Friday, December 31, 2010

Levi's Dig Dig Dig!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Disney World Trip Wrap Up

I wanted to take some time to share some thoughts about our trip.  We booked our package last minute through triple A travel.  There were a few things in the package that I liked: free mini golf (we didn't get to use), arcade points (my brother enjoyed those), and lots of discounts.  We may have used the discounts to the spa but they were not good on massages - the thing you really need after walking around for days.
Our plan included the free dinning plan.  I was surprised to learn that this covered all the days of our trip.  As long as your trip starts during the free dining, it lasts the whole trip.  We were worried about food, so we packed plenty of snacks.  Turned out we didn't need it.  Overall the food was great, and more than enough for us. 
Our daily counter service was used mostly for lunch but we did do a few dinners and a breakfast.  Overall we were very impressed.  Most counter service locations gave out cards while you were waiting in line with the meal plan options printed on it to make ordering easy - a beverage, entree, and desert.  We really liked Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom, and Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney.  Pecos Bills in Magic Kingdom was pretty good too - I love that there is an elaborate condiment bar for the burgers.  Most counter service location had cast members that would only let you get a table if you had food - that was great as the parks got really busy - we were always able to sit.  The one place we do not recommend is the Electric Umbrella in Epcot.
Our table service meals were great too.  You got a drink, entree, and dessert.  Dinner at Captain's Grille at the Yacht Club Resort was really good.  That was our first meal on the meal plan, and the cast member took lots of time to explain how to use it.  We also loved Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge - yum, yum!  I was impressed with the service at the Animal Kingdom Lodge - we had gotten off at the wrong bus stop so a cast member had a van drive us over to the right spot.  Liberty Tree in Magic Kingdom was really great - the cast member was wonderful, dinner at Sci-Fi in Hollywood Studios was okay but lots of fun. 
We did two special events which used two points each.  One was the Epcot Candlelight dinner at Coral Reef.  Dinner was good, but hurried.  The waitress took the order for drinks, appetizers, dinner, and dessert all at once because the kitchen was 'running' behind.  Other tables were not so rushed.  I wasn't impressed with this hurried service, but the food was good (not the best we had, but fine).
The second two pointer was Hoop De Doo.  I am in love with this show and will have to return every trip!
Plus, on the meal plan you get a daily snack.  We ended up getting a bunch a bags of candy on our last day to use them up.  My favorite snacks were the carrot cake cookie (YUM) and the beignet at our resort.
We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter.  It is a lovely resort.  Well decorated and played really fun Christmas music.  It only has a counter service restaurant, no sit down, but we were fine with that.  The pool is great, I couldn't believe how many people were swimming, way to cold for me.  Lots of people decorated their rooms - we saw lots of trees in windows (we brought one too) and lots of Christmas lights in windows.  It has boat service to Downtown Disney, great but cold at night. 
We were not impressed with the interior of the room - housekeeping seemed to be lacking in the room and requests of extra pillow went unanswered for several days.
Bus service was sometimes shared with the Riverside resort, and other time we had the bus to ourselves.
Sending packages to the hotel gift shop was great and saved us lots of time.
Overall our trip was great.  Cast members were overall very helpful and kind.  It really is all the wonderful cast members that make the difference and make a Disney vacation so different from other trips.
Looking forward to our next trip...whenever that will be.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Day 9

Our last day.  Our Magic Express tickets were on the door - boarding passes and all.  Checking in the luggage at the resort was supper easy - I was very impressed.  They even held our carry on bags.
Our plan was to go to the Winter Summerland Golf Course but the weather changed - it was cold, windy, and drizzly.  So we went to Downtown Disney instead to some last minute shopping.  Oh, and I found a smashed penny in in World of Disney I have never seen before - it was in the jewerly room - Snow White and her Prince.  Our last lunch was at Earl of Sandwhich.  Very tasty.
Our trip ended with the bus ride to the airport on Magic Express where they reminded us that we can book our next trip soon as things are always changing, and we got to hear all about the Disney Vacation Club one more time.
It was a wonderful trip and we had a fabulous time.  Now I need some sleep!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Day 8

