Disney’s Animal Kingdom Gold, Silver, and Bronze Olympics!

Yesterday we took a look at the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners at Epcot, and today we are looking at the same thing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Thursday we’ll complete this mini-series by looking at our Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Gold Medal: Expedition Everest

Is there any doubt that this would be my Gold Medal winner?  I have become such a big fan of Expedition Everest that I take advantage of riding it as many times as I can!  The roller coaster is incredible, but for me, even better is being able to get in the Single Rider line.  We did that during our last trip, and despite the fact that the stand-by line was 65 minutes, we were on the roller coaster in under 15 minutes!  As for the coaster itself, it is a lot of fun.  My favorite part is when we are going backwards, it never fails to make my stomach lurch just a little bit, but it’s fun nonetheless!

Silver Medal: Finding Nemo — The Musical

When it comes to my Silver Medal, Finding Nemo — The Musical has my vote.  This long running show in Dinoland, U.S.A. is one of the best shows at Walt Disney World, and is a great way to spend some time indoors during the heat of a hot Florida summer day.  The actors that portray the different characters in the show do an exceptional job of bringing those puppets to life, and telling the story of Nemo and Marlin in a way that is compacted, yet still captures the essence of the movie.  Finding Nemo — The Musical is a favorite of ours, and we strive to see it every chance we can.

Bronze Medal: Sophie and the Jumbo Turkey Leg

Not all of my medal choices have to do with rides or shows or fireworks; some of them just come down to experiences.  For my Bronze Medal winner, I’m sharing with you my picture of Sophie eating a Jumbo Turkey Leg that we purchased at the Trilo Bites while some of the others were on Kali River Rapids.  The picture to the left shows just how much Sophie liked that turkey leg, and how big it was in comparison to her face!  We don’t eat a turkey leg every trip to Disney, but we do eat them every now and again, and when we do, we certainly enjoy every bit of them!

Now, like always, I’ve got the Gold, Silver, and Bronze picks for Cindy and Sophie.

Cindy’s Picks:
Gold: Expedition Everest
Silver: Festival of the Lion King
Bronze: Finding Nemo — The Musical

Sophie’s Picks:
Gold: Kali River Rapids
Silver: Festival of the Lion King
Bronze: Finding Nemo — The Musical

Check back in on Thursday as we conclude our series by looking at the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for Disney’s Hollywood Studios!  What are your favorites here at Animal Kingdom?  How about leaving a comment and let us know?  Thanks!

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Epcot’s Gold, Silver, and Bronze Olympics!

On Saturday I gave you my Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for the Magic Kingdom, along with those for Cindy and Sophie.  Today I’m sharing with you my Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for Epcot.  Tomorrow I’ll share my Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and on Thursday I’ll share my winners for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Finally, on Friday I’ll give you my Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for the Walt Disney World Resorts.

Gold Medal: Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Illuminations is my favorite fireworks show at Walt Disney World.  I like it more then Wishes not because of the fireworks so much, because without a doubt, Wishes has better fireworks.  I like Illuminations better because of the music.  It is moving, it is poignant, and it never fails to get me each and every time.  The music, and the show itself, does a great job in my opinion of bringing the countries of the World Showcase together; of pointing out that while there are differences in culture, language, and other factors, there are also a lot of things that are similar about us, starting with how we all share the world we live in.

Silver Medal: Spaceship Earth

I know that Spaceship Earth isn’t on most people’s top three at Epcot.  There are so many other great attractions at Epcot, why didn’t I choose one of those?  Well, for me, Spaceship Earth has it all.  A great structure with its geodesic dome; an attraction that is dark, but also highly entertaining to me as it traverses through time.  An educational ride, this attraction also is just downright cool as you travel throughout the structure.  Spaceship Earth is 180 feet high at it’s highest, although you wouldn’t know that during the ride.  One of the changes that they made during the last renovation was the questions that you answer to help you decide what your future might look like.  I always enjoy that, and think it adds to the attraction.

