Travelling Party: Me and my best friend Amy
Stayed at: Comfort Inn, Lake Buena Vista - walking distance to Downtown Disney!
Click here to see this trip's photoset on Flickr
Hi there folks!
Well I’m back from yet another trip to WDW! We had an awesome time as usual. But this time was even better!
We did EVERYTHING! There wasn’t a stone left unturned on this most recent trip (which I’m still recovering from!).
We even did something very special whilst we were there this time too…
We went TWO Backstage Tours! This is something that I have never done before and it was simply amazing! I would recommend it to anybody who has the slightest interest in the running and operation of the Parks and Resorts. They are especially amazing for Disney Fanatics such as me. You learn so much. You see incredible backstage areas and you get to see and do some simply incredible things! I will not spoil the magic here for those of you who don’t want to hear all the juice (!) but I will be writing another report that specifically covers those backstage tours we did. So go on, have a peek.
But to start with here’s a list of what we did and where we ate...
(Take a look at how many things we did twice too…!)
Keys to the Kingdom
Downtown Disney Entertainment:
Ride the Comix
Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride
Virtual Jungle Cruise
Pirates of the
Battle for Buccaneer Gold
AMC Theatres – we saw ‘Hostage’. The new film starring Bruce Willis.
Downtown Disney Dining:
Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana
Wishes Night time Spectacular
Walt Disney World Railroad
Main Street Vehicles – Horse Drawn Trolley
Share a Dream Come True Parade
Swiss Family Treehouse
The Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management
Jungle Cruise (twice)
Pirates of the Caribbean (twice)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Tom Sawyer Island
Country Bear Jamboree
The Hall of Presidents
The Haunted Mansion (twice)
“it’s a small world”
Peter Pan’s Flight
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm
Space Mountain (twice)
Tomorrowland Transit Authority (twice)
Stitch’s Great Escape
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Mickey’s Country House
Minnie’s Country House
Magic Kingdom Dining:
Columbia Harbour House
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
Pecos Bill Café
The Pinocchio Village Haus
Leave a Legacy
Universe of Energy/Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Wonders of Life –Body Wars
Wonders of Life – Cranium Command
Wonders of Life – The Making of Me
Innoventions East and West
The Living Seas (including Turtle Talk with Crush)
Imagination! – Journey into Imagination with Figment
Imagination! – Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Imagination! – ImageWorks – The Kodak “What If” Labs
Morocco (including the exhibit there)
Japan (including the Tin Toys Exhibit)
U.S.A – The American Adventure
Norway – Maelstrom
Mexico – El Rio del Tiempo
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Refreshment Cool Post
L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante
Sounds Dangerous – Starring Drew Carey
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade
The Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour
The Magic of Disney Animation
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
Voyage of The Little Mermaid
The Great Movie Ride (twice)
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 4
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
Disney-MGM Studios Dining:
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant
Hollywood and Vine
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park:
The Oasis Exhibits
Festival of The Lion King (twice)
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kilimanjaro Safaris (twice)
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Wildlife Express Train
Kali River Rapids
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Dining:
Dino Bite Snacks
Tusker House Restaurant
Wow! We did a lot right?!
Closures and New Beginnings…
We were very lucky to see the Wonders of Life pavilion as this has only been open seasonally for some time now and it is due to close permanently very soon… so we were kind of honoured that we are likely to be amongst the last guests ever to ride Body Wars and Cranium Command and see the Making of Me film.
*holds up white flag, wears black arm band* here’s to 24 years of The Wonders of Life Pavilion… and here’s to what the future may hold
for that pavilion site…
The Living with the Land Pavilion was closed too during our visit to make way for the brand new Soarin’ attraction that’s going in there. This does mean that Food Rocks is now gone too. We did try to get on Soarin’ several times during our visit but we kept missing the exclusive previews! (All the more reason to go back when it’s open then! Right? Hehe) you guys have the original back in CA, so if you haven’t given it a spin, do so. It’s awesome (yes, I have been to CA).
Oh, and to clear up any rumours – the IMAX film used will be IDENTICLE to the one in CA. So there!
They also had the Cinderellabration show from Tokyo on at MK but we didn’t hang around long enough each time it was on to actually see it all, although we probably saw most of it one way or another each time we walked past the Castle! It is quite a grand show with fireworks and such like.
There is a new noodle diner in Tomorrowland that open whilst we were there and they have REMOVED the trees from the Plaza area where the Partners statue is! It’s now all low level greenery. My guess is that people couldn’t see the fireworks clearly at certain angles or they obstructed the Castle and the Castle Stage shows.
We also saw a sneak peek at the new stunt show at MGM too. We saw pretty much the full version except they didn’t have the water bit set up yet. But that was cool. You have to see it to believe it! Some of the stunts are amazing and the secrets that are used are cool too… watch it to find out more…
(This show has been copied over from Disneyland Resort Paris. If you live here in Europe and are going out to DLRP this year, check out this show!)
And now for the Castle itself…
WOW! What have they done to it?! It looks FAB!
They have decorated it all out for the 50th Anniversary and Happiest Celebration on Earth. They’ve put all gold bits and sparkly lights all over it. It’s also got characters all the way round the sides and turrets and there is a huge ‘badge’ on the front with the immortal image of Sleeping Beauty Castle (from Disneyland) on it. It does look nice.
