Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Swiss Family Treehouse

Swiss Family Treehouse is a walk-through attraction based on the 1960 Disney movie Swiss Family Robinson (which itself was based on the 1812 Johann David Wyss book by the same name). The enormous treehouse, situated near the entrance to Adventureland, recreates the arboreal home that the fictional Robinson family built following their shipwreck in the East Indies. 

photo via

I'll admit, Swiss Family Treehouse is not an attraction that's on my Must-Do list for every visit. I'm not really sure why, but it's often a matter of timing for me. If I pass by earlier in my visit, perhaps I think it'll take too long, or that the excitement level won't quite be what I'm looking for. If it's later in the day, the thought of climbing those steps might turn me off. After my recent visit, I knew I had to send out these words of encouragement- make time for it, people! I had forgotten what a really special attraction this is. It's an opening day classic that harkens back to a simpler time. It's quaint, and it's nostalgic. It's definitely worth a visit if you've never been, and if it's been a while since you've done it- put it on your list for next time. It's a unique attraction, and gives an interesting perspective of the park that we don't really get from any other place. I experienced this attraction as a child, and then- I'll be honest- I don't think I did it again until 2014! Has it been a while for you too? Read Disney's description of the attraction below, and take a look at some of the photos I captured during my last visit...

From the Walt Disney World official website:

Embark on a breezy walk-though tour of the Robinson’s famous home nestled high inside a towering tree.

Cross a bridge at the foot of a large leafy tree and climb handcrafted wooden stairs as you explore the famed living quarters of the Swiss Family Robinson and learn of their island adventure.

Discover open-air rooms—brimming with a bevy of 19th-century articles salvaged from the famous shipwreck—including:

• The Living Room
Mahogany furniture, dishware and an organ mingle alongside the large wheel from the shipwrecked Swallow ship.

• The Kitchen and Dining Room
A clamshell sink, a volcanic stone hearth and oven, and a table with benches are just some of the more modern conveniences you’ll see.

• The Crow’s Nest
See the living quarters of sons Fritz, Ernst and Francis, complete with hammocks, a ragged chest and strewn clothing.

• Study/Library
Home to antique books, a desk, a handmade bamboo chair and a lantern, this is where the Robinsons came to feed their minds and their souls.

• Jungle Lookout
Boasting panoramic views from the top of the tree, this perch provided the Robinsons with serenity during their stay on the island.

At the base of the tree, a large wooden wheel gathers water from a stream and carries it up to the various rooms inside the treehouse.

View at the Top
Those who reach the summit of the treehouse will enjoy 360-degree views of Adventureland and Magic Kingdom park, particularly the river on which the Jungle Cruise boats sail. At over 6 stories high, it’s a spectacular sight to see!

Photos from a 2014 visit:

Space Mountain peeks out above the trees...

A unique view of the castle...

...and the castle and Space Mountain, from high atop the treehouse.

A treehouse library? Sign me up.

Makes me want to sit down and break bread...

Take your time and stroll at a leisurely pace through this attraction; it's worth it. This never used to be a busy attraction, but with the way things have been going lately, you never know when you might run into a unexpected crowd. This is not one where you want to have other people right in front of you or right behind. If there's a crowd, I advise returning at another time. 

Oh, and an added bonus? If all that climbing around leaves you in need of refreshment, the exit will deposit you in the perfect place to grab a Dole Whip!


When is the last time you visited the Swiss Family Treehouse? 
Tell us about it in the comments...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Where in the World...

Where in Walt Disney World would you find this? Venture a guess in the comments...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Disney Birthdays Abound!

October 1- a significant Disney day, for sure! A bevy of birthdays abound...

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971. Happy 43rd birthday, Magic Kingdom!

photo via Disney Parks Blog

My beloved Epcot- or EPCOT Center, as it was originally known- debuted on October 1, 1982. Happy 32nd birthday, Epcot! I'll be toasting in your honor later today.

Festivities on opening day included the official dedication ceremony for Spaceship Earth...

photo via Disney Parks Blog

And another birthday? Let's not forget Julie Andrews! Everyone's favorite magical nanny is a beautiful and graceful 79 years old today. I have always loved the Mary Poppins character, and Julie Andrews is forever connected to her.

photo via

A piece called This Day in History on the Disney Parks Blog shared some other special events that happened on this date. October 1 is the birthday of  Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (1988) and Disney's Boardwalk (1996), and it's also the date that Euro Disney officially became Disneyland Paris! 

Caribbean Beach Resort is 26 today. I'll admit, Caribbean Beach has never really been on my list of must-visit resorts... but this pool does look like a lot of fun. Have you ever visited?
photo via

The of my very favorite places. I think strolling around this area behind Epcot is one of the very best ways to spend an evening. Happy 18th birthday, Boardwalk!
photo via

 How will you be celebrating this day? 
Tell us in the comments...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kill Refurb Marry- Disney Parks Transportation

It's time for another round of Kill~Refurb~Marry with Mouse on the Mind and This Happy Place Blog! If you're not familiar with this game, it's the one where you choose three related things within a given theme: one you have no use for (Kill), one you'd like to revamp a bit (Refurb), and one you love (Marry). This month's theme is Disney Parks Transportation!

Here we go.....

Kill: OK, I'm going to have to start right off with cheating. I can't really kill anything in this category- but if I could, I'd kill the feeling I get when I'm on the Tragical Express. Yes, the dreaded Tragical Express, the saddest ride on in the world, the YOUR VACATION'S OVER version of the Magical Express. Few things are more depressing than that ride back to the airport. Sure, they make it as palatable as possible, with interesting video segments, old animation clips, and low key tidbits of information... but when it comes right down to it, the feelings that come along on this ride are the worst.

This should have a sad face for the way back to the airport...

Refurb:  It has to be the Monorail. Monorail, I love you- but you've seen better days. You're down quite often, you're showing some wear and tear, and you've started sometimes wearing wraps. Please stop that.

Marry:  Friendship Boats. The Epcot area resorts are my favorite, and I love cruising around on Crescent Lake. Sure, it's not the quickest way to get between Epcot and Hollywood Studios- for that, I walk. But a relaxing Friendship Boat journey is a perfect way for me to sit back, take a few deep breaths, listen to the water, and think about what lies ahead. Plus, I love watching the Friendship Boat Cast Members, in their nautical uniforms. They have a particular way of working those controls and navigating the waters, and they always seem to be loving their jobs.

There you have it! Make sure to check out all these Kill~ Refurb~ Marry entries from around the blogosphere! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

More Disney Firsts

No matter how many times I visit Walt Disney World, I always manage to experience at least a few things for the first time on each trip. It's one of the beautiful things about this place- there's always more to experience. I first wrote about my Disney Firsts back in November.  I'll be leaving shortly for a family vacation, and this time I'm looking forward to these Disney Firsts...

Cruising on the Disney Dream: I've been reluctant to try a cruise, but another member of my family really wanted to do this. After much deliberation and planning, we decided to go for it- we set sail on the Disney Dream this week! We'll be staying onsite at WDW a few days before and after the cruise, so we'll (hopefully) be able to experience the best of both worlds.

Tropical running: If all goes as planned, I'll be running my first 5K in the tropics! I plan to run the Castaway Cay 5K during our trip. I'm very nervous about it, beacuse I'm not quite as trained as I would like to be, and I tend not to run well in the heat. But how often do you get the chance to run a race on a private island? I have to give it a whirl.

The Wave:  Every visit, I try to go to at least one restaurant I've never tried before. This time it's The Wave.  We'll be going there for dinner the day we're off the cruise, so hopefully we won't still be in cruise-food-coma mode.

The UnDISCOVERED Future World: It's no secret around this blog that Epcot is my favorite place. I'm really excited for this 4-hour behind-the-scenes walking tour, which is billed as "a trip back in time to see how Walt’s vision of a futuristic utopia became the Epcot we know today". It's possible that this tour might provide me with an opportunity to visit another secret lounge. Time will tell...

Family firsts: OK, maybe these shouldn't count because they're not firsts for me, but I'm very excited to be sharing a few things that will be firsts for my family. For starters: our first stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge together. I stayed here with my sister during my last runDisney weekend, and loved it so much I changed our family trip to this resort. I know they're going to love it. Also new to them will be all of  New Fantasyland. This will be their first visit since it was completed, and I can't wait for them to see the whole area, and the ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

There will also be some lasts on this trip- but that's a post for another time.

Now, I'm off to pack...