In SUMMERRRRRRRR at WDW!!!!!!

thermometer

Yes, it’s that time of year when we sweat at the very thought of sweating!  I am in Ohio and already we are combating heat in the 90s, and humidity at 200%!  I can’t even imagine with it may be doing at Walt Disney World.  However, knowing that most people need to stick to the school systems schedules, here are a few suggestions and reminders for surviving the hot summer days in Central Florida!  And, maybe we will see how Olaf really does in summer!

The biggest thing is to remember to stay hydrated! Water, Water, Water!!! Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as they will only serve to dry you out and dehydrate your body! This is a BAD thing! Eat some fresh fruits to help keep hydrated, as well!

Make use of some of the indoor attractions like: Hall of Presidents, Impressions de France, or Finding Nemo to get some time in the air conditioning, the same goes for indoor eating establishments. A little cooling off can recharge you and keep you moving in the direction you want to go.

If necessary, plan a midday break! Enjoy your resort pool, take a nap, watch a little Stacy on Resort TV. Then head back into the parks when the sun is working it’s way down and things begin to cool off a bit. This tip is good especially if you have little ones who don’t handle the heat well, and might become cranky as the temperature gets warmer. (I know a few dads who could use the break, too)

Remember, this is a vacation! You don’t want to end up spending in at the First Aid Station, or worse, a hospital when you should be riding Splash Mountain or Test Track!

Stay cool and have a blessed and magical day, my friends!!

EPCOT: Future World Story?

Love this Logo for EPCOT!
Love this Logo for EPCOT!
On my first visit to EPCOT Center on October 3, 1982, I didn’t care about backstory, or even why it was there! I DID care that it was a dream of Walt Disney, who I had admired my entire childhood! When I first walked in, it was new! It looked new, smelled new, and acted new! Heck, some of the paint hadn’t even dried, yet. And, there were a couple of pavilions that were not even close to being to being completed! But, I loved every minute of my visit SO MUCH, that I came back six months later and 6 more times over the next three years.

Now, 30+ years later, I find myself wondering about the story. And, I ended up looking at Future World for my inspiration! That is what I share with you, today. My EPCOT: Future World Story

When you think of the original pavilions that made up Future World on opening day, or a shortly after, you can begin to develop an idea of how the story might go in the development of this fabulous Theme Park.

The first pavilion that comes to my mind is one that was NOT ready for opening day, but opened months after. The Imagination Pavilion seems to be the perfect place to begin this story! Anytime there has been creation of new technology, music, art, or any other type of never before seen anything, the Imagination is the most likely place that an idea began! The Imagination Pavilion introduced us to a character named Dreamfinder. His mission was to get us all to consider what could be done inside our minds, with just a bit of thought and creativity. In HIS imagination he shows us how he was able to put together a very lovable fellow named Figment! And, together they guided us on a tour of all the areas where the imagination can have an effect on daily living and progress.

As my story goes, once the imagination has done its job, the time to develop the technology then becomes the task at hand. Thus we have the other pavilions and their part of the story.

Spaceship Earth  EPCOT
Spaceship Earth
EPCOT

Communication becomes a huge part of any type of development. Today, it is quite easy to make a call, text, or even have visual discussions in different locations. But, it wasn’t always that way. As a result, the remaining pavilions give us a glimpse of how things began with a bit of a history lesson before moving through all of the evolution of communication in Spaceship Earth! This attraction takes you through the “Dawn of Recorded Time”. As the ride progresses, we get a look at how communicating has changed around the world through history making it easier to share ideas and creativity.

One of the most basic needs we had in the ‘early days’ was food. And, since most of our food was home-grown, it was necessary to develop ways to farm without damaging the land we were using. The Land pavilion housed “Listen to the Land”. A boat ride that is still used today, with some changes in its presentation (and name)! We got to see much of the techniques used to prepare, plant, and harvest the food needed to feed our families and friends. Today, there is more about conservation than ever. But, the coolest part of this ride, then and now, is the alternative planting methods on exhibit. Look for the Fluted Pumpkin the next time through!

World of Motion was one of my favorite pavilions! It began with the creation of the wheel and took us through the development of horse and buggy transportation, to automobiles, and even to aircraft! This attraction really kept you moving as you got to see images of some of the inventors who began their quest for freedom through mobility by using their imaginations, and then finding ways to take there dreams and make them realities. After all, It’s Fun To Be Free!

Horizons gave us a look at living in environments that might be considered out of this world! Well, at least some of it! This attraction looked at developing areas for population including space, underwater, and desert areas. You are introduced to Jules Verne, who is considered one of the fathers of this kind of thinking. It points out that people are an important resource when it comes to making change of this type. At the end of the ride, guests are invited to choose a scenario of living in space, at the bottom of an ocean, or in the middle of a desert. Then, through the magic of Disney, you get to see a brief vignette that allows you to see what that life might be like.

