December 23, 2015

Not to Miss at Walt Disney World: For Little Ones

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be overwhelming. Just getting started? Check out this post. Trying to think back to when I didn’t know as much about Disney as I do now, I think about what information I wished I had. With so many things to do, it can be hard to figure out what you should do, and what you could skip. While everyone has a slightly different view on things they need to see and could pass up, I thought I would put together a couple of lists for different people, to make your life a little easier.  With that said, I would like to introduce the Not to Miss series. Over the next few weeks I will be adding posts to this series, so keep an eye out! I’ll go through the shows and attractions, the location, and any tips or tricks I’ve found when experiencing the show or attraction. First, I thought we would take a look at fun for little ones. Keeping in mind that Walt Disney World is targeted to families, this list is going to be fairly long. The majority of rides for smaller children are located at Magic Kingdom, so I started with that. Now let’s get onto the list!

Seven Dwarf Mine Train

Magic Kingdom 

Astro Orbiter– this “Dumbo” style attraction takes place much higher, offering amazing views of Tomorrowland and all of Magic Kingdom. It’s fun day or night, but I personally wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes in line for it, and I’m sure your little ones wouldn’t want to either! Use the Disney Parks app to check the wait times and ride accordingly.

The Barnstormer– this kiddie coaster is located in Storybook Circus, and is a short but fun coaster for the kiddos. Depending on wait time, you may want to use Faspass+ for this one.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin– Enter Tomorrowland and help Buzz Lightyear defeat Emperor Zurg in this lazer shooting attraction. Spin your car and hit the targets! Kids will love to control the spinning car, and the blacklight scenes are so much fun! Fastpass+ is not needed for this attraction, but is available.

Casey Jr Soak Station– Also is Storybook Circus is this splash pad. Great for a quick cool off or some play time on a hot day! Wait time is N/A.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant –  Dumbo is now located in Storybook Circus, and has doubled in size! For the little ones they even have a playground in line! You get a buzzer and are paged when it’s your time to ride! Fastpass+ is helpful, but not needed for this attraction. If you are travelling with kids who aren’t tall enough for bigger rides, I would suggest using Fastpass+. Other versions of this ride are all around Walt Disney World. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is in Adventureland, There is also Tricera Top Spin at Animal Kingdom. If your little ones like Dumbo, they’ll probably want to ride all of the variations.

The second newest land in Magic Kingdom is home to Dumbo!

The second newest land in Magic Kingdom is home to Dumbo!

Enchanted Tales With Belle- Step into the story of when Belle and the Beast fell in love! Your kids can help tell the story, and they will love it! Enchanted Tales With Belle is available with Fastpass+, but from what I’ve seen the wait times aren’t too bad.

Haunted Mansion- this classic takes a bit of a different spin on a haunted house. Ghosts dance and sway and come out to socialize. I was scared of this ride at 5, so keep that in mind for younger children.

It’s A Small World- The song will most likely get stuck in your head, but the dolls are adorable and the scenes are beautiful. Little ones will love the “happiest cruise that ever sailed”.

Jungle Cruise- Another classic that takes you on a cruise. Enjoy the jokes from the skipper, and say hello to Trader Sam. Fastpass+ is available, but you may want to use it on other attractions.

Mad Tea Party- This is the classic spinning teacups ride! Located in New Fantasyland, your kids will want to spin until they get dizzy! The line can get pretty long for this one, and because it doesn’t load consistently (like Winnie the Pooh), I would suggest Fastpass+ if your kids are keen on riding. It’s not needed, but you can experience it in the morning or later at night with minimal wait.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- Enter the Hundred Acre Wood, bounce with Tigger and all of Pooh’s friends. My favourite scene is with the Heffalumps and Woozles! The line is generally pretty short.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic- Join Donald Duck and the rest of the gang in a 3D film featuring your favourite characters. This one is really fun! Don’t forget to smell the pies in the Be Our Guest scene!

 Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor- Enter Monstropolis and help Mike and his friends power the city! A funny show that sometimes picks on audience members, but all in good fun!

