Tag Archives: Orlando

5 Ways Disneyland Is Better Than Disney World

We just returned from our second trip to Disneyland. I love Disney World and will always consider that “home” but there are some ways in which Disneyland is “better” in my opinion. This list of 5 is not inclusive, but is the 5 most obvious to me. I would urge any Disney fan to visit Disneyland and Disney World and judge for yourselves.

1)The Events On Main Streetimage

Main Street at Disneyland is an attraction in itself. There are horse-drawn trolleys, double-decker buses, and other vehicles transporting people from the entrance to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. There is something charming and peaceful about riding on a horse-drawn carriage to the castle and watching the people and the stores pass by. The same is true for the other modes of transport, but not quite as much. We rode a trolley once and the Dapper Dans of Disneyland (an old-fashioned barbershop quartet) jumped on and serenaded us during the ride. You can’t beat that!

There are also many character meet and greets that you never see at Disney World and characters such as Cruella DeVille tend to walk through frequently. Overall there is a lot more emphasis on the characters; especially the more classic characters.imageimage

2)Fantasylandimage

While Fantasyland at Disneyland isn’t better as a whole, there are many unique rides that make it an exciting experience for a huge Disney fan. They don’t have “new fantasyland” like Walt Disney World which is a negative, but the presence of the extra and old classic rides makes it a thrill. Such rides as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Casey Jr. Train, and The Canal Boats makes this a worthy visit for a Fantasyland fan.image

3)Close Proximity of Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Resort Hotelsimage

There is something to be said for walking across from one park to the other in 2 minutes. Also Downtown Disney isn’t a bus ride away, but is literally connected to the Disney Parks. The 3 official Disney Resort Hotels are also within an easy walk, with The Grand California Hotel being actually connected to the California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney.

4)More intimate feel at Disneylandimage

The castle and the heights of the buildings are smaller and everything is closer together so it feels more cozy and intimate. At first I saw this as a negative, but after a couple of hours I felt the intimate setting was a positive.

5)Much more seating at Disneyland

For some this may not matter, but for someone like me who has back problems this is a huge asset. The first time we visited I couldn’t believe all of the benches everywhere. It is hard to find a seat at Magic Kingdom, but at Disneyland there are benches lining the area around the central courtyard when you first enter and also around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, as well as other areas in both parks. This makes it more restful and gives you a nice place to sit and eat a snack. You can also hear the Disneyland Band or just watch the horse-drawn carriage go by as well as watch other things going on around the entrance and the castle.

In summary, I love Walt Disney World and do feel it is really a home away from home. There are many things better about Disney World, but I wanted to point out some of the things that I think might just make a visit worth it for you.

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Disney Vacation Club (DVC)- Overview

I am going to start a multi-part article on the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). This is completely operated by the Walt Disney Company. I hope to help you figure out the whole, complicated system. Today I am just going over the most basic information.

1)The DVC is a Disney timeshare. You purchase points at a particular resort for a certain dollar figure per point. There are many variables which I will explain later, but these points are used to stay at one of the Disney DVC resorts. Not every resort on the Disney property is one of the DVC resorts; only the Deluxe Villas are part of the DVC.

2)When you purchase points at a particular resort, there are very specific rules governing when you may book a room at either your home resort or another DVC property. (I’ll explain more about this later).

3)You can buy a DVC timeshare directly from the Walt Disney Company or from one of several of the resale companies.

4)You can pay cash or finance your purchase.

5)There are advantages and disadvantages for buying DVC directly from Disney.

6)The purchase price for each DVC property varies widely and so do the points required for staying in the various properties.

7)There are 4 sizes of rooms in the DVC.

8)There are perks associated with owning at the DVC.

9)There are rules governing use and manipulation of the points in your DVC contract.

10)The points required to book a room at a particular resort varies with time of year which Disney states as high season, low season, and two moderate seasons.

11)You can rent your points out if you don’t use them, but Disney doesn’t sanction this. You must do this through a resale company.

This is just a basic outline of all the facets of buying and owning DVC. I have learned the hard way about a lot of the minutiae of owning a DVC property. I want to spare you from making the same mistakes we made and hopefully provide helpful tips if you are entertaining the idea of buying into the DVC. For us it has been a great experience and enabled us to go much more frequently than we otherwise could have. Tell me if you are more interested in one facet than another. I plan to do articles on each of the above points. Hope you enjoy!

