My Next Trip to the Magic Kingdom: Dream Edition

You know how you sometimes will go around saying “OH, I am going to do that someday!” when you think about going to Disney World? I know this isn’t just me.  Lately I’ve found myself with more and more “well, NEXT time I go, I’m going to…” statements coming up, probably because my last trip was so short that I had to postpone or abbreviate a lot of things.  So in this post I’m going to make a list of all the things I really WANT to do, but haven’t really had the option yet, at the Magic Kingdom. Maybe in subsequent posts I’ll do other parks and even some of the resorts!

It’s worth noting that a lot of these – nearly all, in fact – involve slowing down and taking something in, some details I haven’t really gotten to enjoy yet.  Here we go, in no particular order!

 

1. Stand outside of Space Mountain for a while in the heat watching people go inside. Listen to any music I can hear from inside.  Then take my time in the standby line.  (I will confess that I’m listening to Space Mountain concourse music as I write this.)

2. Catch all of Festival of Fantasy. (I usually ‘accidentally’ see parades; I don’t often work them into my day. So when I do see them I typically come in midway through or even near the end.)

3. Catch all of Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It… and get my daughter and son to dance in it with me!

4. Linger in New Fantasyland.

As close as I got last time.

As close as I got last time. That guy there is not me.

5. Meet Gaston.

6. Go inside Gaston’s Tavern. (That’s right, you heard me. I have been in New Fantasyland but didn’t go into any of the buildings in Belle’s poor provincial town.) Addendum: eat a pork shank,  you savage! 😀

7. Go through The Little Mermaid standby line.

8. Lunch at Be Our Guest

9. Dinner at Be Our Guest 😛

10. Photos of Storybook Circus area, presumably while my children soak themselves in the Casey Jr. Splash n’ Soak Station

11. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

12. Explore around Cinderella Castle

13. See the inside of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique… not sure I can do that without an appointment, but I can try…

14. Take an entire day JUST to meet characters, and not worry about rides.

15. See the “it’s a small world” clock go off

16. Do a few rounds in a row of Peter Pan’s Flight (unlikely)

17. Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel… because it really is charming. 🙂

18. Eat something at Pinocchio Village Haus and watch the small world boats go by below

19. Eat at Columbia Harbour House. Apparently I’m very hungry today.

20. Liberty Square Riverboat. I have never never never done that in spite of saying repeatedly I would do it on my next trip.  I don’t understand why it’s not called “Liberty Belle Riverboat” although I realize I’m conflating “Liberty Square” with “Lilly Belle”.

21. Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow (probably the sweet and spicy chicken one). Yep, SUPER hungry.

Perfect even on a rainy day.

Perfect even on a rainy day.

22. Haunted Mansion – but only after taking a very slow walk through the queue, with lots of pictures and time spent pushing on things that move or make sounds.

23. Shopping spree at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe.  Well, actually, this is something I like to do every trip and rather than a “spree” I’d just pick up a few new ornaments. Slowly but surely my WDW ornament collection is taking over the tree. 🙂

24. Shop in the Frontier Trading Post

25. Pay more attention in general to the buildings and facades in Frontierland – I tend to blow thru here on my way from Splash to Haunted Mansion or Fantasyland.

26. Stop in at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade

27. Try to get in on some kinda hoedown action

28. FINALLY see the Country Bears Jamboree! (I’m not kidding, I’ve been trying since 2011)

29. If it’s first thing in the morning, take the standby line instead of FastPassing Splash Mountain. I haven’t done that in a while…

30. Let the kids take some time to play outside of the Splash Mountain area.

31. Listen to some banjo music and watch people coming down Splash.

32. Go all the way around on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

33. Get off at each stop on the Walt Disney World Railroad. 🙂

34. Go on Splash Mountain at night. I’ve done it before but not in a long time.  Ideally do it during the parade or the fireworks.