Peter Pan’s Flight- Probably the most popular ride in Magic Kingdom (or at least the one with the longest line), so Fastpass+ is a must if you want to ride. If you don’t want to use a Fastpass+, ride in the first hour of the day or later at night.  Fly above London and Neverland in a ship!

Pirates of the Caribbean- A classic that has small drops and lots of pirates! Can your little ones spot Captain Jack Sparrow?

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel- Actually the oldest attraction is Magoc Kingdom, this carrousel features scenes from Cinderella above.

Seven Dwarf Mine Train- This is the newest ride to Magic Kingdom, and is a small coaster that feature your favourite seven dwarfs.

Tomorrowland Speedway- This was my favourite attraction when I was 5, because I loved being in the drivers seat! Fastpass+ is available, but not needed.

Tom Sawyer Island- Take a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island where your kids can play and explore. It’s a nice change of pace in the parks.

Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid- Journey under the sea with Ariel and friends! This is one of my favourites in Magic Kingdom, and makes use of some of the great technologies now available.

Eric's Castle

Epcot

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros- This boat ride inside the Mexico pavilion is really fun. You learn about Mexican culture with Donald, José, and Panchito! A nice ride to start or end your journey around World Showcase.

Journey Into Imagination With Figment- The Imagination pavilion has tons of fun for kids, and your little ones will love this ride. After, play the interactive games!

Kidcot Fun Stops- These stops are located all around World Showcase, and make it a little more fun for the kids. You can find the specific locations on a park map.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends- In the big blue world… dive in with Nemo and friends and help find Nemo! The coolest part is, there are actual fish swimming too! Stop by Turtle Talk with Crush after and be all like “dude”.

Soarin’- This is a fun one! Little ones will feel like they are flying! Fastpass+ this attraction, or ride in the first hour of park opening.

Voyage of The Little Mermaid

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure- Less of an attraction and more of a playground, this one is fun! Just be warned, it can get very hot in there during the summer months!

Muppet*Vision 3D- If you have Muppet fans in your party you won’t want to miss Muppet*Vision! I still see this every trip, and I loved it when I was a kid!

Toy Story Midway Mania- Fastpass+ this one for sure. Your little ones will love shooting the cannons and hitting the targets with Woody and the gang.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage- This stage show is Broadway scale, and has all your favourite characters! Times are available in the Times guide when you enter the park.

Disney Junior Live on Stage- If your kids watch Disney Junior they will love this stage show! Check showtimes when you enter the park and get there a little early.

For The First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-along Celebration- Frozen fans will love this! Sing with Anna and Elsa, and people of Arendelle to your favourite Frozen songs. Fastpass+ is available, but seats are generally available for all showtimes.

Voyage of The Little Mermaid- This stage show features some of your favourite songs from my favourite Disney movie. I still go to see this once a trip, so I think your little ones would love it 😉

Toy Story Midway Mania

Animal Kingdom

The Boneyard- This playground is fenced in so no kids can get out! With lots of seating for parents, it’s a nice break! Can your little ones find any bones? Get digging!

It’s Tough to be a Bug!- Located under the Tree of Life this show features all of your favourite bugs! It’s also great to do to get a closer look at the Tree of Life. Hopper appears, and may be frightening for some children.

Kali River Rapids- You will get wet on this one! Use Fastpass+ to experience it during the hottest time of the day! The raft ride is so much fun, and you never know who will get soaked!

Kilimanjaro Safari- Definitely go on this after you’ve been on Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, and see the real thing! Head out on safari and spot lots of different animals! Use Fastpass+ for this one, or ride in the first hour of park opening.

Wilderness Explorers- This is a fun activity for kids of all ages. With places all over the park, complete challenges to earn badges and become a Wilderness Explorer! Park maps will show all locations.

This guy came up right beside the truck, you never know what you will see!

This guy came up right beside the truck, you never know what you will see!

 

I know this post is quite long, but thank you for sticking through it! Have you travelled with little ones? What are their favourites? Let me know in the comments!

