Category Archives: Animal Kingdom
When the man whose name is also the name of your company indicated publicly that the company’s mission included constant growth, change, and progress you tend to be held to that standard. The fact that you’re charging an arm and a leg to visitors at your “Vacation Kingdom” also motivates mixing things up a bit. The Disney parks don’t always live up to this ideal and have certainly come under valid criticism because of it. But when you’ve got a large number of customers who are willing to visit over and over (like me) it indicates one of two things, or maybe a bit of both. A: They have actually provided a huge amount of experiences that stand up to lots of repeat business and have expanded over my lifetime from a single park with a few adjoining resorts to a mega complex with four theme parks, two water parks, close to twenty resort hotels, a huge entertainment and shopping complex, and a wide variety of other vacation options. B. With crowds continuing to be strong and earnings even stronger…maybe it doesn’t matter as much as it should.
Either way, they haven’t made me want to stop going yet. Not yet. We’ll see how that develops in the coming years though. In the meantime, I’m still finding myself capable of enjoying new things every time I visit. The above-pictured Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar is something I haven’t sampled since I was a kid and there was just one theme park on property. Maybe I’ll make a point to remedy that on my newest trip to Walt Disney World which is coming in just two weeks. Let’s take a look at what is new for me and what is tried and true.
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As my Walt Disney World vacation approaches I continue hitting guideposts along the way. Today was a major one as my MagicBand arrived in the mail! Join me as I open it up and give it a look over!
Okay, I’ve got to warn you right up front. This is a trip planning video that has a pretty limited audience. If you’ve never spent time over-planning a trip to Walt Disney World what you see in this video will probably seem arcane and a little bewildering. If you’re one of those people who got annoyed with Lebeau’s 50 day countdown to his trip a few years ago, this post isn’t for you. There is no video of the beautiful parks. There are no bouncy sing-along songs. This is pure obsessive trip planning. Keep in mind that I actually trimmed more than four minutes from the original run time.
You’ve been warned.
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.
Okay, so I’m about three weeks away from my next trip to Walt Disney World and I’m starting to get a little antsy to get the trip underway. If you’ve been reading along at home for a couple of years you know that I had the pleasure last summer of a three day trip across country to see Disneyland for the first time in 40 years. Obviously, that was a really great thing, but it also means that it will have been more than two calendar years since I spent any time in any of the Florida Disney parks by the time I leave for Orlando at the end of the month. I know, first world problems, right?
A trip of any kind will typically feature some stuff that you’re really looking forward to. Sometimes that’s because it’s something you’ve never tried before and you’re excited to give it a whirl and sometimes it’s an old standby that you just can’t get enough of. By way of working off some of my own impatience for the next few weeks to pass, I’ll be going over some of these things that I’ll be experiencing this time around. Join me after the break if you like!
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It’s been a while since I have discussed new projects at Walt Disney World because frankly, there hasn’t been much to discuss. It seems like ages since we were scrutinizing concept art for the New Fantasyland Project which is understandable since that expansion was initially announced six years ago. To put that into perspective, my first-grader was an infant when the last major Disney World project was announced. Last summer, we visited the Magic Kingdom just as the project was completed. Things move slowly at Disney World in the 21st century.
For the last several years while New Fantasyland was being built, Hyperion Wharf was announced and then replaced with Disney Springs and Magic Bands became a thing, there haven’t been a lot of new developments that Disney fans could get excited about. The announcement of an Avatar-themed expansion went over like a fart in church. And the Frozen-themed make-over over Maelstrom at Epcot has been controversial to say the least. There were rumors of good things to come, but for several frustrating years they remained only rumors.
This year at Disney’s D23 convention, those rumors were finally confirmed. Details were few and far between. But coupled with the projects which had already been announced, we’ve got a pretty good idea of where Disney World is headed over the next several years. So it seems like as good a time as any to assess the up-coming projects and rank them in terms of their overall potential and my personal excitement level.
Here’s one that is surprisingly low! I actually did some fiddling around with some statistical adjustments to try to account for the popularity variations of the different groups, but nothing I tried really accomplished much to make the results any better than they naturally were. “Circle of Life” is one of two songs which ended up significantly underrated to my eye and there was one other which seemed unnaturally high. But since none of my statistical adjustments could make a real difference, we’re just going to have to call our outrage part of the fun of this poll.
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Le Blog readers had the opportunity to follow me to my trips to the wonderful Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia this past summer. I grew up attending that park, but had never been to its sister park in Tampa, Florida. Never, that is, until this holiday season during my trip to Florida to see my brother’s family.
The two parks have a lot in common, but also have some key differences.
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“First”#16: The Disney Dining Plan
This is one of the most controversial topics amongst Disney World devotees. I not only experienced using the Dining Plan for the first time, but it was as a part of a “free” dining promotion, which some might consider yet another first. Yes, I did put “free” in quotation marks. That’s how any reference to the promotion will appear here. Get used to it.
But this does not mean that you should expect a patently negative assessment of the Disney Dining Plan.
“First”#10: 2 Parks in 1 Day
Park hopping has never made much sense for me in my prior visits, and I didn’t pay the extra fee for it this time either. What does explain this particular first is that the “free” dining package we ended up selecting required at least a 2-day park ticket. Since we were attending the Halloween party on Sunday night, that meant we’d have to squeeze in a morning use of that extra park day. (That doesn’t seem like a good value, but I’ll be covering that in a future post) We decided to take four hours of our Sunday morning enjoying Animal Kingdom.
This is definitely one I wouldn’t have tried on my own steam, but I must admit it was kind of fun. DisneyBounding is a relatively new trend in the Disney fan community. The idea is to dress in clothing which “suggests” a Disney character without it being an outright costume. I’m guessing that this is, in part, due to the parks’ rules against costumes on adults unless you’re at one of their Halloween parties (we’ll cover that later). There was, in fact, a widely reported happening in which a young lady dressed as Tinkerbell was refused entry to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park. Part of the issue was that she looked too much like she might be an official cast member and other guests were stopping her for photos. Disney doesn’t really want competition for one of the bigger draws to their parks. Necessity is the mother of invention, and fans began showing up in modern clothes fashioned after their favorite Disney characters in subtle enough ways that nobody could possibly mistake them for a park employee. As you see above, the fad has lots of elbow room. Our day at EPCOT was spent in very comfortable and stylish bounding fashions.
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