Merry Christmas!
Christmas day at Epcot - what could be better?  We were there for rope drop and headed right over to our favorite future world attraction - Universe of Energy. (I know, we're strange).  Unfortunately it wasn't open yet - so we headed over to that other headliner - Journey into Imagination!  We was pretty fun, we had the whole car to ourselves, and got some good pictures of figment.
We spent most of the day exploring world showcase - I fact we could have used an extra day back there.  The updated Canada movie and Mexico ride were new to us and I enjoyed them both - although isn't Jose from Brazil?
I am still not sure how we lucked out but we got a candlelight processional package at Coral Reef.  I had always wanted to eat in there and now I see why it's so hard - the food was fine but the real problem is that the restaurant is tiny!  It was great to sit and watch all the of creatures swimming by.  The table next to us had a portable DVD player for the kids (Cars) and I thought it was pretty funny that the kids had to watch the movie rather than watch the sea creatures.
Oh, another surprise was that because I have Disney Rewards Credit Card we were able to get our picture taken at a special meet and greet in Innoventions.  There was no wait and we were with Mickey and Pluto.  And we got a free print!
The night ended with Candlelight Processional.  What a wonderful celebration for Christmas Day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Day 7

Christmas Eve at Magic Kingdom.  Our first ride of the day: Snow White's Adventure of course!  Magic Kingdom was quite busy.  The park was decorated so beautifully for Christmas - what a great way to spend Christmas Eve.  And I got my Dole float - yum!  (It was pretty funny - someone stopped me and through pantomime we figured out she wanted to take a picture of it).  We also go in another trip to Liberty Tree Tavern for our turkey meal - so good!  Oh, and one Jungle Cruise things got a little backed up so our guide told some jokes:
Why did Aladdin go to the Haunted Mansion?
To find a boo (ABU)!

Why did Captain Hook cross the road?
To go to the second hand store!

After a nice nap back at the hotel, some of us headed out to Disney Quest.  Now I have been there once - about 10 years ago and I was not impressed then, but one member of our party really wanted to do it, so off we went.  First, it is really expensive.  The price for admission was close to fifty dollars.  Second, it didn't seem to be anything new in the 10 years it has been since my last visit - it seemed as if it was exactlly the same.  One positive change was that all the arcade games are free play.  As they should be at that entrance fee.  The postive thing about going on Christmas Eve was that there was no wait for anything.  The main reason we went is that the video gammer in our party has tried to go on some of these attractions many times but the waits were so long, he never did.  We he was a happy camper - he did everything he wanted and played tons of games - it was great for him.  Unless you are a die hard gamer - it's not worth the admission.
For Christmas Eve was got pizza, brought it back to the room, watched the traditional claymation Christmas movies on ABC family and got some much needed rest.  It was fabulous.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Day 6

to tour hollywood studios we used the touring plan from the unoffical guide. and boy did it help. toy story mania was crazy all day. fast passes were gone before lunch.
the highlights of the day were eating at the sci fi cafe, so fun, the food was alright too, riding rock n roller coaster, and the christmas decorations.
the studio was showing mickeys christmas carol in a big theatre. it was a great way to take a break.
the osborne holiday lights was wonderful. so many wonderful lights. you feel like you are standing on one of those streets on a tlc crazy christmas light show.
it does seem sad at the hollywood studios as the studio part really seems non existent any more. the tram tour was really just sad. and the animation tour is just a charcter meet and greet. again just sad.
this seems to be the park with the least direction, it could use something. i would like to suggest that disney revisist the muppet land idea. wdw has an episode all about this idea that did not make it. it is a great idea. i will post the link when i get home.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disney World Trip Day 5

we were not able to finish all we wanted to do in animal kingdom the first day so back we went.  we were wble to walk the  pangani forest. the gorilla family had a new addition and we were able to see the mom and baby very clearly.
we also saw the flights of wonder show. it was really quite funny. the birds are impressive and cando some pretty funny things.
camp minnie and mickey was all decked out for christmas. many characters had themed trees. i loved lilo and stichs trees.
the main event was the hoop de doo revue. it was fabulous. we enjoyed the food and laughed so much. the preformers were wonderful. they included lots of christmas music too. it was really great. i think this will be something we will do every trip. oh and they had busses waiting to take you back to your resort.   our favorite part of the show was when they sang the they come from everywhere song. we were chosen, as we are from california, and our rhyme was
hey you guys wasted travel fare
you have a disney over there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disney World Trip Day 4

magic kingdom. we started out later than normal so we could have breakfast at the kona cafe in the polynesan resort. i had the tonga toast, a giant cinnamon, bannana, strawberry french toast. yum yum.
magic kingdom was busy, the holiday crowds had started. our goal was to complete the list of attractions not found, in any form, in disneyland. so we rode/saw mickeys philhar magic, magic carpets of aladdin, hall of presidents, monsters laugh floor, and my much missed country bears. we also rode buzz and tiki room to make comparisons. well tiki room in fl can not compare to the original.
we had a pretty good lunch at pecos bills and a wonderful dinner at liberty tree.
it is strange wandering around magiic kingdom,, it feels so familiar but the bathrroms are not ever where i expected them to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Disney World Trip Day 3

