As Departure Approaches!

We are about 10 days away from making our next trip to Walt Disney World! Preparations are going slow, but progress is being made a little at a time. Our MagicBands are here! All our Fastpass+ selections have been made! And, half of us are packed!

Disney World Arch

This is the tough time of all waiting for the final day to get here before we can get to my happy place! I am excited to try out the MyMagic+ system, but a little apprehensive at the same time! There have been a lot of changes and bug fixes, but since it was just recently announced that the total roll-out is being delayed, I really wonder how ready is this system for a full out assault?

We will be driving to WDW and will need about 17 hours to make the drive. We are building 20 hours in to allow for pit stops. I am excited to see The Art Of Animation Resort! And, yes there will be pictures, and maybe a video of our arrival. Keep an eye on this blog to follow along.

I am hoping that my birthday, Dec 5, will be special as we enjoy the Magic Kingdom and dinner at ‘Ohana! It was also my dad’s birthday, so I will be carrying a picture of him with me. And, of course, most of you should know that Walt Disney was also born on December 5!

I hope you’ll all join us through this virtual porthole! Have a blessed and magical day, my friends!

Restaurant Reviews To Help Choose!

Are you ready to do some choosing of restaurants to eat at while at Walt Disney World? Is your ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) day rapidly approaching and you’re just not sure if a particular restaurant is what you really want? This article is an attempt to link you to some aids in selecting the right place for the right time in your plans.

One of the most visited sites is probably at AllEars.net. If you visit http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showcat.php?cat=32 you can read some reviews for the different restaurants on the Walt Disney Resort property. Keep in mind that those of us who are a bit more fanatical about WDW food, may be a little harsh in our reviews.

Another site that I was surprised to find a lot of information on is http://www.tripadvisor.com. TripAdvisor does have quite a bit of information on Disney property restaurants. And the reviews seem to be well balanced! Just put the name of the restaurant in the search box, and include Disney World to narrow the search, and you should be able to read up on your picks.

Finally, I am finding menus on many different sites these days! AllEars.net has menu listings with prices. TouringPlans.com has menu items in their Lines app that you can get on Android or Iphone, there is a small cost for this app. And, of course, there is the Disney World website. Although, it is a bit more bulky to access the menu information.

Until next time, have a blessed and magical evening!

Is Star Wars All There Is

With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there has been a lot of talk about creating a Star Wars Land somewhere on the Walt Disney World resort property, most likely at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My question is, with so many fabulous properties under the Lucasfilm brand, why limit ourselves to Star Wars.

LucasMouse

I got to thinking about this after listening to some thoughts shared on one of my favorite podcasts, Resort Loop at http://www.resortloop.com, that we may be limiting our vision a bit. On the podcast, the question was raised as part of a discussion about creating a fifth gate on the WDW property. If that is to be considered, I think it fits best to be LucasLand and to include more of the Lucas films. Who can forget one of the earliest movies out of the Lucas corral, American Graffiti? And, of course, there’s more that could be done with Indiana Jones! And, I’d like to see something that would explain the evolution of THX sound!

Sure, I’d love to see more Star Wars at any of the Disney Parks. But, if we consider the idea of a fifth park at WDW, I think there’s enough in the Lucas arsenal to bring several ideas to life.

This is just my opinion, but I wanted to share and seek your input, as well.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed and magical evening!

If I Were a Disney Heir

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an heir to the Walt Disney legacy?  I sure have!  If I were an heir to Walt, I believe I’d have to have my hands into everything that is going on around the company.  Walt was known for animated movies using mostly innovations he designed. The creation of Mickey Mouse was his opening act into this genre that really gained traction when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered to thunderous applause and the accolades of industry critics when it took an Oscar.  He was also known for family friendly entertainment!  I think of movies like Old Yeller, Toby Tyler, and Pollyanna brought challenges of families of the early years to the big screen.  They showed us the importance of family and being together.  I love these Disney Classics.

When it comes to the theme parks, Walt Disney knew that there needed to be a place for the entire family to come together and spend some quality time connecting with each other.  Thus, Disneyland was born!  And, out of that we have seen the parks grow!  First, Walt Disney World with eventual growth to four different theme parks, resorts of all levels for guests to choose from, and many activities outside of the parks to keep you occupied for weeks and never have to leave the property.  And, let’s not forget, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and soon Beijing!

If I were a part of the Disney family, I would truly want to have someone keeping and eye on how things are done.  Making sure that the movies are high quality to entertain families and give them a reason to spend some time together.  Checking up on the theme parks to be sure that the Guest Experience measures up to the level that Walt expected every time he walked into Disneyland.  And, even applying the values of the Disney name to any other venture that falls under the family umbrella.

Sure, Walt Disney had tough times and made some rough decisions as he grew his company.  And, it should be expected, that as the company continues to grow, there may be some small setbacks along the way.  But, if I were an heir, I’d have a sense of pride and commitment to secure a future NOT just for the stockholders and employees of the company, but also for the guests of our films and theme parks.

But, alas, I will just have to accept that I am not an heir.  Not a family member.  The only things that connect me to Walt Disney is my love for the Disney product, and my birthday, which is December 5.

Thank you Walt for leaving your legacy for all of those who have inherited your dreams!

Why I Cry at Walt Disney World

Anyone else know the feeling? You get to your resort, get settled into your room, grab a bite to eat like it’s no big deal being there. You board the Disney Transport bus and head to the park, no big deal either, right? You arrive at the bus depot and you start to feel the anticipation of what lies ahead. FINALLY, you walk through security to the turnstiles and get admitted. Now it hits you! YOU’RE AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM! As you approach the train station you see the beautiful flowers. As you clear the tunnel, tears begin to roll down your face as you realize that you are so happy to be here! That’s what happens to me every time I walk into the Magic Kingdom. It is typically the first park I visit when I take my vacation at Walt Disney World.

Our first family visit in Feb. 2012
Our first family visit in Feb. 2012

I love the feeling of being a kid in awe of the creation that began with Walt Disney. I grew up watching “The Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday evenings and remember the opening of Disneyland on our old Black and White television. In my mind, Mr. Disney was the greatest man on earth. I have loved all of the classic movies and even the original Mickey Mouse Club in syndication. And, being in a place that Walt designed, but was unable to see to completion! And, that thought causes me to be a bit emotional, also!

And then there’s the other end of the deal! Leaving! If you use Disney’s provided transportation for all of your needs, then the ride back to the airport is aboard the Tragical Express. I’m not sure what to call it when you have a 17 hour drive home ahead of you, but I’m sure I’ll be wailing a good bit of the way. In my heart, I never want to leave. This is the only place in the world where I feel I can be myself! It is my hope to relocate, someday, and be a part of the magic.

So, yes I cry going into the Happiest Place on Earth, and I cry harder on the way out! And, I am so looking forward to it on my upcoming trip!

Appetite Adventures

Sanaa - Animal Kingdom Lodge

There are many places to eat around Walt Disney World. I have only sampled a half-handful at this point. On my upcoming trip, I will be able to try a few new places, and repeat a couple of our favorites from our last trip. One of the visit again restaurants is ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. My wife insists on ‘Ohana for every trip. And, if that is the only way to get her there, I’ll use that incentive every time!

Two of my new places this trip will be Wilderness Canyon Cafe (WCC) at the Wilderness Lodge and Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom. WCC is part of the Backstage Magic tour that I have scheduled and I am so looking forward to seeing the Wilderness Lodge and eating at WCC! I hear that Flame Tree is pretty good as Counter Service spots are concerned, so it will be interesting to see how my family reacts.

Here is a list of my five ‘want to visit’ restaurants in upcoming trips to Walt Disney World:

1. California Grill – I’m not a Sushi fan, but there are other menu items that sounds really tasty. And, I think the view may be the real seller on this place.

2. Yachtsman Steakhouse – I love steak! And, it’s close proximity to EPCOT makes it appealing for an early dinner so we could be back in time for Illuminations!.

3. Be Our Guest – Haven’t gotten there, yet. May eat there on Walt’s Birthday…Mine too! Hope to see the inside of the Beast Castle and get some good pictures!

4. Columbia Harbour House – Love the look of the menu. I hear the Clam Chowder is awesome and the setting is very nice in the middle of Liberty Square.

5. Sanaa – I like the idea of eating at Animal Kingdom Lodge. And, I’m hoping there may actually be some spicing to please the palette.

What are some you would recommend? Leave a comment and tell me.

As always, have a Blessed and Magical Week!

Christmas in the World

Christmas WDW
Photo from WDW Info

As I am in the midst of preparing for our next visit to Walt Disney World, I am excited about the plethora of Christmas options being offered in the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

We are skipping Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I just can justify the cost for this trip. Someday, I hope to be able to fit it in, just for the experience. We have Candlelight Processional booked with our meal (I’ll save the location until after our trip). And, I am really looking forward to the Holidays around the World at EPCOT! I think seeing how other countries handle this beautiful time of year.

Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios should be an absolute delight. Pardon the pun! And, of course, the Magic Kingdom is still decorated! I am really going to enjoy this vacation! I am also hoping to drop by a few resorts to get some pictures of the decorations. We are staying at Art Of Animation, but I hope to see Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and maybe Port Orleans – Riverside, too.

So, let me ask you all to help me out a little.

Have fun with this! That’s all it’s meant to be!

Have a Blessed and Magical Weekend!

Disney Wish List

Many people refer to it as a “Bucket List”. I don’t want to look at it as something to do before I die, I look at it as my list of things to do while I am alive!

Disney Logo

1. Stay at EVERY Disney World Resort
2. Spend a full month just enjoying everything at WDW
3. Cruise on every Disney Cruise Lines ship on at least four different itineraries
4. Walk in Walt’s Shoes tour offered by Adventures By Disney
5. See all of the international Disney Parks
6. Retire to Walt Disney World (as if that will every happen)
7. Aulani, enough said

How about you? What are some of the things on your list? Leave you comments below!

Have a Blessed and Magical week!

Disney Honors Veterans

US flag

As Veteran’s Day comes and goes, I’d like to ask those of you in one of the Disney Parks, to take a moment at the flag pole and thank God for those who sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, for the freedoms we have in the United States of America! Since my dad died, and I got to see first hand “on behalf of a grateful nation”, I have become more aware of just what this means to me, personally.

At Disneyland, and The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, there is a flag retreat ceremony. But, how many of us take the time to observe this ceremony? So, I want to make you a challenge! If you are at Disneyland, or the Magic Kingdom, please check the daily calendar and take the time to pay tribute to the veterans in the audience.

Here is something to enjoy from DAPs Magic YouTube Channel…

SALUTE!!