Category Archives: Walt Disney World
Happy Holidays LeBlog readers! During my week in Florida this season visiting family I managed to fit in a visit to Walt Disney World’s newly reimagined shopping and dining district. This is the area that used to be called “Downtown Disney” (and a couple of other names prior to that), but was re-christened as “Disney Springs” with the updates. As you may see in the above video, this involved more than just a few new vendors and a fresh coat of paint. Join your own Daffy Stardust as I tour the entire thing, offer my thoughts on a few food opportunities, and witness the exciting new holiday drone show. Yeah, Disney is putting on a nighttime show that features over one hundred drones flashing different colored lights and flying in tight formations to create a new kind of entertainment!
It’s just a few days after Christmas, so obviously the natural thing to do is to compose another post about Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The topics I’m going to cover here were touched on a bit in last year’s tour of the Walt Disney World version of the Mansion, but since I’m still finding these fan theories lingering I thought I’d talk about them in a little more detail than before. I’ll be asking three central questions, with a little bit of crossover. Who is Master Gracey? Is he the Ghost Host? Do you die on the ride? Some fans will give you a “yes” to those last two questions, but I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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As you know if you’ve been watching the Daffy Does Disney videos I’ve been posting for the past couple of weeks, I visited Walt Disney World with friends for a long weekend recently. What some of you might not have realized, because I included very little footage that would have tipped you off, is that my friends and I stayed in one of the cabins in Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. Because I was there for just three nights and spent most of my time either in the parks or asleep there is plenty about the resort that I didn’t get to experience firsthand (hence the title of this article), but I will try to share with you what I did find and some other stuff that is important to know about the resort.
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Okay, so for the last week and a half or so I’ve been sharing videos detailing my recent trip to Walt Disney World with friends. It has been a fun project, and might be the kind of thing I’d like to try again in the future. There are definitely things I have to learn about how to make such a project better than I have this time around, and I’d probably strongly consider an upgrade in my overall equipment next time around. My own camera skills are still a little questionable too, with plenty of shaky and meandering examples to be found even in the final videos.
This last Daffy Does Disney video for my Autumn 2016 trip will just be a fun set of highlights with no story to tell or information to share. It will just be some fun shots from all four days of the trip, sometimes organized thematically and sometimes grouped relatively randomly. If you’ve been watching my videos up to this point you will have seen a lot of this already, but there will also be video and photos that I have not yet shared included, mostly from our Saturday night park hop over to the Magic Kingdom which was very rainy at first. Not long after the rain stopped and filming resumed, I ran out of data storage, cutting short any shooting for the rest of the night.
Hopefully this last little bit of fun is enjoyable for everybody. Thanks for humoring me in this new approach to reporting on my trips!
The last big event of my weekend with friends at Walt Disney World was a new dining experience (for me) at Kidani Village in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, called “Sanaa.” It is a fusion restaurant that incorporates elements of both Indian and African cuisine and has the added bonus of being directly adjacent to the savannah, where animals like giraffes roam freely. If you eat at Sanaa early enough in the day you’re pretty likely to get a glimpse of these animals while you dine. Our reservation time changed a few times, both during the planning phase of our trip and in the days and hours leading up to the actual meal. We had very little trouble in making this happen because for some reason Sanaa just isn’t as widely popular as you’d think it would be. Maybe people are intimidated by the exotic menu or maybe they just don’t want to hitch it all the way over to Kidani Village for their meal. Whatever the reason is, their loss can be your gain, because this is easily in the top third of table service restaurants I’ve experienced at Walt Disney World. Check it out if you can!
Today you’ll see my solo foray into Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. As you’ll observe, it can’t be considered a wholly successful venture on my part, but I genuinely enjoyed myself anyway and maybe my mistakes can help guide you if you are visiting the park in the future.
A quick word of warning…The Singing Around the World project is irretrievably silly and sophomoric ….and incomplete. Let it be known that I have no problem embarrassing my self and others and that I had planned to do even more of it! So now that you’ve been warned, let’s dig in!