35. Go on Haunted Mansion at night also. Wooooo…

36. Try out the Pirate Adventure treasure hunt

I'm sure I could probably get chosen to be in the show.

I’m sure I could probably get chosen to be in the show.

37. Take in a show of Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial

38. Go on Pirates like three times in a row. 🙂

39. PeopleMover. I haven’t reached this point in my trip report yet, but my daughter was kind of peeved with me that we didn’t ride on the TTA PeopleMover because I kept promising we would but it didn’t happen. 😛

40. Carousel of Progress. Lifetime Goal: Get my family to sing along, together, aloud, during the show rotation. (I am already predicting several holdouts on this.)

41. See Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray’s. Never managed to do this.

42. Check out any and all kids’ play areas and take some pictures.

43. Actually watch some of the Main Street Trolley Show

44. Ride the Trolley.

45. Or some other Main Street Vehicle.

46. Get a haircut at the Barbershop. I have done this 2 or 3 times, so this time I want to be serenaded while I do. 😛

47. Check out the Enchanted Tiki Room now that it’s under Old Management.

48. Browse the shops of Adventureland and enjoy the background music.

49. Get a Dole Whip Float.

50. Spend an hour or two just on Main Street, USA – shop, eat, get some ice cream, drool over candy, possibly buy and eat said candy, pretend Starbucks is not a Starbucks, just stuff like that. 😀

 

And, not numbered but assumed throughout all of these: Take a billion pictures of EVERYTHING.

You never realize how much you're going to regret a picture with lighting like this until it's one of only 15 pictures you took that day.

You never realize how much you’re going to regret a picture with lighting like this until it’s one of only 15 pictures you took that day.

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Up and Coming: 365 Days At Disney

This is partly a blog showcase (remember when I did Saturday Blog Showcases? I’m gonna do those again, I swear), partly a shout-out, and partly just to toss out some support to a guy with a cool dream!

So tell me this.  What do you think of the idea of going to Walt Disney World every single day? I’m not talking about just being a Florida Resident with an AP. I’m talking about going on a year-long trip to FL with the specific intent of going to the parks every day.  Sound interesting?  Sound fun?  Sound crazy, hard to pull off?

To me, it sounds like something I’d have a good time reading about.  Not only the experience, but the getting there.  Wesley Snyder is the one doing it, and he’s blogging about the whole process over at 365 Days At Disney.  The whole thing is currently within the planning stages, and needs help getting it under way.  The blog is active with Wesley’s thoughts and ideas, as well as posts about WDW in general (not only about the planned trip), and the hope is for this to result not only in an engaging blog but also a book!  (I’m serious when I say I would read this book.)

So the best thing that you can offer right now is support, whether it’s through adding to the readership and audience, or contributing to funding, or getting the word out. Whatever!  Spread the word, visit Wesley’s blog, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook!  This is an adventure I’d like to vicariously live through!  You can also donate, if you feel inclined, at this site. And join me in wishing Wesley luck in achieving his dream!

A Disney Dream: Because Really-Not-Particularly-Scary-At-All is just too long…

As of May 1, tickets are on sale for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in September and October. If you’ve heard of this but aren’t actually clear on what it is, let me give you a rundown in brief!

This? Is my new favourite photo. <3  (c) The Walt Disney Co.

This? Is my new favourite photo.

In simplest terms, this is Walt Disney World’s Halloween party. It takes place at the Magic Kingdom on select evenings in September and October. It is NOT included with general park admission; it’s a hard-ticket event, which means you have to pay extra to get in, even if you’ve already spent the day in the Magic Kingdom.

Is it worth the extra money? Well, I’ve never done it. But YES! 😀

Actually, it’s up to you to decide. It would be worth it to me, because I love Halloween and I love the Magic Kingdom, and this opportunity is one I’ve wanted to try for years now. But there are factors to take into account: it’s a very popular event so it can be crowded; lines for certain things may be longer than you’d like; and it is late, so you have to remember that if you’ve got kids, you’re paying more than $50 for each of them to possibly stay up later than they really can manage.

