Neverland2001: Disney Question of the Week for May 30, 2015.

First, the results to last week’s question, “Which is Your Favorite Disney Park?”  We would like thank everyone who voted.

Magic Kingdom       39%

Epcot           28%

Disneyland CA         17%

California Adventure   11%

Hollywood Studios     5%

All others                     0%

***Magic Kingdom is the Winner! ****  I expected this, but I am surprised how close Epcot was.  Epcot held the lead for much of the week.

The question for this week is designed to help us choose topics on which to write.   We hope to be able to inform, entertain, and be a resource for you.  We recently had a request for more information on the DVC.  Your feedback will help us be a better resource.  If I have set the poll up correctly (certainly not a given), then you should be able to choose as many options as you like, and, you should be able to add your own.  More specific comments and suggestions in the comments secton will be greatly appreciated.

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May 29, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Duke Energy is going to build a solar farm in Orlando, Florida, near WDW, in the shape of a Mickey head.

*  Magic Kingdom‘s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will feature a new show in front of Cinderella Castle this fall called the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular,”  hosted by the Sanderson sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”

*  Disneyland has released new Made With Magic merchandise for it’s Diamond Celebration including a new Mickey ears hat with the Diamond Celebration pattern on it and a paintbrush with light up functions.

*  Epcot will soon be offering a new tour called ‘World Showcase Destinations Discovered.”  It will be a 5 hour walking tour through and backstage at the World Showcase pavilions.  It will include a lunch and a cultural demonstration.  The cost will be $109 dollars per person.  (Ouch!!)

*  The Harambe Marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has now opened.

*  Guests to Animal Kingdom can now see several new baby animals including sable antelope and white rhinos.

*  This fall, to help celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, Raglan Road restaurant in Disney Springs at WDW will host a Raglan Road Master Chef Contest.

*  Disney is working on building robots that walk and move like cartoon characters for the parks.

*  The Walt Disney Company announced this week that it will be expanding the use of the MagicBands technology in WDW.  What this means was not announced.

*  DVC resorts will soon be updating their laundry rooms with new “high tech” laundry equipment as well a mobile website to check on washer/dryer availability.

*  The Drew Brees Passing Academy is returning to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at WDW this summer featuring other NFL stars and 20 or more prep football teams from around the country.

*  For a “nominal fee” ($35 per adult to be exact), DVC members can view the Magic Kingdom‘s Independence Day eve fireworks display from the convention center Port Cochere of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The “DVC Independence Day Dessert Party” will include an delectable array of desserts, a cash bar and performances by the Dapper Dans and the Dixieland Band.

*  The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise will sailing to Alaska this year.  Check members services for details.

*  “Teen Beach 2” is to be released on DVD on June 26.

*  “Tomorrowland” brings in a lackluster $40 million on it’s opening weekend.

Running / Walking at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and the surrounding area transport you away from Florida to the mountain west.  It is home of my second favorite running/walking trail of the WDW resorts.  The lodge is themed after Yellowstone National Park and is absolutely stunning.  The area surrounding Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness fits into the theme with a forest of towering pines all around.  The path winds through the “forest” from Wilderness Lodge through and around Fort Wilderness and back.

This is a wonderful place to run.  It also makes a great walk for the whole family.  The tall pines provide ample shade.  Most of the path is paved, but pine needles soften your stride.  You are surrounded by the fresh pine scent.  Deer, squirrels, and the occasional rabbit can be encountered as well as the horses at Fort Wilderness.  The Spanish moss, palmettos, flatness, and humidty let you know you are still in Florida, but with a little imagination, you can picture yourself out west.  I haven’t been to Yellowstone, but it takes me to the Ponderosa Pine forests of two of my favorite places to run:  Flagstaff, Arizona and the Black Forest, just north of Colorado Springs.

