Festival of Fantasy Parade – Favorite Viewing Spots

To me, Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade is one of the most fantastic, magical, amazing Disney creations EVER! (Totally not kidding – I’m crazy about it!)  Watch it once and tell me I’m wrong.  I love everything about it and while I may not be able to squeeze it into my schedule on every Walt Disney World visit, I make a point of seeing it as often as I can.  Finding the best spot from where to take in every charming detail can be a challenge, so let me share what tips I’ve learned.Festival of Fantasy Parade - Favorite Viewing Spots

Festival of Fantasy Parade – Favorite Viewing Spots

When deciding on an ideal parade viewing locale, a lot depends on the day’s FastPass line-up and what time we’re planning to leave Magic Kingdom.  Planning a little in advance, I try to minimize parade-spot-hunting time while making sure we’re well-situated for whatever’s next on our post-parade schedule.

Option 1 – Near the StartFestival of Fantasy Parade - Favorite Viewing Spots

The parade starts in Frontierland near the edge of Adventureland, so finding a place close to where the parade begins means no waiting for it to arrive further along the parade route.  Megan and I did this recently and thought it was great.  Once the parade passed, we were able to follow it to Liberty Square and ride Haunted Mansion with little wait.

Option 2 – On the HubFestival of Fantasy Parade

This one’s a little challenging on a hot, sunny day since there’s no real shade.  That being said, there’s nothing like watching Festival of Fantasy with Cinderella Castle as a backdrop.  If we can find a place to sit down, folded rain ponchos provide excellent posterior-protection from the burning hot concrete.  Tip – Claim your spot early and be ready to fend off encroachers.  This is a great spot to watch the parade if you’ll be headed to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland afterwards.Festival of Fantasy Parade - Favorite Viewing Spots

Option 3 – In Front of the Main Street Station

This is an excellent option if you want to make a quick getaway.  We stood facing Cinderella Castle and could see the parade as it made its way down Main Street USA before circling around right in front of us.  This location is at the very end of the parade route, so it takes a while for the magic to get there.  The ability to walk right out of the park after the last float passes by without battling the park crowds is so convenient!Festival of Fantasy Parade - Favorite Viewing Spots

The important takeaway here is that seeing Festival of Fantasy is worth the time and effort to find a place that fits into your family’s Magic Kingdom Plans.  There are tons of spots other than the ones I’ve listed from which to take in the action.  But do make room in your plans…you won’t be sorry!

Are you a Festival of Fantasy Parade fan?  Where’s your favorite parade-viewing location?

 

 

Hurricanes, Disney Vacations, and Perspective

I’ve been obsessively watching Hurricane Irma for over a week.  On Saturday, I spent my time doing laundry and watching the Weather Channel, checking NOAA online, and watching for news on my Facebook feed from folks closer to the situation than I was.  On Sunday, I stopped packing for vacation.  On Wednesday evening at 7:30, Disney Cruise Line cancelled our trip.  While we honestly appreciate their caution and concern for guest safety, the disappointment was…well, you can imagine.

From Disney Cruise Line’s website:

“The September 9 sailing of the Disney Fantasy is cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for the cruise booking. Guests are invited to book a future cruise at a 25 percent discount by calling us at 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017. 

While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew. We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Irma and provide updates as necessary.”

Hurricanes, Disney Vacations, and Perspective

As I was wallowing in self-pity over the Disney cruise we won’t be taking on Saturday, I realized that mixed in with the sadness and disappointment was also relief.  We will be safe and sound as Irma barrels along on her course of mayhem and destruction.  While riding out Hurricane Matthew at Disney World last year was an adventure, it’s not one I’d care to repeat.Hurricane Matthew at Walt Disney World

To all my Florida friends – I’m sorry you’ll be dealing with the potential havoc brought by a powerful and unpredictable force of nature.  I’ve been praying steadily for your safety and Irma’s demise.  Having lived in Louisiana for almost 30 years, I well know the worry and helplessness that comes with not being able to control or anticipate what might happen when your home is in the path of a hurricane.  I’m sorry you’re dealing with that now.

As you are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, please know that you’ll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.  Through the Living a Disney Life blog and on social media, I’ve gotten to know so many of you and your friendship means a great deal to me!

Be safe and take care, Disney friends.  Please let me know how you’re doing…Lisa

Disney Vacation – Next Week!

My plans for Labor Day Weekend involve packing!  We’ll be off to Orlando next Friday and sail from Port Canaveral on Saturday.  Right now we’ve got our eyes on Hurricane Irma and are hoping she moves right on along before the Fantasy sets sail.

Disney Vacation – Next Week!