Before you make up your mind after I list all the down-sides to you, let me just talk about what the party involves, and why it’s a Disney Dream of mine lo these many years!

Around 6pm or so, on the nights when they’re running the parties, they start closing down the Magic Kingdom and guests are escorted out. There are already pumpkins and other light Halloween/October decorations out lining the park, and at this point, once closed, the park reopens with a total Halloween theme. Characters are available for meet and greets in their Halloween costumes; guests are encouraged to wear costumes – and this is the only time of the year when this is allowed, even among adults!

I have no idea who these are. Some witch and some scarecrow. Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

I have no idea who these are. Some witch and some scarecrow. Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Along with the costumed characters, there are a bunch of other party-only activities and fun things: Trick-or-treating (apparently you can’t walk down the street without falling into candy), dance parties including a Villains Mixer, HalloWishes – the Halloween-themed firework show – and the Boo To You Parade. This parade is led by the Headless Horseman and features floats for villains, for the Haunted Mansion, and more.

I have to say I am less interested in the candy, and more interested in the character meets; less interested in the dance parties and more into the parade. I want to see that Headless Horseman, guys! This is possibly my biggest goal in life. 🙂


The above video is NOT by me, it’s by AllEarsNet, consistently one of the best Disney resources on the web.

So my daughter goes to sleep around 8pm every night. Staying up for this will be hard for her, and even though the party goes from 7pm to 12am, if we go I figure we won’t stay past 10pm. (And she’ll still be dead on her feet by then.) But; it’s such a great experience, I can’t wait to take her. I know she’ll have fun. 😀

This ain't your mother's Cinderella's Castle. Unless you're my daughter in which case, forget what I just said.  Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

This ain’t your mother’s Cinderella’s Castle. Unless you’re my daughter in which case, forget what I just said. Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

 

Dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary were announced at the start of May. You can save money by buying in advance; the ones closest to Halloween will be most expensive and will also sell out most quickly.

September 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, and 27, the advance purchase price is $59 for adults and $54 for kids (ages 3-9); at the door price is $65 for adults and $60 for kids.

September 29 and October 3, 4, 6, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, and 29, and November 1, the advance price is $62 for adults and $57 for kids; the door price is $67 for adults and $62 for kids.

October 11, 18, and 25, the advance price is the same as the door price, $67 for adults and $62 for kids.

October 31, there is no discount for buying in advance, but do it anyway. It WILL sell out early. The price, if you are intent on going on Halloween, is $73 for adults and $68 for kids.

Have a blast! Send me your photos! 😀

I'm sure this is totally what it's like, and all. Nearly empty park, characters all waiting to play with me.  Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

I’m sure this is totally what it’s like, and all. Nearly empty park, characters all waiting to play with me. Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Disney Dreams: Stuff I’d Like to do, Cruise Edition

I will be here someday, looking at this in person. Oh yes I will.  (I did not take this picture.)

I will be here someday, looking at this in person. Oh yes I will. (I did not take this picture.)

A few years ago when my daughter was 2, just before my husband and I started trying to have our second child, there was a really amazing deal on Disney Cruises.  Since we’d only be paying for ourselves (due to our daughter being 2, as mentioned), we seriously considered it, but there ended up being too many unresolved issues.  Mainly, like, how would we pay to get down to FL from MD?  How would we do it, fly or drive?  Since our daughter wasn’t completely potty-trained she couldn’t go into most of the pools and couldn’t be left in the kid clubs.  Would she be upset by this?

In the end we decided to save our money for a bigger, longer trip to WDW, and go to the beach for a few days.  And we had fun.  Even though there was no Mickey there.

