Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday:The Letter "M"

Focused on the Magic

Magical Express



Muppet*Vision 3D

Mickey Mouse Pretzel (Mmmmm yummy)

Main Street Electrical Parade

Thanks to Deb from Focused on the Magic for hosting this blog hop!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Tomorrowland

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Graumans Chinese Theater

Did you know?  The walkway to Tomorrowland is twice as wide as any of the other walkways.  The reason is because most people are right-handed, and they tend to bear to the right when entering the park.  Don't believe me? Check out your park maps!  But remember, just because it's twice as wide spatially doesn't mean it feels twice as wide; that's because there is more traffic here.  Those Imagineers think of everything!  I picked up this bit of trivia from a Cast Member on my last trip.

Enjoy today's trivia?  Use the icon above to learn about more Disney fun facts!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Entertainment Outside of the Parks

What?! There are things to do in Disney that aren't in the parks?  I know, I felt that way for a long time.  I can ride the attractions over and over and over and over... and well, you get the idea.  They never get boring, and I have a new experience and memory every time I ride an old favorite.

But there are aspects of the Walt Disney World Resort that are often overlooked, and those things are equally as magical!  During the past couple of trips, my husband and I have made a concerted effort to get out of the parks some (at least for part of the day) and experience the other entertainment WDW has to offer.

This trip, we chose to go mini-golfing at Fantasia Gardens.

Fantasia Gardens is located across the street from the Walt Disney World Swan, and it has two sides. The Gardens is the goofy-golf style, full of obstacles and fun.  The Fairways is a more traditional style of golf, with sand traps, water, and other "traps" found on regular golf courses. The cost currently is $14 for adults, $12 for children.  If you purchased a "Magic Your Way" vacation package, there are 2 vouchers included for a round of mini-golf here.  Annual Passholders receive a discount, too.

Neither my husband or I are golfers, so we wisely opted for The Gardens side. The Cast Members do a great job of ensuring that families don't get "backed up" on the course.  After purchasing our round, we were assigned a return time, and so we enjoyed the beautiful patio area and the sunshine for about 20 minutes.  We then picked up our clubs and walked onto the course.  

Each hole is preceded by a sign announcing the par, and in true Disney-style, a story for the hole.  Of course, everything is based on the Walt Disney Classic, Fantasia. You can even hear snippets of the music!  Holes 1, 2, & 3 were based on Bach's "Toccata and Fugue".

Holes 4, 5, 6, & 7 feature music and scenes from Tchiakovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite".

When you arrive at hole 8, the theming changes to Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony" -- if you look closely, you may also find a little surprise inside the mountain when you go in to sink your shot!

Holes 11-15 switch to the scenes from "Dance of the Hours" by Amilcare Ponchielli.  The dancing hippo was always one of my favorites from this clip!

As the course wraps up, the final three holes are decorated with images from what is probably the most famous clip from Fantasia, Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".

Careful: the buckets really do throw water!

We had a great time mini-golfing!  Although outside of the parks, this course retains all of the magic and immersive story-telling for which Disney is famous.  If time permits on your next trip, I highly recommend this experience.  I would really like to go again next time I visit... and hopefully next time I'll even win. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: The Haunted Mansion

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

This week, my post is about one of my favorite Disney attractions: The Haunted Mansion.  I love Jason Surrell's book The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, which tells you everything you ever wondered about the Mansion, plus so much more!  My copy seems to be sadly missing, but this week's trivia is one piece that I retained from this amazing book.  

I found it extremely interesting that the raven, who appears in practically every scene of the attraction, was initially supposed to play the part of the Narrator.  

Although this isn't a great picture (hard to get a good one on this ride!), you can see the raven's glowing red eyes behind Leota's head.  This is just one of his many appearances.

The raven's role was cancelled, however, when they piped the audio directly into each Doombuggy rather than having it broadcast throughout the whole room.  Now, he just sits there looking eerie, adding to the wonderful effect of the experience!

Thanks to +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi's Head+Disney Babies Blog, and +My Dreams of Disney for co-hosting this blog hop!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Transportation Trading Cards

So, we all know about Pin Trading, which is a hugely popular in the Disney Parks.  But, did you know that there are Transportation Collector/Trading cards?  These are not advertised, and most people don't even know they exist.  In fact, I have to give a shout out to my friend Eric Rojas (a fellow Disney enthusiast) for reading me in on this fun collection.

