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’s Flying Dutchman – Gone but not Forgotten

Sign for the Flying Dutchman on Castaway CayDisney’s Flying Dutchman – Gone but not Forgotten

For a few years, from 2006-2010, guests on Disney Cruise Line visiting Castaway Cay (Disney’s very own private tropical island) would be greeted by an amazing sight!  Next to the main docking area, moored in a quiet cove, was none other than Davey Jones’ ship, the Flying Dutchman.  She sat in ghostly stillness and appeared to be constructed from intricately carved driftwood – the perfect subject (and backdrop) for amazing vacation pictures.  This very special treat was a breathtaking addition to the already spectacular scenery on Castaway Cay.Flying Dutchman Stern

Highly detailed and exactly as she appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, the Dutchman’s spooky weathered gray exterior, three soaring masts, and ragged, toothy bow delighted visitors – as did the appearance of Captain Jack Sparrow – in a perfect spot on the beach to create the perfect meet and greet.  You and Jack Sparrow – with the Flying Dutchman in the Bow of Disney's Flying Dutchmanbackground!  Jack Sparrow – arrogant, eccentric, and perfectly dressed, down to the smallest detail – would take a few minutes to visit with each guest, ask questions, make hilarious comments and create some wonderful memories (and photo ops)!

Our family was lucky enough to see the Flying Dutchman (and Captain Sparrow) on several occasions during the ship’s time on Castaway Cay.  While weather, time and the elements took their toll on the Dutchman through the years, the magic of those Disney details from bow to stern never ceased to amaze us.  The shore-facing side of the ship was the one we Captain Jack Sparrow Photo Op on Castaway Cayremember from the movies.  The outward-facing side of the Dutchman that could be seen from the deck of the Disney Cruise ship was open and incomplete – like the movie prop the Dutchman actually was.

In November, 2010, the Flying Dutchman was removed from Castaway Cay (rumored to have been dismantled and destroyed), but the incredible wonder of seeing her there, in the Caribbean – straight out of Pirates of the Disney's Flying Dutchman DetailsCaribbean will never be forgotten.

Did you get the opportunity to see the Flying Dutchman at Castaway Cay?  What do you remember most about the experience?

The Flying Dutchman's Open SideDisney's Flying Dutchman on Castaway Cay Captain Jack Sparrow Posing With The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman's Open Side Three Masts on Disney's Flying Dutchman Captain Jack Sparrow and The Flying Dutchman

Walt Disney World – Hidden Pleasures

Treats-and-time-with-LindsayPlease welcome today’s guest, Curtis Stone!  Curt and his daughter, Lindsay, are the hosts of the Geekin’ on WDW Podcast (and website).

Walt Disney World’s Hidden Pleasures

There are some men in this world that think Disney World is not for them. They think there’s not a lot of things for them and it’s just for kids. As men, we typically hide our feelings and put on a tough act. Today, I’m going to expose myself.  Uh, wait, relax, let me rephrase that.  There are many attractions at Disney World that I would say are on my “Hidden Pleasures” list. These are the ones I would not admit I like in front of a bunch of macho men over at Gaston’s Tavern over a brew. But, today I’d like to reveal these beauties even if they are a bit testosterone weak. I don’t care if you make fun of me. I like’m, I’m over 50 years old, I’m a 6′ 2″ dude and comfortable in my masculinity.

Here’s my corny hidden pleasure list in no particular order:Goofy Thinking

1. Carousel of Progress – My wife loves this one and drags me in every year. It’s turned out to be one of my must do’s and I love it too. The tune grows on me. I love Walt Disney the man and this is one of his classics.

2. Small World – I don’t know who nailed all those little kids feet to the floor but they sure are cute and sing good. It’s the song that keeps on giving and giving and giving. I can’t get that tune out of my head for hours and I don’t care.  We never miss it and I enjoy it.

3. Art of Animation – I waited in a long line for this on my last 2 trips. I really enjoy drawing the Disney character and showing off my artistic ability. Strike that. I like pretending I have artistic ability. Co-workers can’t believe I drew the Goofy that hangs in my office at work. I hope we draw a different character this year.

4Gaston 2. Pictures with characters – I won’t wait in a long line for Duffy but I do like to ham it up and get a few pictures with characters. When I leave work on the Friday before vacation, all seriousness of the world is turned off and I’m getting as Goofy as possible.

5. Figment – Imagination! Imagination! Come on, Sing it with me !!! You know the words. I’m a big Monty Python fan and of Eric Idle. This ride is pure fun.

6. Muppets – Remember the first time you saw Muppets in Muppet Vision. Very cool, right? I know these are characters for kids. They were a big part of my childhood with Sesame Street.

7. Peter Pan – My kids recently told my wife that they thought the Peter Pan ride was awesomechef mickey when they were little. We still enjoy the Fantasyland rides. As long as we get there early and the lines are short.

8. Electric Water Pageant – This by far the corniest of attractions at Disney World. If you stay at a Resort Loop Resort, you have to check this out. It’s a series of boats that have neon lighted characters that run around Bay Lake/Seven Seas Lagoon and blast music. If you hit the hay early from a long day in the parks, this attraction will wake you up around 10pm as it goes by our Bay Lake Tower room.  We go out on our balcony and enjoy it.  It’s hilarious.

9. Old time singers/dancers – I love the ol’ time flavor of MK. This takes me back to a simpler time. I enjoy the old time music, costumes and fun.

10 – Googleman’s, Ziti Sisters and World Showcase Players – I always look forward to see a lot of these acts and even play a role. Slapstick and the cornier the better. Hey, my favorite comedy movie is “Dumb and Dumber” and I’m a huge fan of the Three Stooges. What do you expect?

Laugh at me if you want. I don’t care. You can even post YouTube video’s of me doing the Hoochie Coochie with the World Showcase Players. I hope I’m chosen as “That Guy” at Monster, Inc.’s Laugh Floor. At least I won’t have a sour puss like most of the guys I saw last year.   Just go with it, lose yourself and you’ll have more fun too!

For more Disney favorites, memories, reviews, tips, and Walt Disney World travel stories, visit Curtis at Geekin’ on WDW.com , on Facebook and on Twitter.  Be sure to download the podcast and give it a listen (I recommend Episode #5!).