Happy Thanksgiving From ManoftheMouse
Many of you can still remember when or why they fell in love with Disney and Mickey Mouse. After many years of trying to remember for myself, when it happened, I realized that it all started with this mouse.
I often think to myself about when I became so awestruck with everything Disney.
Was it from watching Walt Disney on Wonderful World of Color? It could have been, I was a child, but can remember watching it on my grandparents console television.
Could it have been the first time I saw Fantasia with my grandmother? I can remember that like it was yesterday, I left thinking that was a really strange movie, but it had Mickey Mouse in it, so who cares. LOL
Something kept telling me that it was bigger than all of those things. It had to be something that had been around me for a very long time. Even as I write this, I have a big smile just knowing. When you are five years old, you really don’t appreciate much. If you fast forward thirty-three years later, I now cherish this story.
It was Christmas 1980 and Santa delivered a gift that would be with me to this very day. It was a Marching Mickey Mouse. My mom told me that even at five years old, I was really into Mickey Mouse.
The really neat part of this entire story was what she said to me next.
” I guess Mickey Mouse and Disney have been in your DNA all along.”
That was the answer after thirty-three years of searching. I feel sort of bad, you see the Marching Mickey Mouse spent a greater part of this time sitting in a rocking chair or packed away in a box. When I was younger, I am told that I carried it around quite a bit. These days it has a special place in my office, where it sits prominently on top of my bookcase. I get asked quite a bit why I love Disney so much? People are really amused when I tell them.
Walt Disney once said “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing-that it was all started by a mouse.”
For me, I will always remember… “That it was all started with THIS mouse.”
Navigating throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be a bit different, because there really is not any type of circular pattern like at Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
- Get There Early
Some days they open the gates 10-15 minutes early. Be sure to grab a times guide at your resort, or use the My Disney Experience app on your phone to see which attractions are open early.
ManoftheMouse Tip: Try to get into Hollywood & Vine for breakfast, before the park opens, you can walk down Hollywood Boulevard for a quick picture of Sorcerer Mickey’s Hat minus the large crowds. Perfect picture spot for the family as well.
- Woody’s Roundup
As soon as they drop the rope, or open the gates, you will notice everyone heading in a general direction. They are probably heading to Toy Story’s Midway Mania. If you get on the attraction quickly, grab a fastpass on your way out for a later time slot.
ManoftheMouse Tip: With the popularity of this attraction, all of the fastpasses for this attraction will be gone by mid afternoon. The stand by lines are crazy long.
Thrill seekers and Roller Coaster enthusiasts should head down Hollywood Boulevard and take a right onto Sunset Boulevard. Here you will find Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror. You will find that these popular attractions will form lines quickly.
ManoftheMouse Tip: If fastpass is working, I suggest getting them and enjoying something else within the park.
- Taking A Break
There is a considerable amount of walking to get around Hollywood Studios. Get out of the heat and into the air conditioning.
ManoftheMouse Tip: Check out Voyage of The Little Mermaid, One Man’s Dream, or Animation Academy for fun. Younger children will enjoy the characters inside the animation building. If you want to learn the history of Walt Disney and Disney World, One Man’s Dream is amazing!! There is a short video following the exhibit that will keep you cool a while longer. The Animation Academy appeals more to the young adult and adults, may not be for younger children.
There are normally two different showings of Fantasmic, which is sort of Hollywood Studios evening fireworks show. If you have the option of going to the second viewing, do so. The crowds will be lighter. It won’t feel like it, due to having to wait in line on Sunset Boulevard for a few minutes. Don’t worry this line will move quickly once they have opened the venue.
ManoftheMouse Tip: Once inside the amphitheater, try to sit in the middle towards the top. A guaranteed certainty is that the closer you are to the bottom railing, the more likely you will get wet. This is particularly important if you are there on a windy evening. There really isn’t a bad seat in the venue, so enjoy Fantasmic. When you are leaving, be patient, everyone files out at once and it is slow emptying.
Events at Hollywood Studios
Star Wars Weekends – June
Osborne Family of Lights – Nov – Dec
I know that this is a really short list of tips for navigating Hollywood Studios, but aside from a few rides, its a lot of eating, shopping, and shows.
Next week we will look at our final park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Have a Magical Week & Happy Thanksgiving!!
This week we are going to take a look at navigating EPCOT. This park is particularly interesting, because its like having two parks in one. You have Future World & World Showcase.
- Operating Hours
One thing to be mindful of when visiting EPCOT, is that there are two separate starting times. This is due to the fact that you have two themed areas in Future World & World Showcase. Schedules can and will change throughout the year, but Future World always opens before the World Showcase. This particularly important when you arrive for the rope drop, but can only access part of the park.
- Traffic Patterns
As with the Magic Kingdom and Main Street USA, EPCOT has Spaceship Earth. This signature landmark/attraction is pretty popular. To avoid waiting in line from the jump, save this attraction for later in the day or evening. With the early morning crowds that form in Future World, guests tend to gravitate to Spaceship Earth first, causing a slight wait time early on. Due to all of the rides being in Future World, my suggestion is always to head to Test Track, Soarin, and Mission:Space first, grabbing Fastpasses if necessary.
- When In Doubt
When in doubt, at World Showcase, visit the countries going counter-clockwise, like Magic Kingdom, most guests will always go in clockwise direction. TIP: If you are Drinking Around The World, this would be the only exception for going clockwise, as you will get the best beverages from Mexico, Canada, and Germany first.
- Seating Preferences for Illuminations
This all comes down to personal preference, but there are two locations that I prefer when viewing the evening fireworks. If it’s a nice evening, try to view them from the Rose and Crown Pub, great fish & chips and beer and a pretty decent view. For the evenings where the weather is questionable, try sitting near one of the gift shops at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World. These are especially nice if it starts to rain or storm, you can duck inside from the elements. They also are a great place for snacks before the show starts.
- Alternate Ideas After Illuminations
If you don’t like being herded like cattle out of the park, you have a couple of alternatives. I actually prefer to walk the bridge over to the Boardwalk. Most of the evening activities are offered for those returning to their resorts. If you are not completely exhausted, you could catch a bus to Downtown Disney from Boardwalk to finish off your evening. Transportation is provided from Downtown Disney back to your resort.
- Getting From Point A to Point B
I would highly recommend wearing your most comfortable walking or running shoes. You will do a tremendous amount of walking around the World Showcase. The one and only way to travel from on side of the showcase to the other would be by boat. Just hop on the boat from World Showcase Lagoon to The American Pavilion. Be sure to check out the American Adventure, its one of my favorite attractions at World Showcase.
Key Attractions at EPCOT
- Maelstrom -Norway
- Test Track
- The American Adventure
- Living With The Lands
Events at EPCOT
- International Food and Wine Festival (Sept – Nov)
- International Flower and Garden Festival (Mar-May)
Check in next week for one of my favorite theme parks Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We will take a look at the easiest way to navigate through this one of a kind theme park.
Have A Magical Week Everyone! *O*
Miller passed away today (Tuesday) at her home in Napa, California from complications of a fall in September.
Miller was born December 18th, 1933 in Los Angeles to Walter & Lillian Disney. The next day, the Los Angeles Times declared in an article, “Mickey Mouse has a daughter.”
Diane Disney Miller also founded the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in 2009 in San Fransisco’s Presidio, as a tribute to her family’s legacy.
In the theme parks, Thanksgiving specials are on the menu for lunch and dinner:
- At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Tusker House Restaurant is offering lunch and dinner feasts.
- At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, both 50’s Prime Time Café and Hollywood & Vine will include traditional Thanksgiving fare for lunch and dinner.
- Epcot World Showcase restaurants include Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway, Biergarten Restaurantin Germany, Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada and Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in the United Kingdom has a Thanksgiving lunch and dinner. In Future World, Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas with Nemo & Friends is offering lunch and dinner feasts, and Sunshine Seasons is offering a special Thanksgiving menu throughout the day. The Italy Pavilion will also have special selections at Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria.
- In Magic Kingdom Park, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is including Thanksgiving fare with their regular lunch and dinner options. And, of course, Liberty Tree Tavern will have a traditional Thanksgiving offering!
- At Downtown Disney, Raglan Road will have a special Thanksgiving menu of Bunratty Mead glazed Turkey with butter whipped potatoes, apple, sage and sweet onion stuffing, braised Brussels sprouts, cranberry & plum chutney and traditional gravy for $27.95. This menu is available from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on November 28. Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello, and Wolfgang Puck Grand Café will also offer special prix fixe menus.
In the resorts, special dining for Thanksgiving Day is planned at:
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground — Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving Feast at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ show located at the Fort Wilderness Pavilion. Four show times: noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. (Trail’s End Restaurant is also offering lunch and dinner options.)
- Disney’s All-Star Resorts — Intermission Food Court and World Premiere Food Court (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — Jiko – The Cooking Place (dinner), Sanaa (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s BoardWalk — Flying Fish Café, Kouzzina by Cat Cora (dinner).
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort — Shutters at Old Port Royale (dinner).
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort — California Grill, Chef Mickey’s (Dinner); The Wave … of American Flavors(lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort — Cítricos has three seatings for dinner; Grand Floridian Café (lunch and dinner), Narcoossee’s (dinner).
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort — Olivia’s Café (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort — ‘Ohana (Dinner), Kona Café (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Boatwright’s Dining Hall (dinner).
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa — The Turf Club Bar and Grill (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge — Artist Point (dinner), Whispering Canyon Café (lunch and dinner).
- Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts — Cape May Café (dinner), Captain’s Grille (lunch and dinner),Yachtsman Steakhouse (dinner).
For Christmas Day, there’s everything from Mickey’s Christmas Feast at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to a prixe fixe at Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk.
In the theme parks:
- At Epcot, Biergarten Restaurant at the Germany Pavilion will plus up the buffet with special holiday dishes, and Le Cellier Steakhouse is offering a special menu.
- At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tusker House Restaurant will have Christmas specials on the buffet.
- At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Hollywood & Vine will have Christmas lunch and two dinner seatings with carved turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, root beer glazed butternut squash, spiced pumpkin mousse on the buffet.
- In Magic Kingdom Park, The Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland will offer Christmas Day dinner, and Tangaroa Terrace and Tortuga Tavern will feature a special holiday dinner buffet.
- At Downtown Disney, Fulton’s Crab House and Portobello will have a holiday prix fixe offering.
In the resorts:
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground — Mickey’s Backyard Christmas Day Feast at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ show located at the Fort Wilderness Pavilion. Two shows at 5 and 7 p.m. will offer all the holiday classics. (Trail’s End Restaurant is also offering lunch and dinner options.)
- Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – Cape May Café will be serving hand-carved smoked ham with winter pineapple chutney and turkey with stuffing. Captain’s Grille will offer a holiday buffet. Yachtsman Steakhouse will feature a special menu.
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort – The Wave … of American Flavors will offer a special menu. And Chef Mickey’s will offer a Christmas Day brunch.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – Cítricos will have two seatings at 5 and 7:30 p.m. as well as special Christmas Day seating in the private Chef’s Domain, offering a four-course menu.
- Disney’s Boardwalk – Flying Fish Cafe will feature a prixe fixe four-course menu.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort – Whispering Canyon Café will offer an all-you-care-to-eat holiday dinner with turkey, ham, beef strip loin, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread and cranberry sauce.
Additional information and dining reservations can be made by visiting www.disneyworld.com/dine or calling 407-WDW-DINE (3463).