RM-Russell-Animal-Kingdom

7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

RM-Main-Street-USA-Magic-KingdomEveryone has a style.  I’d be willing to be that in this particular category of Walt Disney World guest, you have a style from which you rarely deviate!  I’m talking movement – how you travel within a Disney park on foot.  I’ve had the opportunity to observe Disney park visitors over the past couple of dozen years and I’ve identified what I like to refer to as….

The 7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

1. Walk OR Talk – If this is you, a multi-tasker you are not.  This type of traveler cannot walk and talk (or eat) and must stop and start repeatedly.  Walk….stop and turn to a particular traveling companion, speak…..resume walking.  No brake lights makes this type of fellow park guest RM-Fantasyland-Crowdone we shouldn’t follow too closely or a collision will most definitely occur!

2. Diagonal Walker – At first these cross-movement specialists seem as if they might be trying to traverse the crowd to reach a specific destination, but no…the diagonal path leads to the very edge of the walkway and then, like a pinball, this vacationer bounces back into the crowd in a new direction back across the path of every other visitor.  This is one of Disney vacationing’s greatest mysteries to me – If you’re a diagonal traveler, please enlighten me – Why must you walk that way?

3. Weavers – These fans of the random zig-zag seem virtually incapable of walking in a straight line from points A to B.  Not to be confused with the Diagonal Walkers, the zig-zag pattern is very narrow and repeats often – most commonly in the RM-Epcot-France-Pavilionvery center of paths and sidewalks.  It seems to me that Weavers are more likely to be pushing a stroller which makes me wonder if a faulty stroller wheel may contribute to this phenomenon.

4. Red Rovers – Remember the semi-violent playground game “Red Rover”?  The premise was to physically band together in an impenetrable straight line – the goal being to remain attached firmly enough to repel attempts by opposing team members to break the line.  The Red Rover style of park crossing involves the same principle:  Walk side by side with friends or family across as much of the walkway as possible, allowing no one to pass between you from either direction.  Oncoming or overtaking foot traffic must not be allowed to pass!  Personally, I find this to be the #1 most annoying type of group walking behavior in Disney parks.  Please don’t tell me if you are a member of this category.RM-Walkers-Walt-Disney-World

5. The Classic Mosey-ers – I admire them as much as I dislike this type of Disney guest.  They care not one whit about getting anywhere in a hurry.  The masters of the mosey walk in a straight line while their heads slowly swivel from side to side, soaking up the atmosphere, taking in all the sights and sounds, living the dream, baby!  My problem is that I always seem to be stuck behind them with a FastPass that’s about to expire.

6. Rear Viewers – This style is so difficult to execute successfully, it may be impossible – but that doesn’t keep plenty of brave souls from trying.  This method of reaching a final destination involves walking backwards to converse with other travel party members, check on offspring, or gesture in the direction from which they are moving away.  Rear viewers have absolutely no idea what they may be walking into!  Probably the most entertaining walkers to watch, these Disney tourists are missing some pretty awesome stuff in front of them – mainly the comical flight of the folks they’re about to run down!

RM-Adventureland-Magic-Kingdom7. Roundabouts (a.k.a. Dodgers or Gappers) – This is the category I call home!  We are the fast paced travelers who swiftly negotiate the other 6 types of walkers by taking advantage of gaps and openings wherever we find them.  Our ninja-like stealth allows us to flow through all the other park guests unnoticed with barely a ripple.  We are always moving forward briskly and with purpose.  Oh, okay, I’ll admit it – I just want all the non-like-minded people to get out of the way so I can be in front!  Since that rarely happens, I’ve developed what I like to believe are some well-honed skills that make me and my family members amazing crowd negotiators.

Yes, I really want to know!  Which type of Disney park walker are YOU?

 

 

Citricos-Cheese-Trio

Dinner at Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Citricos-Interior“Citricos in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a hidden gem among Walt Disney World’s table service dining options.  The combination of excellent service, relaxing atmosphere, and delectable dishes makes Citricos an excellent choice for a romantic dinner.” – Me, once again channeling my inner restaurant critic.

Last week Raymond and I ate at Citricos for the very first time.  All through our meal and after, we kept asking ourselves WHY!!?!?  Why did we wait so long to eat there?  It was a fantastic experience – one we cannot wait for the opportunity to repeat.

From the moment we walked through the door, we were made to feel like the most special guests in the restaurant.  Escorted to our centrally Citricos-Vincelocated table by Vince (who looked very young yet had oodles of charm to spare) and introduced to our server, Michael, who helpfully explained the menu to us and pointed out a few of the restaurant’s specialties; our evening began.

Raymond chose a bottle of wine for us to enjoy while Michael brought us some fabulous bread with butter.  The butter is unsalted, but sprinkled with sea salt and citrus zest before serving.  I may have eaten a little more bread and butter than was wise, but it was just irresistible.  Perusing the menu, we were pleasantly surprised by the selection – a huge number of items to choose from, sure to please every type of appetite.  Even the children’s menu is amazing.

Citricos-MichaelFor starters we chose the Cheese Course Trio which is “Wijngaard Chèvre Affiné from Holland, Taleggio D.O.P from Italy, and Cashel from Ireland served with seasonal accompaniments” and completely perfect in every way.  It reminded me of the cheese appetizer we had at the Boardwalk’s Flying Fish (and we loved that as well).  Michael paced our courses just right.

The entrée was so hard to select!  Raymond and I both decided on the Pan Seared Icelandic Cod served with “Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Nueske’s Applewood-smoked Bacon, New Smyrna Clams, P.E.I. Mussels, Carrots, Fennel, and Creamed Fish Fumet”.  For all that fancy talk, we got some mighty tasty eats!!!  I’m not a huge fan of fennel and was pleased to note that I couldn’t even tell it was in there.  The dish’s flavors blended together perfectly.

Between the bread and butter, the cheeses, and the huge main course, we didn’t have room for Citricos-Seared-Icelandic-Coddessert.  We took our time finishing our wine and enjoying the restaurant’s ambiance and each other’s company.  When we were finished, we leisurely made our way to the monorail and rode back to the Contemporary and our home away from home at Bay Lake Tower.  Except for eating a bit too much, we couldn’t think of a single thing we would have changed about the evening.

Check out Citricos’ full menu here and do not pass up the opportunity to try Citricos for yourself next time you’re looking for an awesome Disney dining experience.

Have you eaten at Citricos?  What was your experience like?

Citricos- Copper-Pot-Mickey

 

Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Walt Disney World’s Memory Maker Review Round Two

STUDIO_TOWEROFTERRORBRIDE_7071419898If you read my first review, you already know that our initial experience with Memory Maker was not a good one and it was entirely our own fault.  Raymond and I decided to have a do-over, a Memory Maker Mulligan, if you will.  Perhaps it seems silly to spend $149 (advance purchase price) to have Disney photographs of just the two of us, but hey!  We are not the type to ask a bunch of strangers to take our pictures AND we aren’t the best at selfies (perhaps our advanced ages are a disadvantage?).  No matter the reason, we took this most recent trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary and I wanted pictures to commemorate the occasion.

So, how did we do with round two of Memory Maker?  I’m proud to say much, much better!  MM-Animal Kingdom EverestWe got 105 pictures from many different settings in each park.  We absolutely love the new ride videos included with our Memory Maker purchase!  We are completely happy with our investment this time around.

What we did differently:

  • We deliberately located a photographer immediately after park entrance every day and waited (if the line was short) when necessary.
  • We took advantage of photographers a little off the beaten path.  (One we found near Epcot’s Italy Pavilion was especially great.)
  • When we saw a character with a short line, we jumped in it.  Our pictures with Duffy are priceless (we sent one to our children right away since they are most decidedly NOT Duffy fans!).  Our pictures with Chip and Dale in Frontierland are hilarious because we were still soaking wet from Splash Mountain!
  • MM-Magic-Kingdom-Hat-KissWe didn’t just stand side-by-side.  When Raymond kissed me behind his hat in the middle of Main Street U.S.A., a nearby snack vendor started calling out tips which in turn got the crowd involved.  “Kiss her again!” “Without the hat!” “Ma’am!  You’ve got to pop the foot!” – which meant we got even more cute pictures!
  • We asked if “Magic Shots” were available and ended up with Olaf in one picture and Anna and Elsa in another.  The ghost driver of the hearse in front of Haunted Mansion during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was our favorite.

Note:  You can view your photos almost immediately by logging on to My Disney PhotoPass.  Even if you make sure everyone is linked, you still may not be able to see all the pictures.  This happened to us – when Raymond’s Magic Band was scanned after pictures were taken, I couldn’t see them.  A quick stop at (of all places) a FastPass+ Kiosk in Epcot got the situation resolved.  A very helpful Cast Member named Jennifer was able to quickly fix the problem.Magic Shot at MNSSHP

Tip:  If any of your pictures are missing, call (407) 560-4300 (Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm) and see if they can be located.  The Cast Members are excellent and will do all they can to find your missing photos.

Have you used Memory Maker?  How was your experience?  Where were your favorite pictures taken?  How many pictures did you get?

  • Expedition Everest Ride Photo
California Grill Dessert

October in Walt Disney World – Trip Review

Magic Kingdom Entrance in OctoberIt was the best of times – two adults, seven days, the World was our oyster.  We’d planned some special events for this trip to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we enjoyed each and every one of them, though admittedly some more than others.

We purchased Memory Maker (see first review here) to make sure we ended up with some non-selfies to commemorate the occasion (full 2nd Memory Maker review to follow) and booked dining reservations at some places we had not tried before.  After all was said and done, I’d summarize our adventures into three categories:  The VERY Best, the Just Okay, and the Could Have Been Better.  These were our experiences only – your own may be completely different and isn’t that so much a part of what we love about Walt Disney World?  Something for everyone!  Note:  Over the next couple of weeks, I will write detailed reviews of each experience.

The VERY Best:

Citricos (Grand Floridian Resort and Spa), the California Grill (The Contemporary Resort) and IMG_5997Sanaa (Animal Kingdom’s Kidani Village) – We enjoyed our meals at these three restaurants and thought the food, service and atmosphere were all perfect.

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival – The food/beverage booths were wonderful and the entire experience was a lot of fun.  We might not have gotten to each item on our wish list, but every morsel we tried was delectable!  We will be doing this again!

Bay Lake Tower – Our studio on the 3rd floor was exactly right for us.  It was roomy with an excellent view of Bay Lake.  Sunrise was incredible!  At first, I was a little disappointed at not being higher up, but once I realized that the Electrical Water Pageant would be happily making its way along Bay Lake’s shore each night where I could see (and hear) it well, I was more than happy with our location.  The distance between Bay Lake Tower’s front door and the bag check area in Magic Kingdom is exactly a half a mile.  Loved the walk!

IMG_5906Senses Spa Massage for Two (Grand Floridian) – Worth every penny.  The spa is gorgeous and we felt very special and pampered.  The massage was incredibly relaxing and we could not have asked for a more luxurious setting.

The Weather – We had one rainy afternoon and a bit of rain the next morning.  Compared to the Florida weather in the weeks leading up to our visit, this was as perfect as we could have wished for.  Having never been to Florida in October, I was captivated by the sky – breathtaking sunrises and sunsets with the most amazingly perfect blue skies and fluffy white clouds during the day.  The warm days and cool-ish evenings were wonderful.

Getting SOAKED on Splash Mountain, Drying off on the PeopleMover – What can I say?  We were in the very first log of the day on Splash – got over-the-head-in-our-faces sopping wet and PeopleMoverthen had the PeopleMover nearly to ourselves to cruise around and air dry.  Can you think of a more fun way to start the day?

The Just Okay

Be Our Guest – Yes, it’s beautiful inside!  It’s also very pricey and the food, while okay, was the poorest aspect of dining there.  We ate there for both lunch and dinner and, for the money, we could have eaten much better meals.  The West Wing (dinner) was unbelievably dark….like pitch black.  We couldn’t believe the servers weren’t running into each other, guests, tables, etc.  At lunch, the food was not as good as at dinner, but the seating location was better (we got to sit where we wanted).  Again, a full review will follow, but if you’re going just to see the inside, try to get a lunch reservation and order whatever is the least expensive menu option.  NOTE:  The Cast Members we encountered here were outstanding.

The Italian Food & Wine Pairing – This was in Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion and the seating took place in a large, open, extremely noisy space.  We had wonderful tablemates and would have loved talking to them more, but we couldn’t hear each other AT ALL!  The fare was just okay.  Having never been to an event of this type before, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I did think it would be more enjoyable.  The French Regional Lunch we tried at Monsieur Paul (France Pavilion) was much better.

MNSSHP CastleMickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – All I could think about was how much more I would have loved it if our children (even though they’re grown) had been with us.  We liked dressing up and enjoyed the short waits for the attractions.  The fireworks and parade were very well done, but not being big on sweets, we didn’t pick up a single treat.  I do know that attending on the 6th night of our stay meant we were pretty wiped out to begin with.  Maybe we’d have liked it more if we’d been more perky.  I’d try the party again, but with more than just the two of us.

Could Have Been Better

My Disney Experience / Disney’s Computer System – Still very glitchy.  My app actually showed MDE App Glitch“closed” for every single Magic Kingdom attraction for much of a day – many rides were down at one time  (Pirates, PhilharMagic, Small World, Pooh), but certainly not all of them.  On that same day, we were told before leaving Bay Lake Tower that Walt Disney World’s entire computer system was having issues.  I don’t know if that was related to why so many attractions were closed, but the wait times at the remaining attractions were pushed way up as a result.  We left Magic Kingdom, hopped on the Monorail and did some Resortloop shopping – hoping things would clear up while we were gone.  Sadly, we saw and heard a lot of unhappiness in Magic Kingdom that day.  Similar to what happened in May, Raymond’s Magic Band didn’t work at park entrances for the first three parks we visited, but at least the problem was resolved after that.  The funniest glitch was that I didn’t have charging privileges on my Magic Band after we checked in even though I was the one who gave the credit card to link at check-in.  Considering how convenient I find that touch-to-pay feature, I probably shouldn’t have had that issue fixed!

Animal-Kingdom-Construction-WallsAnimal Kingdom – I’m not criticizing, honestly, and I totally understand that short-term sacrifice will lead to long-term gains (and more FUN!).  It was heartbreaking, though, to see the amount of construction equipment, construction walls, abbreviated attractions, etc. in our beloved Animal Kingdom.  We spent Saturday (10/11/14) afternoon there and had planned to return on a weekday for a longer visit, but after seeing how much the construction detracted from the overall experience, we didn’t go back.  I did get to ride my favorite attractions and see the two new baby gorillas which was great.

Epcot’s New Lumberjack Show (Canada Pavilion) – I’ve got nothing nice to say – so I’m not saying anything at all.

Have you ever visited Walt Disney World in October?  What were your favorite and least Canadian Lumberjack Show in Epcotfavorite experiences?  What should we try next time?