From the bright brain of Real Disney Mom Michelle W!
As everyone knows by now (okay, maybe if you live under a rock you might not know), Fantasyland in Walt Disney World is getting a makeover! Back in February they closed down Mickey’s Toontown Fair to start some of the major work. Up until then there was some construction going on, but now it’s in full force with the opening planned for late 2012.
So how do I feel about this change? Well in some ways I’m excited, and in others…okay, who am I kidding? I’m TOTALLY excited about it! While it was sad to see Mickey’s Toontown Fair totally taken down, and it will be upsetting to see Snow White’s Scary Adventure close , I think when you look at all the new stuff coming into their places it will totally make up for it!
Toontown, in my option, was always a nice little place to go if you wanted to take a bit of a rest. If you had little ones, it was a nice spot to go and let them run around after being trapped in their strollers for most of the day. But in the grand scheme of things, the area didn’t really have much else to offer in terms of attractions. While it was nice to visit with Mickey after taking a tour of his house, I think having a whole land for that was a bit much. I know there were many visits that I made to the Magic Kingdom, where I never even stepped foot into Toontown, but that was also before my daughter was born. So while it would have been nice to have her enjoy playing there a few more times, I think she’ll enjoy all the new attractions that are in store.
As for the closing of Snow White’s Scary Adventure, this one I’m sort of on the fence about. While I don’t like seeing the classic rides go away, like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, this ride I always found to be a bit too scary for the little ones, even before I was a Mom. Let’s face it, Snow White is a pretty scary movie, so it only made sense that the ride was scary too. But it will be nice to have Snow White still be part of things in the expansion since it was the first full length animated movie. So I look forward to seeing the Seven Dwarfs Cottage and Mine Area come to life.
I know I for one cannot wait for the Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid Ride! The Little Mermaid is up there as one of my top Disney Movies of all time and while I love watching the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I just can’t wait to ride the ride! Also seeing the addition of Prince Eric’s Castle will make the trip worth it!
And speaking of Castles, not only will Prince Eric’s Castle be added, but The Beast’s Castle will be there as well as a whole Beauty and the Beast Village area! It’s almost like Disney asked me, “Hey Michelle, if you could add something to Fantasyland, which movie would it be from?” I would have totally said Beauty & the Beast! I can’t wait to see the new dining experience that they have planned for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. I always wanted to eat in a ballroom!
I also love the idea that Dumbo is going to be growing in size. While it’s nice to take a ride on a flying elephant, the long lines that you would end up in with little ones were never fun. So having a whole interactive area to play with while waiting to ride will make it all worth it! That’s what I love now about The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride that they recently updated as well. This way when you are waiting in line, you have something to play with.
So while I’m sad to see some areas leave Fantasyland, I’m looking forward to seeing all the new and exciting things they have in store!
Eleven weeks to go! I decided to make this trip to WDW all about re-living the past. We will be dining in restaurants that we haven’t been to in a long time, and seeing some shows that we have not seen in quite a few years.
No trip would be complete without breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, and there is no greater way to start your trip then breakfast at Chef Mickey’s before hopping on the monorail and heading to the Magic Kingdom. This is always a must for me on our first day! Many years ago, when the kids were young, Chef Mickey’s was not at the Contemporary. It was located in Downtown Disney (then known as Disney Village). Although initially disappointed when they moved, through the years we have come to realize that it is much more convenient in the Contemporary.
Our dining line-up includes:
- The Garden Grill in Epcot, The Land Pavilion. We have not been here in years. This will always be one of my favorites. A slowly revolving restaurant with hosts Chip and Dale; great views of the vegetables growing down in the Living with the Land attraction. Great value for your money since your meal is served family style and they continue to re-fill servings. The macaroni and cheese was always a favorite of my daughter. Now that she is in her twenties and always watching her weight, I wonder if she’ll keep asking for more!
- Coral Reef in Epcot, The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion. This pavilion used to be called The Living Seas. This was always a favorite of my son when he was in his early teens. He was fascinated by the large glass wall fish tank and was always thrilled when we were able to get a table up close. Watching the fish while you eat is fascinating.
- Fantasmic Dinner Package at Hollywood Studios, eating in the Brown Derby. This will be a particular treat this year. In all of our visits over the years, my son and my husband have never seen Fantasmic. It seems like it was never running when all of us were at WDW together; or sometimes that night was set aside for something that was deemed a little more important! My daughter and I were always able to catch it on our trips alone since it was a favorite of hers. We will all be seeing it together this year after a great meal at the Brown Derby.
