Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Here, There be Dragons......

 In news that is sweeping the Disney fan base by storm, it seems as through dragons are headed to New Fantasyland.  On the tumblr, our dragon obsessed friend Gary (who happens to write for the Disney Parks blog as well) has been posting some pretty interesting pictures and video.  These seem to suggest that the current location of New Fantasyland was once home to a dragon.  Now, apparently, that dragon may be responsible for some interesting noises and fire coming from the areas around New Fantasyland.

Hmm....a dragon egg on Disney property? (Image from

I have to admit that, even though the suspense is killing me, I am truly enjoying this little campaign Disney has going on here.  Its creative and much more fun than just posting on the blog "Bam, we have a dragon!"  But I can't help but wonder just what Disney has up their sleeves with this.  I'm going to share a few theories with you, and I'd love to know what  you all think, too!

New Nighttime Spectacular?

The flying dragon Disney was testing in California (image property of Tammy Zaninovich)
Despite Disney's best efforts to convince us otherwise, we can believe with a reasonable amount of certainty that the dragon in question will be a version of the flying dragon Disney was testing in California a few months ago.  Looking at the design, I can't imagine Disney would use this during the day.  That parachute would ruin the magic in broad daylight.  This leads me to believe that the dragon's place will be in a new nighttime show, possibly called Believe in Fantasy (explaining the title of the tumblr page).  Disney has a press event scheduled on December 7th, the day after the grand opening of New Fantasyland, and I think its very possible that a replacement for Wishes! could be announced at this event.

One Time Event?

The other, more upsetting but perhaps also more likely possibility, is that the dragon will make a one time appearance, either at the grand opening of New Fantasyland or at the press release on the 7th.  While this certainly seems possible from a budgeting standpoint (a new nighttime spectacular would be costly), I can't imagine Disney putting this much PR effort into something that very few people would actually see in person.  The hype around this seems too big to be a one time thing.

Another Ride We Don't Know About?

This one is probably the least likely of the theories being discussed on a number of fan websites, but some have suggested that maybe Disney has been keeping a huge secret from everyone.  Maybe the dragon in question isn't the flying creature we saw before, but part of a new experience that Disney has been able to keep a secret from all of us.  It wouldn't be the first time Disney has had us fooled until the last minute (Avatar, Lucasfilms).  But where would such an experience go?  And, with no visible work on such construction, when would it be open?

Those are some of the theories on the possible identity and use of the mysterious dragon of New Fantasyland.  What are your theories?  Are you intrigued by the new campaign?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trip Planning Tip, Disney Dining Plan Edition: Last Minute Reservations

Well, free dining plan season is almost upon us.  Have you booked a free dining plan?  Are you having trouble filling up some of your reservations?  Try some of these spots, they usually have reservations available at the last minute (which does not speak negatively about the food!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seeing "the World" Tip 3.5: Epcot Really is for Kids, Part 2

Nighttime at the World Showcase

Welcome back to Seeing "the World."  In the last entry, we talked about kid friendly activities in the Future World half of Epcot.  This time, we're covering The World Showcase, including looks at the Agent P World Showcase Adventure, the Duffy the Disney Bear Kidcot activity, and the World Showcase Passport activity.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Around the Disneyverse Weekly Blog Roundup

I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.!

This week, the Disneyverse has given us a look into the past of Epcot, the future of the Magic Kingdom, and a little bit of everything in between.  See for yourself....

  • Ryan Wilson at Main Street Gazette provides us with a look at preview postcards of EPCOT Center
  • Jennifer Fickley-Baker at the Disney Parks Blog gives us an early preview of Gaston's arrival in New Fantasyland
  • AJ at The Disney Food Blog gives us a new idea for a snack at Cookes of Dublin
  • Not Disney Parks, but This Happy Place continues their look at "EndEARing and Underrated" Disney films with a look at A Goofy Movie  (If you have time, check out all of the EndEARing and Underrated entries on this blog, they're fantastic)
  • Allears gives us a look at some amazing Disney castle artwork currently on display at Disneyland (I think I want it all)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trip Planning Tip: Reservations STRONGLY Recommended

Apologies for the super long delay (again) my loyal readers, but I'm back!  Hopefully more permanantly this time.....

When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, it is important to give some thought to dining reservations.  Do you plan on eating at any of the restaurants on property?  If so, dining reservations can be made as early as 180 days in advance (don't worry, you can cancel up to 48 hours prior at almost all restaurants without penalty).  I know what you might be thinking, 180 days is a long way out to be planning where you're going to eat.  But for some restaurants, if you don't call the first day you can, you may as well forget about getting a reservation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seeing "the World" Tip #3: Epcot Really is for Kids! (Part 1 - Future World)

The 21st Century Begins.....
Epcot...Walt Disney World's second theme park opened on October 1, 1982, exactly 11 years after the Magic Kingdom first opened its gates.  Since then, the park has been beloved by many adults, but has never replaced the Magic Kingdom as the most popular Walt Disney World park.  Why?  Since its opening all those years ago, the park has had a reputation of being too educational and too boring for children.  In fact, when the park first opened, management was insistent that there be no meet and greets with Disney characters in the park. That didn't last long, but still, Walt Disney World employees had a hard time convincing parents that the park would be fun for children.  Which brings us to the Epcot of today.  Many changes have been made to the park to make it more "kid friendly."  I'm going to be your tour guide for these changes, with the hope that they will help you plan some activities for your children at Epcot.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mousellaneous Monday: What Would You do for a Disney Fairytale Wedding?

The Disney Weddigng Pavillion, the dream of future princesses everywhere.
Disney Fairytale Weddings are, in a word, beautiful.  Any female Walt Disney World lover has probably at least considered a Walt Disney World wedding at some point in her life, even if they know it won't be a reality (myself included).  Disney Fairytale Weddings are offered at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland.  They are not currently offered at Disneyland Paris, as it is not a commonly requested thing among Parisians, or at Hong Kong Disneyland.  Each location has its own set of rules regarding spending, photography, park rental and other such details.  However, at Tokyo Disneyland, the rules go even further.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bringing Home the Magic: The Guide to Disney Trading

In today's Bringing Home the Magic, I'll be giving you a guide to Disney Trading.  Now, if I had written this article four years ago, it would have been called "The Guide to Disney Pin Trading".  However, with the recent introduction of Vinylmations, that title is no longer appropriate.  Here, I will give you my beginners tips for trading both pins and Vinylmations.

Seeing "the World" Tip #2: Free and Inexpensive Souvenirs

Free....  That's not often a word you see in Walt Disney World.  And after you've spent all of that money on your vacation, sometimes shelling out more money for souvenirs can be tough to do.  Fear not, my trusty blog readers.  I'm here to help.  In this edition of Seeing "the World," we will be talking about some of the well-known, and lesser know, free and inexpensive Walt Disney World souvenirs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bringing Home the Magic: Kingdom Keepers

Hi everyone!  I apologize for the long break between posts, but I'm back, with an all new Bringing Home the Magic.  Today, I'm going to review Kingdom Keepers, a book series by Ridley Pearson.  The books are about a group of five teenagers as they go through the daily troubles of school, first crushes, and bullies.  Oh, and at night they get transported into the Walt Disney World theme parks as holograms who have to battle some of the fiercest Disney villians ever created.  Did that get your attention back?  Good.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why Animal Kingdom May Never Have a Dark Ride

Recently, I have been watching a lot of Disney movies.  Most of them have been the ones I haven't seen since I was a child.  I must say, some of the films take on whole new meanings when you watch them with a slightly older brain.

A great example of what I'm talking about is Tarzan.  (spoiler alert)  In addition to noticing a few rather macabre things that somehow escaped me when I last watched the film at least ten years ago (most notably the dead bodies of Tarzan's parents and the shadow of Clayton's body after he accidently hangs himself), I have also realized something that may upset many Disney fans I have encountered on fan discussion boards.  Tarzan (and Bambi, and Brother Bear) does not lend itself to a Disney dark ride. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

What Keeps Me Going Back

I admit it.  I'm a Walt Disney World junkie.  In my life, I've been to Walt Disney World at least thirty times.  I've done every single ride, nearly every show, and seen nearly every character there is to see.  Some of you might be thinking to yourself "Why on earth would you keep going back?"  Well, I can sum that up in one simple word: magic.  From the characters going out of their way to make a child feel special, to cast members doing little things for people that just make me smile, the magic that Walt Disney World has just pulls me in.  Every single time I go, I meet at least one cast member who makes an impression on me.  I hope you'll bear with me as I share a few of those stories here.

Bert in his sweep outfit (the best way for Bert to be)
My first trip to Walt Disney World was when I was young enough to still know that Mickey Mouse had walked right out of the cartoons to meet me.  So, you can imagine my joy when Bert asked me if I would like to help him lead a parade through Fantasyland (how I wish they would still do this, it was a lovely experience).  After the parade, Bert and I sat and just talked.  He asked me about my favorite rides, my favorite characters, anything he could think of.  Then he asked for my autograph book, and he wrote me a personalized note calling me the best parade partner he'd ever had.  He then took me to the front of the line for Mary Poppins and Mr. Penguin and introduced me to them both as his personal friend.  As you can imagine, Bert still holds a place in my heart to this day.

That same trip, we found Esmerelda and Phoebus in the France pavillion at Epcot.  At the time, Esmerelda was one of my favorite characters, so I was, of course, over the moon to meet her in person.  Not only that, but we were the only people around, so they spent extra time talking to me.  Then, a band came out.  Well, as soon as they started playing, Esmerelda took my hand and we danced together right there in the middle of France. 

As you can probably tell, that first trip made quite the impression on me.  But the magic continues, even now that I'm older.  One trip, a supervisor gave me a free pin, for no reason at all.  Scoop Sanderson gave me a pin two trips ago when I told him I had (regretably) left my pin collection at home.  And, perhaps the most special to me, is a character handler named Chip, who helped me finally meet Terrence in Pixie Hollow after who knows how many times standing in line.  Not only that, but he told Terrence we were special friends, so Terrence made a huge deal out of me and my family.  You can't top memories like that.

So, whenever people give me the crazy stare when I say I'm going back again, I just smile and move on.  I know its the magic that keeps me going back.  And as long as there's magic, Walt Disney World is where you'll find me.

Do you have a magical memory of your own?  Feel free to share it in the comments!

May the Fourth Be With You! A Look at Her Universe (SWW)

As many of you know, today is National Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you.  Get it?).  With that in mind, I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about Her Universe.  Her Universe is an amazing line of Star Wars (and now, SyFy Channel) merchandise, all for women.  Female geeks rejoice!  Even better, the line was started by Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ashoka Tano on The Clone Wars.

I know this is probably the point in this post where you may be saying "Ok, but what does this have to do with Walt Disney World?"  Well, I'll tell you.  Her Universe merchandise, which is typically only available online, will be available at Star Wars Weekends this year!  Her Universe was also available at last years Star Wars Weekends.  I was so glad I bought my Padme Nouveau shirt (my favorite of my many Star Wars shirts) during week 3, because nearly everything was gone by week 4.  I saw Ashley wearing it at the 2009 Star Wars Weekends and was determined to own it.
Padme Nouveau Tee (from
The Her Universe line extends well beyond T-shirts.  In fact, Ashley announced several new products today (in honor of May the 4th), including a new racer back tanktop and an adorable hoodie fit for a certain princess.  I'm also happy to let you know that at least some of these new items will be available at Star Wars Weekends this year.
Princess Leia Hoodie (from Her Universe Official Fan Page on

One of the things I love about Her Universe is that it really focuses on celebrating the female characters in the Star Wars universe.  Before Her Universe, the last Padme shirt I saw was from when  The Phantom Menace came out (1999).  Her Universe has two shirts, a pair of earrings, and a charm for a charm bracelet all devoted to her.  That's great for female fans who love her.

Her Universe is a great option for female Star Wars fans who are sick of shoping in the men's section to get their geek aparrel.  Ladies, if you are going to Star Wars Weekends this year, do yourselves a favor and check out Her Universe at the merchandise tent.  I don't think you'll be sorry.

For more information about the line, visit

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Disney Special Events: Star Wars Weekends, Episode II

In my last Star Wars Weekends post, I discussed the Celebrity Motorcade, autograph sessions, and character meet and greets.  In this post, I'll be focusing on the other special shows that take place during Star Wars Weekends.

Stars of the Saga

Stars of the Saga happens every day during all four Star Wars Weekends.  During the event, which takes place in the Theater of the Stars (for those of you who remember, it is the theater where the Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame stage shows used to be.  For those of you who don't, it is near the exit of Muppetvision 3D).  The show starts off each year with a cute skit done by the Stormtroopers, and usually revolves around the year's theme.  Last year, for example, the show was based around the newly reopened Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attraction.  The year before, the show featured Boba Fett for the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. 

May I be excused?  I seem to have....had my arms ripped off....

One of the hosts of Star Wars Weekends will then introduce two of the celebrity guests for the weekend, and they will discuss their work on the Star Wars series and some of their other work.  Sometimes, the host will go into the audience to allow audience members to ask questions.  If you want to have the chance to do this, sit near the end of a row. 

James Arnold Taylor, who will be returning as a SWW host this year.  As you can see, he really got into character.
 During my first Star Wars Weekends, I happened upon this show.  My second Star Wars Weekends, I saw it both weekends I was there.  If you are a big Star Wars fan, the show is definately worth seeing at least once.  This is especially true if any of the celebrities worked on the original trilogy.  Those men and women have so much history with Star Wars and are a joy to listen to. 

Legends of the Force

I saw Legends of the Force for the first time this year at Sar Wars Weekends.  It made me regret ignoring it for the past two years.  This show was awesome.  Hosted by Ashley Eckstein with some help from James Arnold Taylor, the show puts the audience in the sound booth with the incredible voice talents from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.  The show includes quite a bit of audience participation, including the opportunity for two members of the audience to get up on stage with Ashley, James, and the week's visiting Clone Wars voice artist.  Even if you aren't a fan of the series, check out this show!  You will have a much greater appreciation for what voice actors do when it's over.  And the hosts work well together to keep the show light and entertaining.  Ashley and James have such a great energy when they work together, and I sincerely hope that they will return as event hosts again next year, as I love them both dearly.

James Arnold Taylor, Nika Futterman (Asajj Ventress) and Ashley Eckstein at Legends of the Force

Jedi Training Academy

During Star Wars Weekends, the Jedi Training Academy is extremely busy and difficult to get into.  If you want your child to have a chance to battle a famous Star Wars villian, sign them up first thing in the morning.  Sign up locations change from year to year, so ask a cast member when you arrive.

Come to the Dark Side....We have cookies.  Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper crash the Jedi Training Academy
Because of the overwhelming popularity of this show during Star Wars Weekends, the show accepts more children per show by adding an extra area on the ground near the stage.  Children who are on the ground will fight either Darth Maul or Assajj Ventress from the Clone Wars series.  If they fight Ventress, the Jedi knight character will be replaced by Ashoka Tano.  Children who are on stage will fight Darth Vader.  Please make sure you tell your children that they may not fight Vader, or you may find yourself with an extremely disappointed child afterwards.

If your child really wants to fight Vader, I would suggest going to Hollywood Studios on a weekday during your trip and arriving at the Training Academy stage 60-90 minutes before showtime.  This will give them the best chance of being chosen, and the show goes back to its normal, Darth Vader-only format during the week.

Special Celebrity Guest Shows

Both years that I have been to SWW, at least one celebrity guests has had a special show that they have done.  James Arnold Taylor's show, Obi-Wan and Beyond, is not only funny and heart-warming, but it will really give you an appreciation for what voice actors do.  Taylor is incredibly talented and has done work on more tv shows, video games, and movies than I could possibly list here (but that he will gladly run through in the course of about a minute and a half during his show).  I will be perfectly honest, his story nearly brought tears to my eyes.  He's truly inspirational.  (Full disclosure:  My love for James Arnold Taylor stems not from Star Wars, but from his work as Tidus in Final Fantasy X, and I've loved him more since he signed my SWW bag when I ran into him in the park.)

On weeks that Ray Park (Darth Maul) is in town, he will be doing his show "Visit to the Maul."  I've never actually seen this particular show, but my understanding is that it is a martial arts demonstration show which includes some audience participation (if you want to participate, line up early).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Planning Your Trip Tip: When to Go

So, you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  First of all, congratulations!  Second, I'm here, and more than happy to help!  In Planning Your Trip Tips, I'll be giving you some important planning information, from who to call and when, to how to choose what you want to do while you're there.

The first question on many people's minds is.....When do I want to visit?  Worry not, dear planner.  In this post, I'm going to break down each month by weather, crowd levels, theme park hours, and special events, so you can choose the time of year that's right for you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Konnichi wa, Duffy-san!

Duffy, the Disney Bear, has existed at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks for just over a year now.  There has been an abundance of Duffy themed merchandise, a children's book written about the bear, and even a meet-and-greet with the real-life Duffy.  But, a lot of people don't understand the idea behind the little guy.  He isn't a classic Disney character, and a lot of times he gets a lot of flack for being "another one of Disney's marketing schemes."

I'm not gonna lie.  In a lot of ways, those people are completely right.  Yes, the 20+ outfits available for Duffy at $15-20 an outfit can seem like a bit much, especially since the bear himself costs $30.  However, when one looks at the background of Duffy the Disney Bear, one really begins to see why he isn't such a horrible idea.....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bringing Home the Magic: Kinect Disneyland Adventures

In Bringing Home the Magic, I'll be telling you about different ways that you can continue to explore the Disney Parks after you come home from your trip.  In this installment, we're going to take a virtual trip to Disneyland with Kinect Disneyland Adventures.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disney Dining Review: Cape May Cafe Dinner

Cape May Cafe decor
 Location: Disney's Beach Club Resort (For access, take a bus from any theme park or Downtown Disney, or walk from Epcot by using the International Gateway exit between France and the United Kingdom)

Dining Style:  All-you-can-eat buffet

Fare:  American, mostly seafood

Reservations:  While reservations are always a good idea for any Walt Disney World restaurant, the Cape May Cafe rarely fills to capacity, even in the middle of summer.  It is a good choice for a last minute reservation.

Child-Friendly:  Children will enjoy drawing on the restaurant's paper tablecloths, and many of the desserts are familiar enough for children to enjoy.  However, the restaurant has a very limited children's buffet, and many of the adult food choices may be too adventurous for a young pallate.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hi there!

Hello, and welcome to A View of the (Walt Disney) World.  This site is dedicated to all things Walt Disney World, and occasionally Disneyland.  I'll be sharing pictures, reviews, fun facts and planning tips, as well as whatever else I may think of.  With that in mind, let's get started!

Walt Disney's Main Street Window, Magic Kingdom, WDW
Seeing as Walt Disney was in love with trains (so much so that he had a rideable model train in his backyard), it is only appropriate that Walt's name graces a window above the Main Street train station.  The Main Street windows at Walt Disney World and Disneyland all pay tribute to some of the most important people in the history of the parks.

Fun Facts:
1.  The highest WDW window pays tribute to former Disney CEO Frank Wells.  Wells was an avid mountain climber, and he is also alluded to in Disneyland's Matterhorn attraction.  Look closely for crates labeled "Wells Expedition" the next time you ride!
2.  Fess Parker, TV's Davy Crockett, is the only person to have a window off Main Street.  His is in Frontierland in Disneyland.

Seeing "the World" Tip #1: Say "No" to Autograph Books

I know what you're thinking.....

"Say 'no' to autograph books???  But little Timmy loves seeing the characters."

Yes, but, how often does little Timmy look at that autograph book?  Maybe once, twice over the course of the year (if that often)?  And the rest of the year?  It's sitting around collecting dust.  Exactly.

My suggestion:  Get something a little more creative signed.  I've seen (or done) a lot of these, and I'm sure they get a lot more use than that autograph book.