Finally, The Universe of Energy gave us a peek at some of the ways we made use of various sources to produce electricity and fuels for everyday use such as natural gas and petroleum. After the preshow, you were (still are) brought into this huge auditorium, where you load into the most unique ride vehicles I can think of at Walt Disney World, and the show continued. The movie portion really gave you an excellent look into how we use different methods to produce the fuels to produce energy. Then, the coolest thing happens…the room seems to move (rotates) and the wall disappears, and you begin your journey through prehistoric history to see where the petroleum resources originated. The coolest part of the show, if you ask me! And, the cars are solar powered! That’s right, the power of the sun is used to get these vehicles moving through the attraction! The show ends with an introduction of how scientists and technologists are working to make better use of solar, wind, and hydro power to produce the energy we need for the conveniences we take advantage of every day.

So, what is the story of Future World? In order to get the story of the future, we need to get the story of our past. The future begins with imagination and continues through development and testing! The truth is that this story isn’t finished!

Have a Blessed and Magical weekend, my friends!!

Trip Report Tuesday, Rope Drop Magic Kingdom!

It’s been a crazy week, so far! As a result, We are a day late getting the next installment of our guest trip report from my friend, Diane Trowbridge out. Well, here is is!! Enjoy!!

Inside Be Our Guest
Inside
Be Our Guest

Day 3: Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom (MK) with a FPP for Enchanted Tales with Belle. Even though we were traveling childless, we enjoyed the interaction of Belle with the children and their parents. It’s a great show, which was even better with no wait, thanks to our FPP. Enjoyed our FPP on Space Mountain, and minimal waits for Small World, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Monsters Inc., Buzz Lightyear, Carousel of Progress, with a longer wait for Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid.

We had FPP for Be Our Guest lunch, having ordered our lunches 2 weeks before. It was wonderful to walk past that long line, confirm our lunch selections and find a table. In no time our lunch appeared (how do they do that?) and was delicious (grilled ham & cheese sandwich aka “croquet monsieur” with fries and Braised pork, with the “grey stuff” cupcake and lemon cupcake). It counts as a Quick service meal on the Dining Plan, but feels like a Table service to our bellies! Neither of us could finish our meals.

After lunch we hopped on the Train at Fantasyland station and rode to Frontierland for our FPP on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Surprised by the long queue at Pirates of the Caribbean, about 45 minutes, and a full house at Enchanted Tiki Room. A Cast Member (CM) informed us it was the first sunny day after 3 rainy ones, and hence the heavier-than-expected crowds by afternoon.

Since it was a Sunday, we were able to ride the Monorail to our dinner reservation at Grand Floridean Café. (The resort monorail service is suspended weekdays at midday for maintenance work at this time.) Since we were early, we strolled around the grounds and throughout the lobby at this spectacular Deluxe resort. Had an incredible meal at the Café (salmon, steak, with the dessert sampler, all on the dining plan). These meals have been spectacular! Rode the monorail back to MK and caught the POFQ bus after a full day!

Unforgettable

Many of us have probably heard that old Nat King Cole song! And, the remade duet with his daughter Natalie made it even more special! That seems to be an appropriate opening for this entry in the ABCs of Walt Disney World, as most visits to a Disney Theme Park is definitely UNFORGETTABLE!

How many of you remember the first time you stepped onto the ground at Walt Disney World? I know I remember! Every visit has a special memory of it’s own, doesn’t it? From the first impression of a Disney Resort to the first time you enter one of the four theme parks, you know that you are about to experience something unique to you and your family.

There is just something about that first time, each trip, when I walk up to The Magic Kingdom! I find the ability to forget the ‘real’ world and become immersed in the story unfolding before me. Life seems to roll right off my shoulders and out of my mind as I make my way under the train station to enter Main Street U.S.A.! And, from that moment on, it’s all about a different time and place!

Similar experiences await us all at the other three theme parks of Walt Disney World. And, for each person the first unforgettable memory may be different than someone else’s. And, that is what it’s all about!

My first memory of EPCOT Center, as it was known on my first visit in 1982, was the massive size of Spaceship Earth and the mix of futuristic music coming out of the speakers to put a lasting impression in my mind. To this day, I still get chills anytime I hear the EPCOT Entrance Loop on http://www.magicalmouseradio.com. I am transported back in time to my first experience here.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little different for me. As you approach the park by either car or bus, you get a glimpse of the Tower of Terror as it reaches above the skyline of the park to greet you! You may also have a memorable first impression as you walk through the entrance! As you enter you find yourself on Hollywood Blvd. The buildings have an early 20th century feel to them! You almost feel like a star as you walk in and are swept away by the beauty of this park!

Expedition Everest Disney's Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom almost offers two entrances! There is the initial entrance, but then there is the walk through Discovery Island on your way to Africa, Asia, or Dinoland U.S.A. The first thing you notice as you clear Discovery Island is the iconic Tree of Life! This towering piece of technology definitely makes a statement! And, of course, there’s the other ‘elephant’ in the land, Expedition Everest! The thrill ride of all thrill rides!

One thing I would suggest to help make any of your vacations UNFORGETTABLE, is to take time to stop and allow yourself to become a part of the show, even for a moment or two. As said before, Disney is IN the Details! And, if you just run from place to place without taking in some of the backstory, artwork, and design, you may miss half of the memories you could enjoy.

So, from my house to yours…make your next trip to Walt Disney World UNFORGETTABLE!!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Imagination

Walt Disney had a vision of how he wanted to entertain early in his life and it continued right up to his death. The greatest tool I think he possessed was his IMAGINATION. And, as shown by the pavilion of the same name at EPCOT, all of us are encouraged to use OUR imaginations to move forward with progress.

Fountain at the Imagination Pavilion
Fountain at the Imagination Pavilion

In it’s original production, was hosted by Dreamfinder and Figment! The ride attraction had Dreamfinder on a dirigible type aircraft collecting various elements of imagination. And, one of the results is the creation of Figment! A cute little dragon with two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, a lovable fellow, with a touch of childish delight. And, I remember the Image Works part of the Imagination pavilion! It was fun and inventive and I was able to be the kid I was never able to be growing up! It was one of the most special places on the property for me.

Today, Disney’s Imagineers continue to combine imagination with engineering to create and develop new experiences within Disney Parks worldwide. And, more often than not, they develop the new, fun, and unique attractions that keep us coming back for more.

Finally, I think that one of Walt’s goals may have been to allow us to give ourselves permission to let our own imaginations loose when we are at Walt Disney World. He wanted to encourage the use of our imaginations to see where we could go with our thoughts and creations. I believe he accomplished that goal.

Until next time, my friends, have a Blessed and Magical Day. And, let you imaginations loose!

Hopping

You only have 4 days to get as much magic in as you possibly can, and you’re not sure how to pull off everything you want to do. One possible solution is what is called HOPPING!

You will hear people debating whether to Park Hop or not. It is a basic question to ask during your initial planning for your visit to Walt Disney World. My advice is that it depends on how many days you are going to be able to squeeze out. If you can devote at least 7 days (or more) to your park days, you may not want to use the Park Hopping option to your admissions. If you have 5 days or less, Park Hopping may make better sense for you to get in all the rides, attractions, and fireworks that you have on your must do list.

Hopping

How does Park Hopping work? First order of business is to determine how many days you are committing to your trip to The World. Then map out what attractions, rides, fireworks, and even restaurants you are wanting to make sure you get to see. If Park Hopping will allow you to fit more of these items completed, then you need only pay $59 per person for the entire time of your visit. Yes, even if you decide to hop on the 7 days or more, it is still only $59 for the entire length of your admissions!

Granted, this is my suggestion, and others may use different strategies. But, having a plan and knowing how you want to accomplish your goals makes for a smoother visit to THE Vacation Kingdom!

Have a Blessed, Warm, and Magical day, my friends!!

Food

Today in our ABCs of Walt Disney World, we talk about just about everyone’s favorite subject…FOOD!

When it comes to food around WDW, it’s everywhere! There are two primary categories of restaurant choices when in the World. You can choose from Counter/Quick Service locations or Sit-Down Restaurants. There are also what’s called Signature locations. These places boast some of the best menus, and some of the most expensive meals, on the property. Personally, it’s out of my budget, but if you can afford to take on this experience, go for it!

'Ohana grill
‘Ohana grill

If you’re in a hurry, counter locations are typically quicker to grab a meal and take the least amount of time out of your park time. Most quick service have basic menus. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, drinks. There are some, however, that serve more adventurous fair. In the Magic Kingdom, Cosmic Rays offers some of the best fried chicken on property is served here. And, there’s a nice sized indoor sitting area, so getting a break from the weather can help refresh your crew for the next round of attractions. If your at EPCOT, you might want to try something like Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco. Unique flavors and atmosphere makes this experience worthwhile. There are many more in all the parks and something for every taste.

Now if you want something that takes a bit more time and introduces you to some more exciting meals, then the vast array of Sit-Down Venues offer quite a variety! World Showcase alone has a virtual smorgasbord. Each country has an offering the tempt all palettes! Add to that the various resorts, Downtown Disney, and all the parks and you could spend a few months just trying to taste something from each. And, don’t forget the character meals! They are all over the place! One of our favorites in EPCOT is Nine Dragons in the China Pavilion. Quiet, tasty, and very good service! Yachtsmen Steak at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is rumored to have some of the best meat dishes around Orlando. And, of course, ‘Ohana is possibly the hardest reservation to get! The Polynesian style cooking makes each meal delectable. Plan early for this one!!

If you want to treat your beloved to a very special evening, then you may want to consider one of the Signature locations. One I want to try is The California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort! This restaurant has just undergone a refurbishment that includes some of the menu items. It’s going to cost you, but there is one thing that could make it worth every penny…The View!! From the balcony of The California Grill you can see, and hear, Wishes! from The Magic Kingdom. This will impress your special someone!

There are many more offerings we could talk about, but that would take pages! Take a look at the Disney Food Blog website at http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/the-best-restaurants-series/ for more information and reviews.

Have a Blessed and Magical Day!!