The thing is, though, that in the four and a half years since that time I have wondered over and over, what if we had gone?  I’ve never been on a cruise of any kind, and I’ve never been to the Bahamas.  Should we have thrown caution to the wind, only lived once, and taken that opportunity when we had it?

So instead I’ve made myself a promise, that if ever we do have the money available and that opportunity comes back, we are TAKING it.  Both kids are old enough, and yes we’d have to pay for both but if we HAVE the money then that’s not a problem.

And now, the opportunities are so much more amazing.  Four and a half years ago there were only two ships, not four: no Disney Dream or Disney Wonder.  No Aquaduck.  No European cruises and Greek Isles.   No magic portholes.  If I can only go once (and Lord willing, I will go more than once, but I did say IF), I’d rather it be now than a few years ago just so I can get to do these new things.

The problem with the whole “once in a lifetime” idea is that I have a few too many things I’m intent on doing.  I want to go to Castaway Cay AND the Meditarranean AND Italy.  I want to see castles AND beaches.  And as many doggone characters as I can!  And I want a room with a verandah, so that every morning I can step out and feel the wind in my hair and just sigh.  Just one big, happy sigh before I head on out for breakfast on my perfect boat.

Terror-ific! Registration for the Tower of Terror 10-miler opens TODAY!

I know, I know – I should be kicked for that pun. 😀  But I’m just so EXCITED!

 

This is not my picture; it is property of the Walt Disney Co.

This is not my picture; it is property of the Walt Disney Co.

Registration for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Mile race at Disney World this October opens today!  It being a runDisney event there is more to do than just the Big race; there is a 5K, as well as kids races including – how cute is this – a Diaper Dash for crawling children 12 months and under.  My heart swells. 😀  (I am quite sure this Diaper Dash does not take place after dark the way the 10-mile race does.)

Disney Dreams: The Contemporary Resort

Alrighty, so I won’t beat around the bush, I’ll just put this out here: I want to stay at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World.

The view of the Contemporary from the Ft. Wilderness ferry, circa 2008... probably hasn't changed that much right?

The view of the Contemporary from the Ft. Wilderness ferry, circa 2008… probably hasn’t changed that much right?  Aside from the… construction… heh.

 

There are two obstacles in my way: one, it’s a deluxe resort, which is currently outside of my budget since we’re currently a single-income family; and two, my husband is not as enthusiastic about this hotel as I am.

 

In 2008, I stayed at a campsite at Fort Wilderness and on the morning I went to the Magic Kingdom, I decided to take the ferry to the Contemporary and then grab the monorail to MK instead of just ferrying straight to MK.  Something about the interior of the Contemporary just won me over right away.  I don’t know why because in addition to reminding me of a luxury hotel it also reminds me of an airport.  But I have always loved airports, and when I was 13 or 14 I remember walking through an airport with my sister and telling her I’d like to get to live in one for a while (I was prone to saying things like that in my teens… and, okay, now too), so apparently the association is still a pleasant one.

 

The deciding factor for me was probably the monorail going THROUGH it… But it might also have been this view:

I don't know, I mean, is it me?  Or does it remind you of an airport?

I don’t know, I mean, is it me? Or does it remind you of an airport?  I mean in a GOOD way.

 

Yeah, something about being able to see Chef Mickey’s and all the partying going on and things from the monorail waiting area… just charmed me.  So I was like “We are EATING at that RESTAURANT next time!” and also “I WANT TO STAY HERE.”  But when I brought my husband a few years later he was not as charmed.  Hm.  So I promised him we’d do either the Polynesian, which I also liked, or else Animal Kingdom Lodge, which I LOVE, instead.  So the eventual Deluxe Resorts we stay at will be one of those.

 

Sigh.

 

I still hope/pray/plan on staying in the Contemporary at some point, though.  Not just for monorail proximity but so much more: California Grill, the Wave, the afore-mentioned Chef Mickey’s; multiple gift shops; the view of “Wishes” at night; the two pools; and those ROOMS.  And a hundred million other reasons, too.  There’s a real classic aspect to the Contemporary, even in how non-contemporary it is on the outside (but the inside, boy! it’s terrific).  I really do want to do the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and that’s another post, but someday, SOMEday, the dream is for the Contemporary.

Registration for the Twilight Zone ToT 10-miler opening in 7 days!

Today is February 5, which means that the registration for runDisney’s “Tower of Terror 10-miler” event opens in one week – February 12!  If you’re considering a unique race on Disney property (well, okay, a race on Disney property is pretty unique to start with, but this one is not your standard run) and are looking for a shorter race than a marathon, this might be a good one to book!  This race is held in early October and involves a run through Disney’s Hollywood Studios… at night.  Dun-dun-DUNNNN!  In the past they’ve had villains “haunting” the area and made it nicely spooky for the runners!

 

The advance registration fee is a good $30 off the regular fee; if you book by March 26, the entry fee is only $135, compared to $150 if you book between March 27 and May 21, and $165 after May 21.  Disney also offers special resort and ticket rates to their runners, so you can get discounts on selected hotels on a 2-night basis.

 

In addition to the main 10-mile race, there is a “Happy Haunts” 5K for $50, two kids’ races for $10-$30, and a Villains Bash after-party!  (Now THAT is going to sell out.  Guaranteed.)  You’ve got a little bit longer to book the Villains party at a discount – it’s $54 until 5/21.  Your registration also includes commemorative pins, and 10-milers get a necklace as well.

 

Out of all the Disney races, I think this is the one I most want to do as a “What-If”.  Because honestly, my real goal is to run the Half-Marathon and I don’t know if I’d be able to do both… but ooooooh I love the thought of this one!  Even though I’m nowhere near in the right shape, I’m still SO tempted to sign up for this! 😀

 

*A quick note: The main page for this race says that registration is NOW open, but when I click that link, the registration page says it’s opening on 2/12/13.  Check back, I guess, and see if they open early?

Disney Dreams: Characters in Flight

I think every real Disney fan has things they’ve yet to do – and may never get to do – at Disney.  A behind-the-scenes tour, a restaurant, a resort, or what have you.

I, unfortunately, don’t get to Disney as often as I’d like (a piddling five times in my whole life!  Four of them in the past 9 years) and so my list… well, it’s pretty long by now.  I’ve done a lot IN the parks but there are things surrounding, or even far away from the parks that are pretty amazing and I either haven’t had a chance, haven’t had the cash, or some other reason just haven’t done ’em yet.

So every so often I thought I’d talk about one or two of these things I want to do, but haven’t.  Yet.  There is ALWAYS another chance!

Starting simple, today I’m looking at you, Characters in Flight!  Heard of this?  It’s a hot-air balloon ride in the Downtown Disney Area.

The original one was covered with silhouettes of Disney characters (hence the name) who can fly (also hence the name): Peter Pan, Wendy, Mary Poppins, Aladdin on the Magic Carpet.  In October this year they introduced a new balloon, all stripey and pretty!

Here is my best picture of the original balloon, which is blurry and at night and regardless still really cool

Here is my best picture of the original balloon, which is blurry and at night and regardless still pretty cool

 

When we reached the Walt Disney World Resort a couple of years ago on our last vacation there, my daughter could see the balloon from the car as we were driving to our hotel and she was transfixed.  The price is actually really reasonable too – current ticket prices are $18 for adults and $12 for kids.

So why didn’t we do it?  Is it because I’m afraid of heights?  Some deep dark secret? Nope, we just didn’t have time to fit it in.  We had one day we spent outside of the parks, and we did go to Downtown Disney, but we spent our time browsing the stores and having dinner, you know, as you do.  So we just didn’t get up in there.

I hope I can do this someday, and hopefully with my daughter.  She was just BEGGING us but it never materialized… too many other things planned already.  As they are. 😉