With all the new Disney Parks happening this week, it makes me think of all the hard work, creative minds and pixie dust that all comes together to create those magical experiences. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, an entire new land and world welcomes Guest this weekend. Pandora - The World of Avatar is an immersive world created by Walt Disney Imagineering under the direction of Portfolio Creative Executive, Joe Rohde in collaboration with Avatar's writer/producer, James Cameron. Disney California Adventure debuts a new attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
I was really excited about the latest DISNEY PARKS BLOG post. They shared that a new CD from the Disney Aulani is now available. Titled "Mele from Aunty’s Beach House Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa," it features some classic Disney songs in Hawaiian style. Besides being played at Aunty's Beach House, the music can also be heard in the elevators and through different areas of the Aulani resort. It is different than the songs that you hear in the main lobby (Maka'ala).
The CD is available on iTunes. All the titles are in Hawaiian so it's kind of fun to listen to each song and discover what it is. My favorite is “Ke Noi Aku I Kahi Hōkū” with "Pēlā Nō E ʻIke Ai" a close second. All songs are also available as a single purchase.
My kids are really good at being like parrots so they can sing it back the way they hear the songs. The Hawaiian language only has 8 consonants and 5 vowels. You are suppose to pronounce every letter/vowel.
Add the “Mele from Aunty’s Beach House” to your Disney playlist or to your luau playlist. It's really a treat for any Disney fan.
I was looking for a particular recipe for a weekend dish and came upon these two Disney cookbooks.
Both cookbooks feature signature and most asked for recipes from Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The red spiral book titled "Cooking with Mickey Around Our World" is a book that was available at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the 1990s. The way that it is organized reminds of those old school cookbooks that you would buy at church fundraisers or find in you mom or grandmother's cookbook collections. There are no photos of the dishes.
The artwork under each tab is so fun. Very 1980s early 1990s Mickey Mouse look. Here are several examples.
My favorite things about this book is seeing restaurants that are no longer around due to all the changes and growth in the Disney Parks. It's equally fun to see how long some resturant favorites have been around.
The more recent of my Disney cookbook has a 2004 publish date on it. This one is titled "Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs". It includes recipes from the DIsney California Adventure, DIsney Animal Kingdom and Disney Cruise Line. However, there are also no photos of the dishes in this book.
There have been several more current editions since 2004. You can find find them at the Disney Parks, Amazon or other book sellers. With the popularity of cooking, rise of celebrity chefs, and food blogs, there are now a lot of Disney official and unofficial cookbooks out there. There are specific ones, too, that focus on Disney desserts, Disney copycat recipes and more.
Here are more photos of my visit to the 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Over at the United Kingdom area, there are two specific garden areas to wander through.
English Tea Garden
Presented by Twinings of London, the English Tea Garden is a self-guided tour. It was fun to read about the different teas and presented in these gigantic tea cups. It was interesting to see what the particular plants and leaves look like in their natural state before they become part of your tea flavor.
If you wanted more info, there are complimentary Guided Tour and premium Royal Tea Garden Tour available during the festival.
According to the official Disneyworld website, the Shakespeare Garden is described as follows: "Thou shalt adore matching up famous quotes to flowers found within this vibrant garden at the United Kingdom Pavilion."
Visiting all the different pavilions in the World Showcase area at Epcot is always fun. The Festival allows the host countries to bring more atmosphere and dimension by telling stories through their landscape designs. The topiaries that can be found in this area is Tinkerbell and Peter Pan since their story originates in London.
I couldn't resist taking this photo. The red British mailbox is an iconic image next to the call box or phone booth. I just thought that the red with the yellow flowers behind it was a pretty background to frame the mailbox.
Wishes, the fireworks spectacular that preceded the new show, lasted 14 years. I am sure that "Happily Ever After" will also become another classic. Disney Parks immediately released the title song on iTunes so fans could enjoy it and also have something to remember their Disney memories.
Happy Music Monday!
In 1990, Disney Afternoon debuted on Disney syndicated channels. It was a two-hour block of Disney animated shows like Duck Tales and Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers. There were even new Disney characters that debuted like Gummi Bears and Darkwing Duck.
Disney Afternoon was a hit and in the summer of 1991, Disneyland temporarily transformed the "it's a small world" mall area to Disney Afternoon Avenue. This is the area near the Matterhorn up to Small World. At this point, Toontown was not around yet.
I think these maps were an insert included in the Disneyland Park map.
The following is an image of the Disney Afternoon map when open. There were blank spots fo you could get a stamp when you found the characters. It is fun to see some of the Disney Afternoon characters but it's even more fun to the Motor Boat Cruise on the map. This now retired attraction was transformed into Motor Boat to Gummi Glen in a nod to the Gummi Bears. It was an interactive map to discover new characters.
Of course it wasn't just a map, but also marketing poster to help you remember to watch Disney Afternoon. There were actually costumed characters that you can visit with and get a photo with at Disney Afternoon Avenue.
If you are a child of the 1990s, Disney Afternoon was something that probably that you watched. If you are a fan of Disney Afternoon, then you'll be happy to know that a major reboot of Duck Tales is coming soon...woo-hoo!
I don't remember too much about Disney Afternoon Avenue. In summer of 1991, I worked on Main Street as a Merchandise Host so I rarely went up towards Fantasyland since there was no reason to. You also never went anywhere in costume if you didn't belong in that area. I have friends who worked as Disney Afternoon characters and they had some good times.
Visiting Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival was something that was on my Disney Bucket List. I got a chance to see some of the beautiful character themed topiaries up close when I was in Orlando a couple weeks ago. While my time was brief, I did manage to see most of them but not all. Here are some of my photos to share with you.
There is a complimentary Garden Passport that is available to help you navigate your way around all that the Festival has to offer.
It's really a great Epcot event to visit. There is simply lots of color and beautiful scenes to see.
You can find more information about all the happenings of this event on the official Disneyworld website. There is a lot to see. There are also numerous food booths that offer special event yummy bites. You can go to the Disney Food Blog (unofficial) to see what is offered.
I really enjoyed seeing all the Disney topiaries. I definitely needed more time to see more of the Festival and sample of the food. Oh well, I guess I will have to go back someday.
Wishing you some Disney,
Perhaps not best known as a "mother figure," Mother Goethel is a character in Disney's animated movie, Tangled, that sings the song "Mother Knows Best." Written by Alan Menken (music) and Glenn Slater (lyrics). Mother Goethel is voiced by Donna Murphy. The main character, Rapunzel, is very loyal to Mother Goethel, who she believes is her mother who has "lovingly" raised her.
I was re-organizing my bookshelf and came upon this set of Disney books. These are all paperback books.
Perusing through my books, I noticed the changes in the way Mickey Mouse was drawn in books 1 and 2; and then Mickey was no more in books 3 and 4.
Dave Smith has come out with a fabulous new book called, "Disney A to Z, The Official Encyclopedia." It is a really nice hardcover book that includes the new worlds of Marvel and Star Wars that have joined the Disney family.
So much Disney, so little time, but so much fun!
"The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability." - Remy (Ratatouille)
My oldest kid love the Pixar movie, Ratatouille. She love the characters, the story and music. The movie was directed by Brad Bird who had previous success with The Incredibles. Bird asked Michael Giachinno (The Incredibles, Up, Star Trek) to team up again and compose music for Ratatouille. Giachinno would write an Academy and Grammy nominated Original Score.
Giachinno wrote the Academy Award and Grammy nominated score for Ratatouille. The theme song it "Le Festin". It is sung by French singer, Camille. It adds to the film's charm and distinct flavor that the song is sung in French.
One of the things about this movie is the focus on food. Ratatouille is considered to be some sort of vegetable stew. It would be a perfect dish for a meatless Monday option.
Happy Music Monday!
A couple week ago I was at at the 2017 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. Besides some beautiful Disney themed topiary and food kiosks, there are also an assortment of third-party vendors that have been invited to sell their flower and garden related products. One of the booths I discovered offered these fun garden spinners.
As you can see from the photo, these are items are popular as there had already been a lot sold through the day and this is what they had left by late afternoon. The vendor booth was hosted by a company named, EYCATCHERS. There were lots of different sizes, colors, and designs. I bought these large spinners (about $45) for my garden and one is a gift.
I also found this small one that I am going to hang somewhere in my house. I am trying out different places and seeing what it looks like during different parts of the day. When i have the windows open or the house fan, it does spin indoors.
