Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom – A Feast for the Senses

Welcome Show at Magic KingdomWhen I daydream about being at Walt Disney World – which I do often and for extended periods of time (Don’t you?) – Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite places to bring to mind.  It’s easy, thanks to my memories of those incredible, magical Disney details, to recall certain sounds, sights, smells, flavors and feelings.  What makes my family passionate about our favorite vacation destination is how easy it is to re-live (in our memories) our happiest Disney moments!

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom – A Feast for the Senses

Take all those favorite moments and add them together.  It’s easy to imagine myself in each of my favorite Magic Kingdom locations.  Here’s what’s going on in my mind:

The cool, humid air inside the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean – Often a welcome respite from the Florida sun, the smooth feel of the plastic seat when I board the boat, the smell (OH, that smell!) of the water as the deep, eerie voice warns, “Dead men tell no tales“.   Then I can see, perfectly in my mind, all the best (to me) moments of that attraction!  The dog with the jail key and the pirates behind bars whistling and coaxing him, the pirate on the bridge with his dirty food and hairy leg, so many great details!  “We wants the redhead!”IMG_4466

See how easy it is?  Engage all your senses in your memories and it’s the next best thing to being there!  Let me get you going with a few more iconic Magic Kingdom moments, categorized by sense involved!RM-Magic-Kingdom-Autumn

Sight – Main Street U.S.A.’s colors, signs, window decorations…the motion of the crowd and the Main Street Vehicles against the backdrop of Cinderella Castle.  Imagine the glint of light reflecting off the castle’s turrets or the details that are lit up in the queue for Space Mountain – oh, wait! How about Space Mountain itself – the exterior is an awesome sight.  As is the sheer magic of Big Thunder Mountain!!!RM-Space-Mountain-Sign

Sound – The Dapper Dans, Casey’s Corner piano player, the screams and booming whoosh of the Splash Mountain logs plunging into the briar patch!  Do you know that weird clicking sound in the first part of Haunted Mansion?  I love that sound!  How about the radio voice in the queue for Jungle Cruise?  Wonderful!  Doesn’t Jiminy Cricket’s voice make you SO happy during Wishes?  I also adore (beyond a reasonable amount) the prospector’s voice on Big Thunder – “…hang onto them hats and glasses, cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!” The Red Rock of Big Thunder Mountain

Touch – My kids have always made fun of me for my need to touch store merchandise as I shop.  I can’t help it – how things feel is part of the experience!  Take the seats on The PeopleMover – not only are they a beautiful blue, they feel great!  I also love the smoothness of those clam mobiles in Under the Sea – Voyage of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland.  Have you ever noticed the contrast between the felt part and the ears on a classic Earhat?  Part of what makes a churro a great snack is the crunch when you bite into it!  Same with the outside of a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar.RM-Churro

Taste – Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Magic Kingdom popcorn, Dole Whip, Citrus Swirl, churro, ice cream, turkey leg, Mickey pretzel or hotdog – everyone has their favorite Disney foods and Magic Kingdom offers plenty of the good stuff!  Personal favorite – the sweet and spicy chicken waffle at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.RM-Sweet-&-Spicy-Chicken-Waffle-Sandwich

Smell – I’ve already mentioned the water smell in Pirates, but how about that delicious smell on Main Street? The exhaust from the Tomorrowland Speedway? The pies in Mickey’s PhilharMagic?  What are your favorite scents in Magic Kingdom?

Hopefully by now you’ve got the hang of this total Magic-Kingdom-memory-by-senses thing and are completely immersed in happy memories!  Now it’s your turn!  What special things make your pixie-dusted vacation memories special?   




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?

On Ellen’s Energy Adventure

RM-Universe-of-EnergyBefore I proceed with this post, I must disclose that I do not dislike Ellen DeGeneres.  I wouldn’t want anyone to be confused on that point.  I DO like Ellen.  Her Energy Adventure?  Not so much.  I’ve discussed in the past the Walt Disney World Attractions I could live without.  Today I’m taking that one step further by confessing this:  If there were a SINGLE attraction I would do away with at this very moment and replace it with something (anything!) better, it would be in Epcot’s Future World.  The attraction I find the weakest of all (although it is, undeniably and excellent place to take a nap)…The once-interesting and semi-entertaining Ellen’s Energy Adventure.

