Disney Rain Ponchos – More Than Just a Fashion Statement

Enjoying a Rainy Day / Disneys Hollywood StudiosNothing says Walt Disney World vacation like a rain poncho with Mickey Mouse on it.  The fact that we’re willing to pay $8 (technically $7.51) for a big piece of plastic and some snaps says a lot about how important it is for us to sport such stylish rainwear.  We all know it would save a big bunch of cash for a family of four to buy generic ponchos at the local dollar store.  Okay, okay – maybe we sometimes buy those pricey Disney ponchos out of necessity…I mean those unexpected afternoon “showers” can be extreme torrential downpours and maybe we left our cheapo ponchos back at the resort.  However I come by it, I wear my Disney poncho with pride – it adds a certain panache to my vacation wardrobe that cannot be underappreciated.  It also has other practical uses.  You didn’t know?  Well….I’ll be glad to enlighten you!  We need to get our $8-worth out of those puppies!!!Waiting for the bus to Downtown Disney

The Many Uses of a Disney Rain Poncho:

Protection from the elements – Using the poncho for its intended purpose.  When last we were at WDW, it didn’t just rain, it didn’t just pour – it HAILED!  We were huddled inside our ponchos in a tiny alcove outside the entrance to Tower of Terror waiting for our FastPasses to “mature” with about five minutes to go when a storm of biblical proportions struck.  Catch the video here.  Check out the poor guy who let his little one use his poncho (by the strollers) – he was soaked!

As a means to stay dry on water rides – No way would I ride Kali River Rapids without a poncho.  Getting soaked from head to toe would completely ruin Kali River Rapids / Disney's Animal Kingdommy day.  I’m not a fan of shoes that squish when I walk.  But I want to ride Kali, so I don my trusty poncho and let the river take me where it will.

As a seat cushion – a. k. a. Posterior Preserver – Have you ever decided to sit on the curb, in a sunny spot, in Magic Kingdom to stake out a favored parade viewing area?  That concrete can be scorching hot!  Like sitting-on-the-surface-of-the-sun hot.  Just slide that folded-up poncho under your buns and you are golden!  See?  Rain or shine, the poncho ROCKS!

Protect your gear – Say you want to go on Splash Mountain or even Pirates of the Caribbean and there’s a chance your camera, cell phone, or bag will get wet.  Wrap your poncho around your gear to make sure everything comes out safe and sound…oh, and dry, too.Disney Parks Poncho as a Salon Smock

Salon smock – You think I’m kidding?  Oh, I assure you I am not.  Tuck in the hood, add a towel around the neckline, secure the poncho tight with a clothes pin – and snip away.  Home or away, you can keep hair trimmings well away from a body with a Walt Disney World poncho!

Do you buy Disney rain ponchos?  Are there any uses that I’ve missed?




Disney’s Epcot – The Norway Pavilion

IMG_2862Epcot’s Norway Pavilion

Situated between Mexico and China and designed to look like a Norwegian village, this little corner of Epcot’s World Showcase is an absolute gem.  If you happened to read my post about a certain hat from the Norway pavilion, then you know how near and dear we hold this particular area of Epcot.  What is it about the Norway pavilion?  I’ll tell you…

Five Great Things about the Norway Pavilion in Epcot:

1.  The Norwegian Cast Members – As far as we can tell, Norway’s citizens are among the kindest, most attractive people on Earth.  Every Cast Member in Norway is easy on the eyes and very engaging.  We’ve IMG_2876been charmed by their ready smiles and willingness to answer all our questions about their homeland.  I don’t know about you, but pretty much everything I know about Norway I learned in Epcot.  I adore their costumes especially.  They’re a representation of traditional Norway folk costumes called bunad.

2.  Maelstrom – As far as World Showcase attractions go, this one’s a winner.  Board a Viking ship and learn all about Norwegian folklore as you sail the Scandinavian seas.  This log-flume dark ride holds more than a couple of surprises for guests of all heights and ages!

IMG_07463.  The Giant Troll – Located in The Puffin’s Roost gift shop, this gigantic troll has become a “must see” at Epcot.  What’s not to love?  The troll is always smiling for pictures.  A bonus is the store’s merchandise – a wide assortment of clothing, toys, fragrances, and accessories – not to mention Viking helmets!

4. Kringla Bakeri Og Cafe – Home of the beloved, the famous, the much discussed School Bread.  Go on and give it a try.  Even if you are not a fan of some of the ingredients, you will find when they’re combined in this particular way, they are magically transformed into a delectable treat.  Don’t let the fact that it’s a coconut covered, cream-filled cardamom bun put you off.  Fans are legion.

5. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Need a princess dining experience and want to enjoy wine with that dinner?  Can’t get an ADR for Cinderella’s Royal Table?  Then Akershus is the place for IMG_0737you.  Designed to replicate an actual medieval castle near Oslo, Akershus contains all the right elements to make it suitably royal.  Exposed dark wood beams, huge chandeliers and hanging banners adorn the ceiling.  White washed walls, arched doorways, and heavy furniture all combine to make you feel just like you’re dining in the real castle.  Then brace yourself for a princess palooza!  Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, and even Mary Poppins (oddly enough) may all be on hand for the feast (some or all may appear, princesses may be subject to change without notice).  Dressed in their regal finery, the princesses mingle with diners and offer excellent photo ops for adoring commoners.