Elaine (Perdita)mom

Bay Lake Tower and Contemporary Resort
Bay Lake Tower and Contemporary Resort

6 MORE TIME-SAVING TIPS FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD

Part 2 of Time Saving Tips for Walt Disney World
1.  Enjoy some of the overlooked attractions (I have written about some of these, and will write about more later.) We have found that we enjoy the non-headliner attractions as much or more as the headliner rides/attractions. The crowds tend to be less and you can actually do more this way.
2.  If you are a night person, stay until the park closes. Crowds thin out near closing, and the WDW parks allow you to stay for one hour after official park closing, a fact we didn’t know until we had visited several times. This can be a time to relax, browse the stores, and walk through Main Street in Magic Kingdom, or during Christmas, the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios.IMG_2868
3.  If an important part of your vacation is the Disney dining experience, then know it will take up a decent portion of your day. Unless you are really into the dining experience, I recommend that you not spend a lot of time at a table-service restaurant. You will save time (and money!) for other things like rides and shows.
4. If leaving your room near meal-time, eat at a quick-service dining location at your resort instead of at the parks. Usually the wait is shorter. You can eat and then be ready to hit the parks.pizzafari_seat3big
5.  If you are flying to Orlando/Walt Disney World, and it is possible, book a flight with an early arrival and a late departure. This allows for some extra time at the parks. If you are using Magic Express from Orlando International Airport to get to your resort, know that it does take up to an 1 and 1/2 hours, depending on how long you have to wait on the bus and how many drop offs are prior to your resort. On the day you leave, if returning to the airport with Magic Express, you must catch the bus 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.400-MagicalExpress
6.  This may be obvious, but it bears stating – Don’t stand in line for over 15-20 minutes for an attraction/ride. Use FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours to enjoy the major attractions with minimal wait and enjoy rides with shorter wait times for the rest of the day (Please refer to prior post Rides with Short Wait Times) .

I hope that you find these useful.  Remember, the magic of Disney is in the details.  Saving time by avoiding lines and waits will allow you more time to notice the details, relax, and enjoy your vacation.

Elaine (Perdita):  Mom, wife, Disney fanatic.IMG_3588

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.

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.

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.

Blizzard Beach Overview

Roly (son)

Hello, with summer and Memorial Day in a couple of weeks, and WDW being a notoriously hot and crowded place, I thought I would tell you about something different. Walt Disney World, as many of you know, has two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). I have only been to Blizzard Beach, but hope to go to Typhoon Lagoon soon. I will give a short review of Blizzard Beach.

Blizzard Beach is themed to be somewhere in Florida, where a freak blizzard occurred. Disney (of course) capitalized on this, and built a ski getaway. This ski resort just happens to have watersides through it. The waterslides are made to mimic ski slopes.

The symbol of the park is a ski slope, which you must get to via ski lift. Once you get to the unloading platform, there are three slides you can go down from there. You must climb stairs to get to the top, which is known as Summit Plummet. Summit Plummet is a 12 story high slide, with a near 90 degree angle. It is over before you know it, and you feel like the Hulk gave you a slap on the bum. Make sure to keep your legs together or the experience will be like the Niagra Falls of bidets. You feel like you are floating at some points in the three whole seconds it takes, and you actualy are. It levels out into a long, straight stretch at the end, and you end up swerving around as the water hits you from different angles.

Make sure to close your eyes about when you go into the short covered part, or your eyes will end up stinging.
Make sure to close your eyes about when you go into the short covered part, or your eyes will end up stinging.

This park also has a unique racing slide, Snow Stormers. Each person boards a sled and goes into separate tunnel. In most of the slide you can’t see the other racers, which is different than most racing slides. It is also much longer than any other racing slide that I have been on. There are some other very nice race slides at this park, but the one that I have told you about stands out to me particularly.

The lazy river, Cross Country Creek, is fairly long with water spouts and water falls to make it interesting. My dad and I floated up on a small snake once, but the life guard said it was harmless. The wave pool, Melt Away Bay, is unique in the winter theming being surrounded by “snow.”. It has a sand bottom and a central location. I enjoy both of these.

There is one last slide that I want to talk about; the Slush Gusher. The Slush Gusher is also accessed from the ski lift. It is to the left of Summit Plummet. This slide is at a steep angle, though not nearly as steep as Summit Plummet. You go over several hills, before finally leveling off at the end. You catch air on several of the hills. It’s a very fun slide, though not as intense as Summit Plummet.

These hills send you airborne for about 0.5 seconds before you come back. It is still noticeable, and different from other attractions, except Summit Plummet, and Tower of Terror.
These hills send you airborne for about 0.5 seconds before you come back. It is still noticeable, and different from other attractions, except Summit Plummet, and Tower of Terror.

There are many other slides, but these are my favorites. Here are the names of all of the attractions at Blizzard Beach. The tube rides are Teamboat Springs, and Runoff Rapids. The racing slides are Toboggan Racers, Downhill Double Dipper, and Snow Stormers. The normal ( on your back slide) are Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher. Other attractions are chair lift, Cross County Creek, and Melt Away Bay.There is a kiddie zone which has Tike’s Peak and Ski Patrol Training Camp. I hope this was informative. Have a great visit to Blizzard Beach.

