MY UNPOPULAR OPINIONS – DISNEY!

MY UNPOPULAR OPINIONS – DISNEY!

There’s currently a huge Youtube and blog trend about “my unpopular opinions”. My best friend, Emily, just recently posted one on her Youtube channel which got me thinking about my unpopular opinions! For today’s post, I thought it would be fun to “disneyfy” the popular trend by listing a few of my unpopular Disney opinions. So, here we go!

  1. Dole Whip is gross. Maybe it’s because I don’t like pineapple, but I really do not get the hype. I’d so much rather spend my money on regular soft serve ice cream or a bag of cotton candy.
  2. Children should not be allowed on parent’s shoulders during parades, fireworks, stage shows, etc. I completely get why parents do this. However, if as a society we become kind enough to let small children stand in front of us for parades and shows, or decide to all sit down (like they do in Tokyo Disneyland), then everyone could enjoy each show and this wouldn’t be an issue!
  3. I approve of the ticket price increases. In fact, I think prices should continue to increase or something else should be done to limit the crowds at WDW. Once Galaxy’s Edge opens, it’s going to be beyond unbearable to be in the parks. Ticket increases are the only way, in my opinion, the crowds will lower in size.
  4. Pandora- World of Avatar is overhyped. I mean, it is absolutely beautiful to see and experience. I love watching everything illuminate as it gets darker at night. And, Flight of Passage is truly the best WDW ride thus far. However, it’s still overhyped in my opinion. It’s never been something I’ve gone out of my way to see, or planned my vacation around!
  5. I enjoy the All Star resorts. I think it’s more of a nostalgic thing for me, but I really do enjoy all of the All Star resorts! If you’re heading to WDW on a budget and there is availability, these are a great option. Movies is, in my opinion, the best choice out of the three with Music being my least favorite – but each resort has something for everyone.
  6. There is too much of a Star Wars presence in the parks. I understand the licensing issues between WDW and UO, but I would so much rather see a Marvel presence than Star Wars. I get that Disney is trying to target a whole different audience, and I do love Star Wars, but it’s just too much.
  7. Walt Disney World is superior to Disneyland. Before heading to Disneyland, I always craved visiting and experiencing the land that had so much history behind it. I was captivated knowing that Walt worked hand-in-hand with imagineers to create this land where it all began. When I finally had the chance to go in 2016, I was elated. However, I feel like my entire visit was me saying to myself “Wait – this is it?” The intimacy of the parks might be appealing to most, but I absolutely prefer the grand scale of everything at WDW. Sure, a few of their rides are far better than our versions (specifically Small World, Pirates, and Space Mountain) – but those rides don’t make me love our versions and less. Maybe it’s because WDW is my home park and I’ve created so many magical memories here that I’ll cherish forever. I know very few people agree with my opinion, but I’ll absolutely choose WDW over DL any time!

There you have it! A few of my unpopular Disney opinions. Do you have any unpopular Disney opinions? Do you agree or disagree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next. We’ll see ya real soon ūüôā

CHRISTMAS IN WDW: A REVIEW

CHRISTMAS IN WDW: A REVIEW

This past Christmas was my first time experiencing it with the Disney magic. I’d always¬†dreamed of spending the holiday in WDW and experiencing all of the unique offerings in all of the park. This year, my fiance and I went all in and tried to experience as much as we could during the holiday season, and we pretty much hit everything!

I absolutely loved the International Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT along with the Candlelight Processional (you can read all about that experience here: EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW), Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios was a great time, and of course for nostalgic reasons The Holidays at Disney Springs was my favorite. One of my favorites also happened to be the gingerbread displays at the resorts! There was one experience, however, that I was very disappointed in Рand that was Christmas Eve in the Magic Kingdom.

I didn’t have the chance to attend¬†Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year, but I didn’t stress it too much as I knew that the week of Christmas I’d be able to experience just about everything unique about the party for free. Christmas Eve is the biggest night of the year in my family (we’re Italian, it’s a huge deal) and I knew I would be upset that I was missing our yearly party, so I saved Christmas Eve to experience all of the Magic Kingdom Christmas fun – and I wish I hadn’t.

