Disney Parks Photo Project

Disney Parks Photo Project

Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you Disney’s newest photography blog, “The Looking Glass”. I enjoy photography and I was really excited when I discovered that Disney had recently launched this blog. The idea of the blog is to “capture the idea of the theme parks” from a new and unique perspective. Disney has hired seven different photographers to perform this task and so far they have been doing a great job. The pictures are really unique and beautiful and I highly recommend that you check it out.

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Each fall, for the past several years Epcot has hosted the International Food and Wine Festival in the World Showcase. While Epcot is well known for its culturally diverse eateries, what makes the International Food and Wine Festival different is that it not only features the 11 countries that make up the World Showcase, but also highlights almost 30 other countries including Greece, Belgium, South Africa, and Australia. During the festival small marketplaces are set up around the World Showcase Lagoon and serve traditional food and wine from the country which they are representing. For example a popular dish at South Africa market is a traditional seared beef filet with smashed sweet potatoes and Braai sauce.

Furthermore, the festival also hosts a numerous amount of other activities, such as culinary demonstrations, wine and beverage seminars, and the Eat to the Beat concert series.

If you ever get the chance I definitely recommend visiting Disney during the International Food and Wine Festival. It is a great way to experience the tastes of many cultures in one place.

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

What to Wear to Disney World

When visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland, it is important to dress comfortably. After all, odds are that you will be on your feet for several hours during the day, often carrying purchases or other items. Also, during the summer, the heat can be overwhelming. It is important to dress comfortably and practically. Although it can be tempting to wear a cute outfit that looks good in pictures, I can guarantee that you will regret that choice after a few hours in the parks.

What to Wear to Disney during the Winter

This look above is a perfect outfit to wear when visiting Disney World during late fall or winter. Although it varies depending on the year, the weather in Florida is pretty mild during the winter. Last year, I vacationed at Disney World during the Christmas season. I wore an outfit similar to the one shown above every day and I was very comfortable. Because the temperature may change depending on the time of day, it is important to wear light layers. While, during the day, the temperature is usually in the high 60’s or 70’s, it can drop to the 50’s or even lower during the evening. I like to bring a light jacket or sweater that is easy to roll up and stuff in a bag. If you choose to bring a bulky jacket, it can be difficult to store it during the day. Although many people do wear shorts during the winter, I feel very comfortable in jeans both during the day and night. I like to wear a light tank top or t-shirt during the day in case of warmer weather. Like always, it is important to wear comfortable shoes! Do not wear shoes that you have not broken in yet. Also, it can be nice to insert shoe pads into the soles of your tennis shoes to provide extra support and comfort. This backpack is a perfect example of a bag to bring to Disney World. I personally like to use a small backpack, as it evenly distributes the weight among both shoulders. However, I have also used across-the-body bags and those work well too, but generally don’t have a lot of room for storage. I like to bring sunscreen, a water bottle, a few protein bars, a jacket, and bandaids with me in the park along with a camera, phone, and wallet. You need a fairly roomy bag to accommodate for all of those items, yet you still want it to be small enough so that it doesn’t get too heavy.
What to Wear to Disney during the Summer
The outfit above is a great example of what to wear to Disney World during the summer months. Especially in June, July, and August it can get incredibly hot during the day! The heat wears you out, so it is important to wear breathable clothing to cool you off. This backpack, like the one shown above, is a small, open bag that will be perfect to store extra water bottles to keep cool and hydrated. Also, this tank top is loose and breathable, perfect for a hot summer day. I wouldn’t recommend wearing anything other than shorts to Disney during the summer. It’s just too hot to wear long pants! Although I often wear comfortable sneakers in the parks, I like to wear flip flops during the summer. However, it is important to find flip flops that are made of a soft material with wide straps. Otherwise, small, thin straps tend to cut into the skin after walking all day and can be very uncomfortable. Although it is sometimes nice to have a light jacket at night, I usually don’t bring one with me during the summer time. It generally does not get cold enough so that it would be necessary.
I hope that you found the above article helpful! Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace is a great choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner if you or someone in your family loves Winnie the Pooh. The Crystal Palace is a buffet style restaurant in the Magic Kingdom located right off Main Street USA near the entrance to Adventureland. While you eat Pooh and his friends (Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore) come and visit your table. My family and I usually like to eat here for lunch as it is a good way to relax for an hour or so after being in the park all morning.

Tigger stops by for a hug!

Breakfast includes traditional American dishes such as pastries, fresh fruit, omelets, and assorted cereals. Lunch and dinner typically includes chicken, salmon, carved steak, as well as chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and pizza for the kids. Ice cream, cookies, and other sweets are served at the the dessert bar. Like all character dining experiences, The Crystal Palace is a great way to meet characters without waiting in long lines. Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore all come right to your table while you are eating and this can be a very memorable experience for kids and adults alike. This restaurant tends to be popular so I recommend getting an Advance Dining Reservation if you and your family wants to eat here.

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

For most of the year the weather in Disney World can get extremely hot. After walking for hours a great way to take a break from the heat and give your feet a rest is stopping for one of my favorite treats, ice cream! Thankfully there are numerous places throughout the parks that serve a variety of different ice cream.

Ice Cream Carts – Ice cream carts can be found in all of the parks. They typically serve the famous Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches. The carts also serve other ice cream options such as fruit popsicles.

You can never go wrong with a Mickey Ice Cream Bar!

Magic Kingdom

1) Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – This old fashioned ice cream parlor located on Mainstreet USA is a great choice for the whole family. The parlor is famous for its delicious hand-dipped cones and waffle cone sundaes. Be aware that the parlor can get crowded as the day goes on as many people like to stop here on their way out of the Magic Kingdom.

2) Storybook Treats – Storybook Treats in Fantasyland is famous for its ice cream sundaes. Sundaes served here include hot fudge cookie sundaes and the popular strawberry shortcake sundae. If you’re not craving a sundae the shop also serves milkshakes, ice cream floats, and soft serve ice cream.

3) Cheshire Café – The Cheshire Café is a great stop if you’re looking for a cool slushie. Be sure to try the raspberry lemonade slushie if you pass by the Cheshire while you’re in Fantasyland.

4) Aloha Island – Located in Adventureland, Aloha Isle is famous for the Dole Whip, a pineapple soft serve-like ice cream. The stand also serves vanilla, chocolate, and orange soft serve ice cream as well as pineapple and root beer floats. The line for this stand tends to be long as it is the only place in the park where you can purchase a Dole Whip.

5) Sunshine Tree Terrace – This quick service restaurant is famous for its citrous specialties such as the Citrus Swirl and Orange Slush. Found in Adventureland the Tree Terrace also serves classic vanilla and chocolate soft serve.

6) Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies – Located in Tomorrowland this shop offers soft serve ice cream and smoothies as well ice cream floats and sundaes.

Epcot

1) Fountain View Ice Cream – This indoor ice cream shop located in Future World is a great place to sit and cool off. The shop serves Edy’s  Ice Cream as well as other tasty snacks.

2) Africa Coolpost – Found in between the Germany and China Pavilions the Africa Coolpost offers soft serve ice cream as well as other refreshing beverages like lemonade slushies.

Hollywood Studios

1) Hollywood Scoops – Hollywood Scoops can be found on Sunset Boulevard near the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The restaurant serves ice cream sandwiches and sundaes. Different flavors of ice cream are also served in your choice of a hand-dipped cone or cup.

2) Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream – This kiosk shaped like a Dinosaur serves soft serve ice cream as well as Mickey shaped ice cream bars. You can find Gertie’s on Echo Lake.

Animal Kingdom

1) Tamu Tamu Refreshments – Treat yourself to a milkshake and burger at this stand, located in Africa. Ice cream, floats, sundaes, and fruit smoothies are also served here.

Stopping for ice cream is a great way to give yourself a break while you’re at the parks. Ice cream can get messy especially if you have young children so make sure you have napkins (you might also want to get your camera ready for a memorable ice cream photo op)! What’s you favorite ice cream to cool off with on a hot day at the parks?

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

See Your Favorite Characters on the Big Stage

The are many opportunities to see your favorite characters in the parks. There are meet and greets and character dining experiences for all guests. Another great way to see your favorite characters is in the many shows and musicals that the parks offer.

Magic Kingdom

1) Mickey’s PhilharMagic – This movie is a great choice for the whole family especially if you want to cool off for while. This 3-D film features Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and takes you on a fun-filled trip through some of your favorite Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. This film, located in Fantasyland, is about 12 minutes long and runs throughout the day.

2) Dream-Along with Mickey – This show runs throughout the day in front of Cinderella’s Castle. The show celebrates the magic of dreams and is great for younger children. This show also features many characters like Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella, Snow White, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook. Make sure to check your Times Guide to see what times this show will be playing.

3) Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial – Learn how to be a pirate from the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow. This show invites children to take the stage with Captain Jack as he teaches them how to be a pirate. The show runs throughout the day and can be a very memorable experience for young kids. This show is located in Adventureland and runs at numerous times throughout the day.

Captain Jack Sparrow teaches young children how to be a pirate.

Captain Jack Sparrow

4) Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor – This interactive show located in Tomorrowland invites you to help Mike Wazowski power the city of Monstropolis with your laughter. This is a great show for both kids and adults and is sure to make you laugh. The show is about 15 minutes and runs continuously throughout the day.

5) Country Bear Jamboree – This 20 minute show located in Frontierland is a great show if you need to relax for a few minutes. This show features the Country Bears singing some your favorite classic country songs.

Join these singing bears and their friends in the Country Bear Jamboree!

EPCOT

1) Turtle Talk with Crush – This is show is located in the Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion and invites children to have a fun-filled discussion with Crush from Finding Nemo. Because the show revolves around your questions every show is different. Even if you’re traveling without kids this is a great show to sit in on as it is very cute and entertaining. The show is about 15 minutes long and runs throughout the day.

2) Circle of Life – This show features Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa, from The Lion King and teaches children and adults alike about human impacts on the environment. This attraction is located in the The Land Pavilion and is about 20 minutes long, running continuously throughout the day.

Hollywood Studios

1) Fantasmic – Fantasmic is a great way to see many of your favorite characters. This 25-minute fireworks and water show takes you into the imagination of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This show is only performed on select nights so check your Times Guide to see when it will be playing. Furthermore this show is extremely popular so I recommend getting to the theater, located on Sunset Boulevard, early if you want to find a good seat.

2) Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – This show is about 30 minutes long and shows you how Hollywood creates its amazing car stunts. This is a fun action packed show that is great for the whole family. Be sure to be on the lookout for Lightening McQueen who likes to make an appearance during this show. This show runs a few times each day at the Backlot so be sure to check your Times Guide to see when it will be playing while you are there.

Cars perform many stunts during this action packed show!

Lights, Motor, Action shows the audience how they safely use fire when making movies.

3) Beauty and the Beast – This Broadway-style show tells the story of the beloved Disney Classic, Beauty and the Beast.  This live show is about 20 minutes long and features your favorite songs from this beloved Disney movie. It usually runs a few times each day so check your Times Guide to see which performance time works best for you. The theater is located on Sunset Boulevard near the Tower of Terror.

4) Disney Junior – Located in the Animation Courtyard, this show is great for young children. The show invites children to jump, dance, and sing along with some of their favorite characters from Disney Junior television shows like Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Little Einsteins, and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Showtimes for this attraction can vary so be sure to check your Times Guide if this is something you want to see.

5) Voyage of the Little Mermaid – One of my favorite shows, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid allows you to relive the Disney Classic through colorful puppets, live performers, special effects and movie clips. The show is about 15 minutes long and runs continuously throughout the day.

6) Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy – Kids ages 4-12 are invited to learn how to use the Force from a Jedi Master. As they train to become Jedi Knights, children will pledge the sacred Jedi-Oath and learn how to use a lightsaber. At the end of this 30 minute show the participating children get to battle Darth Vader. This show runs at various times throughout the day so check your Times Guide to see when it will be running when you are in the park. The show only allows about 15 children to participate during each show, so if you have a child who wants to participate you must get their early and your child will have to wait in line. Cast members entertain children with games while they wait.

Junior Jedi’s learn the art of the lightsaber.

Younger brother John battles Darth Vader!

7) Muppet Vision 3-D – Muppet-Vision 3-D is fun-filled comedy featuring your favorite Muppets including Kermit the Frog and Ms. piggy. This movie is located in the Backlot and has continuous 20 minute showings throughout the day.

Animal Kingdom

1) Festival of the Lion King – The Festival of the Lion King is one my favorite shows in the parks. The show is a high-energy live show featuring your favorite characters from The Lion King. This is a show for the whole family and great show to watch if you need to sit down and cool off. The show is located in an indoor theater in Camp Minnie Mickey and is approximately 30 minutes long. Check your Times Guide to see what times this show will playing at.

Simba greets guests in The Festival of the Lion King

2) Finding Nemo the Musical – Take a trip under the sea and visit Nemo and all of his friends. This performance is approximately 30 minutes long and uses large puppets and catchy songs to help tell the story Finding Nemo. The play is performed in an indoor theater located in Dinoland USA. Check your Times Guide to see what times this musical is showing.

3) It’s Tough to be a Bug – This 3-D movie is located in the Tree of Life and runs continuously throughout the day. The show is approximately 10 minutes long and invites guests to become honorary bugs as Flick and his friends from A Bugs Life show you what its like to be a bug.

Have a Magical Day!

xoxo – Michaela

Walt Disney + George Lucas = Disney’s Magical Star Wars Weekend

Walt Disney + George Lucas = Disney’s Magical Star Wars Weekend

Walt Disney + George Lucas = Disney's Magical Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend is taking place right now in Disney World! During this spectacular event, you can get an autograph from one of your favorite Star Wars characters, learn how to be a Jedi, and party at a fun, Star Wars themed event! To get specific details about the event, check out the Disney website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios/special-events/star-wars-weekend/

To experience Star Wars fun any time of the year, be sure to ride Star Tours! In this 3-D simulation ride, you fly through the galaxy as you try to keep the rebel spy housed in your ship safe so that you can defeat Darth Vader! Also, the Jedi Training Academy is a regular experience in Hollywood Studios. Taking place on the left side of Star Tours, kids ages 4-12 can take part in a 30-minute training session with Jedi Masters. Also, Princess Leia can sometimes be seen outside Tatooine Traders. Make sure you get a picture with her! For more information about Hollywood Studios, check out our previous posts: “You’re a Star: Experiencing Hollywood Studios” and “Lights, Camera, Action: Special Experiences in Hollywood Studios”. May the force be with you! ❤ Jessica

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If you are planning a Disney vacation in the near future, be sure to check out these tips that will help you plan your Epcot visit! Please comment on the post if you have any questions or any topic requests for future blog posts.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Disney

Epcot is my favorite park because there are so many things to explore! The list below compiles only a few of my favorite special experiences in Epcot.

1. Turtle Talk with Crush, located in The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, is a wonderful interactive experience for young children. As an adult, I marvel over the technology needed to make this attraction possible! Young children are invited to sit on a special patch of carpet in the front of the room while benches are available for older visitors to watch. There is a large screen in the front of the room, depicting an underwater scene. Crush, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, appears onscreen and begins to interact with the kids. Crush is able to answer specific questions from the children and even makes jokes about things that are happening in the room! This attraction is both a novelty experience for…

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