May 15: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios begins this weekend.

*  The Coolest Summer Ever at Walt Disney World kicks off with Magic Kingdom staying open for 24 hours from 6 a.m. Friday May 22, through 6 a.m. Saturday May 23.

*  Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration opens on May 22 by staying open 24 hours  and will debut the “Paint the Night” parade, “World of Color – Celebrate!  The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney’s California Adventure opens today.

*  The Hatbox Ghost has returned to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

*  New oil can themed souvenir cups are coming to Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure for the Diamond Celebration.

*  Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, an ‘Indiana Jones’-themed restaurant is scheduled to open this fall at Disney Springs in Orlando.

*  Online advanced reservations can now be made for “Rebel Hangar – A Star Wars Lounge Experience” at Hollywood Studios.

*  Disneyland Paris Half Marathon, to be ran on September 25, 2016, has released a promotional video for the inaugural event.  Registration dates have not yet been announced.

*  A new DVC Preview Center has opened in Downtown Disney at Disneyland in Anaheim.

*  ABC will air a live Disneyland Diamond Anniversary special.

*  Johnny Depp tried to sneak his Yorkshire terriers into Australia while filming the fifth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie.  He was caught, and now, they must either return to the US or be euthanized.

*  The Muppets are coming to ABC during prime-time this fall!!

Review of the new Polynesian Villas

Review of The Polynesian Villas (new DVC property)-

Perdita (mom) here-

We recently returned from a stay at the newly opened (opened April 1, 2015)  Polynesian Villas (a new Disney Vacation Club property). We stayed in the Moorea Building with a lake view. This will be, without something changes, our last stay in the villas at the Polynesian.

Our stay was not a very pleasant one, which I am sad to report. Our stays at the other Disney Vacation Club properties have been more pleasant. I will give the good, and the bad in this review.

I will start with the good. The villas are beautiful and large with a split bathroom plan. The refurbishment done in the Polynesian lobby enhanced the appearance of that area. The main pool was refurbished as well and is now called the lava pool. It is visually appealing. The lake view we had in our villa was nice. The resort is a Magic Kingdom area resort. It is on the monorail system; therefore a short monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom and a longer ride to Epcot. A bus must be taken to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.IMG_0278

Now the bad. ( Let me begin this section with stating I really hate giving a bad review to any Disney property or experience. I am writing this to be informative not to bash.) The experience at the Polynesian started badly with check-in. The young man was very abrupt and uninformative. I told him we had never been to the Polynesian and asked where we could get quick-service dining and I asked about the gift shops. He said all the restaurants were upstairs and seemed to indicate all of the gift shops were on the first floor. He was wrong on both counts. The quick-service restaurant was on the first floor. The expensive restaurants were on the second floor and I didn’t find out until we were leaving that there were two more shops on the second floor.Unknown

The first (and only) night we stayed was a disaster. We came back from Magic Kingdom by boat. We were leaving Magic Kingdom after 1:00 a.m. and found out the monorail transportation had ended for the night and the boat was the only way to get back to our hotel. This mode of transportation is slow; taking us almost 30 minutes to get back to our hotel. The hotel was only properly lit to take us back to the main building (known as The Great Ceremonial House). When we tried to make it back to the Moorea Building where our DVC villa was, the path wasn’t lit at all. My son thankfully thought of the flashlight on the phone to guide us back to our building. When we finally arrived it was around 2:00 a.m. There was a large boat that docked close to our room and it sounded the whistle almost constantly from 3:30 (or at least I finally fell asleep then) and awoke me again at 7:30 a.m. I am not a light sleeper, but this whistle was very, very loud and incessant. When I found I couldn’t get back to sleep, I went to the front desk to complain about the noise.

The worst part of our experience was really the response to our awful night. The manager was cavalier about the lack of sleep, and said he had heard that complaint a lot. He offered to move us but offered no compensation for the awful experience or inconvenience. He also said he couldn’t say the noise wouldn’t be an issue in the next room and the lighting would be addressed when the remodeling of the resort was finished. The lack of sleep (when that is what you pay for at a hotel after all) seemed inconsequential to him and his attitude didn’t reflect the “Disney” attitude at all. We moved to a different resort (with much difficulty I might add.)

So, in summary, I can’t muster up much good to say about the Polynesian villas.
Also, as a footnote, a website called Mouseowners (a message board for DVC owners) had 7 pages of complaints about the noise at the Polynesian villas last night entitled ” Poly boat horn thread”, so ours isn’t an isolated case.

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 😀