Bronze Medal: The Mexico Pavilion

The Mexico Pavilion is my favorite pavilion of all in Epcot’s World Showcase.  I like it because it has so many facets working for it.  The structure itself is based off of a real Aztec Pyramid: the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, Mexico.  Inside the Pavilion, you leave the intense Florida heat in the summer, and end up in an evening Mexico open air market, with shops, restaurants, and evening entertainment.  You’ll find the San Angel Inn where you can enjoy dinner while you watch the boats for the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballero’s pass by.  Or, for the adult beverage people out there, you can take in the La Cava del Taquila.

Like last post, I’ve got Cindy and Sophie’s picks as well for their Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners.

Cindy’s Picks:

Gold: Soarin’
Silver: Test Track
Bronze: Off Kilter

Sophie’s Picks:

Gold: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballero’s
Silver: Via Napoli
Bronze: Ice Cream in the France Pavilion

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Disney In Pictures – Disney Trains!

Hello, and welcome to another week of Disney In Pictures!  In this week’s edition, we are looking at one of my favorite things: Trains!  I asked you to submit your favorite pictures of Disney Trains, whether that be pictures from the Walt Disney World Railroad, or from the Monorail, or from Rafiki’s Planet Watch, or even something else that I’m not thinking about!  I asked, and you delivered!  Thank you for sending me your pictures, now lets get on with the show!
First up on our list is my friend Amanda from Mouze Kateerz.  Amanda has a couple of photos that she wanted to share, and one of them reminded me of a train that I forgot to mention.  Here is what she had to say:

The first picture is my nephew, Jonathan, on one of his favorite “trains” at DW the Blue line lol
The second picture is my niece, Julia, pooped out from spending so much time at DW LOL

Next up is Dulcie, who has her own blog but is also one of the great writers for Chip & Company.  Dulcie has three photos to share, here is what she had to say:

por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas

This is a phrase I can never grow tired of hearing…As a matter of fact it is the ringtone on my phone!
Come along on the ride of a lifetime and see what it looks like to ride in the front of the monorail around Walt Disney World….

February 25, 2009 marked my 35th birthday and I had lots of firsts happen at the park on that Magical day.
It was the first birthday that I got to spend in the parks with my 4 yr old daughter!! It was so much fun having a Mommie and Daughter weekend.
I also ended up with 3 No Strings Attached tickets from a wonderful Cast Member named Frankie…
My daughter and I ate popcorn for breakfast…It was a rule breaking weekend for us. We were living on the Wild Side *haha*
We were on our way over to the GF for dining reservations for my birthday dinner at 1900 Park Fare.  Did I mention Cinderella has always been my favorite princess? So why can’t this Mommie have a character meal too?
So on the way over by way of monorail mind you we were picked to sit up front with the pilot !! In all my 33 years of going to Disney World
I’ve never sat up front and this was the royal treatment for me.
When we boarded I had chills thinking of all the years I had wanted to do this and I finally got to on MY birthday!
It was so cool seeing what things looked like from this perspective and I got some AMAZING photos from the trip around Seven Sea Lagoon.
It is so sad that it’s a privilege of the past but I’m glad that I can say my daughter and I got to celebrate and ride with the pilot on our special trip together.

Next is my friend Denny from Mouze Kateerz.  Denny lives in Florida, and is always taking incredible photographs for us when he visits!  Here is what he had to share with us:

All aboard! Here are two of my favorites, both from Fantasyland! Here’s a great memory: the old Toontown Station and the brand new Casey, Jr. water play area! Toontown always made me feel like I’d just stepped into a ‘toon! The Casey, Jr. Water play area is right next to the new Fantasyland Train Station. It’s a great way to cool the kids down on a hot day and is themed really nicely to the movie DUMBO. Thanks for the topic this week! Grins!

Teresa from Mouze Kateerz is next.  She went beyond trains, and that’s perfectly okay with me!  She has the following pictures to share.  Enjoy!