I actually had them shipped to my house after I bought them. They arrived in great condition as they ship flat. So, if you have a chance to visit the festival, check out this particular booth. They make great presents for you favorite Disney fan. They are perfect Disney home decor and it will be hard to decide which one. You can have more than one, or two, or three, right? I kind of wish I had had time to go back to get a couple more.
They are not available on the Shop Parks App. I did notice that on the vendor website, EYCATCHER, you can see some options and contact them about purchasing your own Disney spinner. They also do have an actual location at DISNEY SPRINGS so you can get yours there if visit.
Last week while at Walt Disney World I visited four parks in six hours and went through security just once. But more on that later.
If you are going to be at Walt Disney World for more than 3 days and plan on Park Hopping, Express Transportation is a premium worth considering. For $29, you get access to a separate WDW bus that will allow you to Park Hop faster and also bypass security.
Where to Buy
You must purchase a Park Hopper in order to eligible to purchase this premium. There is a Single-Day ($19) option but does this really makes sense with the $29 Multi-Day option. I had already purchased my tickets, so all I did was visit a Guest Relations window to add Express Transportation. It was seamless and they added it to my Magic Band.
How It Works
Once you get on the figurative bus for Express Transportation, Disney puts you on the literal bus. There is one specific Express Transportation area in each of the 4 parks. The designated areas are easy to find. You check in, tell them which Park you want to go to, and they give you an ETA about when your bus will arrive. There is a designated Express Transportation bus for each of the Parks and they each have a schedule. Buses arrive and depart about every 30 minutes.
If you miss your bus, they tell when the next one is picking up guests. You can change your destination depending on what bus is scheduled to arrive next. I never waited for more than 20 minutes. I never saw a queue of people waiting for different buses, either. This is all during Easter weekend, one of the busiest times at the Parks.
Once your bus arrives, everyone who has been checked in for a specific Park bus are escorted to a backstage area. Guest Relations escorts one group to the bus loading area. This is a very controlled process since you are being brought to areas that the public is usually not allowed in. There are signs politely asking that no photographs are allowed in this area.
You might wait another 5 minutes for any last minute stragglers but they are pretty efficient about boarding the group at one time and departing in a timely manner. I never saw more than 2 busses in the loading area so it never seemed that there was a back up.
Why Express Transportation is a Good Value
One of the troubles with Walt Disney World is how spread out everything is. Moving from one park to another takes a long time. Express transportation speeds that up … significantly. The bus goes directly from the backstage of one Park to the other backstage area of your Park destination. Once you get off the bus and are escorted in, you bypass the regular entrance so you are pretty much in the middle of whatever Park you chose.
You also bypass security since you are not going through the front entrance of each Park. Waiting and going through security takes a lot of time, but not with Express Transportation.
If you've park-hopped in the past, you've probably sat at bus stops hoping they have room for you on the next bus. I hate the way everyone jockeys for a seat and then piles on in a mad dash. With Express Transportation, there is no fighting for a seat on the bus. Since they check you in, they know how many people need rides for each of the Parks. There was never more than a dozen people on the bus rides I took. There was one trip, from Epcot to Magic Kingdom, where it was just the driver, another person, and me on the bus.
Time on a bus that is not crowded and air-conditioned provided some good down time. You could really get a break from the crowds and heat on an Express Transportation bus. If you are traveling with a group or kids, the Express Transportation bus makes it easy to stay together and ease the anxiety of getting everyone to another place within a time constraint.
"I visited all 4 Parks in 6 Hours & only went through Security 1 time."
Here is an example of how I used Express Transportation during one of the days I visited. I should disclose that I was by myself, it was day 3 of my trip, and I wasn't planning on doing many rides during the first part of my day. My last stop was going to be Magic Kingdom where I was going to end my day and close out the Park.
On the Saturday before Easter, I made it to all four Parks in six hours, and only went through Security once. The first Park that I visited would be the only place that I had to go through Security since I would have to go through its main entrance.
I started my day at around 900 at Animal Kingdom. I wanted to walk through some of the trails in the morning and take some photos of the Tree of Life. It was a really quick trip so I was ready to leave by about 10. Before I checked in, I had gotten a cup of coffee and a pastry that I could munch on while I waited to be escorted to the Express Transportation bus.
This particular bus trip had the most people that I had ridden with while trying out this service. There were probably about a little over dozen people that boarded a bus to go to Hollywood Studios but it was still easy to get a seat. Plenty of room for those families who had strollers, too.
