There’s A Lot Of Magic In This Little Band!

MagicBands are all-in-one devices that serve as your park ticket, room key, Disney Dining Plan, merchandise purchasing and Fast Pass+ access!

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Later this year, you will be able to use it for Disney’s Photopass as well. I spoke to a cast member the other day who told me they are also working on a system to store information on the MagicBand for those requiring a Guest Assistance Card.

With a MagicBand on your wrist you’ll be able to travel more freely throughout your vacation! No more digging through your purses and pockets for cards and cash. Just tap your band to a reader and go!  MagicBands are currently being tested at select Disney resort hotels and will become available to all Disney resort guests and Disney Annual Passholders in the coming months.  Eventually they will be offered for purchase to day visitors as well, but they will not have all of the perks that are available to on-property resort guests; such as room key, dining plan and charging privileges.

The resorts that are currently in MagicBand roll out phase are as follows: All Star Music

Art of Animation Resort
Beach Club Resort
Polynesian Resort
Port Orleans Resort
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Contemporary Resort
Pop Century Resort
Yacht Club Resort

My family and I were lucky enough to take a “staycation” at Disney’s Yacht Club over Labor Day Weekend, and we were even luckier to receive our MagicBands during our stay! Now, because we booked the room only 4 days prior to arrival, we did not have the option to customize our bands, meaning we received grey bands at check in, rather than getting chosen colors in the mail 10 days before arrival. So, if you do take a last minute trip, keep in mind that you won’t get to choose a color.

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No biggie! Grey matches everything, and if you really want to spice up your Magic Band, Disney has thought of that too! There are many little doo dads you can purchase to make them more fun!

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Tony and Matthew opted to decorate their bands with character buttons,

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but I prefer the decorative sleeves.

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While the bands are fairly flexible, hypoallergenic, waterproof, and fit very much like a watch, they can get a little sweaty and uncomfortable in the heat. But the sleeves are made of a material similar to Under Armor or Dri Fit. I find it to be much more comfortable on my wrist with the sleeve over it. Not to mention the options of prints and colors are so cute! All of these neat little accessories can be used together if you so choose! But personally, I found it to be a little clunky when I tried snapping the buttons on overtop of the sleeve.

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So, I just want to give you a quick run down of how the Magic Bands have worked so far…

Because we have annual passes, we booked a room only reservation. So, when the reservation was made, I was able to link our annual passes to our room reservation through My Disney Experience on the Disney World website. It was very simple, just a few quick steps. If you’re not yet familiar with My Disney Experience and all it has to offer, visit the Disney World website today and learn all about it! And feel free to ask me any questions you might have.

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We stayed Club Level at Yacht Club, and the band could even be used to access the 5th floor Regatta Club on the elevator as well! Very cool.

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Getting in to the room was so easy, tap the band to the RFID pad, the light flashes green, and in you go! It’s so nice when your hands are full to be able to do that!

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Making purchases at the gift shops and quick service dining were just as easy. Just tap, enter your pre-chosen PIN and go!

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The only thing that was a pain was when using a discount – such as the annual passholder’s 10% discount on food and merchandise, you still have to show them your passholder card and your photo ID to receive the discount.

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Hopefully that will change in the future. The same holds true when arriving at the parking lot booths as well.  We did not dine at any table service restaurants during our stay, so I can’t comment on how they work there, only to say that other guests told me that they bring and RFID pad to your table to scan your band, but then you still have to sign a slip and add the tip after the fact, and there have been some electronic mishaps/delays in the process. So, they are still working out some kinks.

Using our bands to enter the parks worked the same as when using our annual pass cards, just tap the band to the reader while holding your finger to the scanner, the light on the pole will spin until it turns green, and off you go!

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Fast Pass+…I was very skeptical about this at first. I really thought it was going to be a pain in the tush to go online and reserve fast passes ahead of time. It is very easy when you arrive at the attractions during your designated time. Again, just tap and go! BUT…going online or to the provided kiosks in the parks can be a bit of a headache.