There are 3 categories of cards: Monorail, Watercraft, and Bus. Each card features a picture of the type of transportation, a character, and trivia/facts about that character and type of transportation on the back.  I collected all 12 Monorail cards (one for each color) and most of the Watercraft cards on my last trip.  Alas, I have yet to get a Bus card.  These are the hardest to get, and all of the bus drivers I asked had given all of theirs out for the day.  Which brings up a good point.  You need to ask for these.  Most of the cast members working transportation have them, and while some will give them out at random, they will all pass them out to those people who ask.

Regardless, this was a really fun way to pass the time while being transported to various locations around WDW.  I have heard rumors that they may be doing away with these sometime in the near future, so if you are headed down to WDW soon, be sure to get your hands on some!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Social Media Memories

Yeah, those balloons are heavier than they look!!

I am a Galactic Hero! :)

Thanks, Deb, for hosting this blog hop!

Focused on the Magic

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Sulley

Did you know that Sulley from Monsters, Inc.(and more recently Monsters U) has 2,320,413 hairs in his fur?

This bit of trivia is courtesy of Disney's Transportation Collector Cards.

Thanks to Jennifer from +Disney Babies Blog+Heidi's Head, Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, and Mike from +My Dreams of Disney for hosting!

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Le Carrousel de Lancelot

4th of July in WDW

Many of my readers know that my husband and I recently returned from the World, and you may or may not know that we spent the 4th of July there.  The 4th is all about celebrating, and of course, that is one of the things Disney does best!

All major holidays are crowded at WDW, and this was no exception.  We knew from researching typical crowds on this day (and from experience during other busy days!) that it was very likely that the Magic Kingdom would close to guests at some point.  Because that is the park we wanted to visit, we decided to make breakfast reservations at the Crystal Palace in order to get a jump on entering the park.

Everywhere you looked, you could find little touches of red, white, and blue.  At the park entrance, they even passed out flag pins to wear.  

The atmosphere was definitely festive, but of course, it was extremely crowded.  We headed into the day knowing this, and we were fully prepared to wait in lines and deal with a sea of people. We went with expectations of not necessarily riding everything, and we decided that it was OK.  Simply being in that magical place on a fun day was enough.  We were pleasantly, surprised, though -- we pretty much rode everything, and our longest wait was 20 minutes!  Now of course, that doesn't mean the lines were only 20 minutes long... but with Fastpasses and a little extra walking, we managed very well.  We even caught the trolley show and the afternoon parade.

Now, that's not to say it wasn't crowded.  It most certainly was.  At one point, the park was at Phase 3 closing; this basically means that very few additional people can enter the park (Phase 4 means no one else can enter).  We really noticed the crowds in Fantasyland, where there was a temporary traffic jam.

Fortunately, the cast members stepped in and managed to get traffic flowing again.  Daytime in the park was a lot of fun, but what everyone was waiting for was nighttime -- I mean, what's the 4th of July without fireworks?  

As you might imagine, viewing space was at a premium.  All of Mainstreet U.S.A., Tomorrowland entrance area, and Adventureland area were totally jammed, and had I been in Fantasyland at that point, I'm sure it would have been no different.  Due to the high volume of spectators, the cast members opened up a side parking lot area between Tomorrowland and the entrance of Main Street for additional viewing.  There were "fences" of shrubs to mask some of the backstage area, and they had a D.J. and balloon sellers on hand, creating a festive atmosphere.  They also set up this cart and had a photographer there to take pictures.

The fireworks began at 9:00 p.m. instead of the usual 10:00 p.m.  Since we were staying at Bay Lake Tower, we opted to make a little more room for the park guests by watching from our balcony.  

As you can tell, the fireworks were amazing.  There were even perimeter fireworks set off, making it a 360 degree spectacle!  Since we could also see Bay Lake, we noticed that the Electrical Water Pageant was stationed near the Polynesian and set up to display its patriotic finale throughout the fireworks.  Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good picture of that from our viewpoint.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the holiday, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!