Located in the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World
Brief view of the Banshee Rookery where you can purchase your very own Banshee.
Located in the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World
Brief view of the Banshee Rookery where you can purchase your very own Banshee.
Disney is hosting a Preview of Avatar land in Animal Kingdom for Annual Passholders.You must have valid theme park admission to be eligible, so Epcot after 4pm passholders for instance would not be eligible.
There were 4 dates available, May 15, 16, 17 and May 22. There were 3 time slots per day, each time slot is 2 hours. Times were 12 noon to 2pm, 3 pm to 5pm, or 6pm to 8pm.
There are limited spaces available and registration has already begun.
Follow this link:
Not sure if any of you have ever heard the word “Dis-nerd”, it’s a combination of Disney & nerd – it’s what I call someone who remembers facts or figures, history, interesting stories, trivia, etc about Disney.
I jokingly call myself that from time to time. Sometimes when you are at Disney with friends or family you can’t even help but spurt out all kinds of info – at least that’s a problem that I have, so after a while, they will usually say “how do you know all this stuff”, and I just usually will say “I’m a Dis-nerd, a Disney nerd, I can’t help it”.
But who better to show folks the ins and outs of Walt Disney World? I can’t think of anyone better than someone who really loves all things Disney. And for anyone who loves Disney that much, it’s hard to hold in your excitement and when is there a better time to slather on that Disney knowledge on your less informed friends and family than when you are actually at Walt Disney World.
If you are reading my blog, chances are *you* might be the Disney nerd in your group of friends or in your family. You know things like how many lanterns are hanging from the Liberty Tree. Or that the Liberty Bell in Liberty Square was actually cast from the same exact mold as the real Liberty Bell! Or that the castle isn’t really made of bricks. That inside the Winnie the Pooh ride, there is a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl. And there is a Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion! You know about Hidden Mickeys. You know that Walt Disney didn’t live long enough to see his Florida Project completed, he died six years prior to the opening of the Magic Kingdom.
One of the best experiences I’ve had is going on some of the private tours that Walt Disney World offers. I highly recommend the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. These are great, a lot of fun, and you probably will learn some knew stuff plus you can ask the tour guide questions too. And if you aren’t a Disney nerd yet, you might just catch the Disney bug on one of these tours.
Do you love Disney trivia? What are some of the things that have interested you about Disney?
Ever been faced with deciding whether or not to ride on certain rides? I think a lot of people are faced with a fear of certain rides, roller coasters come to mind, perhaps the Tower of Terror? Soarin’? I think this is still common among a lot of adults, it’s not just children at all.
I really enjoy trying new rides, but some look too intense – Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Everest…
I’ve had a really bad time on some rides, in particular Kumba at Busch Gardens pretty much ruined my desire to go on any type of coaster at all. My head got bashed from side to side on the safety harness bars. It was horrible.
I made the mistake of going on Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom. I was scared, the ride spun so much and I felt like I was being pushed out of the seat while simultaneously being squeezed to death.
A while back we tried Soarin’. I had such anxiety before going on the ride, while on it I felt uncomfortable in the seat, like I was not seated securely enough. While I was glad that I did ride on it, I did not feel like it was something I would like to do again anytime soon.
Since then I’ve went on some “kiddie” rides and enjoyed them, like Aladdin’s Carpets, Flying Dumbo, Goofy’s Barnstormer and even the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! The Barnstormer is only about a 63 second ride, some parts are a little rough, but I laughed a lot and had a smile when I got off the ride, so that’s good. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is about a 2 minute ride and was pretty smooth, with some G forces around the bends, the ride went fast – slow – fast – slow, and was fun, also was smiling as it pulled into the station.
I have had conversations with others about which types of rides they like or don’t, and it is not uncommon at all for someone to be apprehensive about certain rides. Some friends don’t like heights, some don’t like things that spin in circles, some don’t like fast rides, some don’t like inversions, or drops, or too much movement. For a lot of people it’s not really a fear, per se, of the ride, it’s more about how the ride effects them, like dizziness, nausea, pain or discomfort. It’s okay if you don’t want to ride something, chances are – you aren’t the only one. For instance, Star Tours is just too jerky for my taste.
Luckily, Disney has a variety of rides and shows to suite most anyone’s sensibilities, and if you feel like you might want to get out of your comfort zone you can always ask others about their ride experience. These days you can even watch YouTube videos of most rides – this is a great, safe, way to experience the essence of a ride without any of the negative side effects.
Is there a ride that you just won’t go on? Ever conquered a fear of a certain ride?
A close up view of the Red River Hogs at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were able to view them on the Wanyama Safari. This is a behind the scenes tour/experience that is offered at the lodge.
The Golden Spoon phenomenon was started by BirdsofPreyDave over on the Disboards forum. He created a full list of Walt Disney World Restaurants where you can eat at, he also added the Epcot Food & Wine and Flower & Garden Booths (if you are so inclined to check those off your list). The “Golden Spoon” is the proverbial achievement for someone who has indeed eaten at every place listed.
This is THE Food Quest for Disney Fans.
I just checked my progress yesterday and took notes of where I’m at.
I’ve eaten at 158 out of 270 restaurants at Walt Disney World (59%)
I’ve eaten at 48 out of 100 quick service/counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World (48%)
I’ve eaten at 53 out of 73 table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World (73%)
I’ve eaten at 8 out of 20 signature restaurants at Walt Disney World (40%)
I’ve eaten at 2 out of 3 dinner show restaurants at Walt Disney World (67%)
I’ve eaten at 0 out of 4 dessert parties at Walt Disney World (0%)
To find out how far you fare, go to the website below and fill our your own check list for your result. If you would like to post your complete results, there is a code generator for the forum, or a simple text version (like mine above) which you can post on your Facebook.
(Updated July 2019) Link URL has been removed due to dead link.
Just a couple photos to get you motivated!
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I know many of you who read my blog are also Disney fanatics. I thought I’d share a little bit about my post-Disney vacation blues.
The first time we took a “real” Disney vacation – stayed on property, we had the BEST time ever. We’re not new to Disney, we’ve been annual passholders for going on going on 2 decades, but attending the parks for a day versus staying at a Disney hotel was different. We have stayed at local Orlando hotels in the past and that was not ‘magical’, and for any one who has stayed off property vs. on property would probably tell you the same thing.
On our first real Disney vacation we stayed at Wilderness Lodge, a deluxe resort surrounded by lots of pine trees and nature. Our room had a perfect view of the quiet pool, the weather was gorgeous, and every moment was spent literally at Disney – we never left, we parked our car and that’s where it stayed for the whole time.
I had planned our itinerary in detail, we had a Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, Afternoon Tea at The Grand Floridian, dinner at Artist Point. We walked up and down Main Street, ate gooey cinnamon buns from the Main Street Bakery, we pin traded, rode our favorite rides, bought souvenirs, basically this was the closest experience to what I imagine tourists feel when they come to Walt Disney World. There were a lot of ‘firsts’ in this trip, first time doing a guided tour, first time sleeping and waking up on Disney property, first time eating at some new places, first time swimming in a Disney pool. It was amazing.
But when it came time to go home, I started feeling severely depressed. On the car ride home, I was just plain sad. We live close enough to drive to WDW, this was crazy; I kept telling myself that this was crazy, we had passes, but this was different. Just the hotel cost was pretty high just for 3 nights it was near $800 with our AP discount rate, and that, ladies and gentlemen, made it pretty much out of reach. Plus the additional costs of the tour, meals, etc. We’ve never spent that much (per night) on a hotel room in our lives.
For two days, I was deep in a funk. After two days of stewing, I finally rationalized or realized how we can just go back to stay at Disney. Can you put a price on happiness? No. But I suppose you can assign it a cost and budget for it! I’ll plan another trip, maybe 2 days and that would be less money. I justified it by saying that we never go on vacation ever, and I’m frugal with money anyways, and this would be like staycationing which is a ‘thing’ people do now just to get away from regular daily life.
From the moment I decided to plan another stay, the Disney blues started to clear, I was getting excited about planning a new trip and I realized something that so many Disney Fans out there know from experience – always be planning your next Disney vacation, whether it is this year, next year, or five years from now. This is probably why Disney offer what they call “bounce back” offers, they start to try to sell you your next vacation while you are still at Disney, they offer reduced rates on a follow up trip, perhaps 40% off accommodations. Disney does offer value resort accommodations at Pop Century or All Stars, and Art of Animation, which do cost less than their Deluxe Resorts.
I know that there are people out there right now who plan their imaginary Disney vacations – and that is good too, because just planning it helps. I dream of one day taking a Disney cruise and staying in one of the Disney suites, the Roy or Walt Disney luxury suite. I still get a little tiny bit bluesy from time to time, if I haven’t gone to Disney in a while, just like if you haven’t had your coffee for the day – it feels like something is missing. Sometimes I just wish I could magically teleport to WDW like a wizard or like they do on Star Trek. When I get like this I’ll watch a Disney movie, or we’ll do an Epcot inspired theme night, buy different foods from a certain country (or countries) and watch travel shows like Rick Steves or Rudy Maxa.
I am happy to say that within about a year after our first real Disney vacation (after several staycations that year), that I discovered and researched about Disney Vacation Club, I scoured the internet, read Disney forums, talked to a friend who we met at WDW who was a DVC owner, looked up everything about DVC resales and ultimately we decided to really go for it and buy a used DVC timeshare. The process was relatively easy, there is a waiting period where Disney can opt to buy the contract from under you – Right of First Refusal they call it, but we had no problem with our particular contract purchase, it took about 90 days from day we signed our papers to close the deal. It was a little scary, we have never spent so much money on a luxury item as that in our lives, but I can honestly say without a doubt – it was the best thing we’ve ever bought ourselves and we know that we will continue to use it for the rest of our lives or at least until 2054 when our DVC contract expires. The annual dues are manageable, they offer monthly payments at no interest, and our annual dues are basically the same cost as 3 nights in a Deluxe Resort at regular price, but we can manage to stay and average of 14 nights a year.
In the end, our Happily Ever After was buying a DVC resale, however cheesy that is, but it is saving us so much money AND we can actually share it with our friends and family and have some really magical memories. I am delighted by Disney Vacation Club, they have special member events during the year, the biggest is probably the Merry Mixer which happens in November/December, last year there were 5 dates available, they throw a two hour private party for the holidays at Epcot, they provide light refreshments and give each family a DVC Christmas Ornament as a keepsake. This year is the 25th anniversary of DVC and they have some new things planned which look like a lot of fun.
How do you do Disney, do you currently have a Disney vacation planned? Have you ever felt blue after going on a great vacation?
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I love celebrating at Disney (Walt Disney World). Spending your birthday or anniversary at Disney just seems so much more special (dare I say, magical even?), elevating it to a “Disney Birthday” or “Disney Anniversary”. Heck, you can celebrate anything at Disney, even an un-birthday! Why not? Being at Walt Disney World gives you a little room to be silly, to be yourself, and to have fun.
Part of the fun is planning ahead of time. Choosing where to go and what to do, where to eat, what rides or shows to see. Whether or not to book a special tour, VIP experience, or signature dinner? Which Disney Resort to stay at? There are so many different experiences waiting to be had, you can plan something that is just right for you or the honoree. If you enjoy some added attention, you can get celebration buttons at your Disney Resort or at Guest Relations, they say things like: “I’m Celebrating”, “Just Married”, “1st Visit”, “Happy Birthday”, etc. Cast members usually acknowledge your celebration if they see your button. Every once in a while a cast member might really do something to make your birthday even more special, I particularly love the small Disney birthday cupcakes.
Just being at Disney for my birthday is amazing, whether it’s eating quick service Japanese food and watching Illuminations, or eating at Cosmic Ray’s inside the Magic Kingdom and watching Sonny Eclipse at midnight as it turns my birthday! I’ve spent many birthdays just being at the parks and riding rides, or just going to dinner. Nothing fancy at all, just being there. Nothing beats the Strawberry Shortcake at Fort Wilderness.
As I’ve gotten older, I try to plan something special for our birthdays each year. With our Disney Vacation Club timeshare, it makes it easy and affordable to book a hotel room with our points for our birthdays or anniversary, or for anytime we want to stay at WDW, like for Flower and Garden Festival or Food and Wine Festival.
Special tours can be pricey, you can check out what Disney offers at their website. We did the Wanyama Safari last year, it’s a tour around Animal Kingdom Lodge with a zoologist/safari guide, and then a Signature Dining Experience at Jiko.
A celebration is even more special with fireworks! Thankfully, Disney has that covered, you can enjoy fireworks everyday of the year at Walt Disney World.
Hope that all your celebrations can be Disney ones!
Which Walt Disney World Theme Park is Your Favorite?
Is it The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom?
If you ask anyone, chances are they probably have a clear favorite.
Epcot is great for dining and drinking, there are so many options for restaurants. The countries are fun. I really love The Land because of the Living with The Land ride, I enjoy the plants and the tour of the greenhouses. The holidays are nice too, with excellent decorations and fireworks. Epcot is my husband’s clear favorite.
For me, it is a difficult choice to pick a favorite park. I absolutely love the Obsourne Lights, they are amazing. I enjoy eating at Sci-Fi Dine In and Mama Melrose’s especially. Star Wars weekends are great fun. And the “Frozen Summer” fireworks are excellent.
The Magic Kingdom is also awesome all year round. For the holidays, the castle is exceptionally beautiful. Plus, I love many of the rides at Magic Kingdom, even the cheesy slow rides or shows are classic, like Carousel of Progress, the Tiki Room, Country Bears, and the People Mover. Nothing is better than Extra Magic Hours!
I am least familiar with Animal Kingdom, perhaps because we aren’t early risers, and this park usually closes first. Although we’ve been here many times, we haven’t done as many of the attractions, and some don’t appeal to me, like Dinosaur or the Yeti coaster. We’ve eaten at several places, like Tusker House, Rainforest Cafe, and Yak & Yeti and enjoy it, and we like to see the animals, but I don’t have any sentimental attachment to this park. We were considering trying one of their special tours, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Are you undecided? Or do you have a clear favorite?