The problem?  It’s called FUTURE World.  Ellen and her buddy, Bill Nye (of Science Guy fame) embarked on the current version of their adventure in 1996.  NINETEEN-NINETY-SIX!!!  Let’s look at five good reasons for Disney to consider alternatives to Ellen’s Energy Adventure…RM-Ellen's-Energy-Adventure

1.  1996 was a long time ago.  Technology has come a LONG way since then.  Times were different.  Ellen and Bill Nye were a lot younger, sure, but advances in energy and the way humans think about fossil fuel and the future of energy was as different as the fashions of the time.  As an illustration of how much time has passed, I’ll share with you a picture of our family at Walt Disney World in 1996 and our family last May:RM-Magic-Kingdom-Parade-Watching-1996WDW Bus Stop at Old Key West

If ever there were a reason to update an attraction, it’s 19 years of technological advances.  Ellen’s Energy Adventure, unlike Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World, is not a timeless classic.RM-Ellen's-EarthRM-Ellen's-Volcano

2.  45 minutes!  Hello!  This is a HUGE time investment during a Disney vacation.  There are practically an infinite number of better ways to spend this time than visiting 1996.RM-Universe-of-Energy-Exterior

3.  Future World as a whole is in dire need of modernization.  It’s not just Ellen’s attraction.  Compared to what Epcot once was, compared to the charm and beauty of the World Showcase…Future World (basically half of Epcot) has undeniably deteriorated to just a few interesting or enjoyable areas/attractions.  So much wasted potential saddens me.RM-EEA-Dinos

4.  It wouldn’t take much to “plus” the attraction (as Walt Disney would have said).  Ellen and Bill Nye could certainly make a return visit for another rousing discussion of energy or the space could be completely reimagined.  Makes no matter to me – Future World needs more “future” and the available real estate is right there in Universe of Energy.RM-Ellen-and-Bill-NyeRM-EEA-Dinosaur

5. The scenes I know nothing about.  Why is there an attraction in Epcot with scenes I haven’t experienced?  I fall asleep!  Every. Single. Time.  I have never, in the past 19 years, ridden Ellen’s Adventure and managed to stay awake for the entire attraction.  I always wake up for the dino part – it’s my favorite.

Are you a fan of Ellen’s Energy Adventure?  What changes would you make to Future World if you could?


Best Ride Vehicles at Walt Disney World

STUDIO_ROCKNRCOASTERRIDE_7071496091Let’s talk about ride vehicles!  There are so many different kinds of rides and vehicle types at Walt Disney World, there’s something for everyone!  Imagine for a minute you’re on your most favorite ride!  Now answer this:  Does your favorite ride also contain your favorite ride vehicle?

I’ve been spending a lot of time running lately in preparation for the Glass Slipper Challenge – which means I’ve had a lot of time to daydream about Walt Disney World.  I started thinking about which rides and attractions I like the most and then I was thinking more specifically about each ride’s vehicle and realized that some rides I love, actually have vehicles I…hmmmm….let’s say “dislike”.

It’s true!  For example – I love Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but find getting in and out of the limo verywd001wdw201414578668651 awkward and the harness very restrictive – I know it has to be secure for safety reasons, but that restraint makes me very glad I’m not claustrophobic like my friend Heather!  Space Mountain is so near and dear to my heart, but those rockets are ridiculously uncomfortable.  I guess what I’m getting at here is that I’m about to name my most favorite ride vehicles which, in some cases, have nothing to do with my overall feelings about the ride in which they reside.

Best Ride Vehicles at Walt Disney World:

DoomBuggy – This timeless classic is the Model T of the ride vehicle world.  Basic black, smooth and rounded, they glide gently along, keeping you safe from the ghosts and ghouls of the Haunted Mansion.  Turned backwards, they easy you comfortable downward through the cool and eerie darkness.  This mode of attraction transportation is about as perfect as can be!RM-PeopleMover-Seat

PeopleMover – These beauties represent omnimover awesomeness.  Maybe I love the fact that their blue upholstery matches my eyes.  Maybe it’s how you can sit facing forward or backward.  Maybe it’s the cars’ boxy shape.  Whatever the reason, the humble PeopleMover vehicles rank high on my list of favorites.RM-Jungle-Cruise-Backside-of-Water

Jungle Cruise Boats – Happy little sailing vessels with snappy names and shady awnings.  What else needs to be said?  Plenty of room for everyone – party on the rivers of the world!RM-TSMWM-Vehicle

Toy Story Midway Mania Cars – Have I mentioned lately that Rex is my TSMWM spirit guide?  Of all the vehicles in all of Disney World, this is the one I most want to take home!  Think about it!!!  Armed and dangerous on my morning commute – cut me off and bam!  Dart to the tire.  An armory of virtual missiles at my disposal.  I’d add projectile goo – because when you are driving slow in the fast lane?  You deserve goo to teach you a little bit of a lesson.  Driving down the highway, wind in my hair, launching an array of items from my vehicle’s cannon….livin’ the dream, baby!

I really want to know!  What is your favorite ride vehicle and why?  Which one would you most love to take home?