Maps of the exercise trail are available at the Guest Service desk.  Starting from the dock behind Wilderness Lodge, running along the path to Fort Wilderness, and then circling though campground is 2.5 miles.  Running straight back to Wilderness Lodge comes to about 3.7 miles.  The out and back is a 5 mile jaunt.  There is a small hill coming up from the docks at Wilderness Lodge.  The trail is otherwise flat.  If you want, you can wind further through the camp ground and make it an even longer run.  The trail is mostly shaded and is rarely crowded.  This enables you to enjoy the trail at any time during the day.  You do have to cross roads a couple of times and part of the run is along roads in Fort Wilderness.  So you will need to pay attention during these portions.

Pros:  Pine trees.  Shade.  Critters,  All day access.  Rarely busy.

Cons:  Road Crossing and potential traffic at Fort Wilderness.

Overall:  This is a great running trail that blends in with the wonderful theming of the resorts.  It makes a nice place to take a walk with your family, too.

I hope you give it a try.

Pongo (dad).

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5 Overlooked Attractions at Walt Disney World –

1) The Magic of Disney Animation– This is an interactive drawing class led by a Disney artist. Guests learn step-by-step instructions on how to draw a Disney character. You never know which character you will draw, so it is fun to do the class each time you visit WDW. The class takes 30 minutes and you get to take home your art. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown 2) Living With the Land– A relaxing 13-minute boat ride that takes you on an informative journey through a tropical rain forest, a desert complete with sandstorm, and the plains of a small farm. Guests learn about Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaculture. You see many plants with unusual fruits and veggies, and fish farms are also on display. The educational part of this boat ride is geared towards adults, but younger guests will love it also and enjoy spotting the different fruits and vegetables. This is located in Future World at Epcot.Unknown-1 3) One Man’s Dream– This is a tribute to the “Man behind the Magic”. It is a self-guided walking tour that will take you through a series of exhibits including: scaled replicas, photographs, audio interviews and memorabilia that tell the story of Walt Disney. There are over 400 artifacts on display such as models of Main Street U.S.A. from Disneyland, scaled replicas of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from Disneyland, scaled models of Animal Kingdom and others. There is a re-creation of Walt’s old office, his 2nd grade desk, and even an Academy Award from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on display. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown-3 4)Outdoor entertainment at Epcot- There are a wide variety of performers that are located mostly in World Showcase, with The Jammin’ Jammitors being the exception (they perform a percussion show that is not to be missed in Future World). Each country hosts different acts that perform on a schedule that can be picked up at the park entrance. Just a couple of examples are: Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion, the Canadian Lumberjacks at the Canada Pavilion, andThe British Revolution at the United Kingdom Pavilion which are all three band performances.) There are also many other types of entertainment such as Serveur Amusant at the France Pavilion (a very skilled performer balances on chairs stacked seemingly into the clouds. Just kidding, but he does go pretty high!), Taiko Drummers at the Japan Pavilion, Sergio the juggler at the Italy Pavilion, and many more. 5)Flights of Wonder– Several times a day in the Asian area at Animal Kingdom, the Flights of Wonder are performed. The shows are about 25 minutes long and feature over 20 species of exotic birds, including Harris hawks, Barbary falcons, macaws, ibis and yellow-naped Amazon parrots. The show features free-flying birds performing stunts with the trainers auditory cues to guide them. There is also some comedy thrown in that makes the show even better.

Into The Woods Movie Review

Roly (son)

(Spoiler Warning)

“Into the Woods” is a live-action Disney musical starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and Johnny Depp based on the Grimm fairytales.  If you love musicals, then “Into the Woods” is the movie for you. If you’re like my family, then don’t bother. I however, am different from the rest of my family, I have read the fairytales that this movie is based on. This is a fair movie, and that is at it’s best. “Into the Woods” has near constant Disney/ theater style singing. There is actualy one rap song in this, which I will talk about later. This movie is 3/4 singing with the whole first 15 minutes hardly penetrated by a single non-crooned word.Preview

I will elaborate on what I previously said about liking it because of the fairytales. “Roly, aren’t the cartoons much better than this? Why wouldn’t you just watch the cartoons instead?” Well, the cartoons have very different stories. The cartoons are much better, but they diverge drastically from the Grimm fairytales, from which most of them get their origins. “Into the Woods” sticks very close to the fairytales in the tellings of their origins. First, Cinderella was not originally from Grimm. Grimm is the most famous of the storytellers. So I will judge it on that. There is no Fairy Godmother. There is only a tree, planted over Cinderella’s mother’s grave, which magically gives her a dress and slippers. They don’t go with the fairy godmother story. They stick to the tree, which is much better.