No trip will ever be complete without a visit to the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney. There are so many things to look at that at times it becomes overwhelming. My best find ever, the year my daughter was graduating from culinary school, my husband and I took a trip to WDW for our anniversary. I was able to find several Chef Mickey items for her. My favorite being a Swavorksy crystal Chef Mickey.
Well, the planning for the October family trip continues! We are really trying to fit in so much. We plan to snack our way through the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at least two days. This event holds a special place in our hearts since my daughter is a chef and she cooked for the Party for the Senses at the 2010 Food and Wine Festival. I have also started looking at a February stay at the Grand Floridian for myself and my husband to celebrate another anniversary.
Disney planning never seems to end.
From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD!
Following on from my last blog, “Disney Beginnings”, where I reminisced about my first experience of the evergreen “Hoop Dee Doo Revue”, a thought occurred to me; “What puts the ‘Hoop’ in the ‘Dee Doo?'”, and makes us all keep coming back for seconds, thirds, and so on and so forth?
The revue began it’s very long and illustrious run of shows in 1974, (according to Disney, it is the longest continually running musical in the whole of the USA) and was originally billed as “The Pioneer Hall Show” so names after the hall in which it is held three times nightly within the Fort Wilderness Resort and Camp Ground. Today’s show title is far more memorable and quirky don’t you think?! I can also recall a similar show being held at the “Diamond Horseshoe” at Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom during 1980’s. I remember it so well as I took part in it dressed as a showgirl, and had to speak with a Southern drawl; not an easy task for a Cornish maid I can assure you!
The Hoop Dee Doo is a rowdy family affair dinner show that is sure to entertain from the youngest little dude in your gang, right up to to the oldest cow poke in town! Good old fashioned clean cut comedy is certainly part of the winning formula that keeps you coming back for more belly laughs and groans year after year! The show revolves around a fictional travelling vaudeville troupe who are; Miss Flora Long – a beautiful maiden, Miss Claire De Lune – a delightful dancing girl, Miss Dolly Drew – a witty wholesome gal, Jim Handy – a dashing cowboy, Johhny Ringo – a swanky card shark spiv, and then the chap, who for me carries the whole show along with such gusto, Six Bits Slocum, who is a loveable buffoon. The action starts as the cast bursts in through the main doors……immediately you are captivated by their enthusiasm and charisma which carries right on through with lots of sing-a-long songs and high kicking dance routines culminating in the deliciously ridiculous “Davey Crockett” grande finale involving several “volunteers” from the audience!
Your show ticket gives you as well as the revue, dinner, plus a broad selection of drinks and is inclusive of all gratuities. And what a heavenly dinner it is……I think that “endless banquet” is probably a better description for the chow down at Pioneer Hall! Your jovial servers, upon request will keep replenishing your table with endless supplies of the lightest cornbread, the stickiest ribs and the crunchiest deep fried chicken you’ve ever eaten, all served in pioneer style tin pales! Dessert is a show stopping strawberry shortcake extravaganza! And “Where else on earth?” I ask you, would it be socially acceptable for a lady to drink rose wine from a preserves jar?!!
I’ve watched and enjoyed the revue several times since my initiation in 1979 and each time come away feeling uplifted, not to mention full to the brim of food glorious food! Over the decades this booming show hasn’t changed one bit, and neither really have I or my family. We go along in holiday mood wanting to have a laugh and good time with those we love, being entertained by characters we’ve come to know over the years, in a setting that is cosy and familiar. So, I believe that’s the answer; we the audience are the “Hoop” and the perfect partner for the Pioneer Players to “Dee Doo'” time and time again. If you asked Six Bits for his opinion I bet he’d answer you with something like “If it an’t broke, don’t fix it!” And, I pray that Disney never will!
From the happy heart of Real Disney Mom Janice B!
It seems as if I am always planning the next WDW family trip! Probably because as soon as I return from one trip I start planning the next. I have been planning one to two trips per year for almost 30 years. When my children were young, I took great care in planning each step of our WDW trips. After all, having two children almost four years apart in age, one boy, one girl, it was not always easy to make everyone happy all the time. Their likes and dislikes were so totally different that once they were school age, I began a WDW vacation game/contest. Each one was allowed to keep a “running list” of things they wanted to do on our next trip with the understanding that not everything could be done on each trip. 100 days before the trip, they each received a hand-made by Mom booklet. Their booklets included a count-down calendar, the top 3 things on their wish list with a point value attached to each and a list of how to earn the points for a coupon/promise that if not the whole family, at least that child would be able to do one of his/her special requests. They earned points for good report cards; chores around the house; etc. Several years in a row my son chose taking an animation class that required us to drop him off early in the morning at MK and pick him up later in the afternoon. My daughter always seemed to want to earn dinner in the castle! Before leaving home I would actually create a spread sheet with each day across the top, outlining what we would do at each park trying to make time and room for both of their wishes (I also used this to keep all of my dining/special event reservation numbers in one place.)
