Relaxing Inside the WDW Parks

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

TTApeoplemover

It can be overwhelming visiting the Walt Disney World parks. Busy crowds, long queues, hot weather (or big wet showers).  You can avoid it by staying at the hotel pools, but if you are at Walt Disney World you just want to hit the parks. Even if they are busy.
So what to do if you really, REALLY want to relax and still be inside the parks. It is possible!

River1How about we start in the Magic Kingdom. What is more relaxing than the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. A nice 10 minute ride around Tomorrowland and it includes some great views of the beautiful Cinderella Castle. You can ride it early in the morning, or try to board it at night during the fireworks. That gives it an extra dimension. Who knows, if you’re lucky, like I was on my last visit, it might break down on the right spot and you can see the whole firework show from the best spot. Another relaxing ride, but a little more crowded, is the Walt Disney World Railroad. Ride around the park and relax. Or if the water is more relaxing your alternative for a relaxing ride will be the Liberty Square Riverboat. (more…)

A Little More MyMagic+

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

A little more information is leaking regarding the MyMagic+ wristbands. Walt Disney World Hotel bookers and Annual passes will get the bands at no extra costs but the future plan is to have all guests wear a wristbands with the RFID integrated.

The wristbands will be available in different colors or themes. Some of these Disney themes can be from a Pirates of the Caribbean, some of the Pixar characters, Disney princesses and many more. It is also rumored that there could be some special wristbands done by other companies like Dooney & Burke and Swarovski and for those that don’t like wearing anything around their wrist there might be alternatives coming in the form of keychains and other jewelry.

MyMagic+

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Disney has made it official, the Next-gen technology will be introduced soon under “MyMagic+” for the Walt Disney World resort. With this new tool Disney guests will be able to create their Disney vacation from the comfort of their own home. Guest will be able to use a new website “My Disney Experience” where they will be able to book dinner reservations and other Disney experiences. There will also be an option to book a selection of FastPass+ to avoid not only the lines at the attractions but also a visit to the FasPass booths.

The FastPass+ option will not only include attractions but will have Character meet and greet, preferred firework and parade viewing place and other options. The firework and Parade option could be your key to make sure to see your favorites from a dedicated space every time you want. (I know I’ll be booking Illuminations on many nights once available).

To be able to take advantage of all the early bookings guest will be provided a special RFID wristband named “MagicBand”. This wristband will serve as your hotel room key, park admission, the FastPass+ pre-booked options, your personal photopass and will even have an integrated payment option. The later one might come with a code once spending will reach a certain amount. This to protect the owners in case they would loose their wristband and to avoid those dishonest guests from plundering your account.

With the personal information saved on your wristband character will now also be able to know your name and use it when you visit them. Imagine the faces of the children when talking Mickey comes up to them and knows their names. This might not be for integrated in the early phase of the project, but one that is sure one of the many future options that will find it’s way into the system.

There is no specific date yet when the MyMagic+ will completely take over, but it is slowly finding it ways into the park as some guests already have been part of the testing phase.

Also read the WDWnewstoday article. They where the first to bring out this exciting news. Also visit the Disneyparks blog for some more pictures.

Picture copyrights Disney

Universal vs. Disney: The Tolkien Round!

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Universal did it again! At least if these rumors are indeed correct as no official announcements are made yet. Universal gets the rights to build the Lord of the Ring attractions in their park. This is yet another fantastic move that will bring over even more people to the parks. Harry Potter already proofed success and with Lord of the Rings they will do it again. This franchise is so big, popular and timeless that guest numbers for the park will grow for sure.

Queues for the Harry Potter attractions are stupendously long and will get even bigger once the second phase is in place. Once Lords of the Rings and the Hobbit will make it to the park another big fan followers will find their way to the Universal Studios getting those visitor numbers way up. Orlando visitors will need to find a way to see all the stuff and while their holiday might not get extended, a visit to Universal might. As guest might have to find that extra day for Universal, this could cost Disney some visitors.

OK, Disney just got the big Star Wars deal, the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the rumored Carsland for Hollywood Studios and… Avatar for Animal Kingdom. Fantasyland is already proofing to be a success for Disney and depending on their Star Wars plans will have another crowd pleaser. As long as it will be spectacular and the Imagineers get to do something with it. Avatar is still another story in my honest opinion. Avatar might still see two more movies and although this will keep the franchise alive, it is in no way as timeless as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Never the less, it is exciting to see how the theme parks are creating new wonderful stuff. The Lord of the Rings deal will make Disney work their hardest to bring out their best of the best and the real winners are we, the fans and the guests.

Make sure to visit us regularly as we will report on all the new Orlando area park stuff once we know more.

Different Angles at Walt Disney World

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Visiting a Walt Disney World park is all about fun. Fun at the attractions, at the eateries, at the hotel, and a lot more. For some guests one fun element about visiting the parks taking pictures. Me, I am one of these people.

Unfortunately not everybody in my family appreciates the constant stopping to take pictures, but I love it and can’t help myself taking pictures all the time. I did keep my promise to my son to leave the camera at the hotel on some days, but on other days I just clicked away.

A fun thing about taking pictures at Walt Disney World is trying to find some angles that are a little more uncommon. I am no fan of pictures with a lot of strangers on it and therefor I am always trying to find spots where I can leave the tourists out of my frame. By doing this I look at some spots that others might not use to take a picture from. It adds to the fun and gives a whole new look to the park.

It’s not always easy to get that shot without the other guests, but if I take my time I’ll find the right place for yet another unusual picture.

In this collection you can see how I try to get the castle from another view using some of the greenery that surrounds the castle. You can even get the castle into a green frame if you look around a little. Or you can use some of the rock works in the area to create some extra dept. It will not be your average holiday picture but could compliment them nicely when creating that photo book you want to show off. And don’t forget that you can never have enough pictures of the castle anyway, so why not try to find that different angle.

You can do the same thing with other iconic buildings in the park. Get that amazing Tower of Terror Hollywood Hotel popping up from behind some trees. Get a far shot of Expedition Everest without all the action around it or even get a close up from part of the iconic Spaceship Earth building. These are only a couple of ideas as there are unlimited options on taking that different pictures.

The picture I make are not that hard to take. You don’t need a big fancy camera (although those little point and shoots might be not the best option). These pictures are in no way professional and can be taken by anybody with some imagination. Of course you will be able to get even better shots with that big special camera, but for those that don’t want to spend to much on the equipment should just use the camera they own. At the end of the day it’s all about having some fun.

If you do like those amazing spectacular pictures have a look at this collection of Disneyland Paris gems in our side glance category!

Underneath some more pictures from another angle

WDW Planning Part 2: What to do…

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

… If you’ve seen it all before. OK! That is not really fair to say as Walt Disney World is so big, there is always new stuff to do. First of all there will be a whole new Fantasyland to explore. That is something to really look forwards too. The new area promises to look awesome once completely finished and that alone is reason enough to visit Walt Disney World again. It will take a couple of days to take it all in and to discover all the new Disney magic that will have been added in the updated land.

Planning a next trip includes looking at the special things you want to do and don’t want to miss. While planning your hotel, flights and other transport is important, it is more fun to add the things you want to see and do on your early planning list. Fantasyland is one of them. But of course there is more that will make it on the early planning list. Your regular 4 gates visit might speak for itself of course, but let’s have a look at all the other Disney Magic stuff that should make our next visits’ list.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon; I didn’t go the last two times and once I return home I always am sad about it. I love this park so much it has to go on our list. First of all am I a big fan of the Castaway Creek Lazy River, but I also love the wave pool and would love to go on the Crush ‘n’ Gusher again.  That is one great attraction. Let’s also not forget about Shark Reef. That swim with the sharks is just way to much fun.

Dining; Sometimes you do things that you regret. On our last visit I canceled our reservations at Le Cellier Steakhouse. I am still kicking myself for that mistake. This one is already on our trip plan. Not easy to get in on a decent hour, but I’ll be calling very early for that reservation. Everybody is always raving on about their Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and I now want to know what it is all about. It was the reason I put it on the list on my previous trip. Why did I cancel it?…

Traditionally a dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub Dining room is also on the early planning list. This one always makes it on the list. Last evening of the trip with a nice meal and a great view of Illuminations. Jiko is also on the early planning list. It is a favorite of ours. Great food and great location in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We might eat there a couple of times. But these are only the once we already know for sure. Others restaurants will make it to the list but as we still have over a year to go, it is nice to not know everything yet. (see part 1)

That’s already a nice list for a trip that is still over a year away. Still a lot of time to add and tweak. It’s all part of the planning fun. And you? Do you plan this early in advance?

WDW Planning Part 1: How Far Do You Plan in Advance?

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

When it comes to a Disney trip, planning is part of the fun. It not only give you that knowledge you’ll be going, but you will have some Disney magic going for you before the trip itself. Most trips might get planned a couple of months in advanced, but when it comes to a Walt Disney World trip, planning can start a lot earlier. Sometimes over a year in advance! At least that’s how I work when it comes to planning a WDW trip.

First question of course is when to go. In my family’s case options are limited because of school time. So our trip needs to be molded around that for most of the time. That gives us two options for our next trip.

Option one; A trip during Christmas and New year 2013/2014.

Option two; A trip starting from the middle of June 2014.

No, no! Those dates are correct. Our next family trip will be somewhere in 2013 and/or 2014. Is that planning it to far ahead? It looks far away and one might feel a little sad if you still have to wait that long but when you look at it from the bright side, with this early planning, I’ll be having a lot of fun.

So there are 2 possible dates as I mentioned before. This could be the last two weeks of December and a week in January or it could be the last two weeks on June and the first week in July. Both dates have their advantages and disadvantages. Heavy Christmas crowds can be a little daunting but you’ll be away from the summer heat while early summer period will still be low on crowds (US schools still in session, but the heat might already be a struggle. Of course there are other things to look at but these are just a couple of examples. Although we love the Christmas time (our last trip was during the holidays), the second option looks like the one we will go for this time.

So what do I plan so far in advance (once we set the date)? Although you can’t book a hotel yet looking at the locations where to stay is one of the first things I do for my family and me. As we are Disney Vacation Club Members it is also a bit of a given that this takes place so far in advance. We need to make sure to book at the 11 month window, otherwise we might not be able to get the room we want. So this is a good reason to start booking so early. Or maybe it is just another excuse to start planning over a year in advance. The hotels are a part of the Disney Magic, so it can happen that we do some Hotel hopping and stay at different resort. I would love to stay a couple of days at the new Disney’s Art of Animation resort. Just to see and experience it as it looks great. Another place I would love to stay at is either the Disney’s Beach Club Villas or the Disney’s Board Walk Villas. I love that erea and it would give me easy access to my favorite park with my favorite show; Epcot and Illuminations. But our main home resort is Old Key West, so it is no surprise that this one will be the one we will stay at the longest. Will I do have some Disney’s Animal Kingdom Vacation Club point too, we might use these for another location this time around.

More in Part two!

Don’t be late!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

FastPass has been part of a Walt Disney World visit since years. You get your FastPass for the attraction you want to visit and then you enjoy the rest of the park until it’s time to return on the designated time printed on the ticket without the long queue. There are, however, some changes coming our way. The rumour has been out for a while but now it looks like the Disney company is preparing their cast Members to enforce a new rule. While it was normal to stop people to enter an attraction before their time frame started it was also custom to let anybody on with a FastPass that already expired. (As long as it was for that day). 

With the new rules in place however, this will no longer be possible. According to the rumours FastPasses will no longer be accepted after their time frame. There might be a 15 minute window after the printed time, but once that has past the ticket will no longer be valid.

The other change might be that they will also open a small early window for those arriving 5 minutes before their FastPass printed time. This might help to get rid of the blockage in front of a FastPass entry by those turning up a little early and where asked to wait. Will it works? Only time will tell.

(via screamscape)

Disney Parks InsidEARS

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Are you a Disney fan and can’t stop talking about the parks? Always sharing everything you know to those that want to listen? Are you, day in and day out, sharing your love for the park to everyone? But it’s still not enough and you want to share even more. Well, then you should have a look at the new Disney program where Disney fans can share their knowledge with the rest of the world as a member of the Disney parks InsidEARS project.

Disney fans like you and me can become part of the program to help Disney park visitors from all over to create their perfect trip. What better place to get your tips from then from those enthusiasts that visit the parks again and again.

The program has just been launched and is still in testing phase, but with a new site up it will not be long before the first Disney Parks InsidEARS will start helping spreading the magic.  To be able to become part of this program you will have to visit their website regularly for updates to find out on how to become part of this. Sounds like fun, something most of us Disney fans would love (and already do a lot). We never get tired of talking about the parks, don’t you agree?

More info on the Disney Parks InsidEARS website.

Picture copyrights Disney

Trip Diaries Day Ten: A Highlight of the Trip

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Getting up early every day is worth it to be able to do lots of rides, but one cannot forget a holiday should be there to relax too. So this time we got up a little later and went to Animal Kingdom to see some of our favourite animals. We took the Wildlife Express Train and went over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here we took the time to see some of the smaller animals up close.

There were two birds being checked at the Conservation Station Animal Care centre but we lost interest early and moved on to see all the other cool stuff here. Some of these critters are amazing and well worth a visit. Too many people forget about this part of the park and think there is nothing to do or see, but they are so wrong.

The animal caretakers are known to come out with an animal and share their knowledge with the guests. This time we got to see a hawk. Some people say it’s not nice to keep animals as they should live in the wild, but care centres like this proof that sometimes there is no other choice. If so this hawk would be long dead. It was found with an injury on one of his wings loosing the ability to hunt as it would not have been able to fly anymore. At the centre they took care the bird would be helped and taken care of. Although it can now fly short distances again, it would never make it in the wild anymore. Now, with the care of the Disney Castmembers the animal can live even longer than most of his fellow hawks.

While we love to see the animals even we have to go back. Why? Well, there were still Everest FastPasses and we did pick one up before visiting the animals. You can never enough ride that monster, it’s just a shame the Yeti is still not working. (and won’t be for a long time to come). After the yeti encounter we went to see some other kind of animals, namely Nemo and his friends. Great show! Maybe a little too long, but still a must see on a WDW trip.

Now, after all the animals it was time for something completely different. Something we already wanted to do on our previous trip but because of the high ticket price didn’t in the end. This time we said we would do it. Cirque du Soleil’s la Nouba…

There were two performances this day and we opted to go to the early one. We did go early enough so we could walk around Downtown Disney a little but we couldn’t wait to see the La Nouba performance. From the moment it started we knew it was going to be fantastic. (Yes, we somehow expected that way before that). The artist kept on showing amazing stuff but especially the young Chinese with the diabolos and the aerial ballet in silk where amazing. But the Power track and trampoline was the icing on the cake. AMAZING. With my son being a trampoline athlete himself (over 10 gold medals) this one was the one we looked forwards to the most. And it delivered. Beautiful, breathtaking, Awesome, incredible… do I need to say more. This was one of the highlights of our trips and worth the price. We hope to do this again on one of our next trip and we can only recommend it to anybody going to WDW. An absolute must and a great way to end a day at Walt Disney World.

Trip Diaries Day Seven: Christmas Day!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to be able to enjoy some attractions without queues. I don’t like long queues and as it are the holidays I will need to do something nobody really likes; getting up early. So up at 6am and at the park at 6:58am, just in time for 7am early extra magic opening hour on this Christmas day at the Magic Kingdom.

Honestly, I don’t know any better way to celebrate the holidays as an early entree into the park. Unfortunately I was the only one in the family that could get out of bed that early for a second time in a row, so the first part of today I was alone. But that didn’t stop me from having some fun at Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and my beloved TTA and all without the queues. What else to do? How about a picture taking bonanza. Not everybody loves it that I take my camera around, so this was a great opportunity to get some extra photo’s from the Kingdom. I also got a good look at the new Fantasyland and what I can see so far looks amazing. Can’t wait to see the finished land once ready and open.

But a Christmas day isn’t a Christmas day without a traditional Turkey dinner,… or lunch (as it was in our case). So back to Old Key West and meet up with my family at Olivia’s for just that. And guess what? It was great! A real nice lunch and one of my favourites on this trip. It wasn’t too busy either during the afternoon.

After lunch we got to go to Animal Kingdom. A guest leaving the park gave us 5 unused FastPasses for Expedition Everest. Nice! But we had enough time to see some apes first. We got there just in time to see them being fed a small snack by a Castmember. One of the big apes sat at the edge while he was thrown fruit to which he caught and ate. That was fun. We didn’t do much else in AK, but sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy the park without running from attraction to attraction.

A great Christmas day, but perfect when it ended with my all time favourite, Illuminations. Yes, that’s three parks on Christmas day, but it was well worth it.

Info: As I am back home from a great trip expect some more updates the next couple of days.

Trip Diaries Day Four: Love the Tigers

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Same game plan as the previous day, be at the park for rope drop. Today that was Animal Kingdom. We got some fastpasses for Everest and the Lion King Show. Then we rode Dinosaur without a queue and with front row seats. We did it a second time, again with no queue and front row seats and then we rode it… a third time. This time second row! Once that was out of the way we did Primeval Whirl, twice. We did both sides of the attraction before we went over to Expedition Everest. What a great ride, just a shame the Yeti isn’t working. I still need to see it for the first time in full working mode. Let’s hope I will have the chance in the future, when they’ll fix him (if ever).

Once those rides where done we got ourselves some Fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris before we went over to see the Lion King Show. This show remains a great attraction. Love it every time (as long as I don’t have to join in).

Our Kilimanjaro Safaris experience must have been the best one I have ever had. We have seen hippo’s out of the water, Giraffes as close as you can ever get and some other great animal spotting. They say to ride this in the morning or late evening because animals hide from the sun in the afternoon, but this time they were everywhere. What an experience. Great!!!

By noon 12:45 we’ve done some great stuff and after some overpriced chicken and frites it was time for a photo trip to see my favourite tigers. So of to Maharajah Jungle Trek. I know there is a lot to see there but I had to go over to the tigers at once to spend some time with them. I just love watching them. They are amazing animals and so photogenic too. I always wonder why so many people can’t see that this park is so much more then attractions. It’s all about the animals and one should stay a little longer and really look at them. Animal Kingdom is (and I said it many times before) an Imagineering masterpiece misunderstood by many.

Leaving the high midday crowds behind me for our usual swim and a relaxing time at Old Key West we hopped over to Epcot for some more rides. Got to see Nemo and his friends, many other fish too, visited Figment, got my son to drink Beverly (I know, that was mean) and had some fun with Donald and his amigos. Epcot looks great at night and I was tempted to stay on but a visit to Downtown Disney was already planned.

The crowds where incredible at Downtown and it was a struggle at some of the narrow places. Still, had to visit D-Street to get an Annual Passport exclusive Vinylmation before heading back on the boat to Old Key West to plan our next day…

Walt Disney World

Friday, December 16th, 2011

It has been a while… Well it has been way to long, but we are still here. Let’s just say it has been a hectic time where posting on the blog came to a stop. But what better time to revise the blog with some live updates from Walt Disney World itself. We are not there yet, but a trip is very close. It’s actually so close I can taste it. Well, maybe not taste it, but surely feel some butterflies in my tummy. In a couple of days we will be in Orlando and a couple of days later we will be at Walt Disney World. So what’s the plan! Live picture updates from the parks!!! Well, not 100% live of course. Updates will come at the evening, after we had fun in and around the Disney parks. So add us to your favorites and make sure to come and visit us a lot in the coming weeks and celebrate Christmas and New Year in Disney style.

Make sure to ad our twitter account and our facebook account to your favorites too

Avatar Kingdom

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011


It’s been the biggest news since yesterday, Avatar coming to the Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World. Disney has closed a deal with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of Avatar to the Disney parks.

James and his producing partner Jon Landau and their team at Lightstorm Entertainment will serve as creative consultants on the project and will work side-by-side with our Walt Disney Imagineers as we dream up experiences that will take our guests deep into worlds of AVATAR like never before. (Disneyparks Blog)

Who is excited? Well, I am not. While I think that the Avatar movie is amazing I don’t like the idea of it going into a Disney park, let alone the Animal Kingdom park. I see the Animal Kingdom park as a Imagineering masterpiece and I just don’t see it fitting in here, even if it could be linked with nature. Alien nature in the Animal Kingdom park?

There are two more movies planned in the Avatar universe, but what happens after that? Will it stay as big as Star Wars? Will it stay as cool as Indiana Jones? (Even with the last movie being a disaster). Or will it be the Harry Potter impact that Universal got? I am not so sure. Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter are timeless that might need some updates over time (Like Star Wars just had), but will Avatar also become a timeless story. If you look at the secondary market (toys, collectibles, etc), Star Wars, and Harry Potter are everywhere (Indiana Jones not so much). Avatar, can’t remember when I’ve seen anything in the shops anywhere. With Avatar in the park there will be a continuous live for the franchise. But will they be able to turn it timeless?

I am a big Disney fan and love the parks. I will give it a chance and hope I am totally wrong, but for now I am very skeptic.

On the other hand, if the Imagineers get the money and resources they need we might get to see an incredible land with amazing Disney attractions. At the end of the day, that’s what people and Disney park fans like me get excited.

The web has been the place where people put up some questions about Disney’s decision and Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has added some answers to them. One of the questions was one that popped up in my head to; Why buy someone else’s idea instead of letting WDI come up with something? Find out what Tom Staggs has to say about this and read his other answers on the Disneypark blog.

Captain Eagle

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Aren’t the Muppets fun? I for sure can’t wait to see the new Muppets movie.

Release date for the new Movie is set on November 23rd but until then the Muppets are already giving us some very nice eye candy.How about this great Captain America: The First Avenger parody poster with Sam the Eagle as the captain. Isn’t it great. I love it.

Can’t wait to see the Muppets (Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Bobo the Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, Swedish Chef,  Clifford, Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Waldorf, Animal, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle, Miss Piggy, Walter, Janice,  Scooter, Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, Kermit the Frog, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat and Statler)  in action, but I am also looking forwards to all the great cameo’s that are listed for this movie; Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Beth Broderick, James Carville, George Clooney, Billy Crystal, Zach Galifianakis, Ricky Gervais,  Donald Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Kathy Griffin, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Ed Helms, Judd Hirsch, Sterling Knight, John Krasinski,  Mila Kunis, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney, Kristen Schaal, French Stewart, Ben Stiller, Eric Stonestreet, Wanda Sykes and Danny Trejo

Picture copyrights Disney