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It’s a slow system, and it will give you Options A, B, C, and D when choosing three fast passes for the day. So, if you don’t like the times that are designated in the options, you have to go back in and change each one individually, so it is kind of a headache. Not to mention, unless you’ve done some real itinerary planning, having fast passes before you even get to a park could be a bad thing. You’re limited to three. What if you sleep late? What if weather delays you? What if you decide to go to another park? What if your dinner takes longer than expected and you are on the other side of the park? Well, then you have to see a cast member for assistance in order to change your fast passes to something more convenient. So, if you’d prefer to wing it, I would suggest not using it, or only using Fast Pass+ on days when you know you’ll be able to work around those reserved ride and show times.

All in all, I give the bands “Two Ears Up”!  They are convenient, easy to use and so cute!  I can’t wait to see what else we’ll be able to do with them in the future. Great job Disney!

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For more information regarding Disney MagicBands please feel free to send me your questions.

You can also visit  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/bands-cards/

Thanks for joining me on yet another Amazing Disney Adventure!

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Epcot: It’s All In The Details

Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought “wow, that architectural detail is amazing!” or “can you imagine how long it took them to hand carve the details in to that doorway?” Well, at Disney World I do it all the time, especially at Epcot.

There are so many things to do and see at Epcot. And I really love World Showcase. You can take a tour of Europe and Asia without ever having to leave the comfort of the Disney bubble. It gives you an authentic taste of what you could expect when visiting the 11 amazing countries that make up World Showcase.

It goes without saying that you will have many, many opportunities to sample culinary delights from around the world. But you will also get to take in the many popular sights of these countries as well. From the very rustic, authentic Stave Church replica in Norway, to the hand carved wooden doors and hand laid mosaic tiles in the Morocco pavilion, there are sights around every corner that will transport you to another place and time in history.

I happened to be at Epcot yesterday while celebrating my husband’s birthday. So I took the opportunity to snap some photos of the amazing details that can be found around The World. I hope you enjoy this little photo tour of Epcot…

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Thanks for joining my on my latest Amazing Disney Adventure! Please feel free to post questions, comments, and share this with your friends! Have a MAGICAL day!

Going On A Disney Date!

Can you believe that in our dozens of visits to Disney World, Tony and I have NEVER gone without the kids?!  So, a couple of days ago we decided it was time to go on a “Disney Date”!  At first I thought it might be strange to go to a park without the kids in tow. But then I remembered how much I enjoyed my solo vacations that I took a couple years ago, and how I saw the parks in a completely different light. So, I knew that touring a park with my love would be just as wonderful, if not more so.

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We started the day nice and early, because we knew we were restricted to the time that Matthew would be at school. So, we dropped him off and headed right to Disney World. Thankfully, we only live 15 minutes away, and we are able to get there on a fairly quiet route, that has little to no rush hour traffic. Even with the drive and having to park and take a tram and then the Ferry, we were inside Magic Kingdom and in line to visit the Big Cheese by 10am!

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I wanted it to feel like we were actually on a date. So, we dressed a little less casual than we normally do when we visit the parks, because after all, it was a special day just for the two of us! We are usually in shorts and tee shirts, but I wanted to be a little more girly and put on one of my favorite dresses, as well as jewelry, which I normally don’t wear in the parks because I don’t like to have a lot of things on when it’s very hot outside.

It was a perfect Florida day, not too humid, in the mid 80’s, with a light breeze and blue skies with big puffy clouds. But, it does heat up fast here, so it was so nice to be there earlier in the day.

We knew we only had 4 hours to spend at Magic Kingdom today, so we decided to focus on just a couple of things: visiting some of our favorite characters, going on just a couple of rides, and having lunch.  And 4 hours was just the right amount of time to accomplish all of that.

The wait for Mickey was only 20 minutes, so that was short and sweet. When we were done with that we took our leisurely stroll down Main Street, holding hands and kissing in front of the Castle. (which we do EVERY time we are there, it’s our little tradition).

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We were just in time to see the Dream Along with Mickey Show at the Castle stage. It had been a while since we’d seen it because Matthew and Michael always complain that they’d rather be on the rides. So, that was a nice thing to get to do for a change. I love watching the princesses and their princes dance around the stage to their romantic theme songs. And I love seeing Minnie and Mickey in their extra sparkly costumes. The show is about 15 minutes long, so just the right amount of time before the sun started to make us a little too toasty.

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We were very leisurely. We were in no hurry to be in a particular place at a particular time. We just held hands and walked until we found something we wanted to do. First, we hopped on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. It’s one of our favorite rides at Magic Kingdom. And, naturally Tony stole a kiss or two while we were going through the nice dark parts of Space Mountain.

After that we headed to New Fantasyland to visit more of the Fab Five (six if you count Daisy) at the Pete’s Silly Side Show tent. I have a feeling that a lot of guests do not know the characters are back there yet. Which is a shame, but it turned out fabulous for us! Because there were only about 10 people in line ahead of us to see all of the characters. We were able to get to Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy in about 20 minutes! I still find it strange that the Fab Five is scattered all over the place. Mickey has his own building, the other 4 are tucked away in the back corner of the park, and poor Pluto doesn’t even get a meet n greet in the shade! He’s stuck in Town Square outside in the sweltering heat. Poor guy, covered in fur and nothing to keep him cool. Sadly we did not get to see Pluto as he was having a water and dog bone break when we passed by.

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After that we stopped at a gift shop to peruse the offerings. I REALLY wanted a few new charms for my Disney bracelet, and since we were on a date, all I had to do was bat my eyelashes and ask politely. I love my bracelet. It’s a “portable” collection, unlike Tony’s refrigerator magnets I get to wear mine. We were joking about that — I said “well, if you wore metal plates in your shorts, you could wear your magnets around the parks”.  I also said he should be a fridge filled with Disney magnets for Halloween, but he wasn’t very receptive to that idea.

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Tony has been wanting to get his picture with Gaston forever so, we headed over to the village after that. Gaston was hysterical! Probably one of the best face characters we’ve met to date. He had Gaston’s personality down to a tee. He was arrogant – but funny about it. And he flirted with the ladies, teased the kids, and charmingly insulted the dads. I took the opportunity to point out to Gaston that unlike his muscles, Tony’s are real. To which he replied ” The padding is there for your protection, ma’am”.

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Once we were done messing with Gaston, we absolutely had to go over to the tavern so Tony could sit in Gaston’s chair for a photo. A nice couple on their honeymoon offered to take our picture, and then we did the same for them. I love all the details the Imagineers put in to all of their creations, but they’ve really outdone themselves in New Fantasyland. I just can’t say enough about all the wonderful things we discover every time we go there.

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All the wonderful smells filling the air had our tummies rumbling. We’ve heard wonderful things about the pork shank that they serve at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s supposed to be even better than the smoked turkey legs. But, Tony’s tummy had other things in mind. He wanted a hot dog, so off to Casey’s we went! Their hot dogs are so yummy, and so filling, but worth every calorie. Tony opted for the big, honking chili cheese dog. But, for me, a nice little regular hot dog was just what I wanted. I prefer my dogs naked – no crazy toppings for me, thank you. Just a little ketchup and relish and I’m good to go. We got a nice seat at a table outside, and we were just in time to watch the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It floats come down Main Street. Naturally, I had to sing and dance along!  I love that little parade.

After that, we had just enough time to do a little more walking and people watching. We made a stop at the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, and then headed back down Main Street to stroll through the shops. Of course, we stopped in thee most expensive shop on Main Street, and this is what I found — a jewel encrusted Cinderella Castle. And, YES the price tag says $37,500. Oh, Power Ball why do you elude me???  Some day I will have a big fancy house, and a big fat wallet with enough money to attain this amazing masterpiece!

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So, our tummies all settled, we decided it was time for something sweet! And there’s no better place to find that than the Main Street Confectionery. I LOOOOVEEE the smells in that place. So sweet and sugary. And I love to watch the cast members making all the yummy treats. Today we opted for a giant peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie. For which I had all of three bites, handed it to Tony and said “I’m out, it’s all you Big Kahuna”.  And, being the sweet monger that he is, Tony gobbled it up within a minute.

Sadly, it was time to head out. But we had such a good time.

There are many, many amazing things you can do as a couple at Disney World. We had just a few hours that day, but there is so much more to see and do. Not just rides and shows. You can take a tour. Two of my favorites are the Keys to the Kingdom and the Wild Africa Trek. Which I will discuss another time. But, you can stop to watch the glass blowers create special souvenirs on Main Street. You can stop to watch the bands and street performers. You can shop shop shop til you drop drop drop! You can just sit on a bench with a frosty beverage and people watch. You can hunt for Hidden Mickeys. And another thing I love to do take photos. Not of people or attractions. But of the little things around the parks. I pick one category, and spend my time taking photos of those things. For example, one time I just walked around Magic Kingdom and took pictures of flowers and foliage. There are some amazing gardens at Disney World, and one of my favorites is the rose garden near the Castle. Another time, I decided to take photos of architectural details, and there are some great opportunities for that at World Showcase in Epcot.

As you can see, there’s lots for couples to do at Disney World. It’s not just for little kids, it’s for us big kids too! Next time we plan to visit Epcot. Take in the countries, snack around the World, and do our leisurely stroll around the park.

Thank you Tony Leto for an amazing date! I can’t wait to do it again, very soon!

Thanks for joining me! Please feel free to post comments and questions. Share my blog with your friends, and keep following me on my Amazing Disney Adventures! Have a Magical Day!

…999 Happy Haunts, But There’s Always Room For One More…

The Haunted Mansion is not just a ride, it’s a journey in to the imagination…and for my family, no visit to Magic Kingdom is complete without a visit to this iconic Disney attraction. Since I’m an East Coast girl, I’m going to talk about Disney World’s Haunted Mansion today. Even though I’ve ridden The Haunted Mansion dozens of times, I still find new things that I haven’t noticed before. Which makes it even more fun.

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A Magic Kingdom classic! Since it’s debute during the opening of the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, the Haunted Mansion has been one of the best-loved attractions at Walt Disney World Resort. Located atop a hill overlooking Liberty Square, this spooky house is home to 999 happy haunts — but there’s always room for one more…any volunteers? Muhahahaha!

So, what makes The Haunted Mansion so special? Lots of things! And here are just a few of my favorite things, along with some fun facts I’ve learned over the years about one of my favorite attractions in all of Disney World…

Did you know that many of the cast members believe that the mansion is really haunted? In both the Disney World and Disneyland attractions, they claim to have seen real ghosts who appear even when the ride is not operating! One in particular is that of an old man with a cane wandering down the corridor towards the Doom Buggies.

I’ve heard that people dump ashes in the Haunted Mansion all the time! It’s said that ash dumping happens so often that Disney had to purchase special HEPA vacuums that can pick up ashes, but also little tiny bone fragments that are often left behind after a cremation. So, if you ever hear a Haunted Mansion cast member calling for a “HEPA clean-up,” you might want to visit a different attraction and come back to it once the crew has taken care of that little mousekeeping matter. Ash dumping happens all over Disney World. In Bay Lake, the moat around the castle, on Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. But DON’T DO IT! It’s illegal, unsanitary, and if the wind picks up, do you really want your loved one’s remains going home in another guest’s tote bag?! Ewe. Just don’t.

There are a bunch of really great tombstones in the graveyard with clever puns and plays on words, but I’d have to say my favorite is Madam Leota. One of the newest tombstones, it’s on your left just before you enter the mansion.  This one actually honors the late Walt Disney Imagineer Leota Thomas (whose maiden name happens to be Toombs!). Every few minutes, Leota’s head leans forward, and then she opens her bright green eyes almost as if to say “I’m watching, always watching”, then closes them again. It makes for a fantastic sneak peek of what awaits you inside this amazing attraction.
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Although many people think Orson Welles is the Ghost Host in the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of the Haunted Mansion, the voice actor is Paul Frees. He was also the voice of Ludwig Von Drake, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

In the Haunted Mansion’s early planning stages, Walt Disney himself recorded the narration for the attraction! Eventually they nixed it for the Ghost Host version. But wouldn’t it have been wonderful and so apropo to have Walt’s voice ringing throughout this iconic attraction?!

After entering the mansion’s gothic, dimly lit foyer, you are ushered in to what we like to call “The Stretch Room”.  But is this room really stretching? Well, it depends which park you are visiting. Because there is limited space at Disneyland in California, guests have to be transported to a larger building beyond the park’s boundaries. The Chamber is actually an elevator that takes guests down to an underground passageway, which leads to the show building. In Florida space is less of an issue, so the ride building is directly behind the facade. In that stretch room the ceiling rises, and guests remain on the same level.

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At one point during the ride, guests ride past a séance being held by Madame Leota. Her disembodied head projects from a crystal ball. The face is that of the late Leota Thomas, but the voice is Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voices of other well-known characters in Disney movies. Eleanor brought to life Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent and Cinderella’s Lady Tremaine!

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Then of course there is the ever famous dining room scene. You can find one of the most popular Hidden Mickeys in all of Disney World here, three simple dinner plates sitting on the table. I tend to copy that happy reminder of Disney at home too. Thankfully my family loves it as much as I do!  There are a ton of things to see in the dining room scene, and it seems I notice more and more of them every time we go on the ride. Of course there are the ballroom dancers, and the organ player. But have you ever noticed the skulls coming in and out of the windows? How about the two ghosts in the paintings that are shooting at each other? What about the jolly guy sitting on the fireplace mantle? Yep, love it!

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The Grim Grinning Ghosts are next to come out and socialize. I love this graveyard. The busts who sing. Which ad a comical element to the spookily haunted cemetery. And of course it’s never over til the fat lady sings. She looks like she belongs in the Norway pavilion at Epcot, but I like her just where she is.

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And, other than the Grim Grinning Ghosts song, my favorite part is definitely at the very end where the ghost bride invites you to ““Hurry back… Be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We’ve been ‘dying’ to have you…hurry baaaack, hurry baaack”.

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I hope you enjoyed yet another one of my Amazing Disney Adventures!  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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Disney World Needs Some Tweaking!

Like many Disney World veterans, I have a looong list of things I would like to see changed and/or added at the Disney Parks. Today, I am going to talk about some of those things, and I invite you to add your ideas as well!

Magic Kingdom:

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1. Haunted Mansion! As much as I love the entire attraction, I HATE the queue line after the stretch room that takes you to the Doom Buggies!!! There’s no order to it, and as any claustrophobic Disney veteran will tell you (ahem- my husband) it is NOT a good situation. You are herded – yes herded in to this expansive space with no rhyme or reason, and then you have to funnel in to this tiny single file space towards the doom buggies. Now, this would be all well and good if we could just work together in an orderly fashion…but who has time for that?! So, a few hundred of us inch and push our way to that tiny tube of space hoping to keep up with the rest of our family as we embark on our adventure with the 999 happy haunts we so love to visit. DISNEY – can we please change this??? How about some winding roped queue line??? Is that too much to ask!

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2. Country Bear Jamboree. UGH. Has anyone seen it – ever? Cuz in the 20+ years I have been visiting, it has not changed, not one bit. The whole thing screams back woods scene from deliverance. The bears are singing about “blood on the sand”, while a hefty lady bear sits on a swing wearing a tutu. EWE!  I would LOVE to see something DISNEY in there! How about Woody’s Round Up???  I think that would be a perfect venue to recreate the TV show that we discover when Al is holding Woody captive with his fellow Frontierland-ish friends. Who’s with me?!

Epcot

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1. Captain Eo! THANK YOU Disney for finally realizing that 1980’s Michael Jackson does not belong in FUTURE World! I’d love to see them bring back some of the original attractions that once occupied the Imagination Pavilion, but at the same time, I think Epcot needs to move onward and upward! There’s been a lot of debate and speculation about what will happen to the pavilion when it closes for a long refurb next January, and the big rumor is that Phineas and Ferb will be taking all or most of it over. I LOVE that idea, but please don’t touch Figment! And, the other thing I would love to see there is a Mickey Mouse attraction!!! Think about it, there are no actually rides at Disney World dedicated to Mickey Mouse! Philharmagic does not count – he is not the main character, Donald is. I’d love to see some kind of Mickey Mouse based dark ride.

2. World Showcase – there is actually plenty of room for growth here. First of all – the Africa Outpost – it’s rarely busy, if ever. And Africa is more than well represented at Animal Kingdom. Let’s get rid of it! How about Australia/New Zealand? What about that huge fenced area between Canada and the UK? I remember once upon a time the area back there was used for the Budlight Brewery Beer Fest thing, and some private events. Let’s do something with all that space! How about Russia? Or maybe South America or The Caribbean? I envision kettle drum music playing in the background, with cast members in bright colorful clothing. The smell of conch fritters and mofungo filling the air. Who’s with me???

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Hollywood Studios

1. The Great Movie Ride! Don’t kill me. I love the Great Movie Ride, really I do. But let’s change it up a bit! I think the movie scenes need updating. I love the classics – Mary Poppins, Indiana Jones, Wizard of Oz and the like. But I dare you to find me one kid under the age of 18 who knows who Sigourney Weaver is! Or John Wayne. Or James Cagney. Let’s change it up a bit! How about we change the western scene to Tombstone? Wyatt Erp and his gang can tear up the place. Alien could be changed to Armageddon. Tarzan and Jane need to retire. They are so old and tired! Why don’t we just demo that whole area and —— you tell me what you’d like to see! Why am I doing all the work here, people.

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2. That completely dead space between Toy Story Mania and The Backlot Tour.  It has had blacked out windows for years. A cloud of mystery looms over this place with so much intensity. People cannot just walk past it without thinking “gee, I wonder what they are doing in there”?  I can tell you – shhhh – it’s currently a cast member staging area that is used to test next generation technology — but you didn’t hear it from me!  Ahem — I think — Ahem — that HUGE area – and yes, it’s bigger than it looks — ahem — it should be (might become) a Monsters Inc attraction.  Are those doors on a track with red flashing lights overhead? Are we chasing Randall to save Boo? Can we maybe ride it like a roller coaster???

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Animal Kingdom

1. Festival of the Lion King. Don’t get mad, but I hate it! Soooo cheesy and it’s seen it’s day. I know that little kids seem to love it, but I think it needs to be re-imagined. I get the logical move over to Africa to make way for Avatar Land, but why even rebuild it??? Can’t we come up with something new? I’ll leave the brainstorming to you on this one.

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2. Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I love the train ride up there, and while it has the makings of a nice attraction, it just hasn’t hit the mark. You can go to a petting zoo anywhere. Why do we need one at Animal Kingdom? If you’re going to do one, then Disney it up! Get more exotic animals. A cow and a few sheep just aren’t going to cut it with this crowd. We’re Disney lovers, we have great expectations when we visit, and petting a goat isn’t one of them. The pavilion it’s self has so much potential. I love the whole animal care staging area. It really is cool to watch a deer get a dental check up. But, can’t we take it a step further somehow? The vast majority of this area is wasted space, screaming “do something with me, please!”  I am really amazed that in all these years Rafiki’s Planet watch has totally fallen off the Imagineers’ radar. Get to it folks!

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And those my friends are some of the things I’d like to see happen at my Happy Place. I am sure you all have some ideas of your own, so feel free to share. Thanks for joining me.

Until next time remember…

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Visiting Disney World As A “Local”!

Hi there! Today I’m going to discuss what it’s like to visit Disney World, when you LIVE here! It’s an entirely different experience. There obviously are some things that will always remain the same – seeing the shows, experiencing the attractions, enjoying the many dining options around The World, that magical feeling when you see the Castle. But, there are so many things that we do differently now as well.

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Now that we live only 15 minutes from Disney proper, we generally do not visit from open to close. Which is so nice! We can choose to stay for an entire day, or just go for a few hours.

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Many times, like today, we will wake up in the morning and say “(Ferb), I know what we’re gonna do today!” And then we make our plans. Today we decided to chill at home, have a later lunch, and then head to Disney World. We’re going to have kind of a leisurely day. We plan to take a stroll along the Boardwalk, walk over to the Beach Club Resort to enjoy some AMAZING ice cream sundaes and shakes at Beaches n Cream, then end our day by taking the boat over to Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic! Later this week, we are going to head to Disney World, and “flip a coin on the fly”. I’m so excited for this adventure. Every time we get to a sign – say “left for Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach, right for Magic Kingdom and Epcot”, we’ll flip a coin until we get to one sign for one park/place to visit! You can’t get more spontaneous than that.

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We “hop” parks much more often. This especially comes in handy when the weather isn’t cooperative, or the crowds get a bit much to handle. We will often start the day at a water park, and then head to one of the parks later in the day. If it starts to thunder and rain at Animal Kingdom, then all or most of the outdoor attractions will shut down, so we’ll just hop to Hollywood Studios where nearly all of the attractions are indoors.

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It’s CHEAPER! No hotel expenses, we don’t have to eat 3 meals and/or several snacks while we’re there for the day. No airfare or transportation costs! Just a gallon of gas, and a couple tolls. That’s it. So, transportation only costs about $6 each visit.

CHEAP park tickets! As a Florida resident, there are AMAZING deals we can take advantage of.Resident park tickets for the three of us came to about $1800. But if you choose, you can put the cost of a one day park ticket as a deposit, and then pay the rest of it monthly for the rest of the year. And, even though that sounds really expensive, we don’t “vacation” to Disney anymore. Now, it’s our source of entertainment. Think about what you spend to see a movie, go to a concert, out to dinner…it adds up quick!

Annual pass holders get discounts on a LOT of other things as well – food, merchandise, hotel stays, cruises, and so much more. Our parking is FREE! And with our passes we have unlimited access to all the parks, waterparks, DisneyQuest, golf, and Wide World of Sports! So, there you go- that’s all our entertainment for the year.

Food – depending on how long we spend at the parks each visit, we spend as little as NOTHING, or at most the cost of one meal. Which for three of us tends to run from $25 to $80 depending on where we choose to eat. We bring all of our drinks, and some snacks with us – which can save us as much as $50 in one visit. When we visit a water park, we will even bring sandwiches with us, which means it’s a “free” day.

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Weather – in the summer especially, a thunderstorm can pop up out of nowhere. So, we purchase disposable $1 ponchos at Target to keep on hand, and use them as needed. But, if the rain lasts for more than 30-60 minutes, we don’t feel bad about cutting our day short. We know we can come back any time we want. When you’re on vacation, you don’t have that luxury.

Souvenirs – we DON’T buy them! I’m not saying never ever, but we tend to only purchase things that are new/rare/only offered during special events. (with the exception of magnets, Tony for some reason, is obsessed with them and wants to buy one every time we visit, so we have quite a collection) We will need a second fridge soon, at this rate.

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Crowds – they bother us now!!! They always have, but they REALLY bother us now. And, before moving here, we’d never visited in the summer time. So, it’s bothering us even more. Especially these tour groups. There are hundreds, if not thousands of teens from other parts of the world visiting here right now. And while I try to keep in mind that it is probably their first visit and that they have probably been saving for a very long time to come here, they drive me CRAZY! They will sing every where they go – and LOUDLY. When they go on a ride, they ALL go together. So now all of a sudden you have 100 kids getting in line at once to ride. Which makes the wait time go through the roof! They will actually CUT YOU OFF in line because they are told by their tour leaders that they have to stay together. And, they never speak ANY English. They are rude, and don’t even say excuse me. They just push their way through. We were in line for Spaceship Earth the other day, and there were maybe 10 girls in front of us with matching tee shirts – so I knew they were on tour. All of a sudden about 100 more kids PUSH their way past us. No excuse me, nothing! I’m sorry, but they should wait in line like every one else. Their tour leaders are so disorganized, and inconsiderate. They try to make them all ride together, but I’m sorry, that’s a really stupid idea. Not to mention when getting on something like a roller coaster or Test Track, they WILL be split up, and they won’t get off the ride at the same time. There should just be a meeting place! UGH!!! that’s all I will say about that. I could rant and complain about it all day. So we try to stay “ahead” of those groups as best we can, and when we’ve had enough of the crowds, we go home.

And finally, we don’t go kamikaze through the parks – we stroll, stop to people watch, take our time. We’re in no hurry. There’s no fire. We don’t wait in long lines. If there’s a 90 minute wait for Space Mountain, we go to Buzz Lightyear instead. We tend to only visit our favorite attractions, or some that we haven’t done in a while. It’s so much more relaxing, and a lot less stressful – and for “novice” visitors, my advice is this: YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING IN ONE TRIP!!! In my 19 vacations to Disney World, AND all the visits I’ve made since moving here, we still haven’t done everything. So prioritize. Pick your “must do’s”, anything else you get to do is a bonus! You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you have those expectations of seeing and doing everything at Disney World in one vacation.

Thanks for joining me for my new adventure as a Florida “local”! As the seasons change and all of the special events happen, I will have much more on this topic to share with you I’m sure!

So, for now, remember this:

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney

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Hello! I’m back!

I’m so sorry that’s been so long since my last post! I’ve been so busy settling in my new home in Orlando, there just hasn’t been time for me to get on here and do a proper posting. I promise to get back on this very soon! Thanks for joining me. Have a magical day!