Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

In one of my favorite Disney trips, here I am with my wife Cindy and daughter Sophie, loving every minute!

The entrance to Disneyland Park!

Disneyland…

Walt Disney World Railroad

The Main Street, U.S.A. Walt Disney World Railroad station

Walt Disney World…

If you had to choose one or the other for your trip, which one would you pick?  To help you with your choice, I’ve got two posts — one that I think really illustrates the reasons why Disneyland is better than Walt Disney World, and one that I think really illustrates why Walt Disney World is better than Disneyland.

This link will take you to the Disneyland is better than Walt Disney World post (the post will open in a new tab/window).

This link will take you to the Walt Disney World is better than Disneyland post (the post will open in a new tab/window).

So, what is it going to be? Disneyland or Walt Disney World?  Help us out by voting in our poll at the bottom of this post, and thanks!  I’ll keep the poll open indefinitely, so have at it everyone!  I’ll periodically post on our Facebook page the numbers at the moment, and invite you to continue voting.


Crowded or Too Crowded at Walt Disney World?

My Dreams of Disney Header

My wife and I were in Florida from December 25th of last year to January 12th of this year. That meant that we were able to visit The Vacation Kingdom both in the peak season and the off-season. In the past we’ve made it a habit never to find ourselves at Walt Disney World during the peak seasons. The over-crowding and long wait times are usually too much for us to handle!

But thanks to the overly cold temperatures and rain this year in Florida we had to make good use of the clear days when they presented themselves. So January 3rd was the day we decided to visit the Magic Kingdom. The temperature was frigid but the sky was clear and blue so we braved the day! This was the second last day that the Park would be open until 1 AM (Sunday being when the Parks would change to off-season hours). We arrived at 10 AM and stayed until almost 2 AM. Unfortunately, so did A LOT of other people!

Magic Kingdom Crowds

The picture above was taken around 5 PM in the new area of Fantasyland. As you can see, the crowds were thick and getting good pictures of the new buildings and attractions was hard without having dozens of people milling around in the foreground. Rides like Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and other E ticket attractions all had wait times in excess of 2 hours most of the day. Needless to say, we avoided most of them.

One of the good things about not wasting extensive amounts of time in long line ups is the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures the Magic Kingdom has to offer. Such as:

Wowzer

Meet Wowzer, a street performer that was entertaining crowds (and I mean ‘crowds’) in the new Fantasyland area. His show was about 10 minutes long with some audience participation. Here he saw me lining up a shot with my camera and stopped in mid-act to pose.

The only thing we did wait for was the new Enchanted Tales with Belle. We lined up for about an hour and a half but felt it was well worth it. One tip to avoid long waits in line during peak seasons is to wait until a parade starts or go during the dinner hour, which we did to see Belle. Karen got to be Belle’s horse, Phillipe:

VwB

After participating in the show, Karen was given a book mark and a special PhotoPass card with pictures of the show on it, like the one above.

But after 15 hours in the Crowded Kingdom, we both decided that we would wait until the off-season to revisit WDW. So we visited Epcot on January 10th and this is what the crowds looked like then:

Epcot Crowds

This picture was taken about 8 PM but was typical of the crowds all day. We again arrived around 10 AM and stayed until just after 10 PM. This is the new band that replaced the Beatles tribute band. They now play music from many different English bands .

The day was warm and sunny, one of the few days that had that combination during our entire trip!

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Again, not many people, just a lonely Cast Member waiting for someone to visit Nemo. It wasn’t until later that I learned just why Epcot was so sparsely populated:

Bruce thins the crowds

It appears that although Bruce considers fish to be friends and not food, he has other ideas about humans! This poor guys went missing shortly after I took this shot. Although I was appreciative of Bruce’s help in making my visit to Epcot less crowded, I was afraid to go up to him to thank him personally!

So what is your preference? Do you brave the crowds and let nothing stop your fun? Or do you prefer to wait until the off-season like me?

Our Favorite Disney Memories 2010

Stephanie, Snow White, and Sophie enjoy a picture at Akershus!

Stephanie, Snow White, and Sophie enjoy a picture at Akershus!

Hello everyone, and welcome to our Favorite Disney Memories 2010 edition!  So much happened in this trip in June 2010 for Sophie’s birthday that I almost don’t know where to start!  I’ll do my best, though, and I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane.  At the end of the post, please share your favorite Disney memories in our comments section, and thanks!