There were several things that were a¬†must do¬†for me in MK on Christmas Eve –¬†A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Castle Show, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,¬†and of course¬†Holiday Wishes¬†fireworks. So, the first experience we planned to see for the day was the parade at 3:30. My fiance and I got to the park around 1:30 to grab a bite to eat first, and it was then that we knew we were already way too late.

Main Street was already¬† lined with people sitting and waiting for¬† the parade that was¬†two hours away. The walkways were so crowded that you honestly couldn’t take two¬† steps without running into someone. Also, I’m pretty sure about a dozen strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs rammed into my ankles within the first five minutes of being there. I knew to expect crowds, however I didn’t know it got¬†this¬†crowded.

After quickly eating, we finally found a spot for the parade about an hour before it started. We didn’t get a front row spot, but were behind a few people with more people behind us. Once the parade started, people were pushing their way up so much to the point where my fiance and I were sandwiched between people. Also, there were kids on their parents shoulders right in front of us, so we could barely see the parade itself. This is where the disappointment started.

After the parade, we had Fastpass+ reservations for the¬†Jingle Cruise. When we showed up within our timeframe, the¬†FP line was so far back that we were near¬†Aladdin’s ride. At the end of the line was a cast member, who informed us it was a 45 minute wait – for the¬†Fastpass+¬† line! So, we instead decided to go on Pirates of¬† the Caribbean, which had a suspiciously low wait time which was completely inaccurate and, was in fact, a much longer wait than stated.

After Pirates, we decided to head back to the castle to watch the Frozen castle show. It was about 5:00 at this point, so the show was almost an hour and a half out. We ended up finding pretty good spots and sat to wait. It was a beautiful sight, as always, to watch the castle light up minute by minute while it was getting darker and darker out. Finally, it was showtime and I was so excited Рuntil parents began putting their children on their shoulders yet again and the crowds began pushing forward. Once again, my view was completely blocked and I was unable to see a majority of the show.

By this time, the park seemed¬† somehow ten times more crowded and my fiance and I just decided we’d enjoy the night more if we headed home and had a lowkey evening. Making the choice to miss the fireworks and Mickey’s castle show was a hard one, but I know there is always next year.

Now, I feel like I need to pause and say that I am¬†not¬†one to complain about standing in lines, crowds in Disney, or Disney in general. It is my happy place. However, being a tad bit homesick already had me in a bit of a funk, and then having a hard time experiencing everything I’d been looking forward to for years was just a bit of a let down. I also know that I have the opportunity to experience¬† these shows for years and years to come, and for some of these families it might be their¬†once in a lifetime experience.

Overall, this was definitely a learning experience for me. Every other holiday event in WDW that I got to partake in was a great time, and it was because I hit those things before the busiest week of the year. Next year, my fiance and I know to head to MK a little earlier and make those memories when it isn’t so wild.

Would I recommend WDW during the holiday season? Absolutely – it is beyond beautiful and magical and everything I’d hoped. But, would I recommend WDW the week between Christmas and New Years? Probably not.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and has a safe New Years!Below are a few pictures of our time in MK on Christmas Eve. If you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Happy holidays, see ya real soon ūüôā

EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW

EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW

Last night, I finally had the chance to see EPCOT’s¬†Candlelight¬†Processional¬†in person. This event, part of EPCOT’s¬†International Festival of the Holidays, is held in the American pavilion in World Showcase. Alongside a mass choir, the¬†Voices of Liberty, and a 50 piece orchestra, a celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas.

This event is held daily during three showtimes: 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. and is running through December 30th. To see the show, you don’t¬†have¬†to purchase a ticket, but to guarantee a seat you can reserve a dining package for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at several restaurants around EPCOT.

There have¬† been plenty of well known celebrity narrators this year, including Neil Patrick Harris and John Stamos, but I made it a point to experience my first Candlelight Processional narrated by the beautiful Auli’i Cravalho (also known as the voice actor of¬†Moana).

