Star Wars Weekends are still a few weeks away but guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were able to get their Star Wars fix today at May the Fourth Be With You. Only having one day to celebrate such an incredible saga has its pros and cons.
1. Stormtroopers march through Streets of America like it was the Death Star.
2. Star Wars Fans are able to unite, compare costumes, and talk about the upcoming Star Wars projects.
3. Where else can you see Star Wars inspired fireworks?
4. Limited edition merchandise was on sale to celebrate the special day.
1. Lines for the Star Wars character meet and greets are exceptionally long since this is a limited time event.
2. Rides at Hollywood Studios had long lines too, especially Star Tours.
3. Finding a seat in a sit down restaurant or a quick service is not possible.
Being a Passholder made it a lot easier to come and go at Hollywood Studios without the guilt of “getting our monies worth.” It was fun to see the Star Wars characters and fans and makes my family even more excited about Star Wars Weekends, which will begin on May 17th. May the Fourth Be With You!
The signal has been given. Disney Passholders may now exchange their annual passes for plastic cards with the RFID chip. The card resembles a hotel key and is embedded with an RFID chip that will allow for easy access to the parks. For the most part, having the RFID chip in the pass means two things for pass holders: speed and efficiency.
Besides for the fact that plastic cards don’t bend and get mangled in wallets as much as the old paper annual passes, the new Disney World RFID passes help guests enter the park much quicker than before. The new turnstile with the Mickey symbol can accommodate four guests at a time. Really, guests don’t even have to take the pass out of a wallet. They can simply hold the wallet up to the turnstile and it will flash green once he or she gives a fingerprint.
Annual Passholders may pick up the new RFID embedded passes in the Odyssey building in Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival. While in the building, Disney fanatics can check out the mini museum of Disney memorabilia from a model of a boat from the Jungle Cruise to the passes/tickets to the different lands from many years ago.
At the end of the display is the new bracelets that are coming soon. These Magic Bands will replace the RFID embedded passes in the future. The cast members that we talked to did not know when for sure it would happen or if we could still keep our passes in addition to the Magic Bands. Only time will tell.
Once Passholders pick up the new passes, they may enter the parks using the Key to the World entrance. This entrance has been used only by guests staying at Disney resorts. They are able to use their room key to enter the park since it is also their park pass. So far, these are the only cards that have had the RFID chips in them. Now, Passholders can use these shorter and faster lines to enter the parks with their new tech-savvy passes.
The end of 2012 was also the end of the 20% discount for the premium annual passes. Now that the new passes are here, it makes sense. No longer are guests referred to as Annual or Premium Passholders. It is just Passholder. There are a few differences though. The red stripe on the front of a card means free parking and entrance to all of the parks. What use to be known as just as annual pass has a different color stripe and does not include parking and the extra places: Disney Quest, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach.
Interactive queues, Photo Pass Plus and the new RFID passes may have some connections in the future. This past week, annual Passholders have been trying out their new cards at the Interactive queues, like the one at Test Track. I am excited about using the new cards to quickly access fast passes, since they won’t be damaged as much in a wallet. It never fails. Each year at least one of our paper annual passes stops working in the fast pass machine and we have to pick up a new fast pass card from the cast member as well as replace the card. Not any more! Watch for #DisneyDose on Twitter to see how the new passes impact a day in the parks.
Finding tea in Disney World with the other 47,000 or so guests is pretty easy to do. Finding FRESH BREWED ICED TEA is not as easy, at least in a quick service. Although the tea at Disney World is drinkable, it still comes through a hose in the back of the “tea tank.” There are some locations throughout Disney World that have fresh brewed iced tea. After a long time researching and searching for tea at Disney World, I have finally compiled a list.
Finding Tea in Disney Resorts
1. Coronado Springs (Rix Cafe): This location has not always had fresh brewed iced tea but I am so thankful they do now! It is on the counter by the speciality coffees and pastries and not by the coffee (which is new as well) or the soda dispensers.
2. Wilderness Lodge (Roaring Fork): This location only has fresh brewed iced tea if the tea machine is out of order. When it does have the tea, it is wonderfully fresh and delicious.
3. Guests at Fort Wildnerness Campgrounds can pick up fresh brewed iced tea at Trail’s to Go, the Quick Service section of Trail’s End Buffet. There is both sweet and unsweet tea. The food at Trails to Go is also spectacular and can be eaten outside on the picnic tables.
4. If you are looking for a little variety in your tea while you are at a Disney Resort, the Sanna Lounge in Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge offers authentic tea from Africa for guests, even if you are not dining in the restaurant. Guests can brew their own tea in Johari Treasures, which is the little food and gift shop in the lobby.
Finding Tea in Disney Parks
1. If you happen to be in Hollywood Studios and need fresh brewed iced tea, stop by the 50s PrimeTime Cafe. The bartender in the lounge serves up fresh brewed iced tea as well as a killer cherry coke. You don’t even need a reservation! Even though it is a lounge, children are still welcome and can enjoy a cold cherry coke while you down your fresh brewed iced tea.
2. Sometimes you have to go as far as Asia to find good fresh tea. Guests in Animal Kingdom can find the tucked away tea shop near the entrance of Kali River Rapids. The Royal Anandapur Tea Company has fresh brewed iced tea and a wide selection of hot teas. The tea is scooped from sealed containers and added to little bags to steep in your cup as you enjoy the sights and sounds of Asia.
Alternatives to Fresh Brewed Iced Tea
1. All of the quick services at the Disney Resorts have hot water and tea bags. Guests that are not in a hurry can make their own fresh brewed iced tea. The Writers Shop in Hollywood Studios will give you a cup of ice with your hot water/tea bag so you are able to make your own.
Again, if you are in a hurry or the rest of your family is waiting on you, you might want to just settle for the drinkable tea sold throughout the park. Most of the food kiosks in Hollywood Studios do not have iced tea at all, so your best bet is to go to a quick service location, like the ABC Commissary. I am sure that there are other places that sell fresh brewed iced tea but surprisingly they are not easy to find. I would love to compile a list of places that offer fresh brewed iced tea at Disney World. If you would like to add a place to the list, simply write the location in a comment. Check Twitter for any new locations that are compiled under #DisneyDose.
The Flower and Garden Festival opened yesterday to eager guests, young and old. There are many new items to see, a few favorites that returned, and new musicians for the Flower Power Concert Series. Even on opening night, in unusually cold weather, people were running around trying to see all of the new items of the Flower and Garden Festival.
