April 17, 2014: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes will give away daily prizes, including a Disney Diamond and a Cinderella glass slipper.  Check out Disneyland.com/DiamondDays on May 22 for full details.

*  Reservations can now be made for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for June 17 through September 7 for a “nominal” fee.

*  Disney will have allergy-friendly menus at around 120 restaurants at WDW and at Disneyland.

*  Epcot Starbucks “You are Here” mugs are on sale again.  The monorail is now gray, not the purple which was associated with prior tragedy.

*  The Walt Disney World Marathon registration opens on 4/28/15.  The race is on 1/10/16.

*  Disney’s Exotic Driving Experience at the WDW Speedway will be closed until May 1 after instructor Gary Terry was tragically killed at the track this past week.

*  The Boathouse at WDW Disney Springs is now open.  It is a (very expensive) restaurant and an actual boathouse where can find the Amphicar launch as well as other vintage watercraft to ride around the lake.

*  Dockside Margaritas will open later this month at the Florida Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) Marketplace.

*  Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members will have new perks when visiting Disneyland:  1) “Fitness in the Park,” an early morning Pilates workout at Paradise Pier at Disney’s California Adventure.  Capacity is 10 persons.  Participants will receive a complimentary towel and jamba juice.  2)  “DVC Neighborhood Power Walk” through Disney California Adventure with complimentary jamba juice and chair massages on Thursdays from 7-8 a.m.  3)  “DVC Member Movies” will be held weekly with free refreshments. Check out member services for registration.

*  Adventures by Disney will now offer a Danube River cruise.

*  Disney XD will begin to air “Doctor Who” episodes from 2006 – 2008 beginning on May 9.

*  “Monkey Kingdom” opens in theaters today.

*  Steven Spielberg will direct his first Disney movie, “The BFG,” based on a book by Roald Dahl, the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

*  Gandalf will play Cogsworth in the upcoming live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

The Best Use of Music in WDW Attractions

Disney has a wonderful, vast music catalog and history.  From the “Frozen” phenomena to “Steamboat Willie’s” whistling, it has been a huge part of the Disney experience.  The parks have incorporated music seamlessly into the surroundi

ngs and attractions that enhance our experience.  Today, I will focus on what to me are the best uses of music in WDW attractions.

magic

5.  Mickey’s Philharmagic at Magic Kingdom – Mickey’s Philharmagic works a stream of classic Disney songs into the 3D misadventures of Donald Duck.  If you are a fan of the grand Disney musicals of the 80s and 90s, then you will especially love this attraction and it’s music selection.

walt-disney-world-disney-hollywood-studios-2013-rock-n-roller-coaster-5

4.  The Rock ‘n’  Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios – The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster takes you into a recording studio with rock legends Aerosmith then on a sweeping freeway ride to the concert.  I am not particularly an Aerosmith fan.  Their best offerings are from the 1970s.  It works here, though, and most of the songs are from their early works.  The songs change, which is good, but waiting to “merge onto the freeway”  and throughout the entire ride, the music keeps the adrenaline rushing.its a small world

3  It’s a Small World at Magic Kingdom – Just reading the name of this ride has probably stuck this tune in your head for the rest of the day.  Without the song, the attraction would be kind’ve creepy.  With it though, it is a classic.

Disneys-Splash-Mountain-Frontierland-Disney-Magic-Kingdom-Walt-Disney-World-WDW-Orlando-Florida

2.  Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom – I love the drops and I love the animatronics; but, the music is the backbone of this attraction.  It leads us along, telling us the legends of Brer Rabbit and keeping us smiling.  From “How Do You Do?” through “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” the music is fun and upbeat.  Until last week, I had not seen “Song of the South” since I was a child.  Most younger people have never seen it and maybe never will.  To me, this novelty makes it even a little more special.

osborne family lights

1.  The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios – Christmas is our favorite time at WDW and the Osborne Light Show is a big part of it.  Millions of Christmas lights decorate the Streets of America with “snow” gently falling, Christmas music playing, and guests wandering through the streets to admire the show.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Every so often, the lights are synchronized to the music,  with Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve Sarajevo” being my favorite.  About every half hour, “Feliz Navidad” gets played and everyone rushes to the center of the street for a cast member lead line dance.  Roly and I have minimal rhythm, but we won’t miss it.  If you get the chance, I wholeheartedly recommend WDW in the Christmas season and Osborne Dancing Lights are not to missed.  What can be better?  Christmas music, warm weather, snow, beautiful lights, and hidden Mickeys.  Look for a teenage boy likely wearing a Mister Toad shirt with his mustachioed father wearing a Mickey hat dancing with cast members.

Pongo

Robin Hood Movie Review

The other day I talked about the book, “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood,” and today I will give my thoughts on Disney’s cartoon adaptation. I love this movie, and it has to be my fourth favorite of all 54 Disney cartoons. It is funny, has my second favorite Disney song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGzyDnIocug , “Oo De Lally” and has, in my opinion, the second best disney voice: Phil Harris (Baloo, Thomas O’Malley, Little John.)

First, about the time setting. There are two main time settings: before the Crusades, and robin2after the Crusades. (Not during, because Robin Hood historically went to the crusades.) The book is set

http://www.familytravelescapades.com/robin-hood-movie-review/

Robin Hood Book to Movie Comparison

robin hood 3

I have recently read what is now my favorite book.  It has even surpassed The Hobbit, which I have for years thought nothing could compare to. You may be thinking, “But Roly, this book is not Disney.  It’s just a book Disney made a movie after.” Yes, I know that is true; but if you read the book you could see how Disney could make a movie after this without even trying. Some Disney movies are based after books with very un-Disneyish things in them (Pinnochio with Jiminy Cricket dying, Cinderella with the sisters eyes getting pecked out[hey, they deserved it.]) This book though, has the same upbeat, carefree tone as the movie. It’s no wonder why it’s called The (Merry) Adventures of Robin Hood.

Each chapter centers around some adventure that Robin Hood goes on, which involves either him being foolish and getting himself in trouble, or him making an utter fool of someone. It has the same feel as the movie, with different adventures that are not exactly connected to one another, but doesn’t include the storyline with Prince John in it. The main villain in the book is the Sheriff of Nottingham.robin1

Now you may not feel the same way I do, since this is not a “masterpiece,” but it is a very fun book and is definitely worth reading.  I will go more deeply into this book at a later time, telling about my favorite parts of it and why.  First I will give you a warning. If you are really into the book and really love the characters or are just determined to read every word (like I was,) don’t read the epilogue. I won’t give the ending away, but the ending is very sad. The book itself still has a satisfying ending. Personally, I don’t like endings.  Even though there never was a second book, I wish it would have been left open. In the movie however, he goes away to who knows where, and could easily continue his adventures. That ending suits me better. There is also no Oo-de-lally, or bunnies in the book. Sad.robin2

I will give my thoughts on the movie at a later time, as this blog was mostly about the book. I will probably get it posted this week, but don’t count on it. I will also give my thoughts on Song of the South, which I managed to watch (despite the very best efforts of protesters all around america) next week. See ya real soon.

Roly

Attractions With Short Wait Times

Attractions/Rides with short waits (normally) at WDW-Part 1(Magic Kingdom)-

If you are going to the Disney World and have used up your fast passes at one park or park hop and have used them already at another park, there are several attractions/rides with consistently short wait times. Today in part 1, I will just cover Magic Kingdom. Later, I will cover the other three parks.

Enchanted_Tiki_Room_at_Walt_Disney_World_Magic_KingdomAt Magic Kingdom there are several places with short wait times. In Adventureland, The Enchanted Tiki Room is on a schedule with generous seating so you just have to wait until one group gets out before you can go inside for the show. This is known as being the first attraction with audio-animatronics and Walt Disney’s favorite. The Swiss Family Treehouse is a walk-through attraction with a lot of climbing up stairs based on the movie of the same name. It has many things from the movie such as the bedroom and kitchen furniture/accessories. You may have to wait behind a slow person climbing the stairs, but it goes quickly.

In Frontierland, The Country Bears Jamboree is also on a schedule with a large seating capacity, thus making the wait short. It is under-appreciated and easily overlooked, but I think after going the second time that it is a hoot!

In Liberty Square, The Hall of Presidents is another scheduled attraction with a large seating capacity, thus a short wait. (It should be noted that the wait is inside a lobby with comfortable seating and interesting displays with heat or air-conditioning.) It is a very interesting short history of our presidents and some U.S. history.

In Fantasyland, Philharmagic is on a schedule with a large auditorium seating configuration, so the wait is short. This is one of our family favorites and no one should miss it. It provides a multi-sensorial experience; one of the few in Walt Disney World. It’s a Small World at times has a short wait, but at times a moderate to long wait. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is also unpredictable; with at times short waits and at others long ones. Dumbo is usually a quick wait.