I also just wanted to take the time to say Happy Holidays, and thank you for sticking around on this adventure I started almost 6 months ago! It means so much to me to be able to share all of this with you!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey
December 9, 2015

My Top 10 Rides at Walt Disney World: Part 2

Did you miss Part 1? Check that out here.  Everyone has their favourites, so I thought I would let you in on my favourite attractions. If you were to find me in the parks, I would mostly be riding these, or seeing my favourite shows. Keep an eye out for that list soon! Let’s get on with the list!

Toy Story Midway Mania

5. Toy Story Midway Mania

I seriously love this ride! The queue is so detailed, and where you board the ride you feel like you are in Andy’s room! I always try to beat Ethan (which I have yet to do), and will ride it over and over just to try. You’ll need a Fastpass+ for this one, otherwise you could be waiting over an hour. My favourite time to ride is either first thing in the morning or at night during Extra Magic Hours. I will walk off the ride and get right back in line. This ride is also amazing because of how accommodating it is. In 2012 I went with my family, and as you may already know that includes my sister Alex who is in a wheelchair. They have vehicles that accommodated her custom chair! They even have an adapted system for the “cannons” that include a button to push instead of pulling the string. During this trip Alex wasn’t feeling very well, but this ride made her smile. Check out the picture below (the quality isn’t the greatest but it will give you an idea of the adapted car. You can also sort of see the buttons on the triggers, the button is yellow on the green cannon).

Toy Storia Mania Car

 

4. Soarin’

I love Soarin’ so much that it is the only attraction that made in into the “What I Love..” series, which you can read here. Again this is an attraction that is really special to me because of Alex. This is something that she would never get to experience in real life, but to see her face when it feels like you are hang-gliding, is pretty amazing. I love the views and the smells, but the music is the best. Soarin’ is going under refurbishment in the new year, and will re-open in the summer with a new “movie”. It will be called Soarin’ Around the World. While I’m sad to see the original show go, I have to admit that it will better fit the theme of Epcot. I do hope the score stays the same!

3. Tower of Terror

It’s just the best! I love how detailed everything is, and if you are a fan of The Twilight Zone you might recognize some nods to the series in line! I’m usually a complete wimp, so I feel mighty brave when I go on this one. I love that’s it’s not just a drop zone, but it has a storyline to it. And the view at the top? You can’t beat it! Just remember to keep your eyes open!

You're about to enter... The Twilight Zone.

You’re about to enter… The Twilight Zone.

2. The Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion is such a great attraction, it’s definitely a classic. I remember the first time I rode it when I was 5, and after seeing the Disneyland version on the Sing-a-long songs VHS I mentioned in part 1, I really wanted to go on it. So my Mom and I went, and I closed my eyes the entire time. Alex was always scared of that scene growing up, so I think it got to me a little. At least, that’s the excuse I’m going with. Now, it’s one of my favourite rides. The details are amazing, and I love the technology used throughout the ride. During my trip in February, we went on this ride and got to hear some details about how they pull off the effects. Don’t worry, I won’t ruin it for you! But you might recognize the voice of Madame Leota from two Disney Movies, I’ll give you a chance to find a video and put the answer at the bottom of the post!

1. Splash Mountain

Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah indeed! Splash Mountain is my #1. In my opinion, you get the most bang for your buck with this ride. At almost 10 minutes in length, you really escape the lines and the park, and are immersed in the attraction. I love the characters and the story, and it doesn’t help that the water is refreshing during a hot Florida day! The queue is extremely detailed, and the ride is too! I love the music, and find something new every time I ride. It’s always funny after the big drop to see who get’s splashed the worst! In February Ethan and I rode at night (which was a first for me, and there was no line!) and has our rain jackets. During the big drop I had my hood up and crouch over, while Ethan got hit right in the face with a wave. It was hilarious! It’s always different with who gets wet, which makes it more fun. I love that even after you take the plunge, there is still more of the ride left, and the best song kicks in! I can never pass up a ride on Splash Mountain. It just brings me a lot of joy. At the top of that hill, seeing the castle straight ahead is just perfect. That’s about the best word I can find to describe it.

Br'er Rabbit

What is your favourite attraction in Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!

And  the answer to the question of The Haunted Mansion: Madame Leota is voiced by Eleanor Audrey, who also voices Lady Tremaine from Cinderella and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty! Another fun fact about Madame Leota: the voice is done by Eleanor Audrey, but her face is that of Leota Toombs. You can find her voice (which was too high for Madame Leota) near the end of the attraction. She is a ghost sitting on a door frame saying “hurry baccck, don’t forget your death certificate”.

Thanks for reading,

Kelsey
November 25, 2015

My Top 10 Rides at Walt Disney World: Part 1

This week I thought we could take a look at some of my favourite attractions in Walt Disney World. I’m going to talk about why they are my favourites, and hopefully it will give you a bit of insight to my taste of attractions! It was really hard to narrow down the top 10, so hard that I’m going to cheat and do another post that talks about my top 5 shows at Walt Disney World. It makes perfect sense technically- right? Alright let’s get started!

10. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and is a rollercoaster. When you go on this ride, take in the queue. It is so detailed you really feel like you are not in Florida. The ride itself is so much fun, but I may be guilty of having to close my eyes when we see the yeti. (Actually the first time I rode it I completely closed my eyes and said “the yeti looked different!” That’s because I didn’t actually see it. I managed to keep my eyes open the second time :). This ride also makes the list because of the work that went into making it. I’ve mentioned it before, but there is a great documentary that focuses on the making of this attraction, and I highly recommend it. I watched it before my 2013 trip, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for it.

Expedition Everest

9. It’s A Small World

Yes the song gets stuck in my head, but I love it! When I was a kid I had this Sing-A-Long-Songs VHS (who am I kidding, I still have it now) called Disneyland Fun and it was my favourite. It took me a while to realize that everything was a little different once I had travelled to WDW because it took place at Disneyland (which I’ve never been to). But anyways, the characters went on a lot of rides at Disneyland (quite a few make this list) and It’s A Small World was one of them. It’s a classic so it has a special place in my heart, but it’s also from this video. It just makes me happy! My favourite room is the jungle, and I love the elephant above your head as you leave the room holding two children on its’ tusks. I don’t know why, but that part has always stuck with me. It’s something that I always have to go on when I visit WDW. I wouldn’t wait in line for an hour, so I usually go on late at night when that section of the park isn’t as busy.

8. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth fascinates me. I can’t help looking at it all the time when I am in Epcot. I also can’t stop taking pictures of it. It’s hard to explain, but I just love it! I also love the attraction inside of it. On a hot day it’s a nice place to get out of the sun and relax for a while. it sounds like a boring ride, but I really enjoy it. I love making a funny face when they take your picture at the beginning, and looking for it on the globe after the ride. I love how interactive the ride is! My favourite part is when you head back down and are watching “your future” while it’s dark except for the small lights that are multiplied as far as you can see. It really takes my breath away to think that you are inside such a massive structure, yet you can’t see any of the other parts of the ride! Click on the link below to view the video from my most recent trip. I apologize it’s a little out of focus at times!

Our Future!

7. Test Track

I’ve seen both versions Test Track, and definitely prefer the new version. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, a few years ago the completely changed the look of Test Track. It used to feel like you were actually in a GM factory as they tested vehicles, and now it feels like Tron Legacy. It’s all sleek and dark with fluorescent lights on the same track. I love how interactive the new version is (you get to design your own car, and they see how is stacks up against the other people in your ride vehicle through the different stages). It is such a brilliant way to use the time you are already spending in line, and make you a part of the ride! It’s fun to ride again and again, to see how hight you can get your score.

Just look at that beaut!

Just look at that beaut!

6. Jungle Cruise

A classic. I absolutely love bad jokes, and this attraction is full of them. The audio-animatronics are out of date, but this ride is still so much fun. When Ethan and I did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour in February, we went on this with our guide, and got to hear lots of interesting facts about this ride. I would really love to see this ride from a birds eye view, because you feel like you are in another world when you are on your cruise. I’d love to see how many twists and turns there are, and just how large of a space it takes up. During the holidays Jungle Cruise becomes “Jingle Cruise” so I hope to experience that someday!

Epcot Picture

I hope this has given you an idea of what I like to do during my trips to the parks, and why some these attractions are so special to me!

Stay tuned for Part 2! Any guesses as to what will be number 1? What are some of your favourite attractions at Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey