Welcome to the Blog!
While I would like to think I will offer the best and most up to date information that is out there about Disney, it simply cannot be true. There are too many amazing blogs out there that already do that. And to be honest, I just don't have the time! However, I will offer my honest opinions and experiences as frequently as possible. This blog is simply a way to document my experiences and collect my thoughts while talking about the love of my life, Walt Disney World and Disney in general. Thanks for reading!
Going through my recent trip pictures, this one really stood out for me. It made me yearn for years gone by. Ok so maybe not years, a couple weeks really, but man do I miss Coronado Springs! Pictured here is the Cabanas section of the resort and during this trip, I decided it was my favorite section. I've stayed in the Ranchos before. While lovely, they are pretty far back there depending on which building you are placed in. I've never stayed in the Casitas but really have no desire to. That section of the resort just doesn't do it for me. But the Cabanas section is absolutely beautiful. Wouldn't you agree from the photo? I love the white sand beaches and relaxing hammocks by the lake. Pond if you want to get technical. We were in a business class room this trip so that meant we were in building 9B. This was a major perk due to the main bus stop was literally right around the corner. In fact it was a couple of days before we even ventured out into the rest of the resort because we were so close to our bus stop. I'll have more of a review on the business class sections pros/cons later. But for now enjoy this relaxing view. We all know I am a Port Orleans Riverside girl but could Coronado Springs be gaining on POR to win my heart? It just might be!
Ask any Walt Disney World fan and they will tell you, there is nothing quite like entering the Magic Kingdom as one of only a few guests early in the morning. The streets are virtually empty and it is a great opportunity for those castle photos that we love to get with no one standing in front of it. It really is a feeling that is impossible to put into words. It truly is the definition of "magical."
So you might be wondering, how exactly do you get into the Magic Kingdom or any other park before the rest of the guests get in? Well there are a couple of ways. You can find out when extra magic hours are at that park, get up extremely early to ensure that you are the first in line for the day and then when they let you through the gate run as fast as you possibly can towards the castle and snap photo after photo while you are running! Or.....you can do it my way which is to choose a day with normal operating hours (most likely an opening at 9 am), book an early breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace or an early Keys to the Kingdom tour (preferably 8 am) and then only get up moderately early to make it there on time. Stroll up the gate, tell them that you are on the list, and casually walk down the middle of Main Street with less than 50 other guests who had your same idea. Snap photos at your leisure and then show up to your reservation.
I've talked about resort hopping before and I will talk about it again. Let's face it. I'm probably not going to be able to afford any room (for any length of time anyway) at the Grand Floridian ever! So what better way to experience the finer things in life then to resort hop and check it all out? We've made this a stop on many of our past WDW vacations. We've experienced some of the restaurants, did some shopping, did some lounging - just like we were real life resort guests. It really is a beautiful resort. For my money, it is not really my style, but I can appreciate the beauty and grandeur of it from afar (as I stay at the less expensive but not any less charming Port Orleans Riverside). I will say that the Grand Floridian is home to one of my favorite hidden gems restaurants, the Grand Floridian Cafe. Ok, it's not really hidden...but I think it is often overlooked due to some of the more popular restaurants at this resort like Citricos and Narcoossee's. The Grand Floridian Cafe actually has some amazing food and I would put it on par with some of the signature dining. Best part is, it's less expensive or less credits on the dining plan. Forget the dining for a second, this resort has some beautiful grounds and great views of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Making it overall an amazing stop while resort hopping. Perhaps one day I'll get to stay there, or at least make a visit to the spa. A girl can dream right?
What is your favorite part of the Grand Floridian Resort?
I will never forget this particular day at Animal Kingdom when I saw one of the most magnificent animals I've ever encountered in a theme park and/or zoo. We had made our way through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and saw a large crowd hovering around one of the glass windows. Upon closer inspection we found that they were all staring at a small gorilla laying with his back to the glass. Since we couldn't push our way to the front we decided to bypass the crowd and go on our merry way. As we rounded the corner towards the bridge we came into contact with the most glorious sight. Right across from us, perched on a rock was the largest, most amazing gorilla I had ever seen in my life. I mean he was massive! No crowds, no window blocking us, nothing but Mr. Gorilla and us. It appeared as if he could jump right over the embankment and onto the bridge if he really wanted to. I almost thought he might. But he remained sitting there, having a snack, and staring at us. I couldn't believe that the crowd was still behind us trying to get a glimpse of the other gorilla who was obviously trying to rest. We watched him for what seemed like an hour and he let us. I will never forget that moment when I set eyes on him. It remains to this day one of the most magical experiences I have had at the Animal Kingdom, and is one of the MANY reasons why I love this park so much.
Have you ever had an amazing animal encounter at Disney's Animal Kingdom?
There's nothing quite like Halloween at Walt Disney World. The decorations and special events are among the best of any seasonal celebration WDW has to offer. It also happens to be one of my favorite times to travel there. That's why when it came to this year's planning I really had a hard decision choosing between Halloween and Christmas. I'm so used to the fall season with the low crowds, amazing events, and sometimes unbearable heat that I almost can't imagine going at any other time. My family has traveled with me several times during the months of September and October, yet they have never been to WDW at Christmas (although I have once). I had to give them that experience, so this year December won out. But it doesn't change the fact that fall holds a very special place in my heart when it comes to touring the Disney parks.
Here are my favorite reasons to visit WDW in the fall:
1. Character meet and greets at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - we've met such characters as Tarzan and Jane, Jafar, Jessie, The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, and more!
2. Low crowds - depending on when you go you can experience some pretty low crowds. Although I think people are catching on because each year it seems busier and busier.
3. Being a kid again and dressing up for Halloween.
4. HalloWishes at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - that 360 degree firework blast among one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. If you don't buy a ticket for the party, try to book a dinner at the California Grill during this party's fireworks for that reason alone.
What is your favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World?
With the recent opening of Princess Fairytale Hall at WDW's Magic Kingdom, I can't help but be a little sad and reminisce about the past. I'm talking about Snow White's Scary Adventures. Man do I ever miss it! Let me just tell you that I am not one of those fans who constantly skipped the attraction when visiting Walt Disney World and only miss it now that it's gone. I rode the hell out of this thing and loved every minute of it! We made a point on every trip to frequent this dark ride. Best part was, it never had a wait.
I always felt that it did a great job of retelling the story of Snow White. My favorite part was always the opening scene when you come around the bend to see Snow White sitting outside of the castle and the evil queen watching her from above in the window. We then see the evil queen looking into the mirror and all of a sudden she turns around to reveal that she has transformed into a hideous witch. The queen sends the Huntsman out into the woods to kill Snow White but he lets her go free and she runs into the dark forest. Enter the strobe lighting for dramatic effect. The mood then lightens as we see the dwarfs cottage and hear the fanciful music from inside. But just as you think Snow White is safe, we see the evil witch give her the poisoned apple. The dwarfs race back from the mine and chase the witch to the top of a cliff. Just when you think a huge rock is going to come crashing down on top of you, we hear the witch scream as she falls to her death. The darkness clears and "Someday My Prince Will Come" begins to play. We see the Prince kissing Snow White to awaken her and they ride off into the sunset as the dwarfs look on. Seriously...it doesn't get much better then this classic dark ride!
Now I know that there is a mine train ride on the horizon that focuses around the seven dwarfs so its not like Snow White is completely gone, but I have to say that I just don't agree with the decision.
One of my favorite things to do while in Epcot is to find new ways to catch a glimpse of Spaceship Earth in the backdrop of a photo. The photo above is one of my favorite views of Spaceship Earth. Standing in front of the Japan pavilion facing the World Showcase Lagoon, you can clearly see this park's icon right through the middle of the Torii gate. As if Japan doesn't have enough beautiful photo ops, being able to capture Spaceship Earth and Japan together is just icing on the cake. You see, you don't always have to be standing at the entrance of Epcot to capture this iconic structure in a beautiful way.
What is your favorite Spaceship Earth photo op?
Today's Monday Magic is not a regularly viewed sign that you might find introducing a popular attraction or restaurant, but it just so happens to be one of my very favorite in all of Animal Kingdom. It might seem odd that this is my favorite as it is literally right outside of a bathroom above some drinking fountains and not in a place where you might expect a favorite sign to be. Why do I love it so much? Well, it's simple really. Where else in Walt Disney World would you find such perfect attention to detail then right here? A sign above drinking fountains isn't necessary and no one would notice any difference if it wasn't there, but the fact that they use such detail in order to draw you into the story that you are indeed a trekker in Asia is simply amazing. The warning that the streams and wells may not be safe drinking water is a great touch and the odd wording/font makes it seem so authentic. It's not every day you would stop to take a picture of a sign outside of a restroom. Simply brilliant!
What is your favorite sign at Disney's Animal Kingdom?
So I know a while back I said I would "kill" Norway if presented with the chance to remove one World Showcase pavilion, but that doesn't mean that I hate it. I just had to choose according to the game, so I went with Norway. But looking closer, it really is a beautiful pavilion. The waterfall that is part of Maelstrom is always a great photo op, not to mention that Maelstrom is just a great ride in general. The shops leave a little bit to desire I will admit, but the exteriors have great detail and transport you to this beautiful country. Oh and are any of you hungry? Yeah I thought so, you are WDW fans after all. The Kringla Bakeri og Cafe is a must do on every trip to Epcot. What is really boils down to is that I felt a little bad after deciding to "kill" it, so I wanted to include its beauty as part of the the Monday Magic feature for this week.
What is your favorite part of the Norway pavilion?
This week we are beginning the “signage” theme with the promise of many more signs to come because well, let’s face it, there are just so many of them! So let's start with one of my favorite signs at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The Fantasmic! sign that sits outside the entrance to the outdoor theatre looms right in front of the eerie Tower of Terror and in my opinion there is no better place for it. Fantasmic! itself can be rather eerie leading up to Mickey’s famous battle with Malificent in dragon form. What makes this such a wonderful sign is that each and every trip I find myself taking a picture of it, even though I have several pictures exactly like it at home. Seeing it as I walk down Sunset Boulevard gets me excited to view the show that evening and experience Mickey’s dream all over again. This sign definitely does its job of drawing in guests for the show and also making them wonder just what might happen in Mickey’s dream as night falls. It’s another classic example of the detail shown by Disney throughout all of the resorts and theme parks.
Are there any signs at the Disney parks that have drawn you into the attraction?