We’re staying pre-cruise near the airport.  Since we have already booked three more visits to Disney World during the next 8 months, we don’t have the DVC points to spare for one night.  We’ve stayed at this hotel before another cruise and it worked out well.  Initially, we thought we’d just hang out at the hotel and be well rested and ready to go on Saturday.  Ha!  No way could we be that close to Disney World and stay away.  Plus, there’s that new promotion for DVC members that offers a 30% discount at certain restaurants for dining before 6:30 pm or after 8:30 pm (through September 30th).

Our plane lands around noon and once we’ve gotten our luggage and checked into the hotel, we’ll be taking some form of transportation to Animal Kingdom. (We are still undecided what to use, suggestions welcome!).

Of course we couldn’t get a FastPass for Flight of Passage, but Raymond will still get to explore Pandora for the first time.  Our afternoon consists of Asia first – FastPass for Expedition Everest.  Pandora second – FastPass for Na’vi River Journey.  Finally, we’ll use our last FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa.  Between FastPasses, we’ll have time to wander at our leisure.  I’m certain we’ll make a stop at the Dawa Bar for a refreshment.  Once we finish the safari, it’ll be time to go.

We’ll be wrapping up the evening with an early dinner (6:00 pm) at Jiko.  We love that place!  Eating early to take advantage of the special discount will give us plenty of time to relax and enjoy our dinner without rushing.  By 8:00, we should be ready to head back to our hotel and call it a day.  The next morning we’ll be on our way to our first sailing on the Disney Fantasy.

I’ll be taking tons of pictures and will have much to report when we get home.  Our Eastern Caribbean itinerary should look like this (Irma, be gone!):

Day Port Ashore Onboard
1 Port Canaveral, Florida 3:45 PM
2 At Sea
3 At Sea
4 Tortola, British Virgin Islands 7:30 AM 5:45 PM
5 St. Thomas/St. John, US Virgin Islands 7:45 AM 4:00 PM
6 At Sea
7 Disney Castaway Cay 9:30 AM 4:45 PM
8 Port Canaveral, Florida 7:30 AM

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the details of our port excursions, dining plans and all we’re looking forward to on this trip!

Have you sailed on the Fantasy?  What did you enjoy the most?

 

Disney World Lounges – Geyser Point

It’s no secret – We love Disney World lounges.  The Resort Loop Pub Crawl is one of our favorite vacation activities.  So many great places around the World, it’s hard to decide which ones to fit into our vacation plans.

Disney World Lounges – Geyser Point

Because Megan and I were on the Quick Service Dining Plan back in June, I knew we needed to check out the Geyser Point Bar & Grill.  It’s new, it’s just a short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and the food was on our dining plan – Win-win-win!

I’m sorry the rest of The Fam was not along for this experience.  I do believe Geyser Point (after only one visit) jumped straight to my second favorite lounge at Disney World!

A combination of elements is what makes Geyser Point so great.  The lake-side setting on the gorgeous grounds of Wilderness Lodge is wonderful.  The open-air seating and welcoming bar area give a great laid-back vibe.  The service is excellent and the food menu is priced right.  In fact, if you’re on the dining plan, Geyser Point is not the best use of a quick service credit.

The menu consists of a few sandwiches and salads – from lighter fare to more robust items.  I believe the offerings are still being fine-tuned.  Case it point:  I ordered a Grilled Salmon BLT that no long appears on the menu.  It tasted great, but was the only negative aspect of our dinner there.  The piece of fish on my sandwich was tiny, but the bread slices were huge!  I enjoyed the flavors, but left so much of the bread behind, our waitress asked if I needed a to-go box.  I made sure to tell her that the food was delicious, but suggested that if they continued to offer this menu item, the chef switch to a small bun of some sort.  Sadly, it seems Disney decided to do away with the sandwich altogether.

Megan ordered the Bison Cheeseburger (“Bacon, Tillamook Cheddar, Sweet Onion Straws, Lettuce, Tomato, Garlic Aïoli and Marionberry Barbecue Sauce served on an Artisan Roll with choice of Multigrain Salad or Waffle Fries“) and enjoyed it very much!

The beverage menu is the real draw for Geyser Point (to us).  Unique choices with something for every adult palate.  Want a fancy cocktail? Check!  Beer? Check!  Wine? Check!  The best part?  The super relaxing seating and excellent service.  We never felt rushed, we never felt hovered-over, but got just the right amount of attention.  We loved the open-air, casual vibe and the welcoming overall feel.  As a place to unwind at the end – or in our case, in the middle – of a busy Magic Kingdom day, Geyser Point fits the bill.

What’s my most favorite lounge in the World?  It’s the Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom, but Geyser Point is right up there!  I cannot wait to take the rest of the gang there next year – Megan and I know they’ll love it as much as we did!Have you been to Geyser Point Bar & Grill?  What did you think?  Is it on your list of places to try?  What are you looking forward to trying?