Bringing Disney Pixar characters to life is one of the best things Disney does for the Flower and Garden Festival. Mickey and Friends and Phineas and Ferb join the other characters at the festival this year. The Brave Playground has been turned into the Land of Oz and the Pixie Hollow has been redone as Radiator Springs. Don’t worry! The fairies are still there. They are guarding the butterflies now in Tinkerbell’s Butterfly Garden. There are more than a dozen places for adults and kids to snack and experience new foods around Future World and World Showcase.
Like last year, topiaries dot the landscape from the entrance with Mickey and his friends and a yummy smelling grill to the classic princesses and their dancing partners around the World Showcase. The English Tea Garden is an excellent place for guests to learn the history and art of tea with a guided tour of Twinings teas. The tour begins at the Tea Caddy and happens two to three times in an afternoon.
The Flower Power Concert Series is held at America Gardens Theatre on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings with Mickey Dolenz starting off the festival. In March, guests can see Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, The Guess Who, and Nelson. One of the best things about the Flower and Garden Festival is the fact that the concerts, playgrounds, and presentations are free and open to the public.
Pick up your Garden Passport and check out the Flora, Food, and Fun at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival. If you want to compare experiences, you will most likely find us at one of the many kid spots, like the Land of Oz playground.
ESPN Wide of Sports is swarming this weekend with athletes and fans from a wide variety of sports, including soccer, gymnastics, and dancing.
The USA Competitions Presidential Classic is in its 14th year and is a ticket only event. Gymnasts, ages 5-18, of all levels compete against other gymnasts from all over the world. Guests may buy tickets for the event at the gates, while gymnasts can pick up their tickets and information in the entryway of the building.
Jenna Rodgers is at ESPN this weekend for Twirl Mania, a one of a kind event for baton twirling, pompoms, and dancing. She was practicing her baton routine outside of Jostens Center. She has been practicing twirling the baton since she was six years old. Her favorite part of the sport? Using three batons, of course!
What we really came to see was the 2013 Disney President’s Day Soccer Festival. Field after field was filled with soccer players and cheering fans. The team we went to see played this morning at 8 AM and will play again today at 3 PM, then again tomorrow and hopefully on Monday in the Championship Game. The score? 20-1! Yea, I see a championship in their near future.
If baseball is your favorite sport, February and March are the times to be at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Atlanta Braves will host their Spring Training there starting this week in the Champion Stadium. Starting on February 22nd, the Braves will be practicing and entertaining guests of all ages. The tickets range from $10 to the hundreds, depending on the seats and packages. I know some fans that made appearances at Star Wars Celebration VI will like the games on March 15th and 16th, since fans are encouraged to dress in their best Star Wars costumes! If princesses and pirates are more your thing, the games on March 10th and 21st are for you. Most importantly, the Atlanta Braves salute the troops during their game on March 23rd.
For anyone that questions why I choose to spend any and all of my free time at Disney, truly must not comprehend how much Disney has to offer. Besides for the parks, resorts, free boat rides, live entertainment, cultural education, there are sporting events for everyone to enjoy. Premium Annual Passholders can enter the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for free and can get into most events for free. Some of the events, like the Atlanta Braves Training Camp, cost extra, but are well worth the money. Thank you, Disney, for having something for everyone and for encouraging young athletes to aim high.
One thing I love about Disney is the diversity in the activities that we can experience throughout the year. This past summer, the Car Masters revved up in Downtown Disney. All of West Side was packed with beautiful artistic cars. You don’t even have to be a “cars person” to realize how awesome the cars are that visit Disney for Cars Weekend.
One of my son’s favorites was the monster truck, which was too big to fit into West Side, so it has to sit in the parking lot.
It was not alone in the parking lot though. This “car” lets adults remininse about their childhood.
People drove from all over to show their vehicles and to see the famous cars, like ones that remind us of Donald, Jessica Rabbit, and the Dukes of Hazard.
One car was parked away from the others. When people walked by it, they were surprised when it talked and winked at them. The owner stood closer to the building and controlled the car via remote control.
Last year was the second of Car Masters Weekend. It is highly likely that it will be back again this year with more Meet and Greets with the characters from Radiator Springs and activities for the whole family. I can’t wait to see them roll in again this summer.
Is Legoland a treasure or just another attempt to one up Disney World? My family had the pleasure of visiting Legoland Florida this weekend. We had discounted tickets so it certainly beat the $79 ticket price at the gate. The theme park is spread out but it is still not as expansive as one of the Disney parks. The rides and overall feel were analyzed all day by my children, my spouse and myself.
The rides at Legoland include everything from roller coasters to a slow 360 degree view of Legoland and the bordering lake. Surprisingly, most of the rides were enjoyed by the children. Although, the seats on most of the rides are geared for children and very small adults. Even normal size adults cannot sit two per car on the roller coasters.
Going on a Safari at Disney means seeing real animals in a natural setting in a truck that can actually go off road. A Safari at Legoland entails squeezing into a small jeep and being guided around a track with Lego animals. My children found it quite boring and not worth their time.
Most of the other rides were fun and worth it, especially the Indiana Jones themed ride, which is oddly similar to Buzz Lightyear.
Miniland USA was much better than expected. There are scenes from Washington D.C., Florida, Vegas, and even Star Wars! The details that went into the buildings and scenes was incredible.
Of course, we are fans of Star Wars and were very excited to see the new Star Wars attraction at Legoland. I didn’t realize that it was just a part of Miniland. I thought there would be actual rides based on the Star Wars movies.
However, the scenes were interactive and represented some of the best scenes in the Star Wars movies. There were so many details in the scenes that we could have stayed there hours pushing the buttons and making the characters come to life.
It is great to visit places in Florida during off-season since we can actually meet the characters and get right on rides. These two pirates were hiding behind the wall where the Lego statues of Batman and Robin stand. They, and the other Lego characters, look so much like statues, that is almost scary when they start to move and you realize they are real!
This weekend was also Lego Friends Weekend at Legoland. Now, I love the Lego Friends. Although I don’t think Legos need to be geared towards one gender over the other, my daughter really likes the Lego sets for Lego Friends. We were excited to see the Lego Friends and participate in the accompanying activities.