My favorite mode of transportation inside Magic Kingdom all decked out for fall/Halloween

The Walt Disney World Railroad is another favorite of mine!!

We cannot leave out the ever present Disney Bus Transportation system!!!

Waiting for the monorail zipping by in Contemporary Resort

Brenda and Roger are back and up next on our list!  They are writers for Mouze Kateerz, but they also have their own blog at Back To Disney, so head on over and say hi!  Here is what Roger had to share with us:

Here is a Magic Kingdom Christmas tree,

With a Christmas Train underneath!

My first year of Christmas season at Disney–soon I’ll be going for year 2!

[Editor’s Note: I’ll make it there one day for Christmas, Roger!  In the meantime, enjoy it for us, okay?!]

Next up is my friend Deb, the incredible creator, author, and primary photographer from Focused on the Magic.  Deb is one of the nicest people, and I always enjoy it when I get the pleasure of seeing her photos shared with all of us!  Make sure you stop by her site, it’ll take your breath away!  Here is what she had to say:

Hi Mike,
I’m sharing two pictures this week of my favorite form of transportation in WDW, the monorail. As much as I love riding the steam trains, it’s the monorail system that really makes me feel like I’ve arrived and I’m on vacation in Disney World. Both of these pictures were taken during The Flower & Garden Festival, one of my favorite times of year. So there you have it — my favorite form of transportation during my favorite time of year:)

Such breathtaking colors!  I’ve never been to the Flower and Garden Festival, but that’s another on my bucket list! :)  Thanks for taking us there in spirit, Deb, even if it’s just in these two photos!

The last people to send in photos this week are Justin and Jennifer, who wanted to share two photos of what used to be one of their kid’s favorite rides.  Here is what they had to say:

I wanted to send these pictures in because this was one of my family’s favorite “rides” at Disney World before they stopped allowing it. My kids still ask if we can ride in the front of the monorail every time we go!

I know exactly what you mean!  My wife, daughter and I did that also one year, it was such a tragic accident that forced this to end, but I for one would like to be able to enjoy that again.  I guess I’ll need to become a Monorail pilot when I retire!

The Walt Disney World Railroad is one of those attractions that just takes me away, and allows my mind to travel back in time to the days when majestic trains like these graced the country.  Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of the trains.  Enjoy!

The Roger E. Broggie
The Roy O. Disney

On approach to the Fantasyland Station

Arriving at the Fantasyland Station

Thank you all for stopping by to visit and see your pictures!  I enjoy opening this post up to you every week. If you have any suggestions for themes that you would like to see explored, leave them in the comments, shoot me an email to mickey@mydreamsofdisney.com, or leave them on the Facebook page!  Thanks!

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The Magic Kingdom’s Gold, Silver, and Bronze Olympics

As I sit at home watching the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, a thought occurred to me.  If I had to choose the three things at the Magic Kingdom that I would classify as Gold, Silver, and Bronze, what would they be?  In some ways, it’s a daunting task.  How do you pick just three things about the Magic Kingdom that you would rank as the Gold, Silver, and Bronze at the park?  Well, I’m going to give it my best shot, and I’m also going to include my wife and daughters picks as well!

Gold Medal: Pirates of the Caribbean

When it comes to the Gold Medal, there are so many options, and it may be that my gold medal winner in this case could be as flighty as an Olympic judge, and what is Gold today may not even medal tomorrow.  But for this day, at this time and moment, the Pirates of the Caribbean is my Gold Medalist.  This attraction has everything that I look for:  a dark ride, action, great music, an incredible story, a super cool queue, and great special effects.  That is why this attraction is my Gold Medal Winner!  Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction that Walt Disney had a hand in; it had a soft opening in Disneyland on March 16, 1967 (with an official opening date of March 18, 1967), just a few months after Walt passed away.  It opened at Walt Disney World on December 15, 1973.

For Cindy, though, her Gold Medal Winner is not an attraction, not a parade, not a ride.  For Cindy, her Gold Medal Winner is Wishes!

For Sophie, nothing comes close in her mind for what her Gold Medal Winner is: It’s Splash Mountain, her favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World, not just the Magic Kingdom!  She likes this attraction so much that she has written about it, rode it multiple times, and tells everyone she sees about how much they have got to experience it!

Silver Medal: Space Mountain

When is comes to my silver medal, nothing can compete to the rides that I had on Space Mountain during our last trip in June.  For the first trip, it was right after my niece became engaged to her fiance Shane, it was extra magic hours, and the Magic Kingdom was practically empty.  On this ride were six of us, in positions 1-6 on the ride vehicles.  In position 1 was Cindy, who loves the front seat.  Position 2 was Kerry, who was scared to death.  Position 3 was me, full of nervous energy.  Position 4 was Kyle, having the time of his life.  Position 5 was Stephanie, who was on cloud 9, and Position 6 was Shane, her fiance.  Right before we started Kyle screamed, which set Kerry off even more then she had been, got me laughing, and we had a great ride!

If anything, the second ride might have been even more intense!  This time it was just myself, Kerry, and now Monica, who had never ridden the ride before.  Kerry was still nervous, Monica was praying, and me, I was just having the time of my life.  In the first ride, we just went down the right side, but this time, we were sent to the left track, and to me, it felt like the ride was ramped up even more then before!  I know that Space Mountain has the slowest speed of any of the roller coasters, but to me, that night, it felt like we were going to go flying off the track, especially during all of the winding parts of the track!  It was incredible, and I suspect that it will never be replicated.

For Cindy, her Silver Medal is the same as mine — Space Mountain — so I won’t include a picture like I did before.

 For Sophie, though, her Silver Medal is a dining experience.  Eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table, especially this past trip, was incredible to her because we got to experience the Magic of Wishes from within the Castle while we ate!

Bronze Medal: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

 My Bronze Medalist is, to the surprise of some, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.  However, much like Pirates of the Caribbean, this attraction was designed by Walt Disney himself, and was featured at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York.  Originally at Disneyland, the Carousel of Progress was moved across the country and placed in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.  It opened at the Magic Kingdom on January 15, 1975, and has been playing there ever since.

The Carousel of Progress is one of my favorite attractions because it brings me back to simpler times, while also sharing with us how we’ve progressed.

Cindy’s Bronze Medal winner is Splash Mountain, which of course was Sophie’s Gold Medal winner.  Just goes to show how the judges can have differing opinions!

 For Sophie, her Bronze Medal Winner is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  There is something about getting all dolled up at Cinderella Castle that just does it for her.  She has now had this done two years in a row because the first time was with her cousin Anna Jane for Sophie’s birthday, and the second time was with River and Madelyne-Lois, neither of whom had ever been to Walt Disney World before.

That concludes the awarding of our special Magic Kingdom Olympic Medals!  What do you think of our choices?  What would win the Gold Medal for you?  Why don’t you leave me a comment and let me know, and thanks for reading!  Look for posts about my Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners for Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios also next week!

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Disney In Pictures Theme: Disney Trains!

All aboard everyone!  It’s time to announce the next Disney In Pictures theme for the post this Sunday, July 29, 2012!  This week’s theme is Disney Trains!  Send us your incredible photos of your favorite pictures of trains, or monorails, or even the train to rafiki’s, or anything that you qualify as a Disney Train!  Here’s what to do:

  • Send your picture to mickey@mydreamsofdisney.com
  • Include your name
  • Tell me why this picture is special
  • Lastly, include your blog address if you have one!

I’ll collect them all, put them in my Disney In Pictures post and share them with our readers this Sunday.  Thanks for sending me your photos every week.  It’s a treat to me, and it means a lot to me that you share your work with us!

Thanks everyone, and have a great night!

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