The Carousel of Progress
The Carousel of Progress

In Tomorrowland, The Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover is almost always a quick ride to board. Disney’s Carousel of Progress is very quick to board. Everyone should see this attraction. This is one of attractions that was entered into the World’s Fair by Walt Disney.

April 10, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney bans Selfie Sticks from all park attractions, but not from the parks themselves.

*  Tickets are on sale for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom.

*  The Matterhorn bobsled in Disneyland will have new Abominable Snowman special effects when it re-opens in May

*  When Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight re-opens in May, it will have new special effects including a re-imagining of the nursery scene.

*  Reservations can now be made for “Feel the Force” premiere packages during Star Wars Weekends at WDW’s Hollywood Studios.  These include dining options and special viewing of events.

*  A woman was denied entry into Magic Kingdom this week for trying to bring in her pet,…a baby Bengal tiger.

*  Tickets for “Night of Joy,” a Christian music festival at Magic Kingdom on September 11 and 12 have gone sale.  Tickets purchased in advance are much reduced from same day prices.  The acts for this year are (Sept. 11) TobyMac, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Colton Dixon, Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Battistelli, Rend Collective, I Am They, Josh Wilson (Sept.12) Skillet, Lecrae, For King & Country, Mandisa, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, 7eventhTime Down, and Veridia.

*  The DVC (Disney Vacation Club) website will be down on April 14 for scheduled maintenance.

*  Mickey Mouse and friends will star in “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” an animated series premiering on Disney Jr. in 2017.

*  “Dances with the Stars” will be Disney themed on April 13.

*  Marvel’s “Daredevil” premieres on Netflix today with promising reviews.

*  Marvel “Avengers:  Age of Ultron” will not have the expected post-credit sequence.  Josh Whedon says he skipped the scene because he could not top the schwarma scene for the first Avengers movie.  Fear not, it will have a mid-credit sequence.

*  A live-action “Pinocchio” is in the works.  When Disney has made live-action remakes of all of its animated classics, it will then proceed with sock puppet remakes which it believes are the next big thing.  (NOT REALLY)

*  “Duck Tales:  Remastered,” by Disney Interactive is now available.

Puppetz blues clues

Animal Kingdom Stage Shows

When most of us think of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the first thing that comes to mind is usually either zoo or Expedition Everest. The “Yeti Coaster” (as we call it) and Kilimanjaro Safari are two of the best offerings in all of Walt Disney World. The stage shows can often be overlooked. If you do this, then you are missing out. These are arguably the strongest stage shows of any park.

The "Yeti Coaster"
The “Yeti Coaster”

“The Festival of the Lion King” – This is the best known. It is an acrobatic display of performers representing animals. The gymnastics and stunts are impressive. It is fun, lively, and exciting.

You can see the Simba animatronic here. He is featured in The Festival of the Lion King.
You can see the Simba animatronic here. He is featured in The Festival of the Lion King.

“Finding Nemo the Musical” – A Broadway musical style retelling of “Finding Nemo” using actors, puppets,flags, and lights. This is not just for kids. I think this is the best stage show in all WDW. It is wonderful and thoroughly entertaining.dakssa

“Flights of Wonder” – The most overlooked. The true stars are the birds, but the story brings it together and adds to the fun. The bird species change from performance to performance. You can usually walk up and get a seat within 5 minutes prior to start.

The Barn Owl from Flights of Wonder.
The Barn Owl from Flights of Wonder.

If the park is slow, then there often is no problem getting into any of these shows. Historically though, “The Festival of the Lion King” stays full. I have not been to it since it moved to Africa, but I doubt that it has changed. A fast pass is often a good idea for this one. During busy times, a fast pass may be beneficial for “Finding Nemo.”

Try to work these into your next Animal Kingdom visit. I guarantee that you will enjoy these shows and they will certainly make Animal Kingdom into a fun, all day experience.

Pongo

Disney doing Live-Action movies of former animated classics-

lar3Recently there has been a plethora of announcements about Disney doing live- action movies based on many animated classics like Dumbo, Bambi, and even Winnie-the-Pooh! These are three of my favorites and I love Disney, but I am perplexed by these choices for movie making. I fail to see how you can make a live-action movie based on a previous animated movie with animals. Are they going to do CGI, or people in animal costumes?

