Food and Fireworks

Monday, May 4th, 2015

foodCGDo you love fireworks? It’s the highlight of many visits. But big crowds might force you to either come early to find that perfect viewing spot, or come late and stand somewhere in the back. If unlucky you’ll be watching the many phone or even tablet screens that go up from all the people around you that are trying the film it.

Want it a little bit more relaxed? How about combining it with a good meal and a viewing spot many visitors don’t think about. Here are 4 personal tips of great meals that can be combined with a firework display afterwards.

Let’s start at the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort Hotel. Right up there on the top floor, this amazing restaurant offers you a fantastic selection on American cuisine, seafood and sushi. Get yourself a nice plate of sushi, share one of the great flatbreads and then how about bison. Of course you can’t enjoy the fireworks without one of their amazing desserts. The chocolate pudding cake, with Nutella filling, or the Plant City Strawberry Cheesecake are only two of the great choices on this menu.

Feeling full? Time to go and see the fireworks. The music is piped into the restaurant so you can see the fireworks from the comfort of your seat. Or you can go to the observation deck outside. Whatever your choice is, it is an amazing and relaxing experience.

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Disney… I miss you

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Epcot15

Hello to all Disney fans around the globe. It has been a while, but as you can see on the title… I missed it. Am I back? I hope so as I do miss talking about Disney, especially the parks. With one, maybe even two, trips in to Walt Disney World the planning I thought it would be a good time to try and revive this blog. It might take a while… it will take a while, but I am sure with your help and support we could return to our former self.

Castle15So, where have I been all this time? I wish I could say at a Disney park, but most of the time that is not so. Although, during my absence from the blog, I did visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. Even so, I still miss Disney at this time. And I am sure I will not be the only one. So let’s talk Disney shall we.

See you on the blog and make sure to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter too.

Universal Ticket Prices UP

Monday, May 20th, 2013

rogueatioa.jpgUniversal Orlando has raised their day tickets up to $92 for a one day, one park ticket. With this they are the first park to ask above the $90 and are now “only” $8 away from a three digit ticket price. It will come sooner as you will want to.

Other ticket combinations also changed. For example a one ticket, two parks will now set you back $128

Normally, when one of the big players in Orlando raises their ticket price, the other players are not far behind. If this trend continues we might see Walt Disney World and SeaWorld do the same in the very near future. A Walt Disney World one day tickets cost you $89 at the moment.

Sometimes I wonder how they calculate their increasing as they are certainly not following your regular inflation. For those that like some history; in 1971, when Walt Disney World opened, a ticket to the Magic Kingdom would set you back $3.50. (although you did need to buy extra tickets for the attractions. These where Adventures Books and started at $4.50 for 7 tickets)

Disney Vacation Club Villas at Grand Floridian Sales starting Dates

Monday, May 20th, 2013

DVCFloridian

Disney Vacation Club will start their sales for the new Floridian Villas as from the 23rd of May 2013. This date is only for current members who want to add on some extra points to their portfolio. New buyers will have to wait a little longer (June 19) before they can buy their forst share in the magic.

No news on pricing yet, but this will come out very soon. Add on minimum will be 25 points while new members will have to get the usual 160 points (unless changed again for this resort). More early info can be found via the DVC Facebook page at this time.

Get your points for some more “Welcome Home” magic

Picture copyrights Disney

Tony Baxter Leaving Imagineering

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

TonyBmaster3It is something that would have to happen at some stage, but I don’t think anybody really was prepared for it to happen at this time or any time. Tony Baxter is leaving his Senior Vice President position within the Imagineers department at Disney. He might not leave completely as he will take a role as a part time advisor.

Tony has been part of the Disney family for more then 30 years. He started in Disneyland as an ice cream vendor when he was 17 years young. Over 30 years later he became a well love Disney Imagineer that brought some incredible magic to Disney. Some of his greatest works include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Re-designing complete lands like Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (in 1998) and Disneyland’s Fantasyland (in 1983). He is also the man that created a big part of our beloved Disneyland  Paris.

I was privileged and lucky enough to have been able to meet this Disney icon in person. Not only was I able to hear his stories about the creation of Disneyland Paris (a full transcript can be found here), but I was able to give him a copy of Brits Guide to Disneyland I was the main researched for, but he also signed a copy, congratulated and thanked me for the work on the book. To me, as a Disney enthusiast, that meant a lot. Thank you Tony for all the things you’ve done.

AN OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW IMAGINEERS (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.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Joyeuses Fêtes!

Felices Fiestas!

Trevlig Helg!

Boas Festas!

Sarbatori Fericite!

Jie Ri Yu Kuai!

Bones Festes!

Tanoshii kurisumasu wo!

Buone Feste!

Forhe Feiertage!

Prettige feestdagen!

Hau’oli Lanui!

Beannachtaí na Féile!

Vesele Praznike!

Sretni praznici!

Fun After the Indiana Jones Show

Monday, December 10th, 2012

What do you do after you visited the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! show in the Disney Hollywood Studios. Run straight to the next attraction? Get yourself a bite to eat or something to drink? Try to find a gift, collectable or even a Indiana Jones hat in the store? All fun choices of course, but there is another option one might overlook.