I am now planning a 7 day trip for October, 2011. My children are now adults, 27 and 24, they no longer live at home and I think they would argue if I tried to make them earn points, but they do look forward to updates and e-mails with new ideas and suggestions, as well as sending me e-mails with new ideas. Planning has not really gotten any easier even with adults. I still want to make sure they each are able to do all the things that excite them. After all, no matter how old, they are still my little kids! I get an enormous amount of pleasure watching my son (27) in the Magic Kingdom. He gets just as excited now as he did as a small child! He loves to find hidden Mickey’s and show them to little kids in the park. My daughter, a chef who has actually cooked at the 2010 International Food and Wine Festival, always wants to go when the festival is in full swing. I search daily for new ideas; constantly try for reservations for their favorite restaurants; check websites, facebook, etc., daily for new items. My son is extremely excited this year to try the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom.
I may not offer points for WDW rewards anymore, but I still create a folder with a spreadsheet trying to get in everyone’s favorites. After all, once you hit WDW, everyone is a child a heart again!
From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD!
“I’ll start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start” This statement is very appropriate, as this is my very first adventure into the world of blogging!
Since I have started writing for the Disney Driven Life my own little Real Disney Mom blog here has been severely neglected! Between being the Kids writer for the DDL, finishing up the planning for my own WDW vacation on August 5th, and being a mommy and wife, I have had very little time to do much of anything else and I was very sad for my little blog here!
That is why I am very happy to announce that I will be introducing to you a fabulous group of Real Disney Moms that are going to be contributors to the Real Disney Mom blog!! Your own original Real Disney Mom is also going to assign herself one night a week to write a blog post for you about the planning of her WDW vacation! That being said I’d like to introduce to you the first 3 lovely ladies that are proud to call themselves Real Disney Moms!
Meet Real Disney Mom Janice B! Hang with her on FaceBook!
I am an almost 56 year old mom of 2 adult children (27 and 24); married for almost 30 years; and a true Disney fanatic. I was born and bred in NJ. When my husband retired in 2005, and both children were off to college, we moved to SC (much closer to Orlando!).
I began my love affair with all things Disney when, in 1972, my single mother drove her 2 teenage daughters from NJ to Florida to see the Magic Kingdom. Since that time I have returned to WDW approx. 35 times. It seems as if I am always planning our next trip. I have gone to Disney World alone; with my son for Mother/Son bonding; with my daughter for Mother/Daughter bonding; with my husband; with friends; bringing friends of my kids – I will never tire of visiting the “happiest place on earth!”
I am fortunate that my children, having been raised with the belief that everyone goes to Disney World on a regular basis, still look forward to our family trips. One of my proudest moments was when my daughter, a chef, was invited to cook at the Party for the Senses at the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Walt Disney was said to describe Mickey as a “very clean mouse”. This is obviously a direct contradiction of what a mouse really is, in any place but Disney World. If this appeals to you, the idea of taking something that other wise might not be appealing, and making it so, then Disney World is for you. Walt looked at many of the carnivals and circuses of his day and wanted to create a place for families that was safer then these places he visited. Thank goodness he did!
Walt Disney World is comprised of four theme parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot (formerly EPCOT Center, EPCOT standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios), and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and two water parks; Disney’s Blizzard Beach, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Also on Disney property are Downtown Disney, Disney’s Boardwalk, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, 5 golf courses, and 23 themed hotels.
To me, Walt Disney World is a utopia. It is a place that you can escape to, if only for one small vacation a year, where you are surrounded completely by a controlled environment that is seemingly nothing but happy and magical. Disney would control the weather if they could! (In fact, Walt actually wanted to do this in his original plans for EPCOT!) One of Walt’s great dreams was to create a utopian community. He came close with his visions for EPCOT, but unfortunately passed away before his vision was realized. The Walt Disney company tried also to do this, when creating the town of Celebration. But as far as vacations are concerned, in my opinion Disney World comes as close to perfect as you can get!
As you can see, Walt Disney World has many things to do and see, and thus requires a large amount of planning which I will discuss in great detail in my next post. In the mean time I hope I have gotten you throughly as excited and intrigued about Walt Disney World as I am!