Disney World Things I Never Expected to Like

With so much to do, see, eat, and experience at Walt Disney World, it’s surprisingly easy to dismiss things you don’t think you’ll like.  Surrounded by the spectacular, it’s easy to pass up what might appear run-of-the-mill.  I was guilty of this for many years, but those days are over! I’ve finally learned that even the seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary with a bit of Disney magic all around.

Disney World Things I Never Expected to Like

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – It may be “just a carrousel” to many, but it has a great history, short queue (usually), fantastic location, and is just the ticket for using up a few available minutes between FastPasses.  (I wrote an entire article once about my love for the carrousel as my alter ego, Darlin’ Diva here.)

Citrus Swirl – After the Dole Whip debacle, I was still open to trying a Disney frozen treat.  While I found Dole Whips too sweet and one-dimensional (all pineapple, all the time), I found the combination of sweet soft-serve vanilla ice cream and tart orange slush to be absolute perfection.Disney World Citrus Swirl

Primeval Whirl – I wouldn’t ride it for the longest time.  It looked stupid and I thought the whirl would make me hurl, but once I braved this Dinoland coaster, I was hooked.  Surprisingly, I feel this weird attraction is a must-do at least once on every Animal Kingdom visit.Dinoland's Primeval Whirl - The attraction I never expected to love.

It’s Tough to be a Bug – Megan still doesn’t like it, but the rest of The Fam and I are fans.  It’s cute, clever, and offers 3D edutainment at its best.  Yes, it makes small children cry but I think the location under the Tree of Life, the movie posters, the combination of 3D movie and animatronic figures, Flik hosting the show…well, all of that works well to entertain me.  Plus, on a hot day, it’s a great place to sit down and cool off.

Churro – They don’t look all that exciting and I’d never noticed them before seeing the cart in Frontierland.  For years (and years) I happily passed them by, but curiosity eventually won out after hearing praises for the humble churro from fellow Disney fans.  What the heck, I caved.  One wave of a Magic Band later and I was pleasantly surprised by the cinnamon-sugary deliciousness of this conveniently portable comfort food.

Country Bear Jamboree – Like many of the items on this list, I avoided the bears for years.  I listened to the haters and thought the show would be lame and the bears would be old and mangy and the songs would be horrible.  Au contraire!  I am proud and unashamed to proclaim my adoration for every second of this unique and wonderful show!!!  Love it so much, I can hardly bear it! (Hahahaha…I crack me up!)

Extremely Crowded Christmas Week – We’ve been twice recently and once a long time ago.  Yes, it’s ridiculously crowded.  Yes, once those FastPasses are gone, there won’t be any more available.  Careful planning is required, but we don’t care.  We’re thrilled by all the extra seasonal stuff!  The decorations, the lights, the special events, the food booths in World Showcase…Christmas magic is in the air and we love it!

Mickey-shaped pretzel – After being a huge fan of the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar forever, I should know not to underestimate the appeal of any mouse-shaped snack foods.  Those dang pretzels are no exception.  Sure, as I’d always suspected, they taste just like any other generic soft pretzel, but the fact that they’re shaped like Mickey and that we’ve made getting them in Tomorrowland a family tradition, the love grows with every bite.

Kona Café – Resistance was futile.  We passed Kona on our way to ‘Ohana for many years without temptation.  Yes, Kona’s famous Tonga Toast was very well known to me, but I’m a savory breakfast fan, so no draw there.  When Curt Stone, host of the Geekin’ on WDW Podcast, waxed poetic about Kona dinners, I thought we should give it a shot.  That first visit did not impress. At. All. BUT, the two strike rule meant we’d have to give Kona a second chance before writing it off.  Luckily, subsequent visits were all fantastic and now Kona rates at least one meal on nearly every Disney World visit.

So much love in unexpected places!  The moral of the story is “don’t knock it ’til you try it” – I’ve been converted to an advocate of finding the sweet spot between revisiting old favorites and trying new things on every visit to Walt Disney World.

What’s on your list of Disney things you never expected to like?

 

 

 

 

Disney Attractions I Love (More Than I Should)

RM-Country-Bears-HenryYou know I love a Friday Five and today’s no different.  I have, at any given time, about 27 blog post ideas running around in my head vying for attention, but this one was completely off the radar and sprung up out of nowhere!  In my Disney geek-ery, I usually shout from the mountain tops (like Expedition Everest, Space, Splash and Big Thunder Mountains) about those E-Ticket attractions that (most of) you and I find irresistible.  But what about the less popular stuff?  What makes my little heart pitter-patter among the non-headliners?  You KNOW you’ve got at least a couple of favorite rides that you have to fight for – nobody understands the passion, it’s yours and yours alone.

Disney Attractions I Love (More Than I Should)

The Seas With Nemo and Friends (Epcot) – I have no explanation other than I’m crazy about pretty much any and all omnimovers.  Combine that with how much I have always loved Finding Nemo and I’m dragging my family aboard a clam-mobile on every single visit!  There I ride, sitting on the edge of my…what…mollusk-innards?  Soaking up the tiny details and listening to the comments by my favorite Nemo characters as we glide along.  I love this thing!  Don’t try to talk me out of it.  Just get in the clam or get out of my way.RM-The-Seas-Mr-Ray

Primeval Whirl (Animal Kingdom, Dinoland U.S.A.) – About the most ridiculous attraction in all the World, right?  Wrong!  For me, it’s not too fast, not too spin-ny, not too jerky – just a big bunch of weird fun.  The vehicle is like something the Jetsons would own, the queue is akin to waiting in a cartoon.  If I could explain this ride’s magnetic draw, I’d break the spell and avoid the ridicule.  I. Cannot. Resist.RM-Primeval-Whirl-Sign

Country Bear Jamboree (Magic Kingdom, Frontierland)- I blame Curtis Stone (Geekin’ on WDW Podcast) for my semi-newfound addiction to the Bears.  I wouldn’t have made a visit to this ride ever-for-the-rest-of-my-life but for Curt waxing poetic about its allure.  If you avoid over-analysis of certain song lyrics and just enjoy the Wild-West-Saloon style of entertainment, you’re bound to notice the genius of this particular brand of Disney magic.  Seriously, I love the bears…baby Oscar in particular.RM-Country-Bears-Baby-Oscar

Jungle Cruise (Magic Kingdom, Adventureland) – Cheesy, eye-rolling, sheer perfection in pun-delivery.  What’s not to love?  From the queue’s announcements to the names of the boats to the unbelievably adorable animatronics, this attraction’s got a lot going for it.  Add comic artistry in the form of boat captain commentary and this ride is hard to beat!  No, really!  Where else on earth can you experience the backside of water?  Classic Disney fun!RM-Jungle-Cruise-Backside-of-Water

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros – I’m stealthy about this one.  I act all nonchalant about going into the Mexico pavilion in Epcot.  It’s not a family favorite, but I’m getting on this ride if I can manipulate the situation properly.  I love Donald Duck!  He’s my favorite character (in case you hadn’t heard) and I’m going to check times for possible Fiesta Donald meet-and-greets when we’re in Epcot.  Once we’ve paused at the Mexico pavilion for my moment with Donald, I’ll just casually suggest we take a small detour and hit the Gran Fiesta Tour.  Works every time.  The chances of my family reading this today are slim, so shhhhhh.  Don’t ruin this by telling them.RM-Gran-Fiesta-Tour

Now you go.  Which not-so-popular attractions are your own personal favorites?

My Recent Visit to the Country Bear Jamboree

RM-Country-Bears-Sun-Bonnet-TrioThe jokes are lame, the songs are cheesy and I love every single moment of the Country Bear Jamboree!  From the waiting area in the lobby to the ornate theater to the talking huntin’ trophies, this attraction’s a riot! Even if you’re not a huge fan of the Jamboree’s style, you have to admit its a pretty clever show, especially considering how long the gang’s been around.  If you’re looking for one of the Disney-est Disney World attractions you can find, you can’t beat the Bears.  It does happen to be one of the last attractions Walt Disney himself helped develop.

On one recent picture-perfect October day in the Magic Kingdom, I announced to Raymond in my most cheerful voice, “I really want to see the Country Bears!” What I got in return was a look. This look RM-Country-Bear-Stagespoke volumes. Raymond’s a man of few words to begin with and after 25 years of marriage he communicates with me silently much of the time. At that particular moment Raymond’s look said, “I’d rather not, but if you’re that excited about it, we can go…but only because you’re so cute and lovable.” And just like that, off we went to Frontierland’s Grizzly Hall.

In my mind I think of the Country Bears as old (the show premiered on October 1, 1971) so while I was waiting to enter the theater, I was picturing worn, mangy-looking fur coats and rusty, out of date animatronics. Boy, was I surprised! Those critters are in excellent shape and their movements are fluid and, well, I’d say “realistic” except they’re bears playing musical instruments and singing songs.  I wouldn’t change a single thing about the entire experience.

RM-Country-Bears-Baby-OscarFrom my most favorite bears, like Baby Oscar and Henry, the Master of Ceremonies, to the fancy hat-bearing Sun Bonnet Trio (sorry, can’t help myself), I thought the show was grand. If Animal Planet and Hee Haw got married and had a baby, it would be the Country Bear Jamboree.  What a show!  I completely agree that a hoedown might not be an enjoyable hootenanny for everyone, but the charm of the Country Bear Jamboree lies in its perfect theming for Frontierland, its quaint and sometimes irreverent dancehall humor, and the well-paced and surprising variety of acts.  How can anyone not find Liver Lips McGrowl at least a little bit interesting?

I adored every hair on the Country Bears’….well, everything, I suppose.  I know there are a RM-Country-Bears-Henrylot of haters, but honestly, the Country Bear Jamboree is so iconic, so classically Disney, I hope they’ll be around for many, many years to come.

It’s your turn – Love ’em?  Hate ’em?  Tell me what it is about the Country Bear Jamboree that makes you feel the way you do about it.

RM-Country-Bears-MelvinRM-Country-Bear-PianoRM-Country-Bear-Buff   RM-Country-Bear-Guitar