Month: August 2015

Progress City…Get Excited

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What an amazing time to be a fan of the Disney Parks!! The internet has been a buzz all week with all the new  and exciting expansions coming to Walt Disney World in the next few years thanks to all the announcements made at the D23 Expo. I absolutely cannot wait to see all of the new attractions, restaurants and entertainment that is coming our way! Sorted by park below, you will find my two cents as always as well links to official Disney Parks Blog articles regarding all the new gizmos and gadgets a plenty!

Magic Kingdom:

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Jungle Navigation Co., Ldt. Skipper Canteen (Jungle Cruise Themed Restaurant) — YES YES YES!! I have been saying for a while that my beloved Magic Kingdom Park needed a new table service offering that was outside of the princess theme. Skipper Canteen sounds amazing and just what Adventureland needs! I cannot wait to see more details about the menu and decor. Jungle Cruise is such a fun ride, so to carry that theme to the restaurant setting sounds like such a fun meal! I am ready to make my ADR’s now!

Epcot:

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Soarin’ Around the World – While I love the original Soarin’ and soundtrack, a Soarin’ Around the World film makes so much more sense for Epcot, plus the film will now be digital and another theater is being built which should help with the wait times. I hope the soundtrack is just as good and I wouldn’t be the least bit sad if they kept the original music. If they also want to find a way to incorporate oranges, I would be all for it too!

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Frozen Ever After Attraction – I know lots of people are on the fence about this one because they removed the popular Maelstrom ride to build it, but the renderings of this attraction look beautiful & I cannot wait to get the Norway Pavilion back! Frozen fans will also get to meet Anna & Elsa in the new neighboring Royal Summerhus cabin. Be sure you FastPass+ this one once it opens because I cannot even fathom what the wait times will look like! More Frozen Ever After

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Star Wars Land – This one was the BIG kahuna that everyone was waiting for. A whopping 14 acres of land has been put aside at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to make Star Wars Land a reality, making these expansions the largest in park expansion to date. I cannot think of a series that spans through so many generations and with the new movies coming out, Star Wars fever is going to get real. I cannot wait to see the attention to detail that they will put into this land! Universal Orlando can keep the Wizard Boy, we’ll take the Jedis.

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Tour Enhancement & Season of the Force – To hold everyone over while Star Wars Land is built, Disney will be offering some new Star Wars experiences. Star Wars Launch Bay, which will be located in the Animation Courtyard, will be home to interactive exhibits, character meet and greets and food/merchandise offerings centered around Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Star Tours will be adding new locations and characters from the upcoming movie. Lastly, Season of the Force, will be a new seasonal event coming in 2016 which sounds very similar to Star Wars Weekends with special entertainment, character greetings, etc. The headlining attraction sounds like it will include a new Star Wars themed fireworks show (no word yet on whether this is replacing Star Wars Weekends or not). The Star Wars hype is real, folks! I like that Star Wars is going to have an increased presence in the Disney Parks, especially for all those dads and kids who are such big fans!

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Toy Story Land – As if getting a Star Wars expansion wasn’t enough, Disney Hollywood Studios will soon also be home to a Toy Story Land! This land looks so colorful and straight out of the movie! In addition to another track being added to Toy Story Mania, a new family-friendly Slinky Dog coaster is being added as well as an Alien Saucer attraction. I love the queue of Toy Story Mania, so I cannot even imagine how detailed and amazing an entire land will be!

Animal Kingdom:

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Pandora – The World of AVATAR – While this expansion was announced some time ago, fans got some new sneak peeks at D23 for this upcoming mystical world. I cannot wait to see this movie come to life and see the bioluminescent plants and ride the banshee on AVATAR Flight of Passage.

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(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Rivers of Light + Kilmanjaro Safari Enhancement – The concept art revealed for Rivers of Light makes me so happy! If there is one thing I love most at Walt Disney World, it is their nighttime entertainment, so the fact that we are getting a new nighttime show and at Animal Kingdom, a park that many people (myself included) have never seen after dark, makes me giddy! Since the park will be open during later hours, Kilmanjaro Safari will be doing Sunset and Nighttime rides as well! I think Animal Kingdom is going to feel like a whole different park after dark! I cannot wait!

Phew!! All this, plus all the new restaurants and shops coming to the new Disney Springs is enough to make any Disney fan’s head spin!! You can bet we will bring you more details as they are revealed!

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#TripReportTuesday – Taking on the Springs on the High Seas – Flowers, Cheddar Cheese Soup and the NBA Playoffs?

My Album 3-001

Day 1 continued: Flowers, Cheddar Cheese Soup and the NBA Playoffs?


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The first park we visit always seems to vary when we vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort. It doesn’t matter at all to me which one we visit first because I am just so happy to be there! If you read the last post, you will know we were headed to Epcot this evening. Our main goals this afternoon were to:

  1. Hit up our favorite rides
  2. Check out some of the Flower & Garden Festival
  3. Stuff ourselves silly with dinner at Le Cellier
  4. Score an awesome viewing location for Illuminations
  5. Somehow keep up with the NBA Playoffs
  6. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH) until 11:00 PM

As you can see, we hoped to accomplish a lot and it was almost already 3:00 PM. Our first order of business was Test Track because we had a FastPass+ reservation between 3:05-4:05. Of course, we stopped to take some pictures first because the topiaries at the park’s entrance and throughout the park are amazing! If you ever have a chance to check out the Flower & Garden Festival, definitely make it a point to see all the creative topiaries, it amazes me how detailed each one is, not that I would expect anything less from Disney. After admiring the adorable displays at the entrance, we made a beeline for Test Track, which happens to be my favorite Epcot attraction!

2015-05-08-14h49m19EPCOT_ECENTR1_73018838152015-05-08-14h50m29 2015-05-08-14h50m39

2015-05-08-15h00m02Wasting no time at all, we scanned our MagicBands at the Fastpass+ entrance and headed in. Soon, we were designing our own vehicle seen below to be put to the test on the Sim track. This ride is necessary for anyone who is a car enthusiast! 2015-05-08-15h13m33And we’re off! I don’t remember our vehicle performed compared to the others in our car, probably because of the adrenaline rush. EPCOT_DPIRIDESYSGMTT_7301943749People with long hair, beware–this is what happens to you!EPCOT_DPIRIDESYSGMTT_7323127995Such a beautiful couple. 2015-05-08-15h28m09

We had some time before our next FastPass+ which was for Spaceship Earth, so we decided to check out the Flower & Garden Festival building which was near the Universe of Energy in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion. Being a Disney nerd, I could not believe I had never been in this building before.

2015-05-08-15h40m182015-05-08-15h40m37 2015-05-08-15h39m21 2015-05-08-15h39m55The building is used for festivals such as Flower & Garden for demonstrations, exhibits and festival merchandise. I wondered if the fact that the building’s skylights are shaped like a flower have anything to do with why they keep this building around for festivals and not convert it to another attraction.

2015-05-08-15h41m06We walked around the entire pavilion, they had some kind of horticulture presentation going on, but we didn’t stop to watch. We did like seeing all the cute merchandise though!2015-05-08-15h43m02 2015-05-08-15h43m51A very neat exhibit was toward the back of the pavilion and showed how Cast Members go about making the amazing topiaries. It was very cool to see all that goes into these works of art!
2015-05-08-15h52m22Feeling informed, we decided to take a break from the flowers and paid a visit to the Seas with Nemo & Friends. EPCOT_LIVINSEAS_7302059992 2015-05-08-16h11m05We also stayed for Turtle Talk with Crush, which is such a fun little show because it is always different and depends on the participation from the kids in the audience. The show is HILARIOUS! I don’t want to ruin the magic, but definitely check it out if you have never stayed to watch it! It is located in the pavilion that houses the Seas with Nemo & Friends. In fact, the entire Seas pavilion is worth exploring. You can see dolphins, manatees and tons of other fish. There are also educational presentations throughout the day! It is such a great place to take a break from the Florida heat and sun!

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It was now time for our Fastpass+ reservation to Spaceship Earth (The Ball as it is known in non-Disney circles).  We decided not to try and photograph anything this time around and just enjoyed our slow paced ride through time. As it was nearing our dinner reservation for Le Cellier, we headed to the World Showcase part of the park to explore a bit before dinner.

2015-05-08-17h32m27Here is a hint to the country we ended up in:

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If you didn’t guess Mexico, I cannot help you. Definitely the best World Showcase pavilion in my opinion. Not only is it beautiful inside because it looks like you are outside, but you also get to ride on a Grand Fiesta Tour with the 3 Caballeros! Trust me, it is not as wild as it sounds! After our visit with the 3 Caballeros, I resisted the urge to get a churro because it was dinner time and we were off to Canada!

We checked in promptly at 5:40 which was our reservation time and were seated in no time. This is a pretty small restaurant and popular, so I recommend getting a dining reservation 180 days in advance if you have your heart set on eating here.

Le Cellier is a delicious steakhouse, but I honestly go for the ever popular Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup!! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, heaven in a bowl:2015-05-08-17h55m29
Dip the pretzel bread in that soup, and I swear your life will be changed forever.
For our main entree, we both got the Le Cellier Filet Mignon: here is the description from Disney’s website-

AAA Canadian Beef Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Heirloom Toy Box Tomatoes, Truffle-Butter Sauce

Is your mouth watering?

Dinner was wonderful and we were extremely full. We made the smart decision to skip on dessert because it was our first day of vacation and we had many more days ahead not to mention a cruise with unlimited desserts coming up.

After dinner, we leisurely made our way back into Future World taking some beautiful pictures along the way. Epcot always looks to peaceful from this angle.

2015-05-08-17h34m36 2015-05-08-17h34m48 2015-05-08-17h34m562015-05-08-18h54m07We had a FastPass+ reservation ready to be used at Journey into the Imagination with Figment and our full bellies were happy that the attraction is pretty close to the World Showcase so we didn’t have far to walk! After a journey into the imagination with our favorite purple dragon, we played in the Imagination fountains as any normal adults in their thirties would. I think this is why we love Disney so much – there is never any judgement to completely grown adults acting as children.

2015-05-08-19h13m31 2015-05-08-19h15m09Feeling like we did pretty good on the rides this afternoon, we were ready to stake out a spot for Illuminations and seeing that it was only 7:30, we would definitely get an awesome spot. We found a spot front and center right past the Mexico Pavilion.

You may remember, one of our goals for the day was to stay informed of the NBA Playoffs, now normally, when I am at Disney, I tune out the entire real world and do not want to any communication with it! But, in our house, we are big Chicago Bulls fans and they were in the second round playing their arch-nemesis LeBron James & the Cleveland Cavaliers and I had to know what was happening. We contemplated walking over to the Boardwalk to catch the game at the ESPN Club, but I really wanted to see Illuminations, so we did the next best thing…we streamed it on our phones using Disney’s free Wi-Fi. What a technologically advanced world we live in! This really made the time fly by though and we made some friends along the way as they would ask what we were watching or what the score currently was.We could just tell some dads were jealous of our little setup. In between our NBA watching, we took this beautiful picture of the World Showcase Lagoon. Dusk around the World Showcase is one my happy places!

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Soon, the sun was gone and an ominous voice came over the speakers wishing us a “Good Evening” alerting us that Illuminations was about to begin.

Illuminations-9ps 2015-05-08-21h04m16 2015-05-08-21h10m20 2015-05-08-21h11m21 2015-05-08-21h14m14 2015-05-08-21h14m34As usual, Illuminations did not disappoint one bit! The fact we had a front row seat with no heads blocking our view made it even better! This is why I don’t believe in wasting a FastPass+ on the nighttime entertainment. If you just plan to arrive 30 min – 1 hour early, you should have no issues finding a great viewing location for any of the shows.

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While many people headed for the exit, we had two more goals to accomplish during Extra Magic Hours: Soarin’ and another ride on Test Track.

Remember that Extra Magic Hours is a perk for Disney resort guests which allows to stay in select parks two hours after regular closing or enter one hour before opening. Check Disney’s official park hours for the Extra Magic Hours schedule.

2015-05-08-21h29m20Soarin’ is my husband’s favorite ride and since we already rode Test Track, we decided to ride Soarin’ first. The Bulls game was still going on, so we watched the game while in line, making more friends with jealous dads along the way. The game actually ended up going into overtime, so once we were done soaring, we took a seat on one of the benches at the exit to watch the final minutes. The game went down to the wire with Derrick Rose hitting the game winner! We literally jumped up screaming and people thought we were insane!! With the game over we needed to calm our nerves, so naturally, we hightailed it to Test Track for a 65 mph ride in a car. EPCOT_DPIRIDESYSGMTT_7323142612With such a full & exciting afternoon/evening and an upcoming day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, we were ready for some shut eye. And with that, our evening came to an end & we said goodnight to Epcot!

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