Category Archives: Where to…

Where to…experience winter year round in WDW

I experienced a bit of snow today while walking outside which inspired me to post about the huge blizzard in Disney.  Walt Disney World does not usually receive much snow during the year besides the fake snow on Main Street and in Hollywood Studios during the Christmas season. Frozen spectaculars have added snow to Florida but these events do not occur all of the time. The only place to experience snow and ice year round on WDW property is at Blizzard Beach, one of Disney’s two water parks.

Blizzard Beach is open most of the year, except for when the temperature gets too low or severe thunderstorms are predicted.  Blizzard Beach closes for refurbishment during the winter season (ironically) because most would rather spend their days at the theme parks than on water slides in 60 degree weather.  I have not visited Blizzard Beach in a few trips, due to the colder weather, but hope to make it back soon!

At the entrance of the park, the snowman family provides a great backdrop for photos with children.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the photo on my computer, but my sister and I have an awesome photo pretending to be cold next to the snowmen.  In Tike’s Peak, children can cross a pool while balancing on glaciers and trying not to fall in.  Different slides and areas are meant for different age groups or adventure seekers.  The Family Raft Ride is one of my personal favorites, but beware the climb to the top includes over 100 steps!  These steps can get a bit warm during the height of the summer.  Blizzard Beach has toboggan racers, tube slides, non tube slides, and the huge Summit Plummit which will also measure your speed as you fly down it.

In my opinion, Blizzard Beach is the superior water park in terms of rides and also activities for children.  Blizzard Beach does not have a wave pool as Typhoon Lagoon does, but I almost always visit Blizzard Beach over Typhoon Lagoon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Walt Disney World, Where to...

Where to…Drink Free Soda Samples

IMG_1531

In Epcot, past Spaceship Earth, off to the left, is Club Cool.  Many do not know about this club because it is tucked into a quiet location and most visitors are running off to ride Soarin’ and Test Track in the opposite direction.  My cousins first showed me Club Cool years ago.  It is a fantastic place to stop for a shot sized cup of soda, especially in the hot summer days.  And, the samples are free!

Some quick pointers to know about visiting Club Cool:

  • Club Cool has soda flavors from a variety of countries around the world.  Try the Beverly (which is from Italy) first.  You will probably find another flavor that you enjoy more, but definitely taste this one to start.
  • The floor is usually sticky from spilled soda, so be careful when you are walking around.
  • Don’t fall in love with a soda flavor because you won’t be able to purchase it from the store inside.  Yes, they sell tons of Coca-Cola merchandise, but the store does not sell any of the soda you are able to sample.  This is one of the items Disney needs to fix in Club Cool.
  • You can visit multiple times in a trip or even in a day and try a different flavor each time.  Or you can just go back for your favorite flavor.
  • The appearance of Club Cool has changed over the years.  A polar bear and lots of ice used to be on the exterior, but was replaced with a more modern look.
  • Some of the machines have slightly different varieties of the flavors so make sure to check out a few of them so you don’t miss out on any flavors!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Where to...

Where to…begin planning!

So you have decided that you are going to plan a trip to Walt Disney World.  One person out of the family or group usually gets designated as “The Planner” of the trip and sometimes it can be overwhelming to try to create the perfect trip.  If it is your first trip or your fifteenth, you should keep “DREAM” in mind when planning a vacation.

D stands for Decisions.  Walt Disney World vacations include many decisions in the planning process, especially if it is your first trip and you would like everything to run smoothly.  If you have trouble making decisions, then you might need to start the planning process a year in advance.  You will need to decide on transportation, meals, hotel, rides, and more.   After you decide on these things though (and make sure everyone is in agreement) then you can move on to…

R which is Reservations.  Book the resort or hotel reservation first, especially if you are staying onsite.  Transportation is next, depending on the form of transportation.  If you are driving, you are fine.  If flying though, watch the flights and book when you can get the best deal, which might not be until after you start booking dining reservations.  Then once it gets closer (usually 180 days before the trip begins), you will be able to book Advanced Dining Reservations on WDW property.  After, you can make Fastpass+ Reservations if you choose to do so.

E is for Experiences. Disney is great with coming up with a wide range of experiences for both children and adults.  You could have your child have their first haircut at the Barber Shop on Main Street in Magic Kingdom or you could go on a Behind the Scenes Tour as a whole family.  You could even go Parasailing at the Contemporary!  Experiences also need reservations usually, although the timeline for booking greatly depends on the time of year and the event.  Look into special experiences ahead of time to see if there is anything you might be interested in doing.

A is for Arrange.  While planning, do not forget to arrange your plans day by day or park by park so that you can remember everything.  Organization is super important, especially if you have a lot of Advanced Dining Reservations or Fastpass+ Reservations that you do not want to miss.  Keep everything in a Disney themed folder or binder from the Decision phase all the way until the trip is over.

M is for Magic.  Even though planning can be tiring and stressful, especially when coordinating a big group, remember to keep the Disney Magic alive!  Try to sprinkle bits of the Disney Magic before the trip with your family such as watching Disney movies, playing Disney music, or even making a Disney sticker countdown calendar.  And enjoy the trip once it begins because it will be amazing.  No trip/trip planning time can be problem free but get over the bumps and move on.  Have a magical vacation and remember to relax by eating a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar!

I am participating in the Mickey Monday linkup again so please visit http://www.rungeekrundisney.com/2014/11/appetizers-of-walt-disney-world-mickey.html and www.adventuresbykatie.com to read other Disney posts!

2 Comments

Filed under Where to...

Where to…find great views of other parks

IMG_0759Disney’s California Grill restaurant at the Contemporary Resort has an outdoor walkway which provides great views of Magic Kingdom and other parts of Walt Disney World property.  Although the sun was a little blinding while we ate until they lowered the blinds in the restaurant, we did enjoy seeing the sunset behind the Castle.  You can also see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from this restaurant, but I have not done that yet.  I enjoy watching them in the park.IMG_0758

The top of the Family Raft Ride at Blizzard Beach water park also provides nice panoramic views of the surrounding parks, however, you have to climb up about a hundred steps.  And, you don’t have much time to take a photo before you have to get on the ride.  If you go for Early Extra Magic Hours most people go to the larger rides and so the Family Raft Ride has no crowd.  If you have a waterproof case for your phone or camera, you might be able to take photos before the raft ride but otherwise it would be hard to bring a phone or camera up there.

 

As you are climbing the hill on Expedition Everest, you can see the Tree of Life on one side and on the other side can see a few other parks.  I was able to quickly snap a photo of the Tree of Life but did not have time to get any photos of the other side, so I will have to try again next time.  Everest is the highest mountain in Walt Disney World and therefore your best chance of getting a good photo of a lot of WDW property is from this roller coaster ride.  But enjoy the view especially if it is your first time riding, before trying to take a photo.
IMG_0867

When the doors open when you are dropping on the Tower of Terror, you can see the Mouse Ear Tower, but the doors shut too quickly as you drop to be able to get a picture.  I would recommend just enjoying the ride because it is hard enough to stay in your seat, nevertheless attempt to take a photo!

The easiest, non moving spot to see a large part of Magic Kingdom from and take photos is the California Grill restaurant, but if you want to see another park from a high vantage point, then you might have to try one of the other options above.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Walt Disney World, Where to...

Where to…sail on a cruise around the world

DSC01742I talked about the Disney Cruise Line on Monday, but today I will discuss a different type of cruise.  A couple of other more negative names for this post could be Where to…find a song to get stuck in your head for the rest of the day or Where to…find a headache quickly, but I prefer to be more positive because I greatly enjoy this ride.  Called “the happiest cruise that ever sailed,” It’s a Small World will bring you through different regions and countries of the world without needing a passport.DSC01747

The first version of this attraction was at the New York’s World Fair from 1964 to 1965.  It then went to Disneyland and later on, Walt Disney World opened a version of it in 1971.  It’s a Small World is one of the staple Fantasyland rides, and it is hard to think that Disneyland opened without it because it had not been thought of yet!  DSC01748This ride is extremely detailed with many dolls, costumes, and scenery along the ride.  I never know in which direction to look when I am on this ride.  Make sure you look up because sometimes some of the coolest sets are right above you!  The Disneyland version of the ride is part outdoors and the boarding area for the Disneyland Paris version is also outdoors.  However, in Walt Disney World the entire ride is inside.
DSC01743It’s a Small World usually has the shortest waits late at night or first thing in the morning.  Mid-day is the worst time to try to take the cruise because park goers are starting to get tired from walking DSC01752and want to go on something that is relaxing.  Please do not take flash photography while on this ride because it is really evident and distracts from the beautiful layout of the ride.  My favorite scene of this ride would have to be the last one where goodbye is said in many languages.  See how many languages you can identify next time you ride!

One of the coolest things to see is when the hour changes, the clock and the dolls in the boarding area come alive.  Try to time it so that you can see the clock’s hourly routine while boarding or while waiting in line.  And lastly, if you come off this ride and still don’t know the lyrics of the song after listening to them for ten minutes, then you might need to ride it a second time!

DSC01756

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Walt Disney World, Where to...

Where to…take a nap (or not take one)

In the Parks:
Believe it or not, I have seen people napping in the parks on benches.  Yes, I know you are tired but unless you are a child in a stroller, it is not acceptable to nap in the parks (unless maybe you are there for a 24 hour event).  If you suddenly are SO tired that you need a power nap, go into an attraction where it is very dark and you can nap without being noticed.  My suggestions include the Hall of Presidents and the Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom, the American Adventure in Epcot(even though I love this show, I have noticed people nod off), Muppet 3D in Hollywood Studios, and It’s Tough to be a Bug in Animal Kingdom.  Now, if you are not completely exhausted, you will not be able to fall asleep during Muppet 3D or It’s Tough to be a Bug because of the loud noises.  But, Epcot and Magic Kingdom have the most options for naps because they are the most tiring parks.  PLEASE do not sleep just anywhere unless you are in a stroller! 

DSC00330

Outside of the Parks:
I fall asleep really easily and so I usually take a nap on the bus to the parks or back from the parks if it was a long day.  I would not advise doing this unless you have a trustworthy friend to wake you up when it is your stop to get off.  Do not fall asleep so you are leaning on a stranger’s shoulder either-they will not appreciate it.  Yes, it’s a small world, but not that small.  If you are at your resort, taking a nap in the room or by the pool is perfectly acceptable.  Napping in the main lobby though is not advised.  Everyone will see you when they walk in the door first thing to their Disney vacation.  They will be exhausted before their trip has even begun!  For the sake of others, please take the elevator up to your room or walk to the poolside to take a nap!

Or just sleep a lot the week before your vacation and then the week after and spend as many hours as possibly during your vacation in the parks with little sleep!

And it is my Mom’s birthday today so Happy Birthday Mom!

Leave a comment

Filed under Where to...

Where to…find the fastest rides

Which Walt Disney World ride do you think is the fastest?  Rock’n’Roller Coaster? Nope.  Space Mountain? Nope.  Test Track? Correct!

Test Track in Epcot is the fastest ride in a Walt Disney World park.  Your car can reach speeds of 65mph.  Test Track feels slower than Rock’n’Roller Coaster (in Hollywood Studios) because you make your way up to 65mph on the outside ramp gradually.  Whereas on Rock’n’Roller Coaster, you go from a standstill to 60mph in a few seconds.  On both rides, your hair will get in your face, but the photo on Rock’n’Roller Coaster usually has a better photo.

IMG_0770

To compare the two rides a little, I am going to focus on categories of pre-ride theming, scare factor, and ride elements.

Pre-Ride Theming
Test Track: The new version of Test Track has you design a car to test to see how well it does in certain situations.  While I enjoyed the old zig zag line that never seemed to end in the old Test Track version, the updated pre-ride is more interesting.
Rock’n’Roller Coaster: The coaster wins this category in my mind due to the great entrance into the air conditioned building.  Rock’n’Roller Coaster also has a bead door upon entering which if you have been on the ride, you know what I am talking about because kids constantly like to touch it so that it makes a lot of noise.  And of course, Rock’n’Roller Coaster has the pre-show video with Aerosmith where Aerosmith gives us all backstage passes to the ride.

Scare Factor:
Test Track: The new Test Track has darker lighting than the old one and you can’t see the track ahead of the car most of the time.  I would not say it is scary because of anything that happens on the ride course, but being that you don’t know what is coming up, little kids could get a little frightened.
Rock’n’Roller Coaster: Once you enter the garage, the scare factor increases.  One of my friends and my sister started freaking out when they saw how fast the limo goes in the beginning.  The ride is smooth after the start but is in the dark.  I think the scariest thing is watching the limo go off if you have not been on the ride before so if you are bringing your kids on for the first time, try to not let them watch that happen too many times!

Ride Elements:
Test Track: Test Track has many quick stops, turns, and bumps along the course.  If you have back or neck problems, definitely do not do either of these rides but especially Test Track.
Rock’n’Roller Coaster:  The coaster goes upside down twice and is a regular roller coaster with drops and twists but it is a smoother ride than Test Track because there are no sudden changes.

I prefer Rock’n’Roller Coaster over Test Track even though Test Track does go faster.  Hopefully I compared the rides with enough details to help you decide whether you will ride one of these speedy rides on your next trip!

Leave a comment

Filed under Where to...