For this review, I am going to focus on the dining package reservation vs. standby line, the narrator, and the overall experience. I’ll start by saying, however, that this is absolutely a must-do experience if you are on property or nearby when it is offered! I was blown away by the event itself, and I don’t think any words that I type will truly do it justice. But, let’s jump right in!

Dining Package Reservations vs. Standby Line

The Candlelight Processional is a free event with park  admission, however the standby line can get pretty insane Рespecially if the celebrity narrator is well known. As this was my first experience attending the event, I did plenty of research and found out that it was common for people to wait in the standby line for over three hours to grab a seat at one of the three showings.

One way to avoid the standby line and guarantee a seat, however, is to make a dining package reservation for the day of the event you’d like to see. There are several restaurants that offer the dining package, and have options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the dining¬† packages can be expensive, reaching up to $70 per adult for a dinner.

I went back and forth between planning to wait in the standby line and just booking a reservation, but I decided [only a few hours before we left] that I didn’t want to chance not¬† being able to see Cravalho in person, since¬†Moana is an absolute favorite of mine. I couldn’t find¬†any available dinner reservations, but there were plenty of lunch reservations available and I ended up snagging¬† a 2:30 reservation at¬†Garden Grill. The lunch included beverages, an appetizer, a family style meal, and dessert. Also included was a ticket for the 6:45 showing of the¬†Candlelight Processional.

It ended up being a  good choice doing the dining package, because the standby line was seriously insane. Even the dining package line was crazy long, and we got there 45 minutes  before the event even started. We ended up finding out that they use the dining package to reserve 75% of the seating in the theater, leaving only 25% for standby guests.

So, long story short – as far as standby vs. dining¬† package, I would suggest the dining package if it is your first time seeing the event¬†or if it is a celebrity narrator you just¬†have¬†to see. I definitely wouldn’t have paid for the dining package someone were¬† performing that I didn’t really care to see, but then again I don’t think I’d stand in a three hour line either!

Celebrity Narrator 

I mean… What can I say really?! Auli’i Cravalho is just as lively and spirited as¬†Moana, and it really made the overall experience that much more magical. It was so obvious that she was honored to be there, so into the story, and absolutely loved the choir. You could see her mouthing and singing along to the songs with the chorus behind her, and she just seemed so moved and touched by the experience. I would absolutely go see her ten times over!

The Overall Experience 

I have to start out by saying that, in a country where there is so much fuss over “political correctness” and sensitivity, I am very surprised Disney puts on such a religious show. Between the story itself, the songs that accompanied it, and the overall story – it is a very Christian ceremony. That being said, I fear that one day (sooner, rather than later), someone somewhere will protest this event and it will be a thing of the past. I would absolutely recommend seeing it within the next upcoming years if it is a bucket list event.

Overall, it was truly a magical experience that really puts you in the holiday spirit. It was nice to be so immersed in a show that discussed the true reason for the season in such a beautiful way. The orchestra was outstanding, the choir was breathtaking, and the story was so beautifully told. It really has you step back from the hustle and bustle of the holiday itself and appreciate what this is all truly about.

All in all, like I said about three times above, this is a must-do experience if you’re on property for the holidays. The celebrity narrators are a nice touch, but really it’s all about the message and the beauty behind it all. Below, I’ll add a few clips of some of my favorite parts of the show (they’re poor quality, done on my iPhone – sorry in advance :)!

Thanks for reading today’s post! Be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Happy holidays, see ya real soon!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

The holidays are a magical time Рeveryone is merry and bright, and you can really feel holiday cheer in the air. What better place to celebrate the holidays, however, than WDW?! Disney World does a fantastic job celebrating the holidays, and they have so many special offerings of events, attractions, and more.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and¬†everyone is in the Christmas spirit, I thought I’d outline every offering on Disney property where you can enjoy some holiday magic! Since there is so much, I am going to (try) to keep the explanations at a minimum. However, be on the lookout from now to Christmas day, as I plan to review¬†every holiday experience I encounter at WDW! There may even be a few extra blog posts than normal ūüėČ But for now, let’s get started!

