Friday, August 30, 2013

Reading My Way to Disneyland...

I found myself reading a few non-spoilery reviews of Kate Abbott's novel Disneylanders, and my curiosity was piqued. While I love a good fun read that takes place in or around theme parks, I find that a lot of them focus too much on establishing setting- as though they're continually trying to convince the reader that we really are there- at the expense of honest and engaging storytelling. Other times, the details are often wrong and a sense of the outsider perspective tends to pervade. From everything I've heard so far, Disneylanders avoids these problems, and in the very best way. I'm about to delve in, and I'm very excited.

Much to my delight, I found this at the very front of the book:

About Chapter Names

Each chapter name in this book is based on a (more or less) famous Disney slogan, 
song, attraction, show, or spiel. Some are really easy. A couple are really hard.
As you read Casey's Disneyland story, see how many you can solve. 
Answers are in the back.

A book with a quiz element built into the chapter names?? How could I not love this? If you need me this weekend, you'll know where to find me...


Details about Kate Abbott's Disneylanders can be found here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The Disney Letter N


Thanks to Deb @ Focused on the Magic  for hosting 
the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! 

If you hopped over, I invite you to check out my other posts, and please consider joining the blog or following on twitter.

Check out all the other Wordless Wednesday links by clicking below, and remember to share some comment love...

Focused on the Magic

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Still on My Disney To Do List...

No matter how many times I visit Walt Disney World, there are some attractions that just always seem to be on my Still-To-Do list. I was in the midst of working on said list recently, when one of my favorite Disney bloggers- Melissa at Mouse on the Mind- wrote her Never Have I Ever post. It turns out I'm in good company- we have quite a bit of crossover, and her post reinforced my notion that even WDW veterans sometimes have lots left to experience!

Every time I'm fortunate enough to visit the parks, I try to do at least one or two things that I've never done before. Sometimes it's something small (like sampling a new selection at La Cava), while other times it's something big (or towering- I finally braved Tower of Terror on my last visit! Never again).

Some things that I've never done have a prominent place on my must-try list;  but others? I'm perfectly fine with letting certain things languish on the never-been side of things (looking at you, Stitch...). I've included some of those here as well. Feel free to convince me otherwise, if you think I'm making a mistake by willingly skipping some of these. This is by no means an exhaustive list- there are things in every park that I've never done, not all of which are listed here. This is just the highlight reel.

Without further ado- here's a park-by-park breakdown of what's still on my list...

Magic Kingdom To Do list:

OK, this is a big one. Can you believe I've never done Splash Mountain? Admittedly, I'm not a fan of big drops. The first few times I visited, I just didn't want to do it because of the drop at the end. By the time I realized I was missing out on a great attraction, things just always lined up against it for me. One visit, the ride was down unexpectedly when we were in the park. Another time, it was closed for scheduled refurb. A few times, we just couldn't make it work with fastpasses, timing, and dining reservations. Last visit, it was just too cold to go anywhere near water. Excuses, excuses. This one has to happen, pronto!

Never done, but in no rush:

  • Astro Orbiters. The heat has always kept me away, baking in the hot sun, up so high (surely, it's hotter up there, right?)... oh- perhaps I should have taken advantage of those cold temps on my last visit.
  • Country Bear Jamboree. I have to assume I saw this during my 1977 visit, but I have absolutely no recollection of it. I have never, on any subsequent visits, had any desire whatsoever. Am I missing something great? Please let me know. I'm open to persuasion.
  • Stitch's Great Escape- no explanation necessary.

Epcot To Do list:

I feel like I've been over Epcot with a fine tooth comb- it's my favorite park, and it's the place in which I've spent the most time. There are, however, two World Showcase movies I've never seen- Reflections of China, and O Canada. I'm usually reluctant to "waste" time seeing a movie, though the ones I have seen- like the beautiful Impressions de France- I've enjoyed quite a lot. I will definitely see these two movies- hopefully soon. (P.S.- I love you, Norway movie.)

Never done, but in no rush: 

  • The Circle of Life. I pass by this entrance every time, and every time I think maybe this will be the trip. But, it never happens. When I'm in my favorite park, with so many things to do, there's just not much compelling me to see an animated environmental fable- which by this point, I would imagine is a bit outdated. I'm not outright opposed to seeing it, but I don't believe I've ever heard or read anything that would draw me in. Extra time? I'd usually rather take another spin through Living with the Land.

Animal Kingdom To Do list:
Two are at the top of my list here:

Flights of Wonder. Birds? Meh. But I've heard so many rave reviews of this show- and from people I wouldn't have expected- that I feel like I'm missing something great. I need to check this one out! I know I would love this presentation, if I would just make time for it. I will. Next time. I promise.

The queue for Kali River Rapids. There are few things I like better than a well-themed queue, and I know this one is among the best. Why have I never experienced it? Probably because on my in no rush list is...

Never done, but in no rush:

  • The actual attraction of Kali River Rapids. Even when it's ridiculously hot out, I have little interest in walking around wet. It never fails to make me uncomfortable, so I pretty much always avoid water rides.
  • Primevil Whirl. I've been on countless wild mouse coasters, and this one never did anything to draw me in. To be honest, it's taken me a while to warm up to Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama. The Disney Hipsters have made me reconsider my original impression of this area, and I'm trying to approach it with more of an eye for the backstory, and an appreciation of the depth of story here- something often lost on the casual visitor. What do you think on this one?

Hollywood Studios To Do list:

Another big one here... Fantasmic. I've never seen Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios is the park in which I usually spend the least amount of time. I go in the early morning, to hit the big ones while the crowds are low. I pretty much never stay until nightfall, and haven't really ever wanted to trek back just for Fantasmic. I do love how this park looks at night, though, and I usually toy with the idea of a night visit. It just hasn't happened in a long time. Plus, I've seen (most of) Fantasmic at Disneyland. I love how the show is performed right out in the park at DLR, and having to line up so early to get into the theater at DHS was always a bit of a turn off. Should I make it a point to do Fantasmic at DHS, or is this honestly something I can forgo? Let me know what you think...

Never done, but in no rush:

  • Lights, Motors, Action. It always just seems too hot, too loud, too smelly, and I have little interest in cars. I'm also always timing it poorly- I suppose I would consider it if I was looking for something to do, and I approached the entrance just as a show was getting ready to start. That never happens
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage. The sea of strollers outside is enough to keep me at bay.

So, there's my list. I hope I can update it and cross a few things off after my next visit. What do you think about these never-experienced attractions? Do you have a list of your own? Tell us about it in the comments...

Photos in this post are via the official Disney Parks website.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney "Weenies"

"Weenie": A term that Walt Disney and his Imagineers used to refer to the thing that is the iconic structure, or focal point, of each park- it's what draws the eye and captures your attention, summoning you in for a closer look...

This image, this icon, this structure, this attraction- Spaceship Earth IS WDW for me.


Thanks to Deb @ Focused on the Magic  for hosting 
the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! 

If you hopped over, I invite you to check out my other posts, and please consider joining the blog or following on twitter.

Check out all the other Wordless Wednesday links by clicking below, and remember to share some comment love...

Focused on the Magic

Friday, August 16, 2013

Attention to Detail: Restroom Signage

You've heard it countless times before, but it bears repeating: Nobody does detail like Disney. In previous Attention to Detail posts, we've looked at lamp posts and trash cans, and we took a little excursion through Tower of Terror. Next up: Restroom Signage.

When you gotta go, you gotta go, right? Fortunately for us, Disney's Attention to Detail extends to the loo! Often overlooked, many of these signs pointing the way to the all-important rooms of relief are themed to their surroundings. Some are quite obvious, while others are rather subtle. At the time I took these photos, I thought for sure I'd remember the location of each and every one. Alas, there are at least two here that I'm not not sure of.

How many of these locations can you identify?


















The next time you visit Disney's parks and resorts, keep your eyes open for attention to detail- and remember to notice the signs when you head to...the head.

  Can you identify these locations? Which sign is your favorite? Tell us in the comments...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Transportation

This week's theme on the 
Wordless Wednesday Disney Blog Hop is

Disney Transportation


Thanks to Deb @ Focused on the Magic  for hosting 
the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! 

If you hopped over, I invite you to check out my other posts, and please consider joining the blog or following on twitter.

Check out all the other Wordless Wednesday links by clicking below, and remember to share some comment love...

Focused on the Magic

A Mini Vacation with a Few Disney Twists

My daughter and I just returned from a visit with my family. While not a Disney vacation, we did manage to plus it with a few Disney twists:

  • I got to show my daughter some of the sites in NYC, including one of my favorites- Central Park. We paid a visit to a very special place... 

The Alice in Wonderland statue

Caterpillar detail on the back side of the statue...

We hit lots of sites around the city, but this one was a highlight.

P.S.- I don't recommend trying to cram four young children 
onto the 6 train. During rush hour. On a hot summer day. 

  • Next, my sister and I worked on some plans for a possible runDisney trip later this year. A chance to talk Disney in real life with someone? It doesn't happen often for me (*waves to all my internet friends*), so I relished every minute! ADRs, race details, resort decisions, park strategies- there's nothing better! 
  • Have you played the ridiculously fun game Apples to Apples? Did you know there's a Disney version? We played this with a large group, and it was lots of fun. It's played exactly like regular Apples to Apples, but the cards feature some familiar Disney names and pictures:

 Most cards featured regular Apples to Apples words, but had images or descriptions that were Disney-related. 

Mixed in among the regular cards were specific Disney cards of actual characters, attractions, and parks.

Magical Apples to Apples!

  • I returned home from my NYC excursion to find a package from Estelle at This Happy Place Blog. I won a giveaway on her site, and it just so happened to be a Disney/NYC themed gift- a Mickey NYC tote, and an NYC vinylmation! My first vinylmation...


Isn't it fun when you can find Disney tie-ins in unexpected places? 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hidden Mickeys at Disney's Beach Club

Hidden Mickey: a representation of Mickey Mouse that has been subtly inserted into the design of a ride, attraction, or other location in a Disney park, resort, or property. 

Imagineers and cast members have found ways to plus the magic by hiding Mickey in all sorts of unexpected places, and in a variety of shapes and designs, throughout Disney properties.

I previously wrote about searching for Hidden Mickeys in one of my earliest blog posts, and then again here, and I included a photo of one of my favorites here. Today, we'll head over to one of my favorite resorts: Disney's Beach Club.

The Beach Club, located on Crescent lake in the Epcot resort area, is home to several Hidden Mickeys. The Solarium is a relaxing room just off the lobby, filled with chairs, couches...and paintings. It's here- in the paintings- that you'll discover several of Beach Club's Hidden Mickeys. Can you spot them?

You may have noticed that familiar face up in the clouds...but if you take a closer look, make sure to check out the towel these beachgoers are lounging on...

There's a lot going on in this painting, which depicts vacationers from days gone by arriving and departing near the Beach Club's portico. The cars are the key to the Hidden Mickeys here. Make sure to examine the hood ornaments and hubcaps!

In addition to the paintings, there are Hidden Mickeys to be found in the wallpaper and carpeting throughout the resort and rooms...

Have you seen any of these at Beach Club? Where's your favorite place to search for Hidden Mickeys? Tell us in the comments...