Rapunzel is different as well. In the fairytale, she is locked in a tower because her father stole something out of the witch’s garden. The evil witch pretends to be her mother until she finds out that a prince has been visiting (and more) Rapunzel. She then cuts off Rapunzel’s hair, and pretends to be Rapunzel. When the prince climbs up, the witch pushes him out of the window. He then lands in thorns, which cushion his fall and cut his eyes out. Rapunzel, who was banished by the witch, then finds him and heals his eyes with her tears. The cartoon has not a prince, but a rogue coming to Rapunzel. He gets stabbed, not pushed out a window. “Into the Woods” sticks to the story (minus him getting pushed out a window and making Rapunzel pregnant.) The witch merely makes thorns magically appear in front of the prince, which then cut his eyes out.

Jack, from ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ and Little Red Riding Hood are also in the film. I will not take the time to go into them. Jack, as far as I know, is not a Grimm character anyway.  The story of Little Red Riding Hood is consistent with the Grimm version.

Oddly, “Into the Woods” is a much better mashup of fairytales than the movie, “The Brothers Grimm.” The first two thirds are straight from the fairytales . The part after that, which I will talk about later, is about what happens after the fairytales.Preview-1

The singing is my big complaint with the movie. It is what kept this movie from being great, to being a mediocre at best movie. The witch sings a song near the beginning which sounds very much like an attempt to rap. Leave the rhymes to Snoop Dogg, Meryl. She rhymes at a slow pace to music that plods along. It sounds much less like a fairytale chant, and more like rap. I can’t cover all the songs, because that would take as long as the movie. The girl playing little Red Riding Hood’s singing, plainly put, sucks harder than a man whose friend was just bit by a rattlesnake. Anna Kendrick (Cinderella) and the boy who played Jack were the best voices in the whole movie. Any time that the evil stepmother or sisters are in the movie, and sing, it becomes unbearable. Johnny Depp’s voice cracked like a 12 year old’s while singing.Into the woods

The people who tie them all together are the baker and his wife; who are not from the Grimm fairytales. They all go into the woods, coincidentally. The witch put a curse on the baker’s family, that they would have no children. To lift the curse, they must bring back several items; all of which one of the other characters has. They get them, and get their “happily ever after;” and so do the other characters. This is a satisfying ending; A classic Grimm style ending. They all live happily ever after.

Then the writers royally screw things up. A giant comes and causes an earthquake, and they must go into the woods to find the giant. The giant somehow made the woods a jumble, so the paths are no longer there. That means, they can’t get out. They turn on each other. The baker’s wife goes away, and meets Cinderella’s prince on the way. The prince is a two-timing cad and seduces the baker’s wife. By the way, the baker’s wife has a little baby. They smooch and tongue, and we find out that the baker’s wife has as many morals as the before mentioned Snoop Dogg. I won’t give any more away, as I believe I have told enough.

If you want to watch a cinematic version of the Grimm fairytales and can tolerate constant crooning, then give this movie a try.Preview-4

Top 5 Money-Saving tips for Disney World-

Perdita (mom) here-

I am the money-manager in the house so I do the investigative work when it comes to saving money for Disney World. Some of the 5 tips for saving money are so long I will have to elaborate in a separate article, but some are not

1)Eat Cheaply-I have covered this in a previous article, but it bears repeating. This one tip alone can save hundreds easily. Some people don’t think about how much a meal can cost (easily $30-40/person). If you have a family of 4 that is about $160. If you factor in 3 meals/day that could easily add up to $500/ day plus any snacks and drinks you may buy at the park. Let’s just say you do spend this much and you are staying 7 days. You can easily see how the meals can add up to thousand alone. I know Disney isn’t cheap for even the “cheap” meals I have advocated, but it makes a real difference.

2) Buy Disney Vacation Club (to save even more, buy on the re-sale market)-
I am writing a couple of articles about this because there is so much about this topic. This one move has enabled us to go to the parks much more frequently than we otherwise would have been able to.

3)Use Miles Cards and sign-up bonuses for your travel
Again I will elaborate more later, but if you have a favorite airline or have one airline (for us it is Southwest Airlines) that is convenient for travel, get their credit card.

4)If you don’t have Disney Vacation Club consider Value and Moderate Resorts
When we called in to Disney in 2009 to make a reservation we didn’t even know there were value resorts. (There are value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa resorts.) They booked us in a deluxe resort. When I thought back to the time I called several years before and they priced the vacation (the one we couldn’t afford) they also had booked us into a deluxe resort. Ask about all options and check the website.

5)Don’t fall for the “Dining-Plan-Package”
They will tell you that you are saving money when in fact they have that built into the package. If you price the vacation for room only I have found you save money. (a caveat is that is only if you don’t care about eating at the fine dining restaurants). I have found that on room-only reservations you can get about 30% off on the rooms most of the time anyway and they put the dining plan in the package and keep the room at full price. There are exceptions to this but I have found this to be the case when we have called.

More tips later!

Neverland2001: Disney Question of the Week

We are adding something new to our blog.  Each week we will be asking a question or questions.  It may be an opinion poll, a trivia quiz, or survey question.  I hope you enjoy!  Feel free to leave comments

May 22, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Happy Birthday Disneyland!!  Disneyland’s 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration begins today.

*  Disneyland’s new ‘ Disneyland Forever’ fireworks show begins tonight.

*  The new ‘World of Color – Celebrate!’ premiers today at Disney California Adventure.

*  Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim are open 24 hours today.

*  Disneyland California will begin testing of FastPass+ system this summer.  Hong Kong Disneyland will follow in 2016.

*  Disney has posted “No Selfie Sticks” signs outside Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain at both WDW and Disneyland because people were not obeying the rules.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield opened this week at Disney’s California Adventure.

*  Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland will not re-open until July 1.

*  Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort begins serving brunch May31.  Reservations can begin being made on May 22.

*  The new Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs has joined the Disney Dining Plan.

*  New Restaurants are coming soon to WDW Disney Springs:  The Edison (American food and cocktails), Sprinkles (cupcakes, ice cream, and cookies), Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza (artisanal pizza), Vivoli Gelateria (gelato), Tea Traders Cafe’ by Joffreys (loose leaf teas), STK Orlando (steaks), Morimoto Asia (Pan Asian), and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Indiana Jones inspired lounge).

*  A drunken 27 year Ohio man had to be rescued from the Bay Lake after running a golf cart off the Wilderness Lodge Bay Lake pier and trying to swim away from shore per the Orlando Sentinel.

*  Disney will be adding 26 new DVC lodge cabins at the Wilderness Lodge per a construction work plan released this week.

*  DVC member services will closed all day on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2015.  DVCMember.com can still be used that day.

*  Tokyo DisneySea is building a new Pixar, Nemo themed attraction set to open in the Spring of 2017.

*  Disney Cruise Line will be sailing out of New York City to both Canada and the Bahamas in 2016.

*  The largest Disney Store in the world has opened in Shanghai, China.

*  Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ opens today with a mediocre 53% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

*  Disney/Pixar’s upcoming ‘Inside Out’ is a huge hit at the Cannes Film Festival.

*  ‘Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales”  is already $70 million dollars over budget with 3 months of filming still left to go.

Disney Parks Tip: The Single Rider Line

Some rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer single rider lines. For the single rider line, you have to be okay with being seated where-ever there is a space. You will not be seated with anyone else from your party When there is an empty seat on a ride such as when there is a party of 3 on a ride with 2 seats per row, you are seated in the seat next to third member of that party. It is a great way to decrease wait time, if you don’t mind riding “alone.” The reason to do this is to cut your wait time. In general, I have found that you can usually cut your wait time compared to the stand-by line by 1/2 to 1/3.