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickeys Very Merry¬†Christmas Party: For more details on this hard ticketed event, check out my blog post all about it:¬†MICKEY‚ÄôS VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY: A GUIDE
  • Jingle Cruise: WDW imagineers overlay the¬†Jungle Cruise attraction with holiday themed elements including decorations, snowy scenery, and a few holiday puns.
  • A Frozen¬†Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights: Offered nightly starting mid-November, watch Elsa transform Cinderella’s castle into an ice palace in this castle stage show!

Epcot 

  • International Festival of the Holidays: Another festival offered in EPCOT’S Word Showcase, but themed to the holidays. You can find special drinks and food offerings at 16 “holiday kitchens” around World Showcase as well as unique entertainment, merchandise, and a holiday themed scavenger hunt! Be on the lookout for a future blog post where I create a guide to this holiday event!
  • Candlelight¬†Precessional: Offered during three showtimes every night between November 22 and December 30, this event is a can’t miss for the holiday season. Narrated by a celebrity guest, enjoy a large choir with a 50 piece orchestra telling the story of Christmas in a beautiful way. Some celebrity narrators include Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos, and new to this year, the voice of Moana – Auli’I Cravalho!
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth¬†Holiday Ending: Enjoy a special holiday ending to EPCOT’s nighttime spectacular,¬†Illuminations.

Hollywood Studios

  • Flurry of Fun: The offerings at HS this year for the holidays are endless and beyond perfect! To read more about them in detail, including¬†Seasons Greetings on Sunset Blvd¬†and¬†Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, check out the post I made all about it:¬†HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

Animal Kingdom

  • Diwali Holiday Festival of Lights: A celebration of Diwali, the holiday festival of lights in India, is being added into¬†Up, A Great Bird Adventure starting November 8th and running through January 6.
  • Holiday Meet and Greet with Mickey and Minnie: Meet Minnie and Mickey dressed and ready for the holidays.

Disney Springs

  • Christmas Tree Trail: One of my favorite offerings on property, walk along a snowy trail of 27 Christmas trees, all decorated based on favorite Disney classics!
  • Stitch’s¬†Holiday Gift Hunt: Children, and adults, can embark on this hunt to help Stitch find all of the Christmas gifts he’s lost around Disney Springs! Guests who complete the scavenger hunt will earn a special prize!
  • Santa’s Chalet: Meet Santa and give him your wishlist at this special meet and greet location!

Disney Resorts 

  • Sleigh Rides: Head over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds to embark on a 25 minute horse-drawn sleigh ride.
  • Gingerbread Displays: Visit any of the Deluxe resorts and you will find larger-than-life gingerbread displays! Some of my favorites this year include¬†Cinderella’s Castle display at the¬†Contemporary Resort and the¬†Victorian-inspired life size gingerbread house at the¬†Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

On top of all of these unique offerings, you can expect to see pretty much every inch of the parks and resorts decked out in Christmas decorations. From large Christmas trees in resort lobbies and somewhere located in the parks, to garland and wreaths galore, WDW spares no expense to decorate in honor of the holidays. You can also expect to see your favorite characters in their holiday best as well as unique entertainment offerings at various places on property.

If you’re a shopper like me, the merchandise being offered this year is nothing short of excellent. Themed popcorn buckets, holiday MagicBands, pajamas, advent calendars, spirit jerseys, hats and Minnie ears are only a few vaguely described offerings you are likely to find. However, grab them quick, as the Halloween merchandise was all pretty much sold out before the holiday came itself!

Lastly, I have to mention the holiday treats. Everywhere you turn in the parks, there will be some unique treats themed to the holidays that look absolutely delicious. Most of them are also very photogenic, which I think is a¬†thing that Disney is trying to do with their treats now. I’ve heard some good things and some bad things about the offerings this year, but nevertheless they’re always worth a try!

Thanks for reading! I hope this quick guide to the holiday offerings at WDW gave you some unique ideas for things to check out this holiday season! Be sure to like this post, and subscribe to my blog to be notified when I post next! Happy Holidays ūüôā

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

The holiday celebrations in WDW have officially begun! The parks, the resorts, and even Disney Springs are all dressed in beautiful holiday decorations, each with unique offerings in their own way. Later in the month, I am going to have a blog post discussing¬†all of the holiday offerings found on property, but today I want to focus on one of my person favorites –¬†Flurry of Fun in Hollywood Studios.