Disney has announced that Tim Burton is going to do Dumbo. This is a tenuous choice at best. My imagination is going wild with what this could yield. For someone who loves the tender scene in Dumbo where Mrs. Jumbo is cradling and swinging Dumbo in her trunk while “Baby of Mine” plays (after the two have been separated with Mrs. Jumbo in quarantine) I don’t see anyone doing this justice in a remake.

lar2larBambi with people? How do they do that? Winnie-the-Pooh? Reports are that the movie will be a depiction as Christopher Robin as a grown man. Obviously Christopher Robin could easily be played by a person, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how they do Pooh bear and friends.

I love Disney and always have. A big reason is from great memories of all of their wonderful movies. (This was before I even went to Walt Disney World.) My hope is that they continue to create other great movies and memories; not bad ones. I hope my pre-judgement proves me wrong.

Streetmospere

Today I will be talking about Streetmosphere, my favorite attraction in all of WDW-

Anyone who has walked down Hollywood Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios during the day has surelynoticed people dressed in old-Hollywood style clothes and acting oddly.street

These people are a part of Streetmosphere; an unscheduled and random event lasting from park opening to sundown. There is at least one, sometimes two or three of these shows going on at a time. There is a rare time there isn’t a show going on, but if you wait around for about five minutes, a car will drive out slowly and go to it’s spot.

You can see that one of them is not like the others.. she was pulled from the audience.
You can see that one of them is not like the others.. she was pulled from the audience.
Officer Peabody and Bon Appetit
Officer Peabody and Bon Appetit

Some of the shows require groups of five or more people, such as the “99 joke” competition. Other shows only require one person, like Mr. Bon Appetit who goes around and poses for pictures. Officer Peabody can be in shows, or just go around and joke with the people.

All acts are comedic in nature and involve the crowd most times. Many times the cast members (actors) act like they are shooting a scene from a movie, and the actor/actress repeatedly messes up. A magician may do magic acts like you would see on tv.

The Hollywood public works guys are the best.
The Hollywood public works guys are the best.

These acts include some people that I remember from my first trip to Disney 5 years ago when I was 8, and it’s fun to see them again. (The repair-men are my personal favorites. They have their various jobs, and they always find some way for the simple job to take 30 minutes.) These acts are never identical to each other, and are always fun to watch. Take some time to watch one on your next visit.

Roly 😀

Getting to Disney World from Orlando International Airport

For those of you who have never flown into the Orlando Airport and tried to get to Disney World, I will give step-by-step instructions.

The central place.
The central place.

Upon arrival, depending on what airline you arrive on, you walk past the arrival gates and come to a central area with shops and a few restaurants. You then board a tram which takes you to another building.

Here's the tram.
Here’s the tram.

Upon arrival at the main building you walk past the airport security on your left and arrive at a central area of the Hyatt hotel.

The central area of the Hyatt.
The central area of the Hyatt.

You have a choice of going to Terminal A or Terminal B. You need to veer to the left and go through Terminal B.

Terminal B.
Terminal B.

You then look for an escalator or elevator and go to the first floor where there is ground transportation (There are signs that say ground transportation). If you are renting a car this is where you would find the car rental desks. If you are taking The Magic Express (a free service provided by Disney World, which I would heartily endorse) you go to the end of the ground transportation area on the first floor and this is where you will find the Magic Express bus service to the resorts. You scan your magic band or present a ticket Disney sends through the mail to you. A friendly Disney employee then directs you to the line you should wait in. It is usually a short wait before they tell you which bus to board. The bus driver places your carry-on luggage underneath the bus.

These helpful Disney/airport cast members will direct you to the right bus.
These helpful Disney/airport cast members will direct you to the right bus.

If you do take the Magic Express bus service, you may wait on the bus for up to 20 minutes, but the time goes by fast as your anticipation of arriving at Disney World grows. The seats are comfortable and they play a video of information about Disney World and some cartoon shorts.

It takes about 25 minutes to arrive at Disney World. Depending on how many stops your bus makes before the bus arrives at your resort, it takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes to actually pull up to your resort. Upon arrival, the bus driver gives you your carry-on luggage and someone at the resort greets you by name and leads you inside to the check-in desk.

Disney World! HURAH!
Disney World! Hoorah!

Another perk I must mention: if you checked any luggage, you don’t have to wait at the airport to pick it up and take with you on the Magic Express. Disney will make sure your luggage arrives at the resort and will either hold it at bell services or they will bring it to your room.