Sunday, June 30, 2013

DDW Pic 670. Pascal's Friends

Pascal's Friends
Disney is always adding new and interesting activities around the parks. Some of these are major parts of "interactive queues" and others are more subtle. Looking for Pascal's friends falls into the subtle category. You will find this sign in the new Tangled section of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. It is in the area of the cell phone charging stations. Pascal is the chameleon from the movie Tangled, and you can find ten of his "friends" hiding in the area. It is a fun way to pass the time while waiting for your cell phone to charge or your family to come out of the restrooms. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

DDW Pic 669. Horse-Drawn Trolley

Horse-Drawn Trolley
Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom is totally themed to around the year 1900. Not only are the cast members dressed  in costumes from that era, but you will also see vehicles that were prevalent during that time. One of those vehicles is a horse-drawn trolley. The horses are housed in the "car barn" in Town Square, but they go to their home at the Fort Wilderness Campground every night. I took this shot today, while touring with my brother and his family.

Friday, June 28, 2013

DDW Pic 668. Journey Into Imagination

Journey Into Imagination
Journey into Imagination is a classic attraction that has seen several major changes over the years.  The original version featured Dreamfinder and Figment and was about 11 minutes long. It was totally redone in 1999 and these beloved characters were removed. However, Figment was brought back in 2001, and there is also a small tribute to the original ride in the finale. I took this shot of the final scene (the rainbow room) today while riding with my wife and son. Notice the hidden Mickey on the second cloud from the right.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

DDW Pic 667. Camp Minnie Mickey

Camp Minnie Mickey
Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom is home to one of the best shows at Disney World, Festival of the Lion King.  However, there are many hidden gems in this section of the park, including "statues" of many beloved Disney characters. Donald can be seen catching this boot while fishing on a river bank. I took this shot today, while giving a tour of Animal Kingdom.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DDW Pic 666. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
When trying to decide on a picture to post for number "666," one attraction immediately came to mind. The finale of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride consists of a head on collision with a train, followed by a trip into hell.  It is hard to believe that Disney would include the "underworld" in an attraction, but they did it in a comical way. Unfortunately, the Walt Disney World version of Mr. Toad closed back in the late 90's. However, it is still going strong out in Disneyland. I took this picture while on my recent trip to the California park. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DDW Pic 665. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
I had a "first experience" at Hollywood Studios today. While waiting for my two 9-year old tour guests to finish up at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, they asked me to climb up the rope netting with them. The nearby cast member overheard their requested and kindly let me know that I was welcome to partake in this "children's" activity (in the 90 degree Florida heat). I really think there should be a warning posted that this isn't for guests over 40! Anyway, when I reached the top, there was a unique view toward Tower of Terror and I had to snap this shot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

DDW Pic 664. World Showcase Lagoon

World Showcase Lagoon
Here is a different perspective of the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot. While waiting for my tour guests to finish lunch at Akershus today, I found myself standing near the Stave church at the Norway pavilion. So I walked up the steps and turned around. The doorway arch made a nice frame so I snapped this shot looking out to the water.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

DDW Pic 663. Sully

With the recent release of Monsters University, I thought it would be fun to post a picture of Sully. He is seen here in the now extinct "Countdown to Fun" parade at Hollywood Studios. This parade ran for about two years and featured the stars of several Pixar movies. Disney fans are anxiously awaiting what will be replacing it in the near future.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

DDW Pic 662. Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort
There are certain areas in Walt Disney World that are better at night. The Cars section of the Art of Animation resort is one of them. The neon lighting of the Cozy Cone really gives it that Radiator Springs feel. Although Cars Land is an incredible addition to the Disneyland Resort out in California, we have our own little version of "Route 66" right here in Florida.

Friday, June 21, 2013

DDW Pic 661. Akershus

The most sought after dining experiences at Disney World usually involve characters. For little girls, these "characters" are typically princesses. Although Cinderella castle is the most popular spot for such a meal, the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion at Epcotis a close second. I have had many tour guests enjoy lunch or dinner with such famous ladies as Cinderella, Snow White, and even Ariel. This picture was taken back in May, just after Akershus opened for lunch that day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DDW Pic 660. Goofy

One of the fun things about seeing Disney characters is that they are typically wearing a costume appropriate to their location. This is certainly the case with Goofy at Blizzard Beach. You can see him here with his life vest and swim trunks on. I was hoping to see him head down a water slide on this mid-May day, but apparently he didn't want to get his fur wet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DDW Pic 659. Pangani Forest Trail

Pangani Forest Trail

I know I have posted pictures of Animal Kingdom gorillas in the past.  However, this large male silver-back seemed to be posing front and center on this particular day. I often see guests exiting Kilimanjaro Safaris and walking right past the entrance to the Pangani Forest Trail. They are missing out on the amazing gorilla habitat.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DDW Pic 658. Starbucks

The day has arrived. The Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom has become Starbucks. Although I took this picture of the sign a few weeks ago, the new coffee shop actually opened today. I plan on visiting Starbucks within the next week, and I'll reserve judgement until I see it for myself. I assume Disney kept the early "1900s" style motif, but it is still hard to believe that this modern company has moved onto Main Street!

Monday, June 17, 2013

DDW Pic 657. Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort
I took this picture of the Coronado Springs entrance a few months ago. This giant resort falls into the moderate category, and is very popular with convention goers. It has one of the best pools on property and there is a good size lake in the center of the resort. Coronado Springs will always be special to me as as it is the first place we stayed with our young son about six years ago.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

DDW Pic 656. Cast Member Training

Cast Member Training
Walt Disney World is the number one tourist destination in the world. They have incredible attractions, fantastic shows, and top notch dining. However, it is really the people the make this such a wonderful place to visit. Every employee (and there are over 65,000 of them) is known as a "cast member." There is little argument that Disney is known for their customer service and friendliness. Each cast member goes through extensive training before being "on stage" at Walt Disney World. A few months back, I saw this training class walking through Frontierland, as their trainer was giving them an overview and history of the Magic Kingdom.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

DDW Pic 655. Club 33

Club 33
Today, we say happy 46th birthday to Club 33 out in Disneyland. This very exclusive restaurant, located in New Orleans Square, is only open to members and their guests. It was originally designed by Walt Disney, so that he could entertain celebrities and dignitaries in a private setting. Unfortunately, Walt died before Club 33 opened. However, there have been many VIPs who have visited this spot over the past 5 decades. I had the privilege of touring the lobby of this historic spot during my Disneyland trip in May. It is part of the "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps" tour.

Friday, June 14, 2013

DDW Pic 654. Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue

Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue
Today we say happy 39th birthday to the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue. This western style dinner show first opened its doors on June 14th, 1974. It is located in Pioneer Hall at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. I took this shot on a big family trip back in 2009. You can see that several guests were asked to participate in part of the show. Any fan of Walt Disney World should experience the Hoop-De-Doo at least once.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DDW Pic 653. All-Star Music Resort - Panorama

All-Star Music Resort - Panorama
Here is another shot from my visit to the All-Star Music Resort last month. This photo of the entrance lends itself to a nice panorama since the sign is so long. All-Star Music opened on November 22nd, 1994. November 22nd is an important date in both Disney and U.S. history. On this day in 1963, Walt Disney flew over the land that was to become Walt Disney World. He saw Bay Lake from the air and decided that this was where he wanted to build his "Florida Project." Shortly after he landed, he was informed that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On November 22nd, 1991, both the Beauty and the Beast movie AND stage show at Disney-MGM Studios debuted.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DDW Pic 652. Jabba the Hutt's Pet Rancor

Jabba the Hutt's Pet Rancor
This year's Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios have concluded.  It was another great event that featured our favorite characters, shows and merchandise. The merchandise was once again housed in a huge tent known as "Darth's Maul." There were also several photo opportunities in this spot, including this life size version of Jabba the Hutt's pet Rancor. Guests could position themselves to look like Rancor had them in his clutches.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DDW Pic 651. Monsterail - Panorama

Monsterail - Panorama
Shortly after leaving the Magic Kingdom last Wednesday, it was quickly apparent that the monorail was broken. A bad storm had just passed through the area and had caused an electrical issue with the Magic Kingdom line. The queues for all of the boats were enormous and people were getting cranky. The good news was that the "Monsterail" was stuck nearby, and I finally had a chance to get a picture of it. For several weeks this Monsters University Monorail has been making its way around the resort to promote the upcoming movie, coming out on June 21st. The Monsterail isn't as noticeable as the Iron Manorail, or the previous Avengerail or Tronorail. However, it is cleverly done with the monsters appearing to be passengers in the monorail cars.

Monday, June 10, 2013

DDW Pic 650. Enchanted Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room
The Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic that has been in Adventureland since the day Walt Disney World first opened. However, it isn't a particularly "exciting" attraction and it is rare to see it crowded. I took this shot last week on a moderately busy day in the Magic Kingdom. You can see that guests are actually waiting outside to get into the pre-show area, which indicates that the previous show was filled to capacity. This rare occurrence can only mean one was starting to rain! Guests quickly flock to the indoor attractions when the rain begins to fall. Shortly after I took this picture, it started to pour and people were running for cover. Those who went into the Enchanted Tiki Room remained dry, for at least an additional 15 minutes.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

DDW Pic 649. Cars Land

Cars Land
Today we celebrate the 7th anniversary of the release of the Disney Pixar film Cars. Although I typiclly focus on posting pictures from Walt Disney World, I felt it was appropriate to include this shot from my recent trip to the Disneyland Resort. What better way to commemorate this date than with a photo of Lightning McQueen himself? You can see the amazing background that makes up Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. It is an incredible reproduction of the town of Radiator Springs. Although many folks like that this area is unique to Disneyland, I hope that they build something similar at Disney World. I think it would be a great addition to Hollywood Studios.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

DDW Pic 648. Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet
Summit Plummet is the signature attraction at Blizzard Beach. It is the tallest and fastest water slide in the United States, at 120 feet high and 60 MPH. I have experienced this attraction many years ago. I took this shot back in May, but wasn't feeling brave enough to ride that day. I also didn't want to wait in the 45 minute line.

Friday, June 7, 2013

DDW Pic 647. Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table
One of the most common questions I get from my guests is: "What is inside of the castle?" This picture answers that question. Most of the space inside of the castle is occupied by Cinderella's Royal Table. This signature restaurant is one if the most popular spots to dine in all of Walt Disney World. In addition to the amazing location, there is the opportunity to meet several princesses, including Cinderella herself. My tour guests enjoyed lunch there on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DDW Pic 646. Electrical Water Pageant

Electrical Water Pageant
While on my way to the Magic Kingdom yesterday, the monorail I was riding on stopped right in this spot. This canal is the daytime parking area for the Electrical Water Pageant, which is a floating light and music show performed on a nightly basis. Debuting in 1971, it is one of the only "opening year" shows remaining at Walt Disney World. It contains 14 lighted barges and one of the most powerful sound systems I've ever heard. Be sure to check out the Electrical Water Pageant the next time you are at a Magic Kingdom resort in the evening.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DDW Pic 645. Diamond Horseshoe

Diamond Horseshoe
The Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland is open during busy seasons. It is one of my favorite lunch spots in the Magic Kingdom, and I enjoyed a sandwich there today. In years past, there was a stage show that included can-can dancers. Now, the entertainment is the old player piano pictured here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DDW Pic 644. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Today we say happy 14th birthday to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This attraction opened on June 4th, 1999 in the Magic Kingdom. It replaced Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which upset many Disney World nostalgics. However, Mr. Toad can still be enjoyed out at Disneyland in California.

Monday, June 3, 2013

DDW Pic 643. The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Disney's latest DVC resort recently went on sale to Disney Vacation Club members. It will be available to the general public later this month. This new section of the Grand Floridian is scheduled to open in late October, and construction seems to be moving at a rapid pace. I took this picture on a March day, in the early morning. They have made a lot of progress since then, and the exterior of the building looks nearly complete.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

DDW Pic 642. Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid

Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid
One of the best things about new Disney attractions is the incredible amount of theming that goes into them. This includes the queue as well as the exterior areas. The new Little Mermaid ride that opened in December is a great example of this. This large building is made to look like Prince Eric's Castle from the movie. The rock work is amazing, and the amount of detail that was put into this creation really helps to set the stage for the ride itself. Unfortunately, many guests rush past without stopping to really take in the exterior of the "Journey of the Little Mermaid." The next time you find yourself in New Fantasyland, take the time to enjoy the "castle" before rushing onto the ride.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

DDW Pic 641. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Exactly three years ago today, on June 1st, 2010, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel became Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. There wasn't much explanation as to why this was done, and nothing about the attraction changed besides the name. However, New Fantasyland was on the horizon, which features princesses Belle and Ariel. The general consensus is that Disney was trying to make the area seem a little more "boy friendly" by changing the name of the classic merry-go-round. It was also around that time that they announced the addition of the Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, which will be the final attraction to open in New Fantasyland. I took this shot of the carrousel a few weeks ago.