Disney Snacks

Magical Blogorail – Top 10 Disney Snacks

Disