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

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

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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Check out the new changes to the fast pass system!

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Disney

For the milestone first blog post, I thought that it would be beneficial to provide a quick overview of how to navigate Walt Disney World efficiently. These tips will make your experience more enjoyable and can save you hours of wait time!

1. If possible, you should always stay in a Disney World Resort hotel. Not only are the themes of each resort fun and kid-friendly, but the prices are reasonable and resorts are conveniently located to the four main sections of the park. If you stay at a Disney Resort, you are able to attend the parks during “Extra Magic Hours.” In these special times, always before the park opens or after the parks closes for regular visitors, only the residents of the Disney Hotels are allowed in the park. This eliminates the overwhelming crowds and allows you to enjoy the park sans unbearable wait times.

2. Always…

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Fantasmic! Part 1

Fantasmic!, located in Hollywood Studios, is an exciting nighttime show that is fun for visitors of all ages! Experience pyrotechnics, fountains, acrobatics, scenes from your favorite Disney movies, and all of your favorite Disney characters as you help Mickey overcome the forces of evil and restore magic to the kingdom!

Make Your Memories: Photo Opportunities in the Parks

One of the best things about a Disney vacation is that you get to make memories with your friends or family that will last a lifetime! To preserve these memories, make sure you take pictures to capture the fun times you had in the parks. In this post, I will name a few of my favorite spots in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot to create a memorable family picture and to make a memory of the Disney magic!

Magic Kingdom

  • As you approach Cinderella’s castle from behind, take a path to the right. You will find Cinderella’s fountain, a beautiful spot for a photo opportunity! The fountain includes a bronze-like sculpture of Cinderella holding a bird. If you move directly in front of the statue, crouch down a little bit and look up, you will see a crown on Cinderella’s head! At any other angle, the crown is simply part of decorative painting behind the sculpture, but at the right angle, Cinderella becomes a princess!
  • Are you the next great ruler? Find out by trying the Sword in the Stone in Fantasyland outside the carousel. This photo opportunity appeals to boys as well as girls, something that can be difficult to find in the land of Cinderella’s Castle! For more boy-friendly photo spots, check out Tomorrowland or Frontierland!
  • When you approach the castle from the front of the park, you will see a small bridge on your left side that leads to the entrance of Adventureland. Midway through this bridge, you will have a beautiful, unimpeded view of the castle that is perfect for pictures! You will not have to worry about the stage or other visitors disrupting the view! This is particularly beautiful at night when the castle is changing colors.

Epcot

  • Near the Italy Pavilion, there is a small, curved bridge on the path between the pavilions and the lake. If you stand on this bridge, you can get a great picture of your family with the World Showcase in the background!
  • If you enter the Mexico Pavilion, you will find a stall in the ‘street’ that sells large, colorful sombreros. If you put these on, this makes for a fun, goofy, family photo!
  • Keeping with the hat theme, if you stand in front of the arch in the China Pavilion, you will see a stall that sells the conical Asian hats. You can put these on and stand in front of the large arch for a great family photo that demonstrates the change in traditions throughout the countries when compared to the photo from Mexico.

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  • In both the England and Canada Pavilions, you can find the red phone booths that are traditional props in the pictures of world travelers! These phone booths are actually functional and one of them even holds a secret clue in the Kim Possible Adventure!

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  • In Morocco, there is a beautiful fountain in front of the pavilion. I like to sit on the fountain to take a great group photo! Also, the orange flowers in this pavilion smell great!

Of course, these are only a few of the very many wonderful photo opportunities in Disney World! It is such a magical place, every moment captured is a beautiful memory! To check out the places where you can get pictures with your favorite characters, read our previous post. Keep reading to find out more of my favorite photo spots in the rest of the parks. What are some of your favorite photo spots? Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica

Mickey Waffles: Magical Cuisine

Mickey waffles are one of my favorite foods offered in Disney World. They can be purchased at all of the Disney Resorts and at most restaurants in the parks that serve breakfast. They come with either bacon or strawberry preserves, but I usually forgo both for extra syrup and butter! Mickey waffles are both a great start to a day in the parks and a way to bring the magic of Disney into your home!

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Whenever I miss Disney World, nothing cheers me up like making a batch of Mickey waffles! Michaela and I own a Disney character waffle iron which makes six mini waffles in the shapes of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy. We make them several times a week! They’re delicious!

What do you do to bring Disney magic into your home? Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica