Monday, August 16, 2010

Disney Parades, Fireworks, and Shows. Oh my!

We apologize for the delay in posting. The first few days of school are always hectic. Things are back on track now. Let's continue where we left off with Hollywood Studios.

>Voyage of the Little Mermaid - This is a beautiful show. It is a combination of a stage show, puppetry, and special effects. This is a classic story brought to life. ***Warning*** The show is a little dark, especially the part with Ursala. There is a portion that has thunder and lightning. If your child is easily scared by these things you might want to avoid this show.

>Beauty and the Beast - Pehnomenal! That is the best way to describe this vibrant musical stage show that is located on Sunset Blvd. The costumes are gorgeous, the music amazing, and the choreography outstanding. This is definitely a must-do. This show runs at select times throughout the day.

>Fantasmic! - There is no single word to describe this show. Nothing else compares. It is a large dose of special effects, mixed with a fantastic stage show, a spoonful of amazing Disney music, and a couple of Disney villains thrown in the mix. All of this combined with Mickey's out-of-control imagination make for one spectacular show.

>Streetmosphere - These comedy troupes are often overlooked in favor of major attractions. However, they offer some of the best entertainment on property. Please take the time to stop and watch these amazing actors and actresses.

In our next installment we will cover EPCOT.

Have a magical evening!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Disney Parades, Fireworks, and Shows. Oh My! (part II)

Good evening fellow Disney Enthusiasts!

As promised, we are back to give you our take on all of the non-ride entertainment found in the WDW parks. In this post we will take a look at what Hollywood Studios has to offer.

>Muppet Vision 3-D - this show is located close to the Streets of America. 3-D doesn't really do this show justice. Kermit and the rest of the gang provide non-stop laughs. A Muppet show would not be complete without Waldorf and Stratler, the not-so-subtle wise cracking critics. These two fans (?) just add to the chaos. This is a great family show!

> Lights, Motors, Action! - Located in Backlot area. This high energy, revved-up, automobile stunt show is quite amazing. Stunt drivers show the audience how car chases, jumps, and other high octane scenes are done in the movies. This is a must-see for car enthusiasts and movie buffs alike. **Warning** This show has quite a bit of fire and explosives. It might be frightening for children sesitive to this type of thing.

>Indiana Jones Stunt Show - This great show is located across from the American Idol Experience. It gives the audience a look at what goes in to making scenes like those found in the Indianna Jones movies. **Warning** There are sounds of gunshots and an explosion in this show. If children are sensitive to noise you might want to avoid this.

>American Idol Experience - This attraction is just over a year old. It is located next the the Scorcerer's Hat. The show is fantastic! Each morning people audition for the show. The people chosen to be contestants compete in shows throughout the day. Audiences watch the contestants perform and vote for their favorite. The winner from each show comes back in the evening to perform in the Finale Show. At the finale, the audience votes to decide the winner. The winner receives a "Dream Ticket". This ticket allows them to go to the front of the line at one of the real A.I. auditions. It is sooo much fun to see if the performers have what it takes! This is a show for the entire family.

> The Art of Disney Animation - This brief show is very unique, and one of our personal favorites. It is located in the Animation Courtyard next to Playhouse Disney. You have the opportunity to meet a real Disney artist. The artist tells you a little about animation and then shows you a short film that explains the process. After the film is when things become interesting. Immediately following the film, you are invited to participate in a drawing class with a real Disney animator! The class is about 20 minutes long. The artist teaches you step-by-step how to draw a Disney character. The animators are great. They try to draw many different characters throughout the day. This is great for the entire family!

>Playhouse Disney - This show is a classic with the pre-school set. The kids, and parents alike, find themselves dancing and singing along. Parents, don't even try to pretend that you don't know the songs. They are engrained in your brain. This show is high energy fun!

>Mulch, Sweat and Shears - A family of lawn care experts that just so happen to have their own rock band. These guys are amazing!!!!!!They play classic rock tunes from the 80's (my personal favorite) as well as other well-known songs. They are non-stop fun! The group can be found throughout the day on the Streets of America. As of now, they also play on the stage in front of the hat every evening.

This is just a partial list of what Hollywood Studios has to offer. We will continue with this park in our next post.

Have a magical evening!
Again, please feel free to leave any questions or comments. We love to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Disney Parades, Fireworks, and Shows. Oh my!

Good evening Disney Enthusiasts!

We apologize for not posting yesterday. Today was our first day back to work and the kiddos' first day back to school. Therefore, yesterday was a little hectic. Now that we're back in the groove of school, let's focus on what we are here to do - talk Disney.

Today we would like to talk to you about the various parades, fireworks displays, and shows on property. Each park offers their own variety of spectacular entertainment, other than the rides. We will take a look at all of them, one park at a time.
Let's begin with Disney's Animal Kingdom. Due to the fact that AK (Animal Kingdom) houses all of those amazing animals, fireworks are not possible at this park. However, there is a fun parade and incredible shows in Disney's very own jungle.
>Finding Nemo - The Musical - The theater that houses this magnificant show is located betwen DinoLand USA and Expedition Everest. This is a stage show that will wow and amaze little ones and adults alike. The setting is , where else? Under the sea! The entire theater is bathed in blue, allowing you to be completely ensconced in Nemo's world. During the show you join Nemo and the gang on an adventure. The puppetry in this stage spectacular is outstanding. During pre-show, make sure the kids try to find Nemo in the bubbles around the stage. This show is a must-do for the entire family and there are scheduled showtimes throughout the day.
>It's Tough To Be A Bug - This is a show that will tickle your senses. Take your family underground into the world of bugs. The hilariously fun show is a 3-D adventure with bugs of all varieties, including those that smell (and not good). Laugh along with this comedic cast of insects as they fly, creep, and crawl their way into your heart. *Note* If little ones are scared of the dark, this may not be a good choice.
>The Festival of the Lion King - *Disclaimer* This is my favorite show, but I will try not to be biased in my description. However, everyone that sees this show completely agrees with me.**This theater is located in Camp Minnie Mickey. It runs at set times throughout the day. The show takes place on a stage in the round. Simba and his friends provide a show of true African pagentry. The costumes are stunning. There are four floats holding large animal puppets that flank the stage area. This show boasts a fantastic fire dancer and amazing acrobatics. Timon, that loveable meercat, provides the comic relief. However, the one thing that shines far and above is the music. The music will give you chills. This show is, in our honest opinion, the best on property. In fact, this show rivals anything on Broadway! This is definitely a must-do.
>Flights of Wonder - This show is located near Asia. It is a show that features some of the most amazing birds one will ever see. The basis of Flights of Wonder is an educational comedy skit. A wide variety of birds are introduced to guests. The American Bald Eagle is the highlight of the show. When this magnificent creature gracefully swoops of the audience, there is an overwhelming sense of awe. This show is great!
>Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade - This parade is fantastic. With Mickey and the gang headlining this procession, you wouldn't expect anything less! This artful display of African inspired portable puppetry is fabulous to photograph. With Mickey and friends decked in outdoor gear, the brilliant colors, and an upbeat soundtrack, this parade is a must-do!

In our next post we will cover the parades, fireworks and shows of Hollywood Studios.

Have a magical evening!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visiting Disney World for the First Time (Part III)

Good evening Disney Enthusiasts!

Alright everyone, let's get started.
In this post we will discuss how to navigate your way through a day in the parks.
>If you are getting an early start, make sure that you make it in time for opening cermonies. Each park has its own special way of greeting early morning guests. This usually entails a brief show featuring a variety of characters. There are rumors that if your group arrives early enough and are really excited and chatty with cast members, sometimes you get pciked to help with these shows and other parades.
>Immediately following rope drop, head straight for your high priority fastpasses (the attractions that run out of FPs early).
>If you have a little one that must ride Dumbo head for that first thing. Dumbo ALWAYS has a line.
>After you have gathered your FPs, begin working on your list until your 1st FP return time. If you miss the FP return time do NOT worry. You can go any time after that which is stamped on the card.
>A good idea early in the morning is to begin in the back of the park and work forward. Most people automatically start at the front, leaving the rest of the park empty.
>Follow your plan until lunch. We suggest eating at off times if possible. Bring snack bags for all members of your party. Each member of our family is responsible for their own snack bag. We simply fill a ziplock bag with goodies each morning before leaving our resort. Peppermints, gummies, fruit snacks, anything that will not melt or be crushed are great fillers. We use these bags to tide us over until meal time. Once crowds thin out at the restaurants, enjoy your meal with a much shorter wait time.
>Do as many indoor attractions as possible during this time of day to beat the humid Florida heat.
>If you are planning on counter service and watching the parade and fireworks, combine them. Grab counter service to go and stake out your parade and fireworks spot. We suggest staying in the same place as they are only about 3 hours apart at Magic Kingdom. EPCOT only has fireworks at 9. Hollywood only shows Fantasmic! a few nights per week. Animal Kingdom has no nighttime show.
>When leaving the parks, stay behind the crowds. Not only is the nice leisurely stroll enjoyable at the end of a long day, but you will be behind the big crowd at the monorail and ferry.
>Take your time. Monorails run late into the night. Trams run 1 1/2 hrs. after park closing. Enjoy the ambiance of the less crowded park.

That is enough for now. We will touch on a few more "how to's" in the next post. As always, if you have questions or comments feel free to leave them. We would love to hear from you!

To be continued...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Visiting disney World for the First Time (Part II)

Good evening Disney Enthusiasts!

Okay, let's pick up where we left off in our discussion of how to visit Disney World for the first time and not suffer a meltdown. I am sure that after completing the previous tasks, your excitement is buiding. For the sake of time, we are not going to delve into ticket options until a later time. Let's move on.
>If you are on a limited vacation of 1 week or less, you should plan on getting to the parks early.
> If you plan to visit any of the following attractions you will definitely need to arrive at park opening to get fastpasses. Fastpasses are amazing timesavers. You just pop your ticket into the fastpass machine and it pops out another ticket with a time to come back to the attraction. Voila! Your wait time is drastically reduced. ** Make sure to get your park ticket out of the machine. Many guests forget to grab them!
-----Soarin' --EPCOT
-----Test Track --EPCOT
-----Mission Space--EPCOT
-----Toy Story Mania--Hollywood Studios*******These go quickly. Go get the fastpasses as soon as you enter the park.
-----Rockin Roller Coaster--Hollywood Studios
-----Tower of Terror--Hollywood Studios
-----Voyage of the Little Mermaid
-----Expedition Everest--Animal Kingdom
-----Safari--Animal Kingdom (This is only necessary if it is peak season)
-----Big thunder Mountain Railroad--Magic Kingdom
-----Splash Mountain--Magic Kingdom
-----Peter Pan's Flight--Magic Kingdom
-----Philharmagic--Magic Kingdom (This is only necessary if it is peak season)
-----Winnie the Pooh--Magic Kingdom
-----Space Mountain--Magic Kingdom ******These go quickly. Get them early.
-----Buzz Lightyear--Magic Kingdom (If you are going to watch parade)

Whew! That is quite a list. Believe us, fastpasses are amazing. That is a list of 16 attractions for which you will have minimum wait times. This frees you up to visit other attractions until your alloted time. "Thank you!", to the imagineers who thought of those little beauties.

>For longer stays only go early if you want to experience the high-demand attractions.
>For first-time guests we recommend watching the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. As of right now there is a special show at Magic Kingdom until August 14, 2010. Wishes!, the show that we HIGHLY advise watching, will be coming back after that. This show represents all that is Disney. It is a must do.
------EPCOT has a nightime fireworks show - Illuminations, Reflections of Earth
------Hollywood Studios runs their nighttime extraveganza several nights a week. - Fantasmic! - If you want to see this show, make sure to be in your seats 45 minutes to an hour ahead of showtime. This is incredible!
>After you have seen the nightly shows and fireworks once, you will find that it is a great time to ride the rides. Attractions wait times drop drastically.

There is one basic rule that will keep you and your family members from having a meltdown - BE FLEXIBLE. Yes, you have your list of who and what you want to see. However, Disney is very distracting. This is especially true for children. They may see something that catches their eye and suddenly want to forgo your plans. That is ok. In fact, that is what Disney is about. Just relax. Follow their lead and go back to your plan afterward. It is not going to ruin anything.

Again, we do NOT want to overwhelm you. We will cover more tomorrow. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them. We would love to hear from you!!

To be continued...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Visiting Disney World for the First Time

Good Evening Disney Enthusiasts!

As veteran Disney World goers, we see a lot of unhappy people when we are at "the world". Screaming, crying, hitting, whining, and that's just the adults. Think about the poor children - tired, hungry, hot, just miserable in general. All these families wanted was a great getaway at the most magical place on earth. Your family doesn't have to be one of the statistics. Yes, we do keep track of the meltdowns we witness.
The ideal family vacation is not a pipe dream. With just a few simple suggestions from a family who considers Walt Disney World their second home, your dream vacation will be a reality. Grab a pen and paper, or better yet, save yourself the writing and join our blog. Now, let's get started.
>Order the free Vaction Planning dvd (available on WDW website).
>Have a plan. Look at park maps (available on the WDW website) know your must-dos. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do everything. Pick your top 5 and we will work from there.
>Decide which characters you must meet and which ones are ok to miss.
>If you are planning on dining at any table service restaurants make sure that your reservations are made well in advance.
>Talk to friends and family. Find out what they liked and didn't like.
>Ask us questions!!!!!!!!!Post them on our Questions page. We WILL answer.
>If the trip is not a surprise, include the kids in the planning process. It helps build the excitement.
>Decide your best ticket option. If you are a Florida Resident do NOT forget that we get great discounts! Click on the Florida Resident option on the WDW site if you are purchasing your tickets in advance.

This is probably enough information to get you started. Tomorrow we will cover a little more. Planning a Disney Vacation for the first time can be overwhelming. We want it to be fun!!!!

To be continued...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Christmas at Disney

As we gear up to head back to school next week, we are all focused on one thing - our next Disney trip. Christmas at "the world" - there's nothing like it. If you have visited WDW during the Holidays, then you know exactly what we are talking about. For those of you who have not experienced the ambiance of the parks during this magical time of year, then you need to book your trip now!!
Tinkerbell sprinkles an extra bit of pixie dust over all of Disney world at Christmastime. Decorations abound! Cinderella's Castle is draped in beautiful white lights. Magic Kingdom becomes a virtual winter wonderland right in the middle of Central Florida. Mickey, Minnie and the gang don their finest Christmas attire. Hollywood Studios hosts the Osbourne Family Lights. EPCOT is home to the Candlelight Processional - a Christmas spectacular of epic proportions. The aroma of gingerbread and hot chocolate waft through the air. And the trees - wow. Disney takes decorating Christmas trees to a whole new level. Disney does not stop at decking the halls of the parks. The Christmas joy is spread throughout the resorts too. In fact, during the Holidays, our family makes a point to go what we refer to as "resort hopping". We visit each of the different resorts just to take in all of the decorations. The Grand Floridian has a life size gingerbread house. No, seriously, it is big enough to fit a small store. The Contemporary has an enormous Mickey-shaped wreath hanging on the end above the monorail entrance. It is several stories tall.
Disney is always amazing, but there is just a little something extra in the air during Christmas. Not only are the parks and resorts sparkling with Christmas spirit, so are the guests. Everyone is filled with the joy and excitement of the season.
So if you have never been to Walt Disney World during the Holidays, it is one trip we would highly recommend.