kingdom? Personally, I don’t really mind but I wish we were getting something new. Maybe there will be an announcement soon!

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Before we move on from Magic Kingdom, we have to take a quick spin on Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Mainly because it’s Cleo’s favorite, but also to ask all of you what you’d like to see in the future. I’d love to have your feedback and requests. These little posts are all about you and making you feel like you’re here with me. So let me know where you’d like to visit in the comments section.

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I made it to Epcot on a warm afternoon last week. The rain had just cleared up and the weather was almost perfect. Plus, as you can see from the photo below, the crowds were slim. The park attendance seem to be much lighter this year. We were able to ride pretty much everything with no wait with the exception of Test TrackFrozen Ever After, and Soarin’ Around the World. (but more on that later!)

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Of course, you didn’t really go to Epcot if you didn’t ride Spaceship Earth! This was the first ride we went on with no wait. I finally managed to get a decent photo of this guy. I love this scene! (Fun fact: if you Google “oopatay oopatay” there are literally no results. LOL.)

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Over at Living with the Land we were able to walk onto our favorite boat tour. We spotted a few new plants, but lots of displays were almost empty. They must be replanting in the houses. If you feel like riding this one I have a full ride through for you here. And while you’re over in Youtube-land be sure to check out the TouringPlans channel.

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The reason for our visit was to finally ride Frozen Ever After. It opened over the summer while our passes were closed out and I couldn’t wait to see the new ride. As we walked back to cash in our FastPass+ we got the notice that the ride was closed due to technical issues. A bit deflated we decided to shop in Norway and see if the ride would reopen. After just a few minutes we heard the crowd cheer and bolted to the ride. I have to say, I really loved this attraction. I have Frozen overload like everyone else, but I was delighted with this ride. Plus the ride breakdown resulted in my first Laila purchase, so bonus!

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I was looking forward to riding Frozen Ever After again since I was able to score another FastPass+ last week. However, right on time we received another notice that the ride was closed. We decided to cut our losses and head for Soarin’ Around the World for the first time. I really like the updates and the screen was crystal clear. I also loved that the ride ended with a view of our beloved Spaceship Earth. The Disneyland castle never really made sense. Photography isn’t allowed on the ride, but here’s a shot to give you an idea what it looks like!

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And before we hop ahead to the next park, here’s a shot of your TouringPlans blogging staff working tirelessly for you! 😉 It was a sleepless night last week when my hubby asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland for the weekend. I thought he was joking as he’s not a fan of long flights for short stays, but I figured I’d call his bluff anyway. Well, less than 48hrs later we were on a plane!

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We arrive in Los Angeles at 8:30am in the morning and were at Disneyland by 10:00am. Since it was such a crazy, last minute decision we didn’t have any plans and I was just happy to be there. We strolled around Main Street for a while trying to pick a first ride to head towards.

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Of course, it wasn’t long until Haunted Mansion started calling my name. We later learned that we were there just days before the ride closed to install the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. I’m a huge Nightmare Before Christmas fan, but also love seeing the mansion in it’s normal state. What a treat to catch it right before it goes down for the season.

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We took our time going through the dark rides in Fantasyland. The only exception was Peter Pan’s Flight, which seems to always have a 40min+ wait. During a weekday morning most other rides were a walk on. We even rode Pinocchio’s Daring Journey twice so I could get this photo of Jiminy Cricket.

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After our adventures through Fantasyland, it was getting a little warm out. We found refuge somewhere I would never have thought of, The Golden Horseshoe! Since this location is often closed at the Magic Kingdom or only serving table service I tend to forget about it. We also timed it to catch a super cute show. This was a highlight of the trip and we’ll go back for sure!

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The show wasn’t the only selling point, feast your eye on ice cream nachos! While we were in line trying to decide on a treat to share a cast member told us about this secret menu item and we were sold. Why are these a secret?? They should be required eating! So be sure you check them out next time you’re in the park and a BIG thanks to Francis for letting us know about these.

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Our next shady spot was The Enchanted Tiki Room. Do you ever take a photo as a throw away and then it ends up being a favorite from the trip? As we were exiting I lifted my camera over my head and snapped a quick shot of the centerpiece fountain. I always loved the fountain as a kid and miss it in our Tiki Room here in Orlando. Below is the result and it makes me feel like I’m back watching the show.

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Looking for short lines as we crept towards the heat of the day we headed over to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Proving that we’re totally cheaters at the Magic Kingdom location, neither one of us even broke 200k! No galactic heroes in this house.

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Since we were up so very early to catch our flight we decided to head back towards the hotel for a little rest. Of all the Disney owned hotels, The Disneyland Hotel is my favorite. I honestly prefer to stay off property, though. Where do you like to stay when you visit Disneyland? I’m always looking for suggestions. I wrote this article about The Park Vue hotel which might be my all time fave.

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By “rest” you didn’t think I meant a nap did you? Heck no! We were heading to Trader Sam’s to finally get my shipwreck. I’ve meant to get this little, barrel mug for my last 5 trips but there has always been a reason it didn’t work out. The top of my list this time was to make sure I didn’t leave without it again. Isn’t it the cutest? As far as I can tell this is the only mug that doesn’t have a similar equivalent here at Grog Grotto.

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To save a few steps we decided to Uber from the front drive of Disneyland Hotel back to the park entrance. This was a great hack and saved us time too. My hubby was very uncomfortable trying Uber for the first time, but now he loves it. I can’t recommend the service enough. Besides, if nothing else it gave me an extra five minutes to stand around and photograph the statues in front of the hotel!

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Back at the parks we decided to head for Disney California Adventure. Once inside we rode one of the most underrated attractions on property, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!  I’ll never understand why this ride isn’t more popular. Even in the afternoon there was only a 5min wait. I think if it was here at Walt Disney World it would pack in the crowds.

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Next was our main reason for the trip, Frozen – Live at the Hyperion. I’ll be right up front and say I wasn’t a fan. It was incredibly frustrating trying to get paper fastpasses for the show. Rather than letting you pick the time you’d like, the machines spit out fastpasses one at a time until each show is filled. This is very inconvenient when guests have dining reservations that can’t be cancelled without a fee. Further, you have to arrive an hour early to get a decent seat with your fastpass. The show was fine but I don’t think we’d do it again. (Though I am totally in love with the actor that played Olaf. So cute!)

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As we left the theater the sun was setting making The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror look all kinds of awesome. I’m a big time roller coaster chicken so I won’t miss this ride, but I’ll sure miss the view. I can’t even picture how this will look with a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay. What do you think? Are you excited or concerned about this change?

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While we waited for sunset we killed a little time in a bug’s land. I know it isn’t a popular opinion, but I really like this area. I’d certainly take it over DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Finally we couldn’t wait anymore and headed for Cars Land. Below is a photo of Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, the newest addition to Cars Land. It seems like it would just be a little, silly ride but it’s actually so much fun! You guys will also have to help me settle a bet on this one. My hubby asked why I chose a “blurry” photo for this ride. I explained that it was a slow shutter speed, but then I realized you guys might think it’s just blurry too! So what do you think? Artsy photography technique or blurry photo?

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After watching all the neon come to life in Cars Land we decided to try our luck at the Radiator Springs Racers single rider line. It looked pretty long so we ended up shopping our way out of the park instead.

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Before leaving I had to snap one last photo of Walt and Mickey to share. We totally need this statue in Walt Disney World. Maybe it will show up once Disney’s Hollywood Studios finishes all their renovations?

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We headed back over to close Disneyland and end our very long day. However, we learned quickly that it isn’t easy to get around the park at parade time. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because the rides will be there, but Paint the Night is going away soon. We took a quick stroll and found a nice spot to wait for the parade.

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I’ll wrap up today with a few photos from the parade. I was lucky enough to have adorable little girls next to me, so there was lots of attention near us! Starting first with a visit from Rosetta. Isn’t she pretty?

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I can’t believe this parade is going to be put in storage and only brought out for holidays. I wish we could get a parade like this at the Magic Kingdom. Just look at this Beauty and the Beast float. It absolutely rivals the Dreamlights parade in Tokyo Disneyland.

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One last photo, after this hug Elsa looked at the little girls beside me and said “Look, they’re sisters like us!” The little girls shrieked and I got all misty eyed, but isn’t that what Disney is all about? If Elsa ever reads this, good job! You’re making magic like a boss up there!

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And with that we’ll wrap up this week. I always love to hear from you in the comments below. Please give me your feedback and let me know what you’d like to see in future weeks. Until next time, I’m wishing you the BEST WEEK EVER!

46 COMMENTS

    • Thank you! 🙂 I missed you guys too. I’m glad it worked out for my to be back some of the time. (I’m scheduled again for 9/15)

  1. Welcome back Daisy! I missed you!
    QUOTE: (Fun fact: if you Google “oopatay oopatay” there are literally no results. LOL.)
    Well, now there are!! Try it again.

    • Thank you!!! I missed you guys more. 🙂

      I didn’t even think about that, now I’m going to be a Google result!!! On the off chance that someone tries to figure out what the Spaceship Earth caveman in saying… but still!

  2. What a fabulous post! Love all the photos, especially the blurries. We visited both Land and World this summer and now I am missing both!

    • Thank you, the blurries are my favorite too! 😉 I already miss Disneyland. It really helps to have a countdown. Of course, we’ll be here to bring you a “taste of home” each week too.

  3. To answer one of your questions: I recently stayed at the Alamo Inn for a weekend, budget-conscious trip to Disneyland. Rooms were recently renovated and clean, though not completely “polished”. Not as nice and not as close as Park Vue, but for less than half the price and still less than a 15 minute walk into a park, it was a great decision for us.

    Unless you’re a very slow walker (or you took a lot on at Trader Sam’s) I don’t see how Ubering from Disneyland Hotel to the park gate can save you any time. Google maps has it as less than a 10 minute walk. I’d imagine that waiting for the Uber, then driving around to the other side where they drop you off, then still walking up to the gate HAS to take more than 10 minutes, no?

    I also thought the Rollickin’ Roadsters was more fun that expected. Only problem: the line is deceptively long (big queue area on the other side of the building after you exit it) and VERY slow. Recommend hitting it early in the morning on your way out of Radiator Springs Racers.

    Great bi-coastal post!

    • Hi Tom! Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll try Alamo. We have annual passes that are good until May so I’m sure we’ll be back a few times.

      For the Uber, it might have been that we came over on a 6am east coast flight. I remember my feet being much more tired than usual. We realized that night that we’d inadvertently done our own 24hr day. 😉 I’m sure the drink didn’t help either. I’m a light weight so just one put a dent in me. (Another reason it took me so long to get the mug!)

      For sure that Rollickin’ Roadsters line gets long and sunny. Good advice to get it early. Thanks for the great comment and for reading!

  4. I agree with your decision to downgrade your passes! I wish non-FL residents could do this as well. I am a longtime AP holder, but the only reason I can afford to go so often is because I avoid peak times. I would gladly pay less to “only” be able to go in January, early May, and September like I do now!

    • Hi Mandi – I love the slow times. If I didn’t live so close I’d only go during the slow times too. We have Deluxe DL passes so we use the same strategy there too. So September… that sounds like you have a countdown! 😉

        • 23 days is so soon!!! I’m so excited for you!! 😀 I have a Tokyo trip this fall and a Disney cruise next summer. Even living at WDW the countdowns keep you going. Oh, and 142 days away it seems fitting to wish you a very merry unbirthday today!

    • Haha, I still can’t believe it! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s so fun to see everyone again!

  5. Welcome back! Love your photographs – even the blurries, which add so much to picture subjects like above. Also, great to see some non-traditional casting at the Frozen show!

    • Aw thanks! 🙂 I love the blurries – but I’m partial. I’m glad some of you guys do too. And I agree about the casting at Frozen. It caught me off guard at first, but that was totally my hang up. After a few minutes it was SO clear that the actors were perfectly cast. Anna was adorable! (Or should I say adorkable?)

  6. Re places to stay, I’ve taken a liking to the Sheraton Park Hotel just south of Katella. Part of it, full disclosure, is that I’m a slave to Starwood points, but the rooms are clean and well appointed for the money (which is always far less than the Disney hotels), the hotel has nicer amenities than the places along Harbor, and it’s a quick walk up Harbor to the parks. The Club Level rooms also include breakfast and hors d’oeuvres, and I’ve found that a lot of the time, the difference in price between that and a regular room is less than the cost of just buying breakfast somewhere.

    • Is that the one at Garden Grove? If so we’ve stayed there on Starpoints too. 🙂 We really liked the club level. I’d recommend it to anyone. The shuttle was also very nice – but we tend to Uber.

      • No, this is just the one just south of Katella, close to the Convention Center. It’s about a 10 minute stroll up Harbor to the parks, not bad at all.

        • Oh, that’s awesome. I think we looked at it and the Garden Grove one was like half the points. We honestly had a great stay but it’s totally not walking distance. Something to consider if you don’t mind the shuttle or Uber.

  7. Agree with your opinion about the Frozen show. I wanted to book dining reservations for lunch but could not because I did not know what show time we would get. At yes, lining up an hour ahead of time was just crazy. I would not do this show again – luckily the child in our family is only 2 so she isn’t obsessed…yet.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone. It was just a really bad experience. I went to guest relations to give feedback, but was pretty much blown off. I guess they have trouble filling the first show so that’s why they do it the way they do. I’m glad I saw it… once! 😉

    • Haha, thanks Steve! 🙂 It’s always good to see you. Glad you enjoyed. I’ll be back Sept 15th. See you on twitter!!

  8. It’s SO great to hear from you again Daisy! Welcome back to our open arms. I loved the Main Street Electrical Parade. I really do think they will replace it with something good. Maybe they have something special up their sleeves. I can’t wait to get back and check out the new attractions at Epcot and am super excited about the changes coming at Animal Kingdom. I would love for you to give us an update on that. Thanks so much.

    • Steve – this is so perfect. I was at Animal Kingdom tonight getting some photos to share!! 😀 Wow, jinx! (jinx again) Thank you for reading and for your awesome comment.

        • Hi Steve! I run the @touringplans instagram, that’s what everyone is talking about. I’d love to see you over there! 😀 To answer the question, I do have a personal account (@dizdaisylauren same at Twitter) but it’s really just for me to follow friends. I almost never post there.

  9. For the most part, I totally agree with your decision to downgrade to Silver. We had full passes when we were locals and, honestly, we rarely went during the summer. The few times we tried were generally miserable, such as the day we got to MK, grabbed Dole Whip and promptly left because we couldn’t stand the heat.

    Christmas is a bit trickier, mainly because that’s when we would have had family come into town on occasion, but given that you can experience the holiday events with MUCH smaller crowds earlier in December, I think I could handle it.

    • I totally agree on both counts. Plus, we don’t have kids so people always want us to go to them. It’s a struggle to get to the parks in December because we’re out of town so much. We’ll see, if I was going to crack I think it would have been during the 67 day break over the summer. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It’s so fun to see names I recognize! 😀

  10. Welcome back!! Love the blurry pics!

    You were greatly missed! It was fun to follow your pics on Instagram but I miss the stories you share here!

    • Hey! It’s so cool to see everyone over here. 😀 FYI, I’m working on a giveaway to celebrate 10,000 followers on Insta. Can you believe it? 10,000 people!! Maybe it’s all the blurry pics. 😉 Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate you so very much!

  11. The Magic Kingdom is my all time favorite park, it just never gets old, I love that place. It is super crowded though, and sometimes it can be hard to keep track of your kiddies. Last time we went we used this on our little girl, awesome, its like giving them a cell phone!! Tracks the on your iPhone app too!

    http://bit.ly/2bmC09X

    GOT to try it out, amazing stuff. Enjoy Disney!

    • Hi Rich – great tip. We don’t have kids. I don’t know how the parents do it sometimes!! I can barely keep track of my hubby! 😉

  12. Omg! Daisy is back Daisy is baaaaaaack! I’m so excited! And thanks for taking a ride on the TTA for me, I feel TP famous now haha. I know you got me when I can’t be there and ride in person <3

    I personally like the slightly blurred pictures, I am no photography connoisseur by any means but I feel like you can tell the on purpose artistic blur vs the non-artistic on accident blur.

    I'm glad it seems like we'll be seeing more of you on here, while I like your insta pictures the stories that go along with it make it even more special. Can't wait to follow along again 🙂

    • Cleo!! I’m so glad you’re here. As always thanks for the comments. Lordy knows I’m no photography connoisseur either. LOL. 😉 I just know what I think is pretty. I’m happy you guys enjoy.

      I’m scheduled again on 9/15. I’ll see you there. Thanks dropping by. 😀

  13. Thanks for the tip on the ice cream nachos!!! I read your post a few days before my trip to Disneyland and added ice cream nachos to my must-do list. Had them today and they were delicious! Any other secret menu items anywhere at the Disney parks?

    • Hey Kelly- sorry for the late reply. I wish I could say I’m an expert, but it was just dumb luck that a cast member told us about the ice cream nachos! (aren’t they amazing??) I’ll mention in another blog and see if people can give us more suggestions in the comments. I know there is a secret drink menu at Cove Bar, but not sure that is what you’re looking for?

  14. Brilliant post Daisy, so glad to read your words again! I love the “blurries”…how do you do it? Better question, I’m a novice….can my iPhone 6 do it? I don’t have a big fancy DLSR or whatever it’s called! I do have a GoPro hero4 Silver though! I think that camera has some setting that can be adjusted? Let me know and welcome home!

    • Hey Scott! Okay, the answer is long so don’t fall asleep while a nerd out. 😉 Also, full disclosure that I’m not really an expert… but I play one on the internet!!

      There are two reasons photos are blurry:

      1) A low aperture on a single subject with a fairly distant background. Aperture basically means how much light your camera is letting in, it’s expressed by a number. An example of this is the Minnie Statue at the Disneyland Hotel shot above at 1.2. Anything at 2.8 or below should produce a nice blur. But it gets a little more complicated due to the focusing range of a lens. Since your GoPro is set to keep everything in focus you can’t really get a good blur even though it is a 2.8 lens. Your iPhone 6 can get to 2.2, so if you get a camera program that will let you control your settings it’s possible. There are other complications like the size of the sensor – but that’s a start.

      2) A slow shutter speed. This one is SO much easier! An example is Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters above. The cars were the only thing moving in the shot, so by keeping the shutter open for a few seconds I captured that movement and nothing else. Normally a tripod is needed for these types of photos, but I just balanced my camera on a nearby fence. While I used a DSLR, this is a app you can get on your iPhone.

      I hope that helps. If you have any other questions you know where to find me! Also, if you ever want to read up on this stuff Tom Bricker recommends the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I read it because it was on his site and it’s maybe the best photography guide I’ve ever seen. Okay, sorry I’m so long winded. TTFN.

  15. Daisy! I’m so excited you’re back! If you can’t tell, we really missed you! (Ok, enough effusive exclamation points.) Thank you for the lovely post. You always seem so genuinely happy to be in the parks and we get to feel like we’re along for the ride; I love it. The ice cream nachos look amazing and now I think I need to make something similar at home to get me through the night. 😉

    • Hi Cindy!! 😀 I’m so glad – I thought folks might have forgotten me! (There I go with exclamation marks too.) I promise I missed you guys more. I’m very thankful Dani and Julia let me butt back in since they were doing a great job without me. I do genuinely love the parks, so I’m glad it shows! And ice cream nachos were sooooo amazing! I think I’m going to try to make homemade ones too. Tonight we went to Disney on Ice. I think I might sneak it into my next post!! 😉 See you there.

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