Although I’ve visited the parks countless times over the past few years, I’ve never visited WDW during the holiday season, so all of these new experiences are beyond magical to me.¬†Yesterday, my fianc√© and I decided to check out the holiday experiences at Hollywood Studios and we were not disappointed!

From the decorations to the snow falling on Sunset Blvd to the tree lighting ceremony in the middle of Echo lake, Flurry of Fun absolutely put me in the Christmas spirit. It has been a while since we have been able to experience something new (to us) on property, and these offerings completely took my breath away!

Below, I am going to list all of the events that are offered nightly in Hollywood Studios as part of the Flurry of Fun celebration. Unfortunately, we were not able to experience every single event, but I am determined to head back to this park soon and check some more boxes off my list!

Echo Lake Decorations 

WDW imagineers transformed Echo Lake into a winter wonderland. The larger-than-life Christmas tree is placed right in the middle of the lake, surrounded by giant Christmas ornament bulbs and other decorations. The Echo Lake dinosaur, Gertie, was even dressed for the occasion with a Santa hat!

Around Echo lake there are plenty of Photopass cast members to take your picture in front of the festive set up. And, at dusk, they do a nightly tree-lighting ceremony that is definitely something worth seeing!

Sunset Blvd Seasons Greetings 

There is so much to talk about that imagineers have done to Sunset Blvd in celebration of the holidays. To start, one of the most exciting things that happens is the transformation of¬†The Hollywood Tower of Terror.¬†Using the same projection mapping technology that is used for Cinderella’s Castle shows, watch the “hotel” come alive with projections of various holiday-themed scenes aligned with classic Christmas songs. Laser effects are also used throughout the show to create that special “Hollywood” feeling.

My favorite part, however, is the SNOW that falls periodically throughout the night. It may not snow in Hollywood, California, but that added magical touch is the icing on the cake to this fun entertainment experience.

Meet Santa Claus and other Character Meet-and-Greets 

What is a holiday celebration without meeting the big man in red? Up until December 24, Santa is stationed in the Once Upon a Time building on Sunset Blvd from park open to close. Also throughout the park, you can find the Fab 5 dressed in their holiday for photo ops, including Goofy dressed as Santa Claus!

One of the best places to meet the characters in holiday outfits, however, is at¬†Hollywood & Vine for¬†Minnie’s Holiday Dine. You can find Goofy in his Santa outfit at a few different spots throughout the park at various times of the day, but a dinner at this table-service restaurant will ensure you get to see the entire gang in their holiday best.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

About a half hour after park closing, guests can gather around the Chinese Theater to experience this holiday themed nighttime spectacular. Projection mapping is also used on the theater and is joined by fireworks, holiday music, and more to create a merry holiday show!

Toy Story Land Holiday Overlay 

If you have gotten the chance to visit Toy Story Land, you are well aware that year-round it is kind of decorated for Christmas, as you can see the characters stringing Christmas lights above your heads as decoration. However, WDW imagineers took it one step further to add a total holiday overlay in the park and it is spectacular.

The overlay includes larger-than-life Christmas cookies scattered as decorations around the park and characters dressed in holiday-themed outfits and/or accessories. There are also some fun ride overlays as well, including holiday music and special projections in Alien Swirling Saucers and the sound of jingling bells on Slinky Dog Dash as he races across the track.

I truly feel as though this blog doesn’t even do¬†Flurry of Fun¬†at Hollywood Studios justice. Imagineers and the cast members truly went above and beyond to create a completely magical holiday experience. It’s so tough to feel in the holiday spirit when you live in Florida (because it still feels like summertime), but one short night in this park did that for me.¬†Below are a few extra pictures of the park!

But, there you have it! A short guide to Hollywood Studios Flurry of Fun. I absolutely recommend checking this event out if you are on (or near) WDW property from now until December 31. You will not be disappointed!

Thanks for reading ūüôā Be sure to like this post and subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I post next! See ya soon ūüôā