First Impressions: Port Orleans – Riverside Resort

Our first visit to an on-property Walt Disney World Resort brought us to the spacious and elegant Port Orleans – Riverside! First Impression…WOW!!!!

As we entered the Lobby area, we were impressed by the open space and warmth. Of course, that’s all been refurbished since then. We checked into our room, got a bite to eat, and headed for The Magic Kingdom for the day! But, once we got back, it was time to take a look around the resort. The grounds are very easy to walk around with paths wide enough for all who might be on them. The pool is basically the center of it all, and very big! Personally, I loved the hot tub, especially at 5am!

Port Orleans -  Riverside
Port Orleans –

Our room was right off the Riverside Mill Food Court, and had great accessibility to the main building for food, gift shop, and Concierge Desk. The main bus stop was close by, as well! We had a view of the Sassagoula River and it was very quiet in our area.

I took time, a few mornings, to walk around our little area of the resort, we were in building 14. The layout was easy to follow, all of the room exit to the outside in the Alligator Bayou area, and the landscaping is exquisite. Maybe Disney qualifies this as a Moderate Resort, but for my family it felt as Deluxe as any place we have stayed. For more information on either of the Port Orleans Resorts, visit

Our upcoming trip is at Art of Animation in the Lion King Family Suites, so I’m sure I’ll be giving you my impressions of that resort when we get back.

Have a magical and Blessed Day!

First Impressions: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

My first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom was on February 4, 2012. And, I have to admit I had no idea what to REALLY expect. As I walked through The Oasis, I was impressed with a few of the animals they had out. Including some sort of lizard, the name of which escapes me, that one of the Cast Members was holding as we walked by him. We found a not so Hidden Mickey in a Honey Dew melon.

Is this really a HIDDEN Mickey?
Is this really a HIDDEN Mickey?

Unfortunately, I am not a big thrill rider, but my wife and daughters definitely enjoyed Exploration Everest several times, but I really like the authentic look of the attraction. I did do Dinosaur, and plan to ride again on our upcoming trip now that I have a better idea of what to expect. Kilimanjaro Safari is cool, but the story was a little annoying. I am hoping the new story is more interesting! Kali River was closed on our last visit, so I’m really looking forward to it! I liked Rafiki’s Planet Watch, but my wife (the nature lover) wasn’t too impressed. I wouldn’t mind seeing them work on an animal while I’m there, though. DinoLand USA sucked my kids in and didn’t let them go! That will be the LAST spot to visit this trip. And, our son really enjoyed wandering around the Tree of Life! I will have to pay closer attention.

We ate at Yak and Yeti and while the food was really good, our service not so much. We have decided to go counter service this trip at Flame Tree Barbecue. At least that’s the plan for now.

What I found most was the Disney in the Details! And, I think that calling Animal Kingdom a half-day park may be a bit understated. I will be spending every possible minute here on this trip. I believe my second impression may be better than my first. Stay tuned!!

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share it with your friends! And, have Magical and Blessed Day, my friends!

Princess Fairytale Hall: How to meet the Princesses with no confusion

I really like how kennythepirate makes character encounters easier and well guided! If you enjoy this, please visit his site

KennythePirate's Unofficial Guide to Disney World

Princess Fairytale Hall is the new location for 4 of Disney’s most popular Princesses. You’re guaranteed to meet either Cinderella in one queue line with a visiting Princess or Rapunzel in another queue line with a guest Princess. You’ll find that almost all the time it will be Cinderella with Aurora/Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel with Snow White.  “Legacy” or paper Fastpass (we’ll get there) and Fastpass+ are available to meet each Princesss group.

Location:  Former Snow White’s Scary Adventures building right behind the Castle on your right as you pass through the Castle

Best time to go:  Rope drop, fireworks or immediately after fireworks or use a type of Fastpass.

Should I use FASTPASS?  I recommend waiting in one standard queue to experience the large artwork and Cinderella’s slipper and use some type for Fastpass for the other.  I would go there at rope drop one day or during fireworks…

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Extra: Memory Making Idea


How do you travel to Walt Disney World? Fly? drive? train? I have been thinking of something that could be fun for the entire family on the way.

I came up with the idea to put together a Vacation Journal. It seems simple enough! All we need is a good notebook to keep track of the states we pass through, restaurants we eat at (especially local fair) along the way, anything that might catch an eye and add to the memories of the journey.

Or, maybe we take a pack of 3×5 index cards and make notes to go with pictures we could snap along the way and then put the pictures, with the proper description card, into a photo album to bring a little more to our memories.

It just seems to me that it would be a really great way to keep track of where you have been, what you have done, and especially the greater highlights of your adventure.

I’m going to put one together for our upcoming trip. I may end up being the one to makes the entries, too! This could be interesting if I am the one driving. I’ll let you know how it works out and will likely share a bit of it with you!

Have a magical week, and God Bless You!!

First Impressions: Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Disney’s Hollywood Studios found me with a big smile on my face! This was my first visit to this park, because it simply didn’t exist the last time I visited WDW. As I made the walk down Hollywood Blvd toward Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat, I was looking around at all of the facades and found myself in a sense of wonder! I believe that Walt would be very proud of how this park turned out.

There is something here for everyone to enjoy! Thrill rides are covered with Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. If you like classic Disney style rides you will find Toy Story Midway Mania fits that bill quite well. Live shows will round out your day with Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, and the nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! If you’d like to learn more about how stunts are put together for movies, drop by Indiana Jones or Lights! Motor! Action!

Whatever your likes, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has it!

I really enjoyed my first visit to DHS, and am looking forward to my next visit coming up in just a few months. Look for a trip report when I get back with my thoughts on a few of the food venues.

Thanks for reading, and have a magical week!

First Impressions: Part Two

First View

When I first visited Walt Disney World some 31 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I was with my cousin, who had been with his family once or twice, but I had never seen The Magic Kingdom up to this point. We flew into Orlando, got a car service to our hotel, checked in, and jumped on a bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). The TTC was the only way to get to The Magic Kingdom. You could choose The Monorail or a Ferryboat. Of course, being my first visit, it had to be the Monorail for me!

As we walked down the ramp at the MK Monorail Station, my excitement grew! I was amazed that I couldn’t really get a glance of what was inside. As I got to the bottom of the ramp, I looked and say the Main Street Railway Station and that’s about all. But, as I entered the front gate to get my first look at Main Street USA, I was truly in awe of all that I was seeing! City Hall, the Fire Station, all the little shops, the circle with a little court yard in the middle. It all looked beautiful and I felt as though I had been transported to another time in history!

As we began to make the walk around the circle, I was thinking “what more could there be”? Well, that proved to be a rather silly question. As I came around The Emporium, my eyes felt like they got 3 times wider as there was quite the reveal in my eyesight…Cinderella Castle! It was right there! Right in front of me! WOW!!

And to this day, when I enter The Magic Kingdom, I still have the same sense of awe and wonder that I experienced back then. Just walking into The Magic Kingdom gives the feeling of weight being lifted off of my shoulders. And, the initial view of The Castle still takes my breath away, as though it was my first visit.

How about some of you? Is there something at Walt Disney World that still makes you say WOW? Let me know about it in the comments section below.

Until next time, enjoy a little magic in every day!

First Impressions! Part one


So, I’ve been trying to think of something interesting to write about. And, the one thing that kept coming into my mind was the first time I visited Walt Disney World on October 2, 1982. And, the very first thing I got to do was ride the futuristic Monorail to The Magic Kingdom! I remember standing there gazing in awe as this sleek looking, shiny ‘train’ wooshed into the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) Station. I was amazed!

In the years to follow, I still have that same sense of awe! As someone who has spent a significant part of his adult life in the transportation industry (bus driver), I am always interested in other forms of transportation. What has amazed me most about the Monorail, is that it hasn’t been a concept widely considered by local governments. After all, if I remember the spiel, the monorail is propelled by magnetic motors that use electricity to drive them. That seems incredibly efficient in my mind.

On my last trip, I took a Disney Transport bus from Port Orleans – Riverside to The Magic Kingdom. And, while it was nice to have someone else do the driving, I was a little confused by being dropped just feet away from the entrance to the park. What happened to the TTC? So, at the end of our day, my oldest daughter and I jumped on the boat from The Magic Kingdom to the TTC and boarded the EPCOT Monorail. I had to have a ride! There was no choice for me! I was drawn to it! And, my daughter loved the ride, too! Seeing her eyes as the train approached reminded me of how I must have looked oh so many years ago.

So, I ask you…Is the monorail a ride? An attraction? Transportation? Or, could it be a little of all three? I think you know my answer, please feel free to leave your comments.

I’d like to thank for mentioning my blog on their show! It was unexpected, but quite appreciated! Thanks, Guys!

And remember, may you always come home with Magical Memories!

So, What Are You Listening To?

I guess it’s no surprise that there is a need for those of us addicted to all things Disney that one of the tools we use are Disney Park Podcasts. At one point I had 14 different podcasts that I’ve listened to over the past few years. I have since found that my tastes have been sharpened enough and I now have 4 or 5 that I like best. Sure, I still keep a few others to fill my driving time, I drive a bus for a living.

So, I would like to take this time to give you just a few of my favorites. While my list is not necessarily in any order, I will admit that my number one and two choices are, indeed, my number one and number two choices. And, the reason is simply that these podcasts really speak to where I am in life. The others, however, are in no specific order.

1. ( With Bob Coller and Tim Scott.
2. Be Our Guest Trip Planning Podcast ( Hosted by Mike Rahlmann
3. The WDW Radio Show ( Hosted by Lou Mongello
4. WDW Today ( Hosted by Matt Hochberg
5. Inside The Magic ( Hosted by Ricky Brigante

Some of the others I listen to are; Generation Mouse, WEDway Radio, Wedway NOW!, Mousechat, and Disney Parks Podcast. These can be frequently listened to, but I do sometimes. Especially if the subject is interesting.

Many of these podcasts are available on I-Tunes, or most any other podcast service. Also, available at Sticher Radio On Demand (

So, what are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments section of this page.

Thanks for reading and have a very Magical Week!