To me, the Lego Friends are excellent role models that work, go to karate class, race boats and travel the world. The ones at Legoland today weren’t really what I was expecting. Maybe that is why Mickey and Minnie and the other classic characters don’t talk during character meet and greets at Disney World. They don’t want to ruin someone’s view of what they should act like in person. My perception of the Lego Friends was tarnished today with cheesy karaoke and hair flipping.
Guests at Legoland were able to help Olivia build a giant Lego heart and create their own window/flower/cat lego piece to take home for FREE! We did enjoy building with legos and helping build some of the Lego Friends play sets.
There were many playgrounds and play areas for children in the many “lands.” My children approved of all of them.
The best part of the whole day was going on the Island in the Sky ride. It is a ride that has been refurbished and has been on property since Cypress Gardens, one of Florida’s original theme parks. The ride SLOWLY takes you up and then SLOWLY rotates around so you have a 360 degree view of the park, town, and lake. It was a beautiful sight and surprisingly, not scary.
I gladly pay monthly for my Disney annual pass. Legoland costs about the same amount for a daily pass but does not have as much to offer as Disney. It was nice though. Since it was off season, we were able to walk right on rides, enjoy the Star Wars Lego scenes, and have some quality time with each other. We are still debating on an annual pass for Legoland. It would cost about $10 a month for each of us. Even with my free annual pass, since I am a Florida teacher, it is a small chunk of change that would not go towards Disney or our bills. It is definitely worth checking out again. I don’t foresee us spending every weekend there, but it is worth a few trips a year. Next time, I hope to see the water show, Cypress Gardens, and of course, go on the Island in the Sky again. If you are in Central Florida and need a break from Disney, Legoland is worth it, especially if it is off season. Just remember to pack a few snacks in your Disney backpack before hitting the park.
The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Resort is a dinner and show in one. There is hula dancing, fire breathing, and an all you can eat tropical feast. Here is a nine year old’s view of the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.
During the winter holiday break, my family went to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian Resort. When we walked into the restaurant, they handed us these flower beads called Leis. We sat at a four person Hawaiian style table. There was a show and bunches of food.
The show was awesome! Our table faced the red curtains, which opened shortly after we sat down. It was like a movie or a play right there in the restaurant. A man and woman appeared and started singing and then the tricks started. The tricks reminded of yoga or maybe even gymnastics. The fire dancer was the best part of the show. He spun the baton covered in fire around and around and then even under his leg. The whole show was like a drama with hula dancers and the other Hawaiian items.
Eating dinner while watching the show was fantastic. They had rice, beef, chicken, pork, fish, and beans. Servers delivered the rice first, then the salad bowl, and finally the meat. I had already eaten half of the rice by the time the meat showed up. I loved the beef especially since it was shredded and easy to eat.
The best part of dinner was the dessert. I have never seen a steaming chocolate volcano before! Of course, I didn’t get to eat the chocolate volcano. I did get to eat a strawberry cake with oozing goo that tasted like sweet strawberries.
I can’t wait until we can go back to the Spirit of Aloha!
Magical Memories do not happen all day every day. It really wouldn’t be magic then, would it? One cast member in Sweet Spells created a Magical Moment for my daughter on a visit last May. It made such an impression on me that I included her in my Characters of Disney article. The day started out like a typical day in Hollywood Studios. We looked for Hidden Mickeys along Hollywood Boulevard and then stopped in to Sweet Spells to drool over the magnificent chocolate covered treats they sell. As we were pointing out all of the treats we wanted to devour, the cast member asked my daughter if she wanted to create her own marshmallow treat.
You would have thought that the cast member was putting a crown or a tiara on my daughter’s head instead of the cook’s hat by the way she was giggling. We have spent many evenings watching the cast members create the delicious treats in Sweet Spells through the window at the end of the building. The way they take so much pride in each treat, covering it in chocolate and then rolling it in the candy toppings, is something to see. My daughter has seen this process many times and for her to get to create her own (for free) was very special. There was no one else around us so the cast member was very patient with my indecisive child and helped her through all of the steps. I have not seen anyone before then create their own marshmallow treat at Sweet Spells and have not seen it since. After she created her own edible work of art, we all sat on the benches outside of the shop and ate our Magical Memories. Magical Moments are a rare treat to find and in this case, quite yummy. Even though it was almost a year ago, I remember that cast member and how she made my daughter feel. Maybe this May, I will look for her again at Sweet Spells and tell her that she created a Magical Memory for our family.
This past weekend, soccer teams from around the country came together for the annual “Kick It 3v3 World Championship Soccer Tournament” at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Devan and his team, FC Lake Helen, competed at the EID (Elite Invitational Division) the highest level division against teams from Texas, Miami, New Jersey and other parts of the nation to win the silver, 2nd place trophy. His teammates were gathered from different clubs in the area to represent Central Florida. Most impressive was that this team had only practiced once prior to this huge event whereas most of the other teams in this competition had been together in competition for years. Great job Devan and congratulations to his team!!
Post written by I.T. and submitted by DisneyTipsPics about Kick It 3v3 World Championship ESPN Wide World Sports Soccer Tournament.
Going on an Easter Egg Hunt in the Midwest normally means cool and unfavorable temperatures. Having lived in the Midwest all of my life and being a new Florida resident made me rethink our Easter Egg Hunt last April. Instead of having it in our yard where the kids would become bored easily and want to do something new, why not have it at Disney? Really, it is our home. Our house is just where we sleep when we don’t have a room at Disney World. We packed up all of the eggs, baskets, and our flip flops and headed to Wilderness Lodge. Spending time at the resorts is one of our favorite things to do so having our Easter Egg Hunt there, on the beach, near the water was a perfect way to spend a fine April day in Florida. Due to the heat, we did take out all of the chocolate from the eggs since a chocolate-covered child was not my idea of fun and relaxation.
I hid the eggs near the beach chairs, the playground, under the trees, and around the tables and the kids searched, retrieved, and searched again for eggs for quite some time. Few people go to the beach with the playground at Wilderness Lodge. I think it is just a little bit off of the beaten path and people bypass it on their way to the rooms, the dock, and to the pool. It is such a peaceful place. My husband and I were able to sit, relax, and enjoy our beverages while the kids searched for eggs, dug in the sand, played on the playground and finally played tetherball. All for free. Did I mention it is free to enjoy the resorts?
While on the beach, we were able to watch the boats go to and from Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, the parasailers pass by, and listen to the waves crash at the edge. If we had stayed just a little while longer, we could have enjoyed the movie on the beach near the marshmallow roast. Our visit to Wilderness Lodge for the Easter Egg Hunt reminds me that even though people may be at Disney, that does not mean that they have to miss their holiday traditions. Whether it is having an Easter Egg Hunt on the beach or putting up Christmas lights on a resort balcony, the magic of the holidays can definitely mix with the magic of Disney. Spending time as a family while having fun is the goal of any holiday tradition and if it can be done free and at Disney, I am all for it!
Between January 21st and 27th, Guests at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World are able to meet some of the classic characters that don’t usually frequent Town Square, which is the area between the train station and Main Street USA. This morning was the beginning of the incredible experience and we were there to meet as many Long Lost friends as possible. To get a perspective of what Town Square was like this morning, pretend you are standing in the Train Station and facing the castle. The spot between the Chamber of Commerce and City Hall on your left was reserved for Snow White. She may not be one of the Long Lost Friends but her name was not on the Time Guide this morning, so it was extra special for some guests. During the past few months, that spot has been reserved for Rapunzel and Santa. Santa has returned to the North Pole for the year and Rapunzel is now with the other Princesses in the Town Square Theater.
The gang from Robin Hood and DuckTales surrounded the flagpole. Last weekend, Marie and Pluto were there to greet guests. They are both now at Pete’s Silly Sideshow, at least for the week.
Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar were to the right, near the exit of the Town Square Theater. Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, and Gepetto were in front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.
The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf were back between Tony’s and the Hat Shop (Le Chappeau) near the Fast Pass machines for Mickey’s Meet and Greet. The Long Lost Friends emerge from backstage at 5 till each hour. They only stay out for about 30 minutes.
In order to meet as many Long Lost Friends as possible, we went in the following order: 9:55 Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, 10:15 Uncle Scrooge and Ludwig Von Drake, 10:30 Mickey (5 minute wait) in the Town Theatre, 10:40 Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Rapunzel (fast pass) in the other side of the Town Theatre, 10:55 Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar, and then we watched the Celebrate Parade. Even though we did not leave Town Square, we were wore out from running from line to line and trying to figure out how long they stay out and who to see first.
If you are going to the Magic Kingdom to see the Long Lost Friends, please know that they ALL come from backstage at the same time and ALL go in at the same time. They also do NOT sign autographs. A cast member will hand out “autographs” after you have taken the picture.
There were also many characters listed on the Disney World App that I don’t usually see out. We will have to save those meet and greets for our next visit.
The Theme Park Lost & Found at Disney World is a place that no one really wants to end up. It is filled with either extremely happy people or extremely upset people. There really is not a middle ground. If you are visiting the Lost & Found, chances are you have lost something very dear to you. Recently, we had an item that joined the piles of other items lost on Disney property. Our item was not as odd as some of the other items that end up there, like dentures, wheelchairs, or a bowling ball, but it was still precious and dearly missed.
We were at Epcot, on a perfect day, we were able to ride all kinds of rides, meet many characters, and even climb through the playground in Mission Space. It wasn’t until we were about to leave when my daughter realized she had dropped the personalized compact mirror somewhere in Epcot. We approached the first cast member we could find. We were advised to visit the cast members at the end of the last couple of rides as well in the gift shops. Although cast members on both Mission Space and Test Track looked all around the ride vehicles and the gift shop cast members had not seen it, they conducted a good search. We visited guest relations and received a card with the phone number for the Lost and Found. I forewarned my daughter that it was a slim chance that she would ever see it again and I was not sure when we would be back to pick it up if they did find it. We left, empty-handed, and with doubts of ever seeing the special Christmas present again.
If you are going to lose an item, doing it on Disney property gives you the best chance of actually retrieving it. Disney’s Lost and Found is a very organized and thoughtful place. The attractions are checked periodically for lost items. Those lost items make their way to the gift shop counters and then finally to Guest Relations at each park. Lost items are picked up each day and delivered to the Theme Park Lost & Found at the Transportation and Ticket Center, where they are cataloged and sorted. Sometime during the day, the personalized compact mirror was found and delivered to Guest Services and finally to the Lost and Found. We inquired about the mirror after work the following day since Lost and Found is actually open until 7 PM. The person on the line was very helpful and knew about the item we were missing. The mirror was carefully wrapped, packed and placed in the mail, free of charge, to be delivered to our house.
If you are unfortunate enough to lose an item on Disney property, first things first, don’t freak out. Of course, retracing your steps can be very helpful but contacting a cast member is the most helpful thing you can do in that situation. You will be directed to Guest Relations at that park or the front desk if you are at a resort and if it is not there yet, you will be given the information for the Theme Parks Lost & Found. The Theme Parks Lost & Found is located on the east side of the Transportation and Ticket Center. If you rode the tram from the parking lot, you quickly passed by it on the right. It is a small building and almost blends into the surroundings.
It is open from 9 AM to 7 PM, 7 days a week.
You can stop by the building and talk to someone in person or you can call them at 407-824-4245.
The personalized compact mirror was probably only worth $1 or $2 but it meant a lot to my daughter. She just received it as a gift and for her to be able to have it again was quite an experience for her. When the mirror finally arrived at our house, she unwrapped the manilla envelope and found her gift, wrapped with the cool crinkly paper cushion wrap. Once she unwrapped the crinkly paper, she found the mirror safely enclosed in a clear plastic bag. Seeing her face as she was given this gift for the second time in a matter of weeks melted my heart. Her belief in Disney has been made even deeper.
She feels like out of all of the items that are left in the park, the cast members took the time to find her item, deliver it to Lost & Found, carefully wrap it so it was safe and sent it with a little Disney Magic to our house. For the other items sitting in the Lost & Found, sunglasses only stay for 21 days, wheelchairs stay for 90 days and some smaller items only stay for a week. Considering the Lost & Found receives THOUSANDS of items per day, they have to make sure there is room for the incoming items.
Bob, the kind cast member at the Lost & Found, said that some of the best moments are when a passport is returned and a guest is able to return to his or her country or when a wallet filled with ALL of the vacation money is returned to a surprised and ecstatic guest. I would love to be a fly on the wall on one of those days and see that Disney Magic take place. Keep up the great work, Disney Theme Parks Lost & Found. Your work does not go unnoticed in our house.
