Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Enjoying the rain at Disney World

It is very rare, if ever, that we go to Disney World and don’t experience the Florida thunderstorms.  It’s just bad planning to think that you won’t get rained on when you are on vacation.  But with a few extra items in your suitcase you can make sure that the rain doesn’t put a damper on your trip.

Spaceship Earth Storm Clouds

Spaceship Earth under storm clouds

What to bring:

  • Rain Jacket – skip the cheap plastic poncho!  I see lots of articles that talk about bringing a poncho to fend off the weather.  There are a few problems with ponchos: Continue reading

The Disney Cult

If you look up the definition of a cult here’s what you’ll find:

cult

/kəlt/

Noun

  1. A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
  2. A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

Synonyms

  • Worship – religion – adoration

Sounds pretty creepy, right?  I’m starting to think more and more that people who love Disney are part of a cult.  When I talk to a fellow Disney lover, we can talk forever about the parks, dining, tips and never tire of the topic.  However, the other day when I told someone I was going to Disneyworld again, she said “Why don’t you go somewhere else?”  I responded, “Why would I do that?” like the thought had never occurred to me.

If you look on Pinterest you’ll find thousands of pins and boards dedicated to Disney.  One of my favorite boards is Disney Humor from CapturingMagic.me.  I laugh as I look through all of these highly relatable pins – but I can just imagine the confusion of an ordinary person who doesn’t know Disney.  They just don’t get it. Then I came to the conclusion, and it’s pretty black and white:

You’re either with us or you’re against us.

Here are several of the signs that I belong to the cult, I’m sure if you’re reading this you can relate:

  • I see nothing wrong with planning the majority of my vacation time at Disneyworld
  • I instantly like anyone who has a Mickey antenna topper on their car
  • Conversely, I instantly dislike anyone who talks bad about Disney
  • I think of Soarin’ every time I smell an orange
  • I named my dog Dorie (I know, it’s a different spelling but it refers to Dory)
  • I listen to Disney podcasts instead of music when I work out
  • I have Orlando weather as the second option on my phone’s weather app
  • I have Kayak alerts set up for flights to MCO
  • My favorite part of Disney movies is seeing the castle in the opening credits

If being in a cult is wrong, I don’t want to be right!  What do you do that qualifies for Disney cult membership?

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Lines you WANT to wait in at Disney

They say patience is a virtue and I agree.  I just don’t happen to have that virtue.  I do things to try to practice patience – I meditate when I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, I play loud music and avoid looking at the clock when I’m in traffic and running late.   One place where most people (either patient or impatient) can get a little frazzled is in a long line – couple that with a few cranky kids, cranky husband, hunger, heat stroke, and fatigue – and you have a perfect storm for a meltdown.   This perfect storm is almost guaranteed at some point when you’re at Disneyworld.

However, there are some attractions where the lines are part of the fun – I’m disappointed if we happen to get right through with no wait!  Here are the best along with the worst lines – but luckily all of the worst have Fast Pass availability, so I’d highly recommend taking advantage unless you have a surplus of patience that day!

Here are the best and worst lines to wait in at Disneyworld:

Magic Kingdom

Best Line – Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (New Fantasyland)

The path to this ride leads through a coral-like rock formation that looks like it was just pulled from the seas.  There is an animatronic show that sings every few minutes, keeping people entertained.  But the most captivating part is the interactive hologram in the fish tank windows.  Guests’ actions in front of the windows cause sea creatures to appear and react – it was pretty entertaining and made the line go by fast.

Worst Line – Big Thunder Mountain 

This line is pretty barren – just up and back, up and back until you zig zag your way to the front.  The worst part is the lack of fresh air, especially in the summer. There’s just a lot of humid air and unpleasant odors at times on a hot day.  Wrangle yourself up a Fast Past, partner!