The California parks employ this on more rides; so, we will start there. Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventures, and Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland, and Soarin’ over California, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids Goofy’s Fly School, and California Screamin’ all have this option. Radiator Springs Racers has an obvious labeled line to enter. For the other rides, you will need to ask the cast member at the beginning of the queue. We used it on Radiator Springs Racers, Indiana Jones and California Screamin’. The first two were simple. California Screamin’ involved stairs and elevators and was confusing, but still cut our wait time drastically. imageimage

In Walt Disney World, the single rider line is available on Test Track in Epcot, Rock n’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. The lines to Test Track and Rock n’ Roller Coaster are pretty obvious and easy to find. The Expedition Everest line is a little removed from the stand-by and fastpass queues. If you don’t see it, ask a cast member. We have used it on all of these several times. Since these are rides with some of the longest wait times, it really can save you quite a bit of time.image

The International Disney Parks have this option, too. Someday I hope to use these.
Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris: Crush’s Coaster, Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, RC Racers, and Ratatouille.
Tokyo Disneyland: Splash Mountain.
Tokyo DisneySea: Indiana Jones Adventures, and Raging Spirits.
Hong Kong Disneyland: Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Car, Splash Mountain, and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.

Here are some ideas of when this could be useful: If no one else in your group likes thrill rides, but you are busting for some excitement; if everyone else is tired; if younger members (or older ones I guess) are waiting in a long character meet and greet line; if you have already seen the parade or fireworks. The list could go on. I wish that this option was available on more rides with long waits, but I will take what I can get. So, if you don’t have a fastpass and you want to ride one of the above named attractions, but not spend the entire day waiting in line, then think “single rider line.”

Disney Challenge

Here are the Disney Challenge questions:

1- First time you went to Disney World? Roly: 2009: mom/Perdita:1977; dad/Pongo: 1973

2- Favorite park? Roly: Magic Kingdom; mom/Perdita:Magic Kingdom: Pongo: Magic Kingdom

3- Favorite land in Magic Kingdom? Roly: Fantasyland; mom/Perdita: Fantasyland; Pongo: Tomorrowland

4- Favorite Disney resort hotel? Roly: Beach Club; mom/Perdita: The Beach Club Hotel; Pongo/dad: Beach Club

5- Favorite snack? Roly: LeFou’s Brew; mom/Perdita: LeFou’s Brew or cream-cheese-filled pretzel; dad/Pongo: N/A

6- Favorite souvenir? Roly: N/A; mom/Perdita: Disney paintings or Disney knickknacks; dad/Pongo: Mickey Mouse watch

7- Favorite table service and counter service? Roly: TS=Sci-fi Dine in Theater Cs=Contempo Cafe at The Contemporary Resort; mom/Perdita: TS-Tony’s Townsquare Restaurant, CS-Contempo Cafe at The Contemporary Resort; dad/Pongo: TS-50’s Primetime Cafe; CS-Contempo Cafe

8- Favorite ride? Roly: Peter Pan’s Flight; mom/Perdita: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Soarin’, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; dad/Pongo:Tower of Terror

9- Favorite show? Roly: Muppet Vision 3D; mom/Perdita: Philharmagic; Pongo/dad: Finding Nemo the Musical

10- Favorite parade or fireworks? Roly: Festival of Fantasy; mom/Perdita: Wishes: Pongo/dad: Illuminations

11- Favorite pavilion in Epcot? Roly: UK; mom/Perdita: UK; dad/Pongo: UK

12- What color is your magic band? Roly: Orange; mom/Perdita: Blue; Pongo/dad: green

13- Favorite character to meet? Roly: Belle; mom/Perdita: Winnie the Pooh and Dug (from UP); dad/Pongo: Dug

14- A character you haven’t met but really want to? Roly: Peter Pan and Wendy and Robin Hood; mom/Perdita: Other Pooh characters besides Pooh Bear and Tigger; dad/Pongo: Robin Hood

15- Your best Disney memory? Roly: Staying at the Beach Club concierge level for the first time; mom/Perdita: Also staying at the Beach Club concierge for the first time at Christmas; dad/Pongo: first trip with Roly to WDW

So there you have it. Those are all of our answers to the Disney Challenge. We would love to see all you do this challenge!!! If you do please let us know so we can check out your answers.

Have a Magical week everyone!