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Category Archives: Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World: First Time, Last Time, First Time in a Long Time (2017)


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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Unboxing my New MagicBand 2.0! – Daffy Does Disney


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!

15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah”


They run the risk of wearing out their welcome with that reprise don’t they? To my ears the Walt Disney Choir drops in about one chorus too late. Ah well, no matter. This is the sort of ear worm that can survive some mild over-reach.

Let’s address the seventy-year-old elephant in the room, shall we? Song of the South is a pretty complicated chapter in the history of the Disney company that has gone through an ebb and flow in critical and public estimation. Walt himself knew that he was treading on tricky ground with any film that was even adjacent to discussing race relations. He hired a Jewish “lefty” writer to try to balance out the tone and characterizations in the film. He hired the only African-American actress to ever win an Oscar. He hired a legendary cinematographer. He consulted with the marketing team of another racially sensitive film. He organized a meeting with the President of the NAACP for script revisions.

So what happened?
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Daffy Does Disney – 60 Days until Walt Disney World


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.

Daffy Stardust takes on Haunted Mansion theories


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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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Daffy Does Disney – Autumn Trip 2016 Highlight Reel


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!

Daffy Does Disney – Singing Around the World!


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!

Daffy Does Disney – This is Halloween!


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!

Muppets Do American History


Disney unveiled their new Muppet themed show at the Magic Kingdom and our own Daffy Stardust was in Liberty Square to document the event.

Walt Disney World: First Time, Last Time, First Time in a Long Time (2016)


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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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20 Movies you should see before going to Disney World


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Recently, a co-worker of mine told me he and his wife are taking their kids on their very first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida this summer. Apparently he’d heard I’m something of an enthusiast on the topic. After a quick rundown of where they’re staying and eating, he expressed some concerns over the quickly approaching date for reserving the family’s Fastpasses and worried that his young kids might be scared of some of the rides (he has a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son). I told him they probably would be a little tentative and suggested that he sit down with them on YouTube to get a preview of some of the attractions he thought they were targeting. I’ve heard from some parents that this has helped to demystify some of the gentle dark rides and can act as a stepping stone for the overall experience. He seemed pretty pleased with this suggestion and I came out of the conversation feeling rather happy with myself. It was a win-win.

Unfortunately, he came back a couple of days later with a completely different problem. He had watched several ride videos with his kids like I’d said, and he hadn’t gotten much feeling that they were frightened by what they saw. But maybe that was because they had spent the entire time asking him who all of the characters were! This came as quite a shock to both him and his wife. After all, they were pretty sure all kinds of cartoons were on in the house on a rather regular basis. But there he was, trying to explain the seven dwarfs, Peter Pan, and even the Little Mermaid to his kids. A cursory investigation of the family’s available Disney movies revealed part of the problem: they weren’t the ones with rides based on them. Frozen had been played past one family member’s tolerance, but that ride isn’t open yet. His son had practically worn out a copy of Pixar’s Cars, but there is next to nothing at Disney World featuring those characters. There was a lot of Disney Jr stuff like Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates available, which really just covers one stage show and maybe a character meal. He snatched out a copy of Beauty and the Beast and insisted to his kids that they had all watched it together a couple of times. Maybe they had, but at that moment all he was getting were blank stares. “For crying out loud,” he said to me (or something less printable here), “What the heck do they need to see before we leave in nine weeks?!” Clearly, the stress of trip planning was getting to him.

I smiled and told him I’d have a list for him in a day or two, but that a refresher on Beauty and the Beast couldn’t hurt in the meantime. Join me as we look at a big part of that promised list.
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Let’s take a Halloween tour of the Haunted Mansion!


It’s that time of year again, when the spooky and unsettling get just a little more attention and we recognize the value of embracing everybody’s bad end. While there are plenty of people who don’t like the horror genre at all and there are others who are fascinated by any terror more extreme than the last, I tend to err to somewhere in the middle. I love the mysterious and romantic aesthetics that come with that little prickle of suspense. Add a little humor and you’ve hit my sweet spot.

Disney’s classic Haunted Mansion theme park attraction has done a great job of immersing guests in light-hearted Victorian age creepiness since its original version opened in Disneyland in August of 1969, making use of era-appropriate stage magic and up to date ride vehicle technology along the way. The Haunted Mansion has attracted a large and faithful fan base and has become a “must” for inclusion in each primary Disney park that has been built, with each version being either just a little different (Tokyo Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is almost identical to the Orlando version of thirty years ago), or changed significantly to appeal to the locals (as was done with Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor). The version of the Haunted Mansion we’ll be touring today will be the one which I’ve visited the most often, which opened with the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1971 (pictured below).

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Disney Songs Poll Results! #5 – “Be Our Guest”


We’ve hit the prestigious top 5 of our Disney Songs Poll as voted by you, our readers!

Songs as iconic as “Be Our Guest” from Disney’s 1991 smash Beauty and the Beast become a part of our brain’s pathways. We can’t imagine them being any different than they always have been. But, as I discussed in yesterday’s post, those things which seem permanent often come about through chance, happenstance, or compromise…and just about everything about “Be Our Guest” was supposed to be different.
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