My second stop was Hollywood Studios. I managed to squeeze in a visit to see the new BB8 Meet & Greet, watch One's Man's Dream, and watch the Stormtroopers March, twice. I even waited to see the Star Wars stage show and had some time to shop. My next stop and third Park hop was Epcot.
I got to Epcot with the intention seeing the rest the Flower & Garden Festival that I had missed on my first day. When I got to Epcot, I had time to go through stand-by for Spaceship Earth. I also waited in line for a photo-op with Baymax. Than I made way to World Showcase to take more photos of the character topiaries and try a out a couple more of the yummy food booths.
After a couple hours, I made way back to the Express Transportation to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom. I had dinner reservations for 530 pm at the Skipper Catina. I was meeting a friend so I didn't want to be late. This was my fourth and final Park visit for the day. I spent the evening at Magic Kingdom since it was open until midnight.
Here is a summary of my Park Hopping timeline:
Entry to Animal Kingdom main entrance & Security, 9am
1st Park Hop, 10:10 am - Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios (20 minute ride)
2nd Park Hop, 1::30 pm - Hollywood Studios to EPCOT (less than 15 minutes)
3rd Park Hop, 4:10 pm - EPCOT to Magic Kingdom (about 10 minutes)
Express Transportation is a premium service and worth it if 1) you have a multi-day pass and 2) you are planning to park hop. It will save you time as you won't have to wait long for a bus and you get picked up and dropped off in central park locations. It really beats walking all the way to the main entrance, walking to the bus areas, and hoping you'll get a seat on the bus you want to be on. It makes it much easier to park hop, even if you are only two parks in a day. Knowing you have access and that there is schedule to Express Transportation helps you to manage any advance dining reservation you may have. I didn't feel pressed to allow for extra time to get from one place to another. I actually had a little more time to shop, eat, and enjoy whatever the Park offered.
There is a one day option so that if you knew a day where you were going to park hop, you could purchase it just for that day. The multi-day option is simply a great value. Again, not having to walk all the way to the front entrance plus the bus loading and then waiting and hoping to get on a bus in a timely manner makes this premium service worth it. Oh, and I didn't have to go through Security every time I used the service. I only went through Security once... when I entered my first park visit of the day and had to go through the main entrance.
With pixie dust,
Sometimes, it would be nice, to be a little like Alice and be "In a World of My Own."
Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard, this song is sung by the main character, Alice. It captures her spirit and her constant of state of daydreaming. Nothing wrong with dreaming. Imagining your own world can lead to hope, new adventures, and unlimited possibilities.
Happy Music Monday!
In honor of Earth Day, here are the 2017 Disney Art Environmentality Challenge Entries. They were featured in the lobby of The Opera House earlier this month. All the displays were created by various Disneyland Cast Members/Teams. They used recycled materials to come up with some very creative art displays. It's really interesting to read about the teams, what inspired their art piece and what materials were used to carry out their vision.
There are some correlations between the materials used as to who, what team created the art display. For example, this entry from the Food/Beverage Hotels is fun because they recycled Coca-Cola cans to create their rose sculpture.
This AT-AT created the World of Disney Cast Members is fun because they recycled all those gift cards that people redeemed. Clever.
I thought this diorama was really fun and interactive. It actually had movement and that makes sense because it was created by an Animation Team.
Also on display was the winner of the 2016 Environmentality Holiday Wreath Challenge.
Finally, they had this special perpetual trophy on display. For this particular contest, it makes sense that the trophy is something more permanent that gets shared by its annual winner. There are some fun details to this sculpture.
Happy Earth Month!
I am currently visiting Walt Disney World this weekend and today I was at Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK). I had some time to just wander through all the nooks and crannies of this park. One of my favorite things to do is to look at all the signs, posters, and art that is at every land. This includes looking at the decor and style of the restaurants, shops, and buildings of a particular land. There is so much detail at DAK.
I loved these two things that I spotted in the buildings located within the Harambe Market Place in the Africa section of DAK. All the walls have signs, posters, graffiti-like words/phrases to make it look like an authentic market place. Looking at the details of what the things on the walls say is always an interesting way to pass time and appreciate these minor touches.
Here are two Mickey Mouse related wall art that I saw in the Harambe Market Place area.
I will write up a couple more things about my Walt Disney World trip soon.