Archive for October, 2016

Sanaa Breakfast: A Solid Addition To Disney Dining

by on October 27, 2016

Hot grab-and-go options are available, in addition to standard cold fare.Recently, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa added a new breakfast service to supplement their already great lunch and dinner offerings. In a resort without a quick service immediately available for breakfast (at least without taking the shuttle to Jambo House to hit up The Mara), it seems like a smart move. Families in search of something more substantial to eat than what’s available in Johari Treasures’ refrigerated section can now wander just downstairs from their room to sample Sanaa’s options (both hot and cold, grab-and-go or not). It’s rare we see a new addition to resort dining that sticks around for very long, so I wanted to give this meal a shot in case it’s short-lived (though, based on how good it was, I hope it’s here to stay!).

Standard hand fruits and muffins/bagels/toast available for purchaseAll in all, Sanaa breakfast is a pretty simple set-up: once you arrive downstairs to the restaurant (anytime between 7am-10am daily), you’ll be greeted by a Cast Member with a menu of offerings, and led to the front dining room just to the right of the restaurant’s entrance. Here, all of the hot and cold grab and go options are available to peruse and purchase, along with bottled juices, milk, water, and sodas, plus disposable cups for coffee. Once you decide on your items, or choose from the menu, you just let the cashier know, where they’ll ring you up and give you a number to place on your table (painted on a cute wooden animal carving).

A variety of bottled drinks and cereals supplement your meal. When I arrived towards the end of breakfast hours one day recently, the grab and go area wasn’t super well-stocked – a few of the items had run out, but Cast Members refilling items let me know that I could just ask if I wanted anything that was missing. Notable options include a beautiful fresh fruit platter, muffins, hot oatmeal, and slices of bobotie pie (African-style quiche). One other note – I was a little sad that you couldn’t get a fountain drink or cup of water here, like you’d find standard at a normal quick service. Be prepared that if you want water, you’ll have to pay for one of the small bottles that comes with the kid’s meals. Coffee was the only self-serve drink available. I realize this is a result of a restaurant not necessarily equipped for this kind of service, but it was still a little bit of a surprise to me, and different from what you’ll see elsewhere.

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The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Have Been Renamed

by on October 27, 2016

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

©Disney

With all the changes occurring at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge have officially been renamed. The Villas are now called Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This was done to more accurately reflect that infamous railroad theming that Guests can experience when visiting. (Like the Carolwood Pacific Room, where you can see two railroad cars that once ran around Walt Disney’s backyard.)

Establishing the Boulder Ridge Villas name is part of a project to expand the Disney Vacation Club presence at the resort, with the upcoming Copper Creek Villas and Cabins expected to open in 2017.

Stay tuned for more info about the changes occurring at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

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Dani’s Best Week Ever October 27, 2016: Bidding farewell to Halloween in Orlando

by on October 27, 2016

Halloween season is almost over here in Orlando, and if you listen close enough you can hear sleigh bells ring in the distance. It’s hard to believe, but here in the land of eternal entertainment our Halloween and Christmas / Winter holiday season starts in September and runs continuously to January, more than a quarter of the year. Thankfully, I am a sucker for this season, yet I still find it comical that we get two full months each of Halloween and Christmas.

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Over the course of this past week I enjoyed my favorite Halloween celebration in Orlando’s theme parks, conquered a thrill ride at the last minute, and started to see signs of the Christmas season celebrations. Let’s begin to say our farewells to Halloween and slowly turn our attention to the most festive time of year.

Orlando’s most valuable Halloween celebration – SeaWorld Spooktacular

Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is the best value for Halloween in Orlando’s theme parks. It is included in regular park admission, no extra charge. It takes place during regular park hours on weekends in October. This allows guests to enjoy all the regular park offers plus the added bonus of a fantastic trick or treat trail, whimsical characters, festive decorations, and great photo opportunity. Plus you don’t have to keep the kids up late for an after hours event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Now, the ‘wow’ factor is not as strong as Mickey’s event at Magic Kingdom, but it is charming, fun, super affordable, and very kid friendly. Costumes are allowed, policies can be found here.

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Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

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Once Upon a Time Castle Projection Show to Debut at the Magic Kingdom

by on October 26, 2016

Once Upon a Time Castle Projection Show

©Disney

A brand new Cinderella Castle nighttime projection show is set to debut at the Magic Kingdom on Novmeber 4!

Called “Once Upon a Time,” this heartwarming new show will features Beauty and the Beast’s Mrs. Potts sharing bedtime stories with Chip. Here Guests will go on a magical adventure through favorite Disney movies, including flying over London to Never Land with Peter Pan, watching Winnie the Pooh fly towards the top of the Castle with a colorful balloon, enjoying a whimsical tea party with the Mad Hatter, and more. The show will culminate with classic scenes from Beauty and the Beast, including Belle waltzing with Beast, Beast’s duel with Gaston, and him turning back into a Prince. The conclusion will include a grand finale of additional appearances by beloved Disney characters.

“Once Upon a Time” will take its inspiration from a projection show from the Tokyo Disney Resort. Much like the current show, “Celebrate the Magic,” “Once Upon a Time” will utilize projection mapping technology to cover every nook and cranny of Cinderella Castle in vibrant images that appear almost three-dimensional.

Celebrate the Magic” will end its four year run on November 3.

Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

by on October 26, 2016

2016-10-23-16-05-49A recent comment from another parent said it all: “When they call it Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, they’re not talking about the price. That truly IS scary!” Even going to one of the most affordable nights (back near the beginning of September), it is a pretty hefty price tag to attend the evening event. This year, we expanded our Halloween celebrations by taking a trip down to LEGOLAND for their “Brick or Treat” event.

Brick or Treat is included with your regular admission, and is a daytime event held on weekends in October and on Halloween day. The park is open from 10 AM to 8 PM. There are events throughout the day, but many of the events occur in the afternoon. Here’s some of the highlights.

Oversized LEGO Sculptures

It wouldn’t be a LEGO park without impressive displays of those signature bricks. From a gigantic Jack-o-Lantern to a 13-foot model of the Monster Fighters set No. 9464 (the Vampyre Hearse), there are some great photo ops that are only available this time of year.

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Costume Parade

Beginning at 4 PM, there are costume parades (4 PM for ages 4 and under, 5 PM for ages 5-7, and 6 PM for ages 8-12). It may not be the Boo to You parade, but every child who participates receives a small gift.

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Taking Your Parents to Walt Disney World: The Wrap-Up

by on October 26, 2016

parents Copyright 2016 Claire NatBack in June, I got to execute my long-awaited trip to Orlando – including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando – with my parents. It had its highs and lows, but in the long run I was very pleased with how everything went. You read my parents’ side of the story; now you can read mine!

(If you’d like to hear about our trip in more detail, you can view my day-by-day accounts here!)

The Highs

  • There were some points of the trip where I fully expected my parents to have a good time, and the experience delivered to the fullest. Our Be Our Guest dinner was one of those times. We were seated in the ballroom, and my mother mentioned that she definitely preferred that over the other two options. Our food was delicious, we saw the Beast enter the ballroom twice with that wonderful movie score in the background, and the waitress saw to it that our desserts were free because we were celebrating my parents’ anniversary!
  • parents Copyright 2016 Claire NatI knew my parents would enjoy the Celebrate the Magic castle projection show, so I maneuvered us into just the right location – on the end of Main Street U.S.A. near Casey’s Corner. We had a nicely unobstructed view, and my parents were very impressed by the new technology being shown off.
  • However, by the end of that day, I knew they weren’t about to handle a bunch of post-fireworks traffic and lines, so we actually left the park and watched Wishes from the security checkpoint. We still heard the music and saw about 95% of the fireworks, but then immediately got out of there and were the on the first bus back to Art of Animation!

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Festive Events Occurring at Disney Springs This Holiday Season

by on October 25, 2016

Are you ready to celebrate the holiday season at Disney Springs? The shopping and dining district will delight Guests with a festive atmosphere and family fun. Guests will be able to experience a multitude of special offerings from November 14 through January 8.

This year, Guests will be able to take part in a nightly tree lighting ceremony in front of the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area, as well as enjoy a holiday-themed DJ dance party, games and activities.

 

Holiday Events at Disney Springs

©Rikki Niblett

For those looking to meet Santa Claus, they may do so at Santa’s Chalet. This charming cottage can be found across from Ghiradelli. Here Guests will be able to meet Santa Claus from November 14 through December 24. Then, because Santa has to fly back to the North Pole, Santa Goofy will be around to meet Guests from December 25 until December 30. 

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Candlelight Processional Narrators Announced for 2016

by on October 25, 2016

Candlelight Processional

©Disney

Is the Candlelight Processional one of your favorite things that takes place at Walt Disney World around the holidays? I know it is one of mine. There’s something so incredible about experiencing a mass choir, an orchestra, and a celebrity narrator performing a re-telling of the Christmas Story. This year, the Candlelight Processional will take place from November 25 through December 30 at the America Gardens Theatre found World Showcase at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot.

But who will the celebrity narrators be for this year’s event? I have your answer, as almost the full list of narrators has been officially announced.

This year’s narrators include:

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TouringPlansTV: Part 2 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge + Video

by on October 25, 2016

Boma Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Ready for Part 2 of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge?

Me too!

In this video, I’ll be discussing the pools, restaurants and amenities.

Enjoy!

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“Frameable” Disney: Photography Tips for Your Next Disney Vacation

by on October 25, 2016

Let’s be honest: how many of us have come home from Walt Disney World and realized that you experienced 85% of your vacation through a camera lens? (You can’t see me, but I’m definitely raising my hand.) I usually get so caught up in capturing every detail while I’m on a Disney vacation that I don’t think much about exactly why I’m taking pictures in the first place.

As great as it is to look back on photos from every parade, show and character meet and greet, I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to print out a 12”x16” of Pluto prancing down Main Street, U.S.A. and frame it above your mantle (or maybe you do, and in that case carry on). But instead of going shutter happy during Wishes on your next Disney vacation, focus on snapping a few well-thought out photos that you would consider “frameable”. This can help you feel less stressed about capturing every moment and give you a few great souvenirs that cost much less than that Disney home decor you’ve been eyeing.

Lost as to where to begin in your hunt for “frameables”? Here are a few ideas to get you going!

Doors of Disney | Great for: framed posters, canvas collages

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The idea that started it all! I spent an entire Disney vacation taking a picture of every door I could find and the collage turned out to be such a great momento of our vacation. If you print this one out as a collage and hang it in your house, it’s a great conversation starter and a way to subtly display a little Disney.
Photography Tip: When taking door photos, center the doors in every photograph and make sure they don’t fill the whole frame. Leave yourself some room to crop so your doors don’t turn out different sizes when collaging.

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