today was animal kingdom. we headed right over to everest to get fastpasses. while planning this trip i used touringplans.com and used the one day do it all animal kingdom plan. i know it would have worked perfectly, but we did not make it for park opening, too tired.
back to our day. after getting fastpasses we rode the rides in dioland usa.  the chester nd hester fair rides are fun but primeval whirl is just like muhland maddes, or maybe it is vice versa, which was first?
we went on dinosaur next. i still wonder how many people even make the connection between the attraction and movie. my brother refuses to acknowledge the attraction had a name change. the thing that disappointed me was the lack of dino merchandise. trex in downtown disney has more and better.
in fact i have been disappointed with merchandise overall. it is all so generic. ths should not surprise me because even when i was a cast member the merchandise was tagged so it could sold anywhere.
well our day went smoothly aand we were able to do the maharaja trek, ride everest, the sfaris, go out to conservation station, see the parade and nemo.
i
i love everest. it was great. i was i had see the yeti before he started having issuesthough.
we stopped and talked with a cast memeber at conservation station. they are so infomative it was great. they were doing some research with turtles. the box turtule was trained to go to hte darkest color paddle to get a treat. it was really impressive, he was right every time.
oh and lunch? flame tre  bbq. yummy.
nemo was beautiful. it was kind of fast but the pupperty was so well done.
we ended our day going to dinner at boma. yum. i highly recommed it. it was really fun, good food, and a beautiful resort.
if your just going my updates, no i havent joined some anti capitlization and alternate spelling group, i am blogging from my cell phone. enough said.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Disney World Day 2

today is epcot day. while waiting for the family, i spent some time wandering the resort. the pool is great, too bad its cold. all day i kept hearing people say things like its florida, its not supposed to be cold. weather aside, we headed out.
we decided to tackle future world today and save world showcase for later. we rode living with the land,the seas with nemo and friends, and test track. after having a rather disappointing lunch it was off to journey into imagination, mission space, universe of energy, and spaceship earth. we even wandered around innovations. it was great. we skipped soarin as the line and fastpass was crazy and being dl passholders, we can go some other time.  plus our queue line is way better.
because we never could get a seat in le cellier, we roe a friendship boat across to captains grille. it was really good.  we really liked the steak in wine sauce. we were going to share ll our desserts but one member of our party, who shall remain unnammed, went through his whole apple tart.  my favorite was the sorbet.
overall it was a great day.  i love the universe of energy. i want to take all my students on a field trip to learn about energy. the decorated rosemary tree in the land was really fun too. oh, and i love that you can email yourself a crazy postcard from spaceshiip earth, oh and that it covers all of world history in less then ten minutes.
just a reminder, i am still a believer in the capital letter, but my cell phone is not.

Disney World Trip Day 1

ok, so im doing this update from my phone and it appears that blogger and my cell phone are under the impression that capitals and commas dont exist. so please excuse the lack of grammar. we arrived last night and used the fabulous magical express. there was no wait and we were off the plane and on the bus in about ten minutes. we arrived at french quarter.  the lobby is decorated to the nines. it looked great. we were able to use the water taxi to head over to downtown disney. a little chilly but a nice ride.  we headed over to the trex cafe where the wait was two hours or so. lucky for us i had the rainforest club card and we only waited about fourty minutes. only being a relative term. any way, the rainforst card is well worth it, i have had it for about eight years and it gives you a discount too. as you may have noticed i found the comma.
it had been rainy and by the time we were done with dinner the area was foggy, so it was a bus ride back.
were all ready to have a great time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow White Remixed

Check out Lou Mongello's WDW Radio blog for these fun videos.  If you don't use them already, I highly recommend Lou's podcast and website - great for getting information on Walt Disney World Resort to plan your vacation or just satisfying in your Disney craving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Destination D: Day One Part One

Destination D was held September 24 and 25 2010 at the Disneyland Hotel.  Registration began on Thursday and much to my surprise there was no wait.  The registration packet included a schedule of events, a D23 fan (the same one being handed out at the DVC booths) and a set of 23 (of course) Disneyland vintage postcards.  Merchandise was available for sale including the full set of Epcot patches, scavenger hunt water bottle, and Destination D patch.
The event began with a welcome from Steven Clark, head of D23.  They showed some 'advertising' posters that didn't make it.  (Many of these posters were shown at the WDW 1st anniversary party).  It was also announced that Destination D's next stop will be WDW this spring for the 40th anniversary followed by a two day WDW scavenger hunt.  D23 also announced that this November they would add a second weekly podcast - this one called the Armchair Archivist: a weekly look into the Disney Archives.











