Disney’s Magic in Norway – Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

RM-Tivoli-Gardens-ArchI’d be completely remiss if I didn’t tell you  how we spent the one pre-cruise evening we had in Copenhagen (after our Segway tour).  We spent several wonderful hours in Tivoli Gardens, but I’ll apologize right now for the lack of great pictures.  By the time we made it to the Gardens, we were indescribably tired, but very committed to experiencing this amazing, truly magical place to the fullest extent possible (under the circumstances).

Tivoli Gardens is famous for many reasons.  This popular Danish amusement park and beautiful gardens first opened in 1843 (2nd oldest in the world).  In the very heart of Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens is a compact, excitement-filled novelty!  Restaurants, rides, entertainment (Elton John will be playing there this week!), attractions – even boasting its own aquarium – it’s no surprise to guests that this place was an inspiration to Walt Disney for Disneyland.  Both park’s are based on the premise that they’ll never be complete – always changing, yet maintaining the heart of the original design.  Tivoli-Small-World Tivoli-ChurrosSo much about Tivoli Gardens was unique, but many things were oddly familiar!

Our all-inclusive tickets (pre-purchased months earlier online) were a bargain at around 80 dollars US.  We’d get park admission, aquarium admission, all-ride access (rides are usually purchased a la carte), free ride photo of our choice, and a meal (limitations apply).  We arrived early evening and decided to get the lay of the land and knock off a few rides before getting something to eat and reassessing our ability to power on.  We received paper wrist bands for ride access and small, tear-apart paper tickets for our meal and photo.RM-Tivoli-Octopus-Ride

The rides varied wildly in age and thrill-level.  Some were quite old and others really new (and cutting edge) – all were outdoors and many resembled carnival rides.  Here’s where an open mind helped – the rides that looked tame were actually loads of fun!  The rides that looked super scary were actually thrilling yet smooth.  ALL were great fun!

“The Roller Coaster” built in 1914 and one of Tivoli Gardens most popular rides was incredibly fun.  “The Star Flyer” took all my bravery – it was basically two-seater baby swings hurling around and around on a single middle post – WAY up in the air!  Tivoli-SwingsLots more fun (and less sickening) than anticipated.  Also a testament to Denmark’s lack of crime – any and all possessions (empty pockets were mandatory) had to be left on the ground in unlocked “lockers” to be retrieved once the ride was over.  Our favorite ride by far was “The Demon” – imagine Rock’n’ Roller Coaster, but four seats across, outdoors and much, much smoother.  We were in awe!Demon-Tivoli-Ride-Photo Demon-Track-Design The-Demon-Tivoli-Gardens

Realizing how hungry we were, we decided on the Biergarten for supper.  It was the only option (as far as we could tell) for a meal that wasn’t a sandwich.  We’d each be getting a half a roast chicken, fries, pickles, and a beer.  Sounds great, right?  We presented our meal tickets at the counter and, after what we thought was a pretty substantial wait, our buzzer/flasher thing indicated that our food was ready.  Tivoli-BiergartenWhoa!  We did not go away hungry!  The chicken was of a generous size, the beer even more so, and the fries were without a doubt the best I’ve ever eaten.  I was alone in my love for the pickles, but thought they were fantastic!Tivoli-Biergarten-Beer

Giant Beer in Tivoli GardensFortified, we headed back into the park for a few more attractions and a tour of the aquarium.  Tivoli-OctopusWhile not large, the displays were well-done and full of interesting fish.  For the final event of the evening, Megan and Joseph rode “Aquila” which was a spinner ride experienced mostly upside down.  (I have short videos of a couple of the rides and the octopus from the aquarium that I’ll post over on our Facebook page.)  On the way out, Megan and Joseph stopped for ice cream and we slowly made our way back to the Tivoli Hotel.  At 10:30 pm, the sun was setting on our incredible day in Copenhagen – and our vacation had jut begun!

Up next, embarkation day, the sail away party, meeting new friends, and our first day at sea on the way to the first port of call in Norway – Stavanger.

If you have any questions or want to know more about anything in particular, please let me know.  As always, thanks for reading.

Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen Segway Tour

Segway-Tours-CopenhagenTo see Copenhagen and learn as much as possible (without taking a car or bus), we couldn’t think of a better way than by Segway tour.  The tour company’s business office was easy to find and, walking from the Tivoli Hotel, we even arrived early enough to find a table and relax for a few minutes at a nearby café.

Side note:  I don’t have a picture to show you of the “Copenhagen Downtown Hostel” next door to the tour office because it would have felt weird and ultra-tourist-ish to take pictures, but this very hip place had large mats of fake grass, giant lounge cushions, and outdoor heaters on the sidewalk/up against the building – it was packed with men…lounging, drinking beer, and napping.  We thought it looked like a very cool place.  Back to the story…

When it was time for the tour, we stepped into the small headquarters for Segway Tours Copenhagen and met our very nice guide (the only excuse I have for not making a note of his name is that I was suffering from jetlag).The-Fam-Segway-Tour-Copenhagen

I’m no great Segway expert, but all three of the tours I’ve taken on these fun little vehicles began the same:  Helmet-fitting and safety lesson first, followed by some Segway practice, and then the tour.  I was really happy to find that I could get a helmet with a GoPro camera mount on it and that the helmets were wired for sound – we would hear our guide talking through in-helmet speakers!  Our family was touring with another small group and we’d be zipping around Copenhagen mostly via the city’s extensive bicycle path system.  The number of bicycles in Copenhagen is staggering!  Luckily, we all managed to share the bike lanes safely.Copenhagen-Segway-Practice-Area

We had a tremendous amount of fun and adventure!  We sped (okay, a Segway can’t really “speed”, but you get the idea) around the city, stopping here and there for brief lessons on Copenhagen’s history, culture, economy, and monarchy.St-Alban's-Church-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Copenhagen Frederik's-Church-Copenhagen AmalienborgThere was an enormous amount of construction going on everywhere – Copenhagen is a very proud city and is constantly being improved.  The tour was fast-paced and we were amazed by how much we got to see!  Churches, castles, opera house, shopping areas, statues, gardens and so much more!

Have you seen Pitch Perfect 2?  At the end, when they’re competing in Copenhagen and the colorful waterfront buildings are shown – you know that part?  Nyhavn-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Tour-CopenhagenWe were THERE!  That area is called “Nyhavn” and it is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly crowded!

If you’ve never been on a Segway, I have to tell you – it’s a phenomenal way to sightsee and I highly recommend it!  Pros:  Easy to learn and maneuver, fun to ride, allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short time.  Cons:  It’s like standing in one place for two hours and can be hard on your feet and legs, you have to pay close attention to what’s going on around you and watch your wheels so they don’t run into anything – this is a hazard that can make you fall off!

I’ll continue our adventures next week with a recap of Tivoli Gardens and the first day of our cruise on the Disney Magic.  In the meantime, you can check out the YouTube video of random Segway tour scenes filmed on the helmet-cam here.

Link to Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1).

Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1)

Flying-to-CopenhagenAs promised when I posted this overview of our family’s experience on Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural sailing through the fjords of Norway, today’s post begins at the beginning – to cover the trip in greater detail.  The cruise sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, where we arrived the day before as early in the morning as we could manage, in order to maximize our time to explore this beautiful city which happens to have fascinating Disney connections!

We took a few hops to get to Denmark – Jackson, Mississippi to Houston to Toronto to Copenhagen.  We left Jackson at around 9:00 am Thursday and arrived in Copenhagen at around 10:30 am the next day.  We knew we’d arrive jetlagged, but vowed to try to minimize it as much as possible by drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest, and moving around frequently.  Personally, I was exhausted before our plane even took off, so I wore a maxi dress over (to hide) a pair of compression/sports-recovery tights to improve circulation in my legs and, once we changed planes in Toronto, I slept nearly the entire 8 hours to Copenhagen.  My ankles were swollen when we landed, but not nearly as bad as the last time we flew to Europe and I was feeling great and actually well-rested as our single day in Copenhagen began.


Bus from the Copenhagen Airport

We were greeted promptly in baggage claim by a smartly dressed Disney Cast Member who sized us up and asked if we were the Green Family – saying our first names carefully and welcoming us to Denmark.  Our luggage showed up immediately to be piled onto carts by two very kind young men and, in short order, we were all whisked off to our virtually empty, but extremely deluxe motor coach.  This wasn’t unusual – everyone we dealt with in every place we visited was extraordinarily professional and pleasant.  All spoke perfect, nearly accent-free English.  Oh, and the busses were really clean and new – some with actual tables surrounded by seats.  All with drop-down tray tables – which came in very handy!


View from Tivoli Hotel

The weather was good.  A bit chilly and breezy, but no rain.  After a fairly short ride, we arrived at the Tivoli Hotel, booked through Disney Cruise Line (as were the transfers to and from the airport), and found that one of our rooms was ready.  Tivoli-Hotel-ExteriorTivoli-Hotel-Room Tivoli-Hotel-Bathroom We took our luggage up to the sixth floor, changed clothes, cleaned up a bit, checked our street map and were ready to explore and, importantly, find a spot for lunch.  We didn’t order Danish currency (Krone) prior to arrival, having read that it would be more economical to use our debit card at one of the plentiful ATMs to get necessary cash.  Easy and convenient – an ATM was very close to the hotel.  Everything we wanted to see was within walking distance of the Tivoli Hotel…if you’re ever going to Copenhagen, we recommend it!  Even the view from our room, which we had no time to really enjoy, was very nice.

We’d decided, based on our excellent experience in Barcelona (prior to sailing on the Magic in the Mediterranean in 2013) that we’d book a Segway tour if Copenhagen had a company that offered one.  Sure enough, through a quick internet search months ago, we found and booked a 4:00 pm, two-hour tour with Segway Tours Copenhagen.  For $69 per person, this was an excellent value.  We generally do not enjoy seeing new places from behind the window of a car or bus – we want to feel like we’re part of the action while learning as much as possible.  The other thing we thought would be a “must-do” in Copenhagen was visiting Tivoli Gardens, so we pre-purchased all-inclusive tickets that bundled park entry, all-ride access, aquarium entry, and a meal for about $75 per person.


Bryggeriet = The Brewery

Somehow, having a solid plan – have lunch, locate the Hard Rock Café (we always try to find one and buy pins wherever we go), take the Segway tour, then hit Tivoli Gardens for the evening – helps keep you going when you’ve been traveling for 24 hours.  We’d packed lots of layers for the chilly weather and, ATM cash in hand and properly bundled up, we found an outdoor café that advertised burgers as the specialty.


Waiting for lunch to arrive.

Probably, we should have ordered those burgers, but once I mentioned trying the smorrebrod (traditional Danish open-faced sandwich) to experience the flavors of Copenhagen more fully, everyone else followed suit.  I’ve been kicking myself for forgetting to take pictures of our lunch ever since.  On our plates we were served several separate food combinations and plain bread on which to build our smorrebrod.  On the left side of the plate was a folded slice of beef and some pickled vegetables in sauce.  In the middle of the plate was a large piece of salmon with sauce.  On the right side of the plate was a small ceramic bowl of pâté, which appeared completely unappetizing, but tasted great.  On the upper left side of the plate was a piece of cheese.  I know there’s a very particular order in which all the items on the plate should have been consumed, but we did the best we could, with the pickiest among us avoiding the flavors they just couldn’t manage.  By the look of our plates “after”, you can see that hunger won out over any new-food apprehension we might have been feeling.  Some delicious beer completed our meal.After-Lunch-Copenhagen

Fortified, we were off to find the Hard Rock Café.  Along the way we noticed a 7-Eleven and a Burger King – two chains that would prove to be extremely popular in both Copenhagen and most of the ports we visited in Norway.  Copenhagen-on-FootWe noticed a small grocery story called Irma near the café so we decided, with time to spare, that we’d get the Hard Rock pins and pick up some bottled water and wine (for the cruise) at Irma, run all that back to the hotel and then find our Segway tour location. Crowded-Copenhagen Streets-of-Copenhagen

So far, the day was going perfectly!  Copenhagen was easy to navigate on foot, we’d gotten oriented, the weather was fine, our bellies were full and we’d procured beverages for the cruise.  Up next?  Our Segway Tour of Copenhagen.

Disney Cruising in Norway

I have so much to tell you about the Disney Cruise vacation we just took through the fjords of Norway!  I’m virtually overflowing with experiences to share, food to discuss, adventures to describe – so much happened in such a short time, I can scarcely decide how and where to begin.  I know there’s no way you’ll be as excited to hear about our vacation as I’ll be telling you about it, but I figured that by offering you some of the trip’s highlights, it might give you the big picture about what you can expect in more detail over the days and weeks to come.

Disney Cruising in Norway – 33 Favorite (Random) Moments!

The excitement began long before we landed in Copenhagen, Denmark where we would board the Disney Magic.RM-View-From-the-PlaneJetlag could only be beat by making great plans that kept us moving forward!  First, a Segway tour of Copenhagen where we saw some amazing sights and learned a lot about the Kingdom of Denmark.RM-Segway-Tour-Copenhagen RM-Segway-CopenhagenThen, a much anticipated visit to Tivoli Gardens – the amusement park (originally opened in 1843) that  was an inspiration for Walt Disney in planning Disneyland.RM-Tivoli-Gardens-ArchWe were thrilled to find some awesome rides, an interesting and beautiful aquarium, and…RM-Tivoli-Octopus-Ride Tivoli-OctopusRM-Tivoli-Gardens-Big-Beerthat they serve very large beers with dinner.

At the port in Copenhagen, the Disney Magic was waiting – as beautiful as ever.RM-Disney-Magic-Stack RM-Disney-Magic-DeckThe Disney service and wonderful Cast Members made us feel pampered.  April and Andres were our servers – the best we’ve had in a long, long time.RM-Disney-CM-AprilWe tried new foods and enjoyed some old favorites.RM-DCL-Lunch-Lumiere's RM-DCL-Mickey-BarWe learned about Mixology in Keys and enjoyed incredible Irish music in O’Gills.RM-Mixology-Keys RM-Runa-O'GillsOf course, our stateroom host, Kenneth, was a towel-animal artist of exceptional talent!RM-Towel-Elephant-DCLI got to meet Commodore Tom, the Magic’s captain, who is from Norway and was beyond excited to take the Magic’s passengers on this inaugural voyage through his homeland.RM-Meeting-Commodore-TomMegan and Joseph were busy meeting new people, too!RM-Meeting-Captain-AmericaIn every port, we enjoyed incredible, amazing adventures – the likes of which we’d never experienced before!  In Stavanger, we took an extraordinary hike to Pulpit Rock – I really cannot wait to tell you all about this particular excursion.RM-Pulpit-Rock-MapIt was a LOT of hard work walking uphill for such a long way, but then?  I was sitting on top of the world.RM-Pulpit-Rock-SelfieAlesund, the next port we visited, was a perfect place to explore by kayak.RM-Alesund-Sea-Kayaking RM-Alesund-NorwayGeirangerfjord was better seen by bicycle.  I’m not going to lie – it was very cold with sleet and rain, but SO worth the effort.RM-GeirangerfjordRM-Geirangerfjord-Snow RM-Geirangerfjord-Bicycles  In our last port, Bergen, we learned the most about Norwegian history.  We discovered the meaning of this statue…RM-Bergen-Fish-StatueExplored one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited…RM-Bergen-Museum RM-Bergen-Norway

And found out what everyone’s favorite Norway Pavilion snack in Epcot tastes like in its natural setting!RM-Skolebrod

We celebrated…RM-Joseph's Birthday RM-Cheers!We Froze the Night Away…RM-Freezing-the-Night-Away-PartyWe enjoyed breathtaking views…RM-Geirangerfjord-Waterfall RM-DCL-Norway

And we had the most amazing time!

Come back soon for the entire trip report, excursion details, food and beverage reviews, and tips for taking your own European Disney adventure.  If there’s anything in particular you’d be interested in knowing more about or if you have any questions, leave me a comment here or over on Facebook.  Thanks for reading!!!