You really can do anything at Disney World, including drive a 600 hp engine at top speed! Whether you have the desire for a 50-lap experience, ride shotgun in a NASCAR race car, or have a picnic and watch the cars zoom past you, the Richard Petty Driving Experience has something for the whole family.
The granddaddy of all of the experiences at the speedway is the Racing Experience. It is a 50-lap experience with you in the driver’s seat with your crew chief over the radio. It includes a 3-lap ride along, in car DVD video of the driving experience, photo plaque, and souvenirs to take home. It includes 5 sessions and is approximately 4 hours in length. The total cost is about $2500 but would be an incredible birthday present for someone who loves NASCAR.
Maybe you are not ready for the full Richard Petty Driving Experience and need something a little less intense. The Ride-Along package allows you to ride shotgun in a 2-seat NASCAR race car driven by a professional for a 3-lap Qualifying Run. You still have the experience of riding in a race car but not the worry of driving such a powerful vehicle. This experience is only around $100. Guests younger than 14 may do the Junior Ride-Along for about $60.
Looking for something a little more exotic? The Exotic Driving Experience allows drivers to test out the following cars: Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, Audi R8, Aston Martin Virage, and a Porsche 997 S. Exotic Driving Experiences start at $169 and like the other driving experiences, reservations are required. For reservations or more information, call 1.855.822.0149 or visit www.ExoticDriving.com.
There are some items to keep in mind if you are interested in the driving experience. Reservations are required for all driving experiences and Ride-Alongs are first come first serve. For those that don’t drive a stick shift, the cars are now equipped with a push start system so anyone with a valid driver’s license can have the experience at the Speedway. The race cars do not have doors, so drivers must climb through the 15″ by 30″ window. The driver’s suits go up to 3X. No previous racing experience is required but some experiences have a prerequisite. There is a $75 cancelation fee for an experience that is still more than 30 days away. If the experience is cancelled within 30 days, you might lose all of your money.
For those that would rather watch from the sidelines or have a different experience at Disney World, being a spectator is actually an option. Guests can actually drive right into the speedway, park, and watch the cars race around the track. It is FREE to be a spectator and to bring your own lunch. Families on their “non-park” day can hop on over to the speedway and eat lunch while watching other guests and professionals race. The Speedway is open daily from 8 AM to 4 PM and guests are welcome anytime. Every now and then, there is a special event, and spectators are not allowed, but that is not often. I do recommend calling that morning and seeing what time is the best for stopping by if you wanted to see something in particular.
To get to the Richard Petty Driving Experience, head towards Magic Kingdom. The Speedway is on the left just past the Magic Kingdom parking lot toll plaza. Follow the signs around the Speedway. The entrance is on the opposite side, like you are leaving the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Enter the Speedway through the tunnel to the infield. Guests park inside and can watch the racing from Pit Road. Annual Pass Holders and Disney Vacation Club Members may receive a 20% discount. The discounts for merchandise for Premium Annual Pass Holders was reduced on January 1st, but the discount for the Richard Petty Driving Experience was verified on January 13th, so it should still be current. There are five different experiences at five different prices for driving or riding at the Speedway. Check www.drivepetty.com or call 1.800.237.3889 for more information. See you at the races!
During the month of January, I will be recapping my family’s best Disney Memories of 2012. In January, my son had the opportunity to participate in the Flag Retreat at the Magic Kingdom. In February, we hit Blizzard Beach on a warm and sunny day. As I scrolled through the pictures of March, I found a lot of great shots from the resorts again, but the Flower and Garden Festival was the top Disney Memory for the month. The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot has something for every member of the family. My children would have spent hours at the playground. Being a tea fanatic, I absolutely adored the English Tea Garden. To top it off, where else can you see a butterfly garden with Bambi and Thumper?
Pixie Hollow Garden was a magical place to walk through and a great place for the little kids to play and explore. All of the fairies made their “appearance” in Pixie Hollow, even the newest member of the fairy family: Periwinkle. My daughter and I ran all over Pixie Hollow identifying all of the fairies, their homes, and the special places we knew from Pixie Hollow. In front of each fairy, is a metal picture of that fairy so guests can create crayon rubbings of their favorite fairies. The play area that is there has the soft and squishy ground and great items to play on and climb.
After we visit Pixie Hollow, we tend to run straight over to Bambi’s Butterfly Garden. As soon as guests walk into the butterfly house, they are surrounded by beautiful flowers and butterflies.
A few of the many topiaries featured at the Flower and Garden Festival are located in Bambi’s Butterfly House including Bambi, Thumper, and Flower. The best part of the butterfly house is seeing a butterfly emerge from it’s chrysalis or experiencing all of the butterflies near the end of the festival. It is amazing!
Tea! There was actually an English Tea Garden in the UK! Guests could take a 20 minute guided tour of the garden and learn about the 12 teas located in the garden. Guests registered for the guided tour at The Tea Caddy, which is exactly where I wanted to end up after brewing over which tea was my favorite in the garden.
The sand sculptures and topiaries of the festivals at Epcot are hands down the best I have ever seen. During the Flower and Garden Festival, sand artists created an incredible work of art for movie Disney Nature: Chimpanzee.
Music. Flowers. Experts. Like I said, there is something for everyone at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. There were over 100 topiaries at last year’s festival. The Flower Power Concert Series provided live entertainment and the seminars and workshops let experts teach guests about gardening and landscaping.
Looking at this year’s festival line up, I am even more excited for this year than I was for last year. It is the 20th year for Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival and this year will be HUGE! There will be an illuminated garden for evening viewing, TWO playgrounds for the kids, one for Radiator Springs and one for Oz: The Great and Powerful, food kiosks in the World Showcase, and new topiaries! There is even a rumor of the butterfly house being turned into Fawn’s Butterfly Garden! This year’s festival opens on March 6th and I plan on hitting the festival after work on the first day it is open. Check out what’s on the schedule for this year’s Flower and Garden Festival.
If you live in the Midwest or the North, the idea of going to a water park in winter is a crazy and unrealistic idea. One of the main reasons we moved to Florida was to enjoy the outdoors and Disney year round. This would explain why my top Disney Memory for February is visiting a water park. Disney World keeps one water park open each winter while the other one is worked on. On January 6, Typhoon Lagoon will open back up and Blizzard Beach will close down for it’s annual maintenance. On a clear and sunny day last February, we hit Blizzard Beach, equipped with sunscreen, lunch, and our Disney mugs. Visiting Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon during the winter months has its advantages. The lines are shorter; there are chairs to sit on; the sun is not glaring down; and there are actually tubes in Melt Away Bay, the wave pool, in the center of the park.
We were all able to float around in Melt Away Bay on an inner tube, which is unheard of during the summer months. Normally, I have a tube and I have both kids hanging from it as I try to paddle around the pool. Not during the winter. I could have stayed in Melt Away Bay all day if my family would have allowed it. The waves made the inner tube bob up and down and since it was not busy, I was able to let the kids go further than two feet from the inner tube. They swam and played for what seemed like hours in the peaceful pool.
One of the things that I really enjoy about the Disney water parks is the fact that there is something for everyone. I am not one for thrilling rides. My heart just cannot handle it. Ski Patrol Training Camp is the perfect place for my family. The slides, rides, and rope course are just the right height and scare level for all of us. My son’s favorite attraction is the Thin Ice Training Course where he has to walk on “ice” while holding on a cargo net above him. Fahrenheit Drop is also one of his favorites. It is a zip line that ends quite quickly. He has done many flips off of the zip line. Not sure if that is allowed but he loves it. The other rides in Ski Patrol Training Camp are Frozen Pipe Springs, Cool Runners, and Snow Flakes. I must admit that I ride those just as much as the kids.
Now, not all of us are wimps. My husband and son are ready for the challenge of Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet unlike my daughter and I. Since it was February, I was able to sit on the bottom of the rides and not die from the heat while they rode the more thrilling rides of Blizzard Beach. Slush Glusher is a 90-foot-long, high speed water slide and is a great way to pump yourself up for Summit Plummet. The park’s scariest ride is Summit Plummet. It is one of the tallest and fastest freefall body slides in the WORLD. Yep, that has my husband written all over it. My son is not ready for it, yet. The girls in my family? You will never catch me on that thing, but I will sit at the bottom and watch everyone zip down while screaming. By the way, it is 120 foot tall and so steep that you can’t see your feet or look up until you skid to a stop at the bottom of the slide.
Like other visits to Blizzard Beach, I packed our lunch, including drinks, for the long day at the park. Since it was February, I was able to leave our bag, towels, and lunch at the beach chairs while we rode the rides and splashed around in the wave pool. The food did not melt from the heat or get soggy from the humidity, which has happened during other months. We didn’t have to worry about the massive amounts of people that need chairs and the possibility of our items being moved. The weather was gorgeous. The crowds were non-existent. My family was able to relax, have fun, and head home when more guests decided to join us. During the month of February, my family visited many Disney parks and resorts, but the top one has to be Blizzard Beach. There is just something about laying out in the sun in February while the kids play in the sand next to you that is pure magical.
Disney creates magic and memories everyday for their guests. As we reflect on the past year, we also reflect on our own Disney memories. There is a flag retreat held daily at Magic Kingdom. Despite the playfulness of the Magic Kingdom, this ceremony is very serious and is observed by all of the cast members in front of the train station in Main Street USA. One beautiful evening last January, my family waited at the flag pole to watch the ceremony. Cast members began to silently line up in and around the train station. The Dapper Dans asked my son if he wanted to say the Pledge of Allegiance with them. Disney Security, Dapper Dans, Cast Members, and Magic Kingdom Guests all held their hand over their hearts while my son said the Pledge of Allegiance with the Dapper Dans.
As the flag was lowered and folded, the Main Street Philharmonic Orchestra played the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America, and other patriotic songs. Disney Security, with the white gloves, carefully folded the flag and gave it the Veteran of the Day representing the United States Air Force and National Guard. Since my son had an active role in the ceremony, the Photo Pass person took pictures and we were able to pick up one free photo before we left the park. The ceremony lasted a whole ten minutes but it was a very moving event and is my top Disney memory for January 2012.
My family would live at Disney if they would let us. There is so much to see and do year round, but during the holidays is even more magical. I have compiled a list of my top ten things to do at Disney World during the holiday season. Most of the items on my list are free, less crowded, and can be done by anyone that wants to visit Disney.
Of course some resorts go all out for the holidays and are on the top of everyone’s list to visit, but did you know that ALL of the resorts decorate for the holidays? Watching my children play on the playground at Port Orleans French Quarter while listening to Cajun style Christmas music is a wonderful and relaxing experience. The Christmas tree at French Quarter and Riverside are both “New Orleans/Louisiana” themed but still have their differences, just like the resorts themselves. For the value, or value plus, resorts, All Star Music has awesome musical decorations, as to be expected, and Art of Animation has gorgeous clips of artwork on their Christmas tree. As it gets closer to Christmas, the entertainment really heightens at the resorts. Disney characters actually have meet and greets in some of the lobbies, Christmas carols at the campfires, and holiday movies under the stars.
During the holidays, the parks can get very busy and may not be the best possible experience for someone visiting for the first time. Visiting the Disney resorts instead of, or in addition to, the parks is a smart and inexpensive option. The weekend before Christmas, my family booked a couple rooms at Kidani Village and just parked ourselves there the entire time. We completely avoided the parks and enjoyed what Animal Kingdom Lodge had to offer instead. It was a very relaxing and pleasant experience.
Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Beach Club, Boardwalk, and even the American Pavilion in Epcot have grand Gingerbread displays. Now, some resorts have small gingerbread houses made by the cast members for you to judge. The grand displays take many hours and ingredients and are on display even after Christmas Day. Most even have a QR code so you can watch it being made on a YouTube video.
3. Osborne Family Lights
If you have not been to Hollywood Studios during the holidays, you are missing out on an incredible “free” event. The Osborne Family Lights are included in the park’s admission and are a joy to experience. This is also one of the places that has snow in Florida. (See number 10.)
4. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Seeing the parade, fireworks, and Club Tinsel was a special and probably once in a lifetime opportunity but those are not my favorite reasons to go to this special event.
I go for the unlimited supply of hot chocolate and cookies! My family and I went to the Christmas Party on a week night. Now, that was a bad idea for attempting to wake up and go to school the next day, but it was a great way to avoid the crowds.
We were able to see the parade in Frontierland right across from the shooting gallery.