The next session was Weird Disney with Becky Cline and Paul Anderson.  We were treated to pictures of various odd moments in Disney history:

Early on Mickey Mouse Club's were run by theater owners, not Disney, hence a Mickey Mouse Parade

One theater's Minnie Mouse
A Silly Symphonies Show featuring characters from flowers and trees and skeleton dance


When Pinocchio came to this theater men were hired to put on Pinocchio costumes to wave at patrons as they walked by.  But someone forgot to bring the men up some lunch so they took matters into their own hands.  The men got a liquid 'lunch' and played a 'spirited' game of cards - so spirited that the police had to be called to take the men away (after putting them in pillow cases to cover their indecency)



Minnie at the main switch board - that building is still there at Disneyland, although used for a different purpose now.

While they look like custodial staff, the men are there to provide a refreshing drink to guests (If I remember right it was Pepsi vs. Coke sampling)

Yup- that's a clown



Working on a house project?  Go to Disneyland and order your aluminum siding or Dutch boy paint!

Turning on the fountain at the Krane bathroom of tomorrow.


Fishing on Tom Sawyer's Island.  And, es, you got to keep the fish.  Interesting idea, carrying around a dead fish all day.  Although some guests gave up and left them for custodial staff in very creative places.

Ladies undergarments on Main Street

Piano teachers day on Main Street

A lovely traditional Victorian Christmas....with a space man?

(I had every intention of publishing this article sooner - but time flies!  More to come...)

Happy Thanksgiving!



Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Enjoy making Snow White's Ruby Red Cranberry Holiday Necklace from family.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Disneyland Alumni Club Celebrates Disneyland 55

On July 17 Disneyland Alumni Club hosted 55 Years of Music Magic. I was able to join the alumni club after I left my college Disneyland job.  This event was held at Disneyland Hotel.  The event was a wonderful evening filled with memories and music to benefit Children's Hospital of Orange County.
The introduction and welcome was from Ron Stark and, of course, Mickey Mouse.  Disney Legend Ron Dominguez, Jim Walker president of Disneyland Alumni Club, and George Kalogridis all welcomed us to the event.

The Hosts for the evening were Mouseketeers Tommy Cole and Sherry Alderoni.
Shag created artwork for the cover of the program, seen below, that was aviable of a print.
Roy P. Disney took the stage and paid tribute to his father in a touching cermeony.  He brought with him a film that was shown at the tribute to his father held at El Capitatn eariler in the year. 
 


Then dinner was served and we were treated to sounds of Main Street, Frontierland, New Orleans, Disneyland Stages, Music of Richard Sherman, Entertainment, the Main Street Electrical Parade, Fantasmic!, and World of Color.

 Ron Miller from Coke Corner
 The Dapper Dans
Billy Hill and the Hillbillies




X Atencio joined on stage for a tribute to New Orleans Square.  Of course, a few other 'surprise guests' to celebrate X Atencio's work.  X Atencio was a Disney artist from 1938 - 1965.  He then became an Imagineer working on Adventure Thru Inner Space, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.  (It is X Atencio's voice saying "Hey! Let me out of here!" in the coffin in the Haunted Mansion's conservatory)





The next act was the Nocturnes.  The Nocturnes was a popular band that performed throughout the park.  The band performed in different shows, parades, and background tracks for shows and attractions.


Richard Sherman was scheduled to be there but was unable to attend but sent a clip of him at his piano playing some of his most memorable tunes. 




The last few presentations featured Don Dorsey who played a key role in Fantasmic and is responsible for the synthesizer arrangements and performances of Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade.  He discussed how the Electrical parade took shape and how he had to change to sound from the Main Street to Disney. 
Finally, Bruce Healey took the stage to discuss Fantasmic and World of Color.  Bruce began in 1973 with the company and was a big part of special projects like super bowl halftime shows, television specials, parades, and shows.  He composed, arranged, orchestrated, conducted, and produced shows including Lion King Celebration, Light Magic, Fantasmic, and World of Color.  The Grand Finale featured many alumni taking the stage for a jam.  It was a wonderful event and I can hardly wait for the 60th!