I told you, didn’t I? Horrifyingly enough, the project was originally conceived as including pretty much every attraction that features a song prominently. In fact, if you know your Walt Disney World jingle history you know that at least one of the songs we sang here is no longer a part of its attraction. Why didn’t we follow through all the way? My travel companions were enthusiastic about the idea, but it really came down to a matter of having enough time. Getting the three targeted shoots done in Hollywood Studios wasn’t hard at all, and we got off to a strong start at Epcot the next day, but as I started to focus on my “Snacking Around the World” videos and the park started to fill up and stuffing our faces became a priority, I went ahead and let a few of the songs slide. Strong light for shooting video was also a concern as night fell and that really cut into the available time for shooting songs the next day in the Magic Kingdom, where we only had from 4pm until whenever it got dark. We just didn’t have enough hours to complete the project fully. With a planned dinner at Be Our Guest and multiple parades/fireworks/shows a priority for the evening I decided to just be happy with what I had…but not before pushing for one last shoot over in Tomorrowland. If you’ve already seen the above video then you know what I’m talking about.
Hopefully everyone watching the video will take it in the good humor it was intended and won’t expect too much from my performance or production values. If anybody feels cheated by the exclusion of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” or “It’s a Small World” or some other classic we didn’t manage to follow through on, well I challenge you to complete the whole project where I failed. I believe in you!
Every year, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom hosts a series of Halloween parties that feature trick or treating, special fireworks, parade, and unique merchandise. This is the one time in the year when adults are allowed to wear costumes into any of the parks (with some specific rules). The party is ticketed separately from your regular park tickets. In order to facilitate these events, the Magic Kingdom closes to non-party guests at 7pm and Halloween partiers are allowed to enter the park at about 4pm, which creates what is approximately an 8 hour park day–just starting on the late side and lasting past midnight if you have the endurance.
The first time I went to the Halloween party I found that the crowds were low and so were wait times for the attractions. Since then, the parties have become gradually more popular, resulting in heavier crowds and an increase in the number of party nights. This second step was necessary, but it can be argued that these parties reduce the value of a regular park ticket during September and October.
After our very full day at the Food & Wine festival in Epcot which was capped by a quick park hop over to the Magic Kingdom so we could say we were there on the day of its 45th anniversary and maybe pick over whatever celebratory merchandise was left, Sunday morning was a time to sleep in and relax. Any initial thoughts of touring the monorail resorts or going to Disney Springs that day before our late afternoon party start fell away for me when I began to experience some data storage issues connected with all of the video I was shooting. So I spent most of that day in the cabin chatting convivially with my bunkmates and working out a solution in order to be able to continue shooting material for these videos. It was valuable down time though, and the cabin was well suited to the task.
Join us about a half hour before the start of the party and let’s see where the night took us!
Over the past few days Daffy Does Disney has covered some specific stuff in Epcot, including the new version of Soarin’, snacking around World Showcase, and the new Frozen Forever ride that has taken up residence in the Norway pavilion there. Today’s video will be a little more general, and mostly meandering around Future World and its secondary attractions and pleasures. This includes a short look at part of a presentation with dolphins in the Seas pavilion which I’d never seen before. Walt Disney World truly does support multiple visits while retaining a few cards up its sleeves if you leave yourself open to them.
Join me and Elizabeth as we discuss the new “Frozen Forever” attraction in the Norway pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. You’ll notice that I’m still munching on my school bread, but hopefully that won’t put you off. The attraction has been controversial due to the fact that the movie Frozen doesn’t actually take place in Norway. We won’t really be addressing that in our review, but will keep the focus on the merits of the ride itself.
Thanks for watching!
Today’s installment of Daffy Does Disney is a super-sized one, because there was just too much material to cover in my usual five to seven minute time span. “Drinking Around the World” is a popular pastime at Epcot’s World Showcase and really amps up during the Food & Wine Festival, but I decided to snack around the world instead. You’ll see me trying sweet and savory food stuffs and specialty drinks from each of the eleven pavilions that make up the back half of the park and I’ll give you my thoughts on them. I avoided the Food & Wine kiosks because I wanted to improve my chances of trying something a person planning their own trip might see me eat and then be able to have when they got there. Once I’ve presented all twelve snacks, I’ll rank them based on my own enjoyment of them.
Get ready to be hungry!
One of the big openings this year at Florida’s Walt Disney World was an update to the very popular Soarin’ attraction in Epcot. The original version took place entirely in California and originated (naturally) in the Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim. The attraction’s film even ended over Disneyland, which was a little weird for guests experiencing it in Epcot on the other side of the country. The California landmarks never really bothered me, though and I tended to just think of them as very American locales that skewed Western. Despite some maintenance issues at Epcot that resulted in a grimy looking screen and image as the years wore on, Soarin’ had managed to continue to be one of the most popular attractions in the Florida parks on the strength of its enveloping sensory experience and its beautiful musical score.
So, how did the new version that displayed locations worldwide turn out? Watch the video above and find out how we felt about this newest version of a beloved ride.