Sunny Eclipse magically goes into the ceiling when Cosmic Rays transforms into Club Tinsel. Disney characters come out to dance with the guests and there is even confetti tinsel like streamers. We were not able to get a clear shot of the not so scary fireworks since we attempted to sit outside of Cosmic Rays. This time, we stood on the bridge between the hub/center and Adventureland. We have been waiting for the fireworks since we can hear them in the evening from our house. They seem like they go on for ever, at least when we are sitting on our patio listening to them. Finally, we were able to see them in person, close enough to the castle to see the preshow but far enough away that we were not squished on the ground. For the hot chocolate and cookies, we visited every location on the map that was giving away the yummy treats. One location we avoided was Pinocchio’s Haus. It is a crazy place during normal hours so during the Christmas party, the line was out the door. One hot chocolate location was the Crystal Palace. We have not been in there for a few years so it was exciting to go in, even though the characters weren’t there to greet us.
5. Holidays Around the World
Epcot is an excellent location to teach your children, and yourself, about the many cultures of the world. The holiday time is no different.
Each country showcases their own way of celebrating winter and the holidays this time of year. Of course, the candlelight processional is also this time of year and is full of celebrities and joyful singing!
6. Downtown Disney
It is always free to park, walk, and taste at Downtown Disney. This time of year also includes tin soldiers, holiday music and decorations, and Santa.
7. Christmas Tree Comparing
Each Disney resort decorates for the holidays, like many hotels across the country.
Did you know that the decorations are specific to each resort? The ornaments for the Christmas trees are picked with great care to represent the theme of that particular resort.
The two best Christmas trees on property, in my opinion, are at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge. Each have such detailed ornaments and are exquisite works of art.
8. Wilderness Campgrounds
Anyone up for a holiday themed golf cart parade? You can catch one at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds.
The people staying at the campgrounds and in the RV section also decorate their own spaces so guests can walk around and enjoy the decorations.
9. Decorated Parks
If you are brave enough to visit a park during the holiday season, the decorations are worth the trip. Especially with the wait times being horrendously long, checking out the many decorations may be a good way to spend your time. The Christmas Carol windows in the Emporium on Main Street in Magic Kingdom are full of Disney Details. I especially enjoy the decorations because I know that it takes so much time and effort to put them all up and to maintain them throughout the season.
10. Snow in Florida
Normally the temperatures at Disney World are tolerable during the holiday season. Today is a different story with the temperature staying in the 40s. Snow is a welcome sight in Central Florida since it does not come with icy roads or dangerous temperatures. If you are at the parks, both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom have snow. It snows during the Osborne Family Lights and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you are looking for free snow, stop by Celebration. It is just off Irlo Bronson Drive/HWY192 and has nightly snow multiple times each evening this month.
To see more holiday decorations and celebrations at Disney World, follow @DisneyTipsPics on Twitter and watch for #DisneyDose on Twitter and Instagram.
On my last stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani Village), we finally went on the Cultural Tour of Sanaa. It has always been on the Activity Guide but we have not been to go to it until this visit. I wish we had done in months ago because it was an incredible experience. It was both educational and yummy.
If you have never been to Sanaa, it is worth the trip down the elevator. There are both stairs and an elevator that lead down to Sanaa, which is on the first floor of Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Our Cultural Representative came to Disney from his country about six months ago. He had many personal stories that added to the experience, which included picking up some of items, letting us hold them, and even offering for us to take home a piece of reed.
The Tour started at the front desk. Behind the front desk is a wall full of the bottoms of weaved baskets, various colors, textures, and made of different materials. In order to make the baskets different colors, they are boiled. The darker colors mean that they were boiled longer. Most of the baskets were made of reeds but the ones from our Cultural Representatives country are made of beads. He took one of the baskets down from the wall and showed us how it was made and told us about how his Grandma made her baskets out of beads. It only took her a day to make a basket out of the teeny tiny beads, which is incredible since I assumed it took weeks to make one basket. In the middle of the baskets is the word, “Sanaa.” Sanaa means art work in Swahili. The whole restaurant is filled with artwork from all over Africa.
Not only is Sanaa an art museum, it is also an African Market. At a market, those baskets, necklaces, and other items would be for sell. All of the items in Sanaa are also on display like they would be at a market.
One of the first items you pass when walking into Sanaa is the Dina beaded blouse.
The next item you stop at is a gourd. This gourd is used to hold beer. The beer is made of corn meal and is cooked in a clay pot and then left in a large gourd for a week so it will ferment. Once it ferments, the gourd splits up. The foam that sits on the sides of the gourd are scraped off and is used for yeast to make dough. Once the beer is ready, it is transferred to this smaller gourd. The gourd keeps the beer very cold and is easy for everyone to use. There was another gourd by the beer one that is used to hold water. Again, it keeps the water extremely cold for all that use it. That’s right, everyone uses the same gourd. Everyone drinks from the same gourd. That encourages the spirit of togetherness instead of everyone getting his or her drink and shuffling off to different parts of the room or market.
The tour continues and takes you to the teas. Now, if you don’t know, tea is my passion. At the time that we approached where the teas sit, another group were already taking in the scents of the teas at another table. Don’t worry, they made for that at the end of the tour!
The teas and the Kenyan Tea Pot, along with all of the tables in Sanaa sit under this gorgeous tree. The teas are at the trunk and the branches reach out and shade all of the restaurant. This tree also provides food for the giraffes in Africa. Like many things in Sanaa, it serves multiple purposes and it just as beautiful as any other piece of “Sanaa” in Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The lights of Sanaa are just as artistic as the artifacts that sit along and in the walls. There are clay pots, baskets, and glass bottles used as lights throughout Sanaa.
There is one spot of Sanaa that is more private and would be great if you have a large group. It is called Boma. Sound familiar? According to our Cultural Representative, Boma means hiding place. Boma is defined as an enclosure, mainly a fort, lifestock enclosure, or an office building. In the boma, you can find the Kenyan Wedding Challenge Wall.
When a Kenyan couple wants to marry, they are challenged to create decorated beaded items of clothing. The woman makes a decorative piece that sits on the waist and the man has to create a piece for both the top and bottom. Each item is to tell a story. In the beadwork hanging on the wall, you can see mainly chickens and cows. One piece had a house on it. I think that is a clear indication of what is considered “wealth” in some parts of Kenya.
The lamps that hang in the Boma section have hanging beautiful tree seeds. These seeds are the favorite of elephants and our Cultural Representative. He talked about how he would take those off of the trees and eat them as a kid.
Some of the lamps around the Boma section are rings. These rings are worn as a sign of wealth in South Africa. Wealth does not necessarily mean money. Instead, it could means children, land, wives, houses, and life stock. Our guide did mention that having many wives is not a common trend across all of Africa. Where he is from, men have only one wife and having more than one is not allowed.
Also in the Boma section is a Bajut gourd. When there is a ceremony, the girls are the ones that collect the water in the gourd from the river and fill the tanks of water. The men are in charge of collecting firewood. Some parts of Africa have very traditional roles for men and women.
Throughout Sanaa are decorative chairs but our guide didn’t talk about them until the Boma section. Next time you visit Sanaa, take a look at their chairs. Some of the chairs have arm rests and shields on the back while the others have no arm rests. The chairs for the Queens and Princesses do not have arm rests because they normally have elaborate garments that need to drape over the sides of the chair. The King’s chair has arm rests so he can sit tall and proud with his family and village people. After our guide pointed out the chairs, I looked at the other chairs around the tables in Sanaa. Some had just one King chair and the rest being Queen or Princess chairs and some had two King chairs. Now, my husband normally prefers a “Queen” chair since arm rests get in the way sometimes. When we eat at Sanaa, I am not sure if he will go with his normal choice or be drawn towards the King chair because he is our “King.”
Along the walls of Sanaa are floor to ceiling windows with breath-taking views of the Savanna. These windows are lined with gorgeous “rock paintings.” These rock paintings are similar to the ones found in Africa, which were created long, long ago. People visit them from all over the world and now people that visit Sanaa can experience them while they catch a glimpse of the animals on the Savanna.
While we were taking the tour, the zebras chased each other next to the windows, the ostrich poked by, and an African Crowned Crane named Lamar stopped at the window long enough for my husband to take a picture.
Another section of Sanaa has booths with roofs. These booths are for the King’s party and on each side is a booth for his wives and their parties. These booths serve two purposes: to host the royal family and to look over the market and the village.
The royal sitting area has thatched reed roofs, dyed clay walls, and beautiful artwork in each “hut.” The walls of the huts are typically made of soil and cow dung to prevent termites from attacking the house and roof.
The guide also mentioned that school is not prominent in some places in Africa, yet the women create such beautiful artwork by hand. He holds women in very high regard, especially the women in his own family.
There is a basket full of reeds in one of the wife’s houses. Our guide took out one reed and explained how his own grandmother uses these leaves to create baskets with a homemade needle!
One of my main questions about Sanaa is why there is an Indian influence on an African restaurant. That question was finally answered towards the end of the tour. Indians have lived in Africa for over 150 years. They came to work in sugar cane factories and through trading, Indians and Africans began to learn about each other through their spices. Many parts of Africa now have an Indian influence with a mixture of the awesome tastes of Africa along with the rich spices of India.
Ending the tour with a sampling of the Naan bread and assorted dips was perfect (and FREE!) I have had Naan bread before and I must say, it is my favorite type of bread. If you have never seen or heard of Naan bread, it is cooked by kneading out the dough into a circle and then throwing it on the side of the oven. You can actually see it being made in Landscape of Flavors in Art of Animation. Anyway, after smelling and touching the Indian spices that were sitting on the lounge bar, we were escorted to the long table in the Sanaa Lounge. The chef brought out a plate of traditional Naan bread and three dips: Mango Chutney, Coriander Chutney, and Cucumber Raita.
We were able to sit and relax while we sampled the bread and accompanients.
Of course, they also handed us a menu, a drink menu, and brought over the teas for us to smell.
Even if Indian or African food is not your cup of tea, I definitely recommend visiting Sanaa. There are so many items on the menu that can be combined or items that are stand alone that there is something for everyone. I think that I will place a reservation for a full out dinner but then another reservation for the bread dish, salad trio, dessert, and the tea! If you are wanting just the tea, you can stop at the Sanaa Lounge and order one of the many delicious and authentic teas. I didn’t leave before getting one tea to go.
I highly recommend the Cultural Tour of Sanaa the next time you are at Disney World. You do not have to be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge to enjoy the tour. I am sure that is preferred but maybe it will convince you to come to Kidani Village, one the best places to stay on Disney property.
You can see some of the pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram by following @DisneyTipsPics and watching for #DisneyDose and #Sanaa.
Guests staying on Walt Disney World property can now use their Key To The World tickets to enter Epcot with their cards and finger prints. A Key to the World card is your room key if you are a guest staying on Disney World property. Disney has started to implement Key To The World cards in new ways such as tickets.
Key to the World guests can now also use the cards as tickets to all four Disney World resorts.
There is no word if annual passholders will be allowed to enter through the non-turnstile gates.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party started on the right hand side of the front entrance.
It actually had a specific gate for the event. After we were shuffled through the gate, we were given our wrist bands, which were actually checked throughout the night.
Our first stop was Cosmic Rays since we were all hungry and needed our energy for the night.
After reading the brochure for the event, I knew that Cosmic Rays would turn into Club Tinsel. Little did I know that it would actually magically appear right at 7 PM.
As you can see from the picture, Sunny Eclipse’s set went back at 7 PM and his stage actually went into the ceiling. Under his stage, was the Club Tinsel with the DJ intact and already playing music. Never in my life have I seen that stage move. That were truly Disney holiday magic. There were a couple of special Disney guests for the dance party and both could definitely break a move. Goofy and Pluto were both there at 7 PM to entertain guests.
With December 6th being the first night of the new Fantasyland, we had to at least walk through and marvel in the newest part of the park.
The dwarves help you take a sneak peek into the unopened section of Fantasyland. You can see all of the additions to their ride behind the wall. What a great idea to implement, Disney! I wonder if it is to stop people from standing on the walls by Winnie the Pooh to sneak a peek. Well done.
There were many spots throughout the park that had free hot cocoa and cookies, but we made sure to avoid Pinocchio’s Haus, since it is insanely busy every night. That hot cocoa line was out of the door and backed up to the entrance. We did, however, hit at least three other places for the hot cocoa and cookies.
If someone did not want hot cocoa, they also had apple juice and apple slices. All were complementary and you could have as many as you wanted.
The Christmas Parade was very well-done with a lot of attention to details. I loved how they made the cast members ice skate and ski down the streets. The band that played right before the parade played country versions of the classic Christmas songs.
We were also able to catch Celebrate the Magic and the Christmas fireworks before we headed back down Main Street, through the snow, on our way back home. Watch for future articles with videos of those two incredible events.