Finally in this section, “it’s a small world”. Closed since last May, but opened again March 19th! So we were amongst the first to try it out. At first you would be fooled into thinking they haven’t done a great deal to it. Wrong. The loading area where the front façade is is ALL NEW. It now resembles Disneyland’s façade (although it’s still inside). And each of the 200 and something doll’s have all had new costumes! And it’s all been repainted! Wow!
Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny were out over the Easter weekend and arrived early in the Mornings at Magic Kingdom in a special ceremony involving the Horse Drawn Trolleys. They were then stationed in the little garden area between City Hall and that little Guest Relations place (where guided tours meet and the Cast wear riding outfits. I don’t know the name of it) for most of the day. Special Easter merchandise was available during the holiday too.
The Society Ladies were also out in full swing with their poodles along Main Street especially for the holidays too. If you are ever ‘fortunate’ enough to meet one of these women, my advice is keep away… they are scary!
For Easter also the Parades had varying times and extra slots.
We were also very fortunate to have the wonderful experience of a Character Breakfast whilst we were there too! We had it at the ‘Ohana
Restaurant in the Polynesian that overlooks Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. It was wonderful. I would recommend it to anybody. Whether you have kids or not. I don’t. Neither does the person I went with! And we loved every minute of it! You get piled up with all you can eat food served right to your table, the characters come and sign your autograph books at your take and pose for those all important pics for you too.
The atmosphere is amazing and the restaurant is lovely too. A first class experience. Highly recommended.
Other Fantasmic places to eat (as we discovered) are the Sci-Fi Dine-In (MGM), Alfredo’s (Italy – EPCOT) and Mama Melrose’s (MGM). All highly recommended.
Other great places to eat are Columbia Harbour House and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. The Columbia is great because it has an upstairs
(often undiscovered by guests. The stairs are tucked away. So during busy time look for the stairs and you are sure to find a seat!). Cosmic Ray’s is nice too because they have a lovely outdoor terrace area that is always quite too, and there are lovely views and some great photo opportunities of the Castle and Plaza area. Lovely. Yes, we love our food!
The Happiest Celebration on Earth and Coming
It’s true. Disneyland in California is 50 this year! Let’s check out how WDW are celebrating it… New stuff includes (some are as mentioned earlier):
Soarin’ (from Disney’s California Adventure)
Cinderellabration (from Tokyo Disneyland)
and Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (from the Walt Disney Studios in Paris)
Also a new attraction is being built in Animal Kingdom, but not due to open until next year. It will be their new ultimate thrill ride and
it’s called Expedition Everest. It’s huge. You can see the construction work for miles! It will feature a roller coaster that goes both forwards and backwards, but at present no loops are being added… although that could change.
The festivities kick off world wide on May 5th.
It’s the 50th anniversary… so 05/05/05 backwards is 50 50 50… Disney are really cashing in on this one.
Cast will be wearing special name tags from that date too for a whole 18 months that say The Happiest Celebration on Earth on them and will have a gold Castle at the top.
And to top it all The Walt Disney Company are opening Hong Kong Disneyland on 12 September 2005 too! It will feature 4 lands on opening (Main Street, Fanatsyland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland) and two hotels – the Disneyland Hotel (similar to the Grand Floridian and Paris’s Disneyland Hotel) and the Hollywood Hotel.
It is based on Lantau Island. Hong Kong Disneyland will be owned by Oriental Land Co. (the same people who own Tokyo Disney Resort) and will be leased to the WDC (American companies are not allowed to own land in China or Japan).
There will also be a 28000 square metre entertainment, dining and shopping complex, yet to be named. They have hired approximately 5000 Cast Members, 500 of which are being trained at WDW! (See, there was going to be a link there somewhere!)
Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort Paris has also recently had its Space Mountain re-launched as Space Mountain 2 and there’s a whole new theme and storyline to it (check out www.spacemountain2.com).
Also on a trip to WDW if you have a Cast Member ask you if you want your picture taken, say yes. They are doing a great new photo service called PhotoPass. And it’s Free!! So check it out!
Disney Cruise Line Guests are also getting a new special check in and transfer service at WDW.
Haunted Mansion currently doesn’t have a FastPass because it was causing too much congestion between Liberty Square and Fantasyland.
The Character Festival area at the back of Fantasyland is currently under renovation for something new…
There are various restaurants and shops closed across the Resort too for renovation.
And Saratoga Springs is finally open to guests. It is situated in the Downtown Disney Resort Area.
Well there we have it! If you have any questions please contact me on the above email. I will do my best to help out. I’m somewhat of a
Disney Theme Park Expert now, so just drop me a line! But please, do one thing: listen to me and not the rumours when I say:
DISNEY IS BETTER THAN EVER! WDW IS AWESOME AND IT’S SO AMAZING YOU NEVER WANT TO LEAVE!
I really felt blown away by this trip. The Magic is better than ever. It really is.
I will be off to Disneyland Resort Paris once again in June so expect to hear from me again after that!
But for now, ciao, adios, au revoir, TTFN!