Monday, September 30, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday: The Chapeau

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Walt Disneys Silver Buffalo Award

As you enter the Magic Kingdom, you face the beautiful sight of Cinderella Castle and the shops of Main Street, U.S.A.  On the far right, attached to the candy store, you'll find a little shop called The Chapeau (french for "hat").  In addition to the dozens of Mickey Ear hats, you'll find a quaint old-fashioned wall phone.  Pick it up -- and you can listen in on a turn-of-the-century party line.  You can spend a good few minutes listening in on a conversation.  It's really cute to hear, and it's fun to learn about how things were during this time period.  Next time you're there, don't be shy!  You'll not be disappointed.  Thanks to Susan Veness's great book, "The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World", for pointing out this fun piece of trivia!

For more great trivia, check out these other links below!  And as always, thanks to +Heidi's Head+Magical Mouse Schoolhouse+My Dreams of Disney, and +Disney Babies Blog for hosting today! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

With the start of fall, we think of many things: changing leaves, cooler temperatures, football season (I prefer to think of it as Marching Band season - LOL!), Pumpkin Spice Latte season ... and of course, it's also the start of Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party (MNSSHP) in the Magic Kingdom!

If you've never visited Disney in the fall months, I highly recommend it!  The Magic Kingdom especially is transformed with orange, red, and yellow hangings, Mickey-O-Lanterns, and beautiful fall foliage.  Last year, we took a trip to celebrate my hubby's 40th birthday, and one of the main things we planned for was MNSSHP.  This was my first experience at MNSSHP, and I absolutely loved it.  

The outside was beautifully (and somewhat creepily lit) with colored lights, which don't really show in this particular picture.  The music is not the typical happy music, either -- it takes cues from the Haunted Mansion track, instantly putting you in the mood for a Halloween Party.


Once you enter the park, you see all the beautiful decorations -- oh, and more neat lighting!

We opted to stay for the first Parade (there are usually 2 showings).  Make sure you get there early for a great spot -- you won't want to miss anything.  The whole parade is started off with a ride by the Headless Horseman, who I just read actually begins his ride at Fort Wilderness.

If you are near the front of the park, there is a bit of a wait for the Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade to begin, but it's definitely become one of my faves at the MK.  While you're waiting, check out all of the costumes.  Party Guests have some amazingly creative costumes!  And don't be ashamed to dress up!  I promise you that children and adults alike were decked out in their Halloween Finest.  Plus, all of your favorite characters (and villians) show up throughout the parade -- many of them also in "costume".  I literally have pics of every float, but I'm choosing just some of my favorite shots:

The absolute highlight for me was the Haunted Mansion procession, beginning with the graveyard keeper and his dog!
Leota & the graveyard...

The ballroom dancing ghosts...

The Hitchhiking Ghosts...
And there are lots more fun aspects to this section that just don't translate as well in photos -- but watch for the grave diggers!  The choreography is amazing.

Oh, and of course, the Disney Villians come out to play...

And what MK party would be complete without fireworks?  HalloWishes was one of the absolute coolest displays I've experienced. 

Now Halloween automatically brings to mind Trick-or-Treating.  Don't worry, you can trick-or-treat right in the MK!  There are special designated areas on the Party Park Map.  Just take your complimentary treat bag (or your own, if you want!) and go to town!  I loved going on the pathway between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.  It was a super quiet path, and there was lots of candy to be had there! By the way, if you have a child with a particular allergy, stop by City Hall on Main Street, where you can exchange candy for allergen free treats.

Of course, all of your favorite attractions are open for business.  The Haunted Mansion is especially creepy on this evening, and you may just get to interact with a special "Ghost Hostess" sitting in the lawn.  If you have the opportunity, let a Photopass Photographer take your picture by the horseless hearse outside of the queue line.  Check it out at any of the Photo Viewing areas and you will notice a surprise guest in your picture.  I won't spoil the surprise. :)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad also gets some special decor for the evening:

So, for this blogger, I'd say that MNSSHP was completely worth the purchase of a ticket.  It was a fun-filled, special evening that I would love to experience again soon.  I definitely recommend purchasing tickets in advance for this event.  Dates run from late September through, you guessed it, Halloween.  Typical prices are $62 for adults, $57 for children.  Earlier dates are easier to get tickets for, but the closer to Halloween it gets, the faster they sell out.  If you are a DVC Member, Disney Visa Card Holder, or Annual Pass Holder, there are discounts available that you can take advantage of for select nights.

Think you want to check it out?  I'll be happy to help you get everything scheduled - it never costs you anything extra.  Just click the contact icon on the sidebar.  I will leave you with a couple of parting photos of some of the beautiful fall decor:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Letter O

Ostrich from Rafiki's Planet Watch (see the Hidden Mickey?)

"Old Faithful" (Wilderness Lodge)

"Old Faithful Club" - Wilderness Lodge Concierge Level

'Ohana :)

Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday: The Living Seas

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Is Mickey Mouse Left  or Right Handed?

The Seas with Nemo & Friends (formerly the Living Seas) contains a huge aquarium, which stretches 203 feet in diameter.  So how much water does this hold?  The answer is 5.7 million gallons of man-made sea water.  Just to give you an idea of a comparison, a standard-sized swimming pool contains about 20,000 gallons.  In fact, you could fill your backyard pool by simply skimming one inch from the top of this amazing aquarium.  In order to contain all of this water, Disney had to create special acrylic windows that are 8 inches thick.  When dining at the Coral Reef (around the back of the pavilion), you can experience all of the wonderful marine life from the aquarium.  And if you read the little card on each of the tables, you can read these facts and more!

Thanks to +Disney Babies Blog+Magical Mouse Schoolhouse+My Dreams of Disney, and +Heidi's Head for hosting the fun this week! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Favorite Quick Service Restaurants

With so many options for food at Disney, it can be overwhelming to choose!  Listed by park, here are my favorite quick service places:

Magic Kingdom

  • Be Our Guest (New Fantasyland)

    Most every Disney blog/webpage/site is raving about Be Our Guest - with good reason.  Aside from its completely unique set up of Quick Service for lunch/Full Service for dinner, aside from the gorgeous decor - the food is amazing.  Since we're focusing on Quick Service, that's the menu I'll write about, and it's not your typical burgers and fries.  Hand carved turkey on french baguette, pork with green beans, and a steak sandwich with an actual piece of steak on it are just some of the mouth-watering offerings here.  And dessert?  It's a choice of the same delicious cupcakes served at dinner.  

  • Pecos Bill's Tale Tall Inn and Cafe (Frontierland)

    Fixin's Bar.  What other reason can you possibly need?  Just kidding... kind of.  Truly though, there are lots of great things to eat at Pecos Bill's.  My favorite is the taco salad, which is served in an edible shell.  And because of the fixin's bar, you can load up on pepper rings, grilled onions, salsa, mushrooms, lettuce, cheese, etc.  They also serve a great bacon cheeseburger complete with a thick onion ring on top.
  • Columbia Harbor House (Liberty Square)

    For us, no trip to Disney is complete without a lunch here.  The fish is fabulous, and for some reason, I think the fries here are better than almost anywhere else.  The Lighthouse Sandwich (Tuna) is also very good.  And don't worry if you're a non-fish eater, there are some yummy chicken offerings as well.  The ambiance is wonderful, and there are two floors for seating.  I also love it that one of the Cast Members who often acts as a greeter sings to people in passing; he has favored us with several songs over the years.  

  • Sunshine Seasons (The Land Pavilion)
    Hands down, this is my favorite Epcot location.  There are several "stations", each of which serves its own style of food.  There is a station specializing in sandwiches, one for meats such as pork, rotisserie chicken, and fresh fish, and yet another for Asian-style cuisine and stir-fry.  I have eaten from all, and they are all fabulous.  Oh, did I mention the bakery that serves dessert? The offerings are simply some of the best on property, including this amazing red velvet moon pie (which happens to be my hubby's favorite).

  • Liberty Inn (The American Adventure, World Showcase)
    This is a recent addition to the list.  Until this past year, we had always had lunch up in Future World.  This year we broke tradition and ate back in World Showcase.  We were NOT disappointed.  Everything was delicious, including the dessert, which was a s'mores mousse brownie.  Also pictured below is the chicken bacon flatbread

Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Catering Co.

    I'm going to be completely honest.  I'm not thrilled with Quick Service at Hollywood Studios.  I can't explain it, but that being said, when I'm at the Studios for lunch, I tend to eat at the Backlot Express. They serve sandwiches of a different variety than burgers (buffalo chicken, turkey, veggie, etc.), among other things, and I have found this location to have some of the more flavorful food in this park.
  • Toy Story Pizza Planet

    Pizza Planet serves... well... pizza.  It's really pretty good though, and most of the meals include a salad in addition to the pizza.  The cookies here are really good, too!
Animal Kingdom

  • Pizzafari

    Yes, another pizza place.  I like the pizza here too!  They also have a yummy hot Italian-style sandwich and a chicken/veggie pasta dish.  The decor is really cool, and there are hidden Mickeys!  See if you can find the one in the picture below... (you may have to zoom in). 

  • Flame Tree BBQ

    This is a favorite of many Animal Kingdom park-goers.  Although it is all outdoor seating, the food has a great flavor (if you like barbecue, of course!).  Just try to pass this place without your mouth watering!  The pork sandwich is really tender and juicy.  I'm not a ribs eater myself, but everyone else raves about them!
So, there it is.  Hopefully this will help you to narrow your choices as you navigate the World.  Have I made you hungry yet?  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday: Morocco/ToT

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: NOT a Walt Disney Quote 

Did you know?  The Tower of Terror in WDW is designed with a slightly "Moroccan" flair.  Why? Because it is visible from Morocco in Epcot!

I'm sure this has been shared before, but there are still people who don't realize it, so I thought I'd share again!