The picture at the top was taken at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for our Princess Storybook Dining character dinner!  I think the combination of my niece Stephanie, my daughter Sophie, and Snow White is a great combination!

This trip started with a big surprise for Sophie — she found out the night before we were leaving that Stephanie was coming with us!  We arranged for Stephanie to ring the doorbell when she got to our house, and I had Sophie answer it.  When she saw her cousin, after hugs and kisses and excitement, she whispered to me “Daddy, why is she here?”  It was a great moment, and one that we all will never forget!

This picture of the bridge at the Boardwalk region of Disney is a fun one for me!

This picture of the bridge at the Boardwalk region of Disney is a fun one for me!

One thing we did on this trip that we had never done before was spend an evening at the Boardwalk region of Disney!  It was a lot of fun, and we made a point to spend time there before we got all inundated at the parks, so we actually did this before we even checked in to our resort hotel!  We made plans to eat at the Captain’s Grille, which is a restaurant one of my friends used to work at, and then we spent the night just walking around the boardwalk, checking out the shopping, enjoying the street performers, and having a great night all around.

I enjoy this great picture of my niece and I from our visit to the Crystal Palace!

I enjoy this great picture of my niece and I from our visit to the Crystal Palace!

This trip was a lot of fun — we even got a great picture of my niece Stephanie and I from the Crystal Palace!  This trip had it all; great family memories, fantastic dining using the Disney Dining Plan, Sophie and Stephanie walking around the parks like they were sisters, and Cindy and I just taking it all in and enjoying every minute of it!

The Mickey & Friends Railroad located at the DVC Welcome Center at Saratoga Springs!

The Mickey & Friends Railroad located at the DVC Welcome Center at Saratoga Springs!

This trip was special in many other ways, also, including the fact that we purchased our DVC ownership on this trip!  That was such a big decision, but it was the right one, because since we bought our ownership interest, we have been to Walt Disney World with our close family, great friends, and we have stayed at Bay Lake Tower, Kidani Village, the Grand Californian Hotel, and this year, back to Bay Lake Tower!

Sophie received this pirate gear at Downtown Disney!

Sophie received this pirate gear at Downtown Disney!

But, without a doubt, the biggest memory from our trip was celebrating Sophie’s 9th birthday.  She loves celebrating at Disney, and one day during that trip, we took the water taxi from Port Orleans French Quarter, our resort, to Downtown Disney.  When we were getting off the taxi, the captain wished Sophie a happy birthday, and then he had us hang on a minute, and he pulled out of his bag of tricks a Princess Pirate getup.  That little gesture absolutely made Sophie’s day, and she wore the bandana with pride, and also the eye patch and sword too!  Lastly, at Hollywood Studios, as we were finishing up our visit for the year, Sophie’s Happy Birthday button became worn out from water rides, heat, sweat, and you name it.  One of the Disney artists saw it, took Sophie’s button, wiped off the sharpie, and then proceeded to spend about 15 minutes decorating her name in the Disney font, and adding glitter, and puffy ink, and all that.  It was a great keepsake, and absolute proof to how incredible the Disney Cast Members truly are.

Thank you my friends for visiting today, and remember, I love hearing memories, so please send me your favorite memories by leaving them in the comments below!  Now, go out there and make today and everyday a great Disney Day!

 

 

Our Favorite Disney Memories 2009

The Walt Disney World Railroad station at Main Street, U.S.A.

The Walt Disney World Railroad station at Main Street, U.S.A.

Our trip in 2009 was a tale of two trips.  Initially, we were going to take the trip to Walt Disney World in June for Sophie’s birthday.  We even had it all paid off.  However, then the economy changed, and state government in North Carolina was talking about possibly having layoffs, so Cindy and I decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, and we canceled the trip.  It was a really lousy feeling because Sophie knew we were going, and for her birthday, and to not be able to go just is a hard thing for a parent to have to do with their child.  As the summer wore on, the concerns of layoffs were lessened, and Cindy and I decided that a vacation was possible after all.  We looked at places like Hershey Park and other theme parks, but kept getting drawn back to all that we feel we get when we go to the World, so we made plans — this time, though, without telling Sophie.

We left for our trip on August 15th, and checked in to Disney on the 16th.  Sophie went to her weekly dance that week just like normal on the morning of the 15th, and while she and Cindy were gone, I loaded up the car for the trip.  Sophie got home, we said, go change your clothes, we’re going out for a while.  When we got in the car, I started playing some music that Sophie hadn’t heard for a long time, and we got this reaction when she figured out where we were going…

Because of our having to change our plans, we were determined not to miss anything.  As a result, I took a TON of pictures.  I think, at this point, I’m going to let my pictures do the talking.  Thanks for stopping by on our Favorite Disney Memories 2009 post, and look later this afternoon as we bring you our 2010 post as well!

Pluto hams it up for the camera as Sophie leans in for a big hug!

Pluto hams it up for the camera as Sophie leans in for a big hug!

Lilo is the perfect person for Sophie to hug in this photo!

Lilo is the perfect person for Sophie to hug in this photo!

Sophie has a look of half excitement, half terror as Stitch hams above her!

Sophie has a look of half excitement, half terror as Stitch hams above her!

Look at the love in Sophie's eyes for her buddy Mickey!

Look at the love in Sophie’s eyes for her buddy Mickey!

The wind was just enough to catch his balloons, but not enough for him to lose them! Is his name Carl, I wonder?

The wind was just enough to catch his balloons, but not enough for him to lose them! Is his name Carl, I wonder?

The Main Street Philharmonic performs for us!

The Main Street Philharmonic performs for us!

As much as I like Billy Joel, at Walt Disney World, this is the true Piano Man!

As much as I like Billy Joel, at Walt Disney World, this is the true Piano Man!

I miss Minnie's Country House.  It was so much fun to see her regular house at Disneyland!

I miss Minnie’s Country House. It was so much fun to see her regular house at Disneyland!

This shot of Japan in the World Showcase at night is one of my favorites!

This shot of China in the World Showcase at night is one of my favorites!

I've only seen the Studio Backlot Tour once, but I loved the way the performer "weathered the storm"!

I’ve only seen the Studio Backlot Tour once, but I loved the way the performer “weathered the storm”!

At Animal Kingdom Park, Sophie had her face painted.  I love this picture of her!

At Animal Kingdom Park, Sophie had her face painted. I love this picture of her!

Thank you again for stopping by!  Now, please leave your comments of your favorite Disney memories below, and thanks go out and make it a Disney Day everyone!

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow – My Famous Disney Couple and an {American Tourister Giveaway}!

LuggageGiveaway

When you think of famous Disney Couples, most people think of Mickey & Minnie, or Donald and Daisy, or even Cinderella and Prince Charming.  But how often do you think of Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow when you think of Famous Disney Couples?

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow

Clarabelle Cow, Sophie, and Horace Horsecollar posing for the camera!

Well, I’ve got one of those odd brains that thinks about the unusual at the weirdest times, so when I heard that the theme for our giveaway was going to be Famous Disney Couple, I almost immediately though of Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow.  I’m not really sure why that is — I mean, it’s not every day that you think of them.  Maybe it’s because one of my favorite photos was of them with my daughter Sophie in the Magic Kingdom (in Town Square) from 2007, and honestly, you don’t see them around much — at least, I don’t.  Or maybe I thought of them because I had just seen the movie Frozen prior to seeing the topic for our giveaway, and they were on my mind.  I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is this: Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow, especially in the picture above, are really stylish characters, and I could see Clarabelle really sporting that Minnie Mouse luggage from American Tourister quite nicely!  Same goes for Horace and the Mickey luggage!  Also, take a look at that romantic Horace as he shares a special moment with Clarabelle!

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow

Image ©disneygeek.com

The Disney Couple Giveaway Question!

Of course, I’m not just here to talk about my famous Disney couple!  We are also having a giveaway, and one of the entries will be your answer to the following question:

The Disney Couple Giveaway Question is this: What is the name of the cartoon short prior to the start of the Disney movie Frozen that Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were in?

If you are like me, you’ve got that short running on YouTube every day, and you keep going back to the theater to see the movie!  Pretty simple, right?  Just leave your answer in the giveaway widget below, and thanks!

Now, we’ve got a little legal to cover, so please read carefully:

Enter to win a Disney inspired D23 2-piece luggage set.  No purchase necessary to enter.  Just read about a famous Disney couple and answer the question in the post.  There will be a new blogger posting daily through February 7th so keep checking back for additional chances to enter.

There will be two winners in the giveaway. Each winner will receive a Disney Inspired D23 2-piece luggage set valued at $100.  Design winner receives will be chosen at random.  Contest begins Jan 27th 2014 and ends February 14th 2014 at midnight EST and is only open to U.S. legal residents 18 years and older with valid email address.