Animal Kingdom

Best Line – Expedition Everest

This line is pretty cool from the get go.  The theme is a mountain expedition with detailed displays of the supplies, artifacts and anything else that the Sherpas have left behind from their journeys.  In the middle of the line there is a wishing well structure, except instead of water there is a monkey sculpture in the middle, representing the sacred status of monkeys in the area.  Once inside the last room before you get to the ride there are books, documents, masks, and even a giant Yeti footprint cast that makes you question if it’s really real…

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Yeti - Real or Make Believe? Yeti – Real or Make Believe?

Worst Line – Kilimanjaro Safaris

The part I hate most about this line is that it’s very wide and there are several sections where the cast members direct you to ‘fill in all available space’ even if that means you’re coming up beside (what seems like cutting) the people in front of you.  I just don’t like doing that, and there’s not much interesting to look at in this line. Say ‘Jambo’ to a Fast Pass!

Hollywood Studios

Best Line – Toy Story Midway Mania

This line puts you right into the Toy Story movies.  There are giant crayons leaning against the walls, a game board on the ceiling, barrel o’monkeys strung from side to side.  But the best is the interactive Mr. Potato Head at the front of the line who talks to the guests.  This line has so much to look at and is so recognizable from the movies that it can keep you entertained for a while.  I guess with 240 minute wait times they had to come up with something to keep people occupied!

disney vacation 2012 127

Worst Line – Tower of Terror

Until you get up to the entrance of the Hollywood Tower Hotel there’s not much other than a cement path with walls that kids can’t help but want to climb all over, to parents’ dismay.  I’d suggest you take the Fast Pass!

Epcot

Best Line – Test Track

This line was pretty interesting under the old design but with the newly re-imagineered design it’s a look into the future.  The first section has prototype futuristic cars that lend themselves to conversations about what the future will be like, how these cars would work (the car below would run on tracks in big cities – no driving required!)   There’s a little lull in the line when you’re getting into the design room, but then you’re back in action designing your car.  The surprising part about this ride is that after the ride is over, we probably stayed for another 30 minutes in the exit rooms – driving the car we designed around a virtual racetrack, picking a soundtrack for our car, and getting our picture with some of the model Chevrolet cars (all of our car info was on a swipecard that we kept throughout the ride.)

Future car - no driver necessary!

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Worst Line – Soarin’

This line reminds me of a long hallway corridor in a hospital.  It’s drab, there’s nothing on the walls and it seems to go on forever.  Disney attempted to make this interactive by having giant screens on the wall that you’re supposed to be able to wave at and make plants grow, fly birds around… but the only person who can reach high enough to activate it is my 6 foot 3 husband, not 5 foot 2 me and certainly not a kid!  Upgrade to first class and get a Fast Pass!

I guess we can all take comfort in knowing that in the bubble, even at the end of a bad line is a magical fun time!

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Hollywood Dining

One of the best parts of the Disney Dining Plan is having the opportunity to eat at a different table service restaurant each day.  Since we’ve used the dining plan on a few of our trips, we’ve eaten at places where we probably wouldn’t have if we were paying out of pocket.  We’ve had the opportunity to dine at 3 of the 5 table service restaurants in Hollywood Studios (we haven’t made it to the Brown Derby yet and I don’t plan on making it to the 50’s Prime Time Café!)

Here are the pros and cons of each restaurant:

Mama Melrose

Pros: I think this is the best of the 3 restaurants.  The food is good Italian, probably similar to what you’d get at an Italian chain restaurant outside the bubble, but no complaints – even better with a nice glass of wine.  My daughter’s favorite was the dessert spaghetti with meatball.

Dessert Meatball

Dessert Meatball

Another perk of dining at Mama Melrose is the Fantasmic Dinner Package that is available on days when the nighttime Fantasmic show is scheduled.  If you purchase the package you get dinner plus a VIP voucher to get into the show through a side entrance and you don’t have to fight the crowds going through the main entrance to the amphitheater.  You still sit on stadium bench seating, but when we did this it was less crowded than the regular seating area with a bird’s eye view of the show.

Cons: None – there’s nothing I dislike about this restaurant!

Sci-Fi Dine In

Pros: Every restaurant in Disneyworld has a theme, but one of the best for really feeling like you’re somewhere else is the Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre restaurant.  As soon as you walk into the dining area it’s like you’re transported to a summer night at the drive in.  Classic car-shaped tables fill the room, all pointed at the giant movie screen in the front.  Even the stars shine from above so you get the feel of being outside (without the mosquitos, of course!)  The old black and white movies that are played are pretty funny – Devil Girl from Mars, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman – too ridiculous to actually be scary, even for kids.

IMG_0604100_1385

Cons: The same qualities that make the restaurant fun are what I would consider cons – it’s dark, everyone is facing forward in the ‘car’ so you can’t really have a conversation, and the food is just okay.  But I would recommend everyone dine here at least once.

Hollywood & Vine

Pros: None that I can remember.  Not a fan of this restaurant (see Cons.)

Cons: It’s a buffet, which in itself is not a con, but for the price you’re paying the buffet food is what you’d get at the local $9.99 all you can eat joint.  Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but I wasn’t impressed.  This restaurant’s layout is not conducive to people getting up and walking back and forth to the buffet – space is pretty tight, not to mention the yucky décor.  But since we ate here on the dining plan I couldn’t be too upset, I just chalked it up to another experience accomplished in the bubble.

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Feelin’ hot, hot, hot!

I love hot weather.  I mean REALLY hot weather.  So today when the temperature hit a balmy 80 degrees in Cleveland, it made me think of my favorite month of the year to go to Disney – August.  Most people think this is crazy but I guess I’m just a cold blooded person. The only time I really feel warm-to-the-core is August in Orlando.   Luckily, with a little preparation you don’t have to melt if you’re not as enamored with the thought of spending 8 hours in stifling humidity and scorching temperatures characteristic of Florida summers.

August in Orlando

August in Orlando

Tip 1: Bring a refillable bottle.  We use the Brita water bottles that have a filter in the lid so you can re-fill at water fountains throughout the parks.  It’s way cheaper than buying water every time you’re thirsty, which is all the time!

Tip 2: Personal fans help in two ways when you’re waiting in lines – blowing air to cool you off and re-directing any sweaty fumes that may be lingering in the area.  Standing in close quarters with a hundred other guests at the end of a 95 degree day can become quite unpleasant, if you know what I mean!

Fan 1Fan 2

Tip 3: Find a spray ground. Every park has water misters in various locations so you can cool off as you’re walking between attractions.

Hot weather spray

Hot weather spray

Tip 4: Alternate indoor and outdoor activities to stay cool.  This can mean walking through the shops, seeing a show, or even going in the bathroom!  That cool blast of air from indoors is a welcome reprieve from the burning summer sun.

  • In the Magic Kingdom, there are several indoor rides like the Haunted Mansion and “it’s a small world” but my top recommendation for a super-hot day is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.  I have to admit, this is my least favorite attraction in all of Disneyworld.  It’s pretty cheesy with a repeating song that will be stuck in your head for days – but there’s hardly ever a wait and I’ll make the sacrifice to sit in an air-conditioned seat in the shade for 20 minutes!
  • At Epcot, Ellen’s Energy Adventure is similar – slow moving and moderately interesting – but a cool place to relax for about ½ hour.
  • Hollywood Studios & the Animal Kingdom both have really good shows to enjoy while you cool off – The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo, respectively.

Tip 5: Enjoy all the frozen treats Disney has to offer!  From Mickey-shaped ice cream bars to the infamous Dole Whip, nothing tastes better on a hot day than a cool treat.  And don’t worry about the calories – you’ll have no problem sweating them off!

Mickey ice cream

Mickey ice cream

Tip 6: During the hottest parts of the day it’s never a bad idea to head back to your resort and hit the pool for a few hours.  Then you’ll be refreshed and ready to head back to the parks for fireworks!

Re-pin this handy ‘beat the heat’ infographic on Pinterest here.

Beat the Heat at Disneyworld

Beat the Heat at Disneyworld – INFOGRAPHIC

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