Are you a fan of Epcot’s Norway?  What’s your favorite reason to visit?

Disney World’s It’s a Small World!

IMG_2544It’s a Small World! If you’ve not had the pleasure (maybe pleasure is the wrong word, depends on your taste in Disney rides) of experiencing It’s a Small World, you really need to add it to your bucket list! Okay, okay!  I’m joking. You might not want to add it to your bucket list, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood (Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland), do drop in for this little 11-minute boat trip around the world

The line moves quickly, the boat-boarding area is detailed and
– lots to look at and, if you happen to be there at the right time, the clock opens up and does this clock thing which is kind of cool. There’s no minimum height requirement, soIMG_2543 anybody, any age can ride. And it’s a classic – opened with the park in 1971 but actually dates back to a 1964 New York World’s Fair exhibit. Originally designed by artist Mary Blair (think mural in the Contemporary lobby and the Five Legged Goat!!), the entire ride exhibits an amazing use of shapes and color. If sugary sweet cuteness is your thing, this is your ride.

Warning: It may actually be possible to overdose on adorable. If you’re not into singing children or if, perhaps, you’re hiding a fear of dolls and/or clowns – try to tough it out. Be brave. You only need to ride it once to IMG_2566experience this one irrefutable, undeniable thing as you drift through It’s a Small World in your little boat: Floor to ceiling, there are thousands of moving parts in this tunnel of toys – and they’re all singing.  You cannot deny that a tremendous amount of craftsmanship and attention to detail was required to produce hundreds of small people, animals, vehicles and buildings to represent all the continents and cultures around the world. And if, after you’re through, you catch yourself singing a certain catchy tune for the rest of the day….an added bonus!

So, what do you think about It’s a Small World.  Is it really “the happiest cruise that ever sailed”?

What’s so Great about Disney World’s Tower of Terror?


“Hollywood, 1939. Amidst the glitz and the glitter of a bustling young movie talent at the height of its golden age, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was a star in its own right. A beacon for the show business elite. Now, something is about to happen that will change all that.” -Mark Silverman as the voice of Rod Serling, Tower of Terror Introduction


Disney WorldIMG_0870‘s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror…The ride that divides The Fam like no other.  Raymond and Megan really don’t care for it and will ride it one time (and one time only) during each trip to Disney World – just to be polite.  Joseph and I love it (Joseph’s all time favorite ride) – we can and will ride it again and again.  Once we even scored a surprise fast pass when got off so we got right back in line!

Like Rock’n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror is located in Disney’s Hollywood SIMG_3026tudios at the end of Sunset Blvd.  The queue for this ride is, as Disney tends to do with newer attractions, cleverly detailed and carefully crafted to immerse you in the ride’s theme and story line long before you board the ride vehicle (in this case a seemingly innocuous service elevator).  From the winding garden paths through the overgrown greenery, past the once grand outdoor courtyards of the Hollywood Tower Hotel to the perfectly dusty and slightly sinister-looking hotel lobby, guests paying careful attention will find wonderful gems in the details.  Hidden Mickeys abound IMG_0876along with several nods to the Twilight Zone television series.  Even the sullen, grey- uniform-clad bellhops add to the depth of theming for this attraction.  If the day is not too warm, I find the stand-by line for this ride actually quite enjoyable, but that’s not why Joseph loves it.  The constant screaming coming from the hotel “guests” is a good clue about the real reason this ride’s a big hit with thrill-seekers like Joseph.

IMG_3521As you draw closer to the pre-ride intro show, you begin to feel a sense of dread.  As if the hotel lobby is emitting a warning to you.  The bellhops will guide you into the library.  Joseph describes it this way – “The feeling of impending doom is created by the cast members working at the tower and the abandoned, worn-down look of the hotel – inside and out.  Like somewhere you don’t want to be.”

The pre-ride show provides the backstory (I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s great!) after which you are led into the hotel’s basement to the service elevators.  The theming and mood-setting details continue –IMG_3525 watch for another Hidden Mickey on the wall.  TIP: Going to the left instead of right in line is generally faster.  Once you board the elevator (you must be 40″ tall to ride and health warnings exist), fasten that seatbelt – you’re gonna need it!  The best part of this attraction is the layers of build-up to the finale.  Everything, from the first step in line, leads up to what happens in that elevator!

Continuing with the story introduced in the library, the elevator travels through several scenes before you hit the real action.  The elevator drops, shoots up, drops, and so on – riders are constantly surprised.  Random drop Tower of Terror Collagesequences are what keep people coming back for more.  There’s no way to predict the exact pattern of elevator movement.  When the elevator is “falling” it is actually being pushed downward – gravity alone would not be this fast.  This is VERY scary for many people – as evidenced by the screaming!!!  Joseph and I both LOVE this part – we don’t find it frightening, just incredibly fun.  The sense of weightlessness is what makes this ride so great!

Have you visited the Hollywood Tower Hotel?  What did you think?