Once you leave to show area you should go to the right hand side and walk up into the street full of Indiana Jones related goodies. There is a real fun display with tanks, trucks and other army stuff related to the Indiana Jones movies. It is a perfect place for a photo opportunity.

You can take pictures of all the goodies as they are (The way I prefer it and how you’ll see it in these pictures here on the blog), or you can make it a perfect background for the Indiana fans. Maybe have your group or your children act out some fun scenes from the movie or the stunt show. Without the dangerous stunts of course.

Remember the “don’t do this at home” lines, they count here too.

Whatever the option is, don’t just walk by it. There is just to much to see and appreciate in those great displays around the park. This is just one of the many great decorations you’ll find all over Walt Disney World ideal for photo opportunities. There are many other once out there.

Don’t forget though! Share your fun pictures on the web for all Disney fans to enjoy. Happy picture hunting…

All That New Walt Disney World Stuff

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Isn’t it amazing how much new stuff just has been added to Walt Disney World. The new Fantasyland looks amazing and brings us many big new wonderful things. The Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid looks like real fun. Not only the ride, but even the interactive queue area sounds like fun. The Be our Guest Restaurant is already an absolute winner with dining reservations being very hard to get. Enchanted Tales with Belle and Ariel’s Grotto brings you closer to even more the beloved characters and their stories. I can’t wait to see and experience it all. If I only knew when that day will be. Knowing that all the new attractions and experiences are there but you don’t have a date set yet to go and visit it is no fun. But I guess I am not the only one who would go and see all that wonderful stuff. And isn’t that why Disney does it? To lure us all back in? However I guess we fans don’t even need that much to be convinced to book a next trip. How many returning visitors will this update bring? Or even new visitors? It will be an overhaul that will bring many, many people to the park. With only a couple of days open and the big press event behind it, success can already be seen.

But there is even more to draw in all us fans and regulars to the park. How about Storybook Circus with the redecorated Barnstormer, The Dual Dumbo’s and Casey’s Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. Another reason to visit the magic. And the end is not there yet as more expansions will be opening. Princess Fairytale Hall and the highly anticipated Seven Dwarf Mine Train. I guess those guest going to visit the new Fantasyland now will also be drawn back for those too, while others might wait till the whole area has been refurbished and ready.

But there is even more new stuff going on in the World. Epcot’s Test Track is open and people are speaking of STAND_BY lines all the way from Innoventions… That is a long queue! But looking at the early videos of the ride it looks like the wait is well worth it.

It is great to see all these new things happening in the world. I just wish I could be there to see them happening. But I will have to work a little on my patience. I miss Walt Disney World though, just like I miss being here on the Mousekingdom blog. Maybe this is the right time to get this project out of hibernation a little. It would be nice to talk more Disney again in anticipation towards my next trip. It is in the planning. Just no set date yet. So until we see each other in the park, I hope to see you again on this blog. But for those going to see all the new stuff; enjoy it! And then share it…

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

Only an Empty Queue…

Monday, July 16th, 2012

…is a good queue. Who really likes standing in a long queue? Would it not be nicer to just walk straight on to the attraction. It is possible. Just have a look at the picture of the Big Thunder Mountain Queue in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Doesn’t that look like a queue you want to see on your visit? I know I do. This pictures dates back to December 25. That’s a very busy period for Walt Disney World, but you can still plan to enter one of your favorite attractions without the long queue. Even on busy days. So you might already have an idea when this was taken. Right. Very early in the morning. But it is well worth getting up for.

I know and understand that many people see it as a holiday and want to sleep in a little. But when you get up early you can do many rides with these kinds of queues. Once the clock hits 11AM the guests seem to flog the park. (You can set you clock to it). By that time I’ve done multiple attractions (in this case I did BTM 3 times without a queue) and you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the pool…. stress free!

WDW Planning Part 3: There is more…

Monday, July 16th, 2012

…than only Walt Disney World Resort. Really? Is there?

As a Disney addict I never want to admit it! But, yes. There is more. So of course we do plan some things outside of the Walt Disney World Resort too. Some of these things already made it on our to do list. Even if the holiday is still more then a year away. What did already made it on the early holiday plan? Let’s have a look.

Last time it was so cold in Orlando, (did you ever think that could happen) that Universal Studios never even opened their new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Coaster. To cold to operate a roller coaster? Well, as we where in the park on that cold January 2012 day we had to miss that ride. A reason to put it back on the list for the next trip. Also back on the list is another visit to Discovery Cove. It was going to be a one of but swimming with the Dolphins is amazing and we need to go back next time. So it will be no surprise that we will also visit Seaworld again as you’ll get your complimentary ticket when you visit Discovery Cove.

Another park that is on the to do list is Legoland. I have seen the original in Denmark so this time it’s time to see what they did in Orlando. But we need to look into transportation for that one as I want to avoid renting a car during my holiday.

That’s only a beginning of our very early Walt Disney World plans. There is a lot more to look at and a lot more we would add. It’s early planning, but like I mentioned before, that’s part of the fun. It is never to early to plan your next Walt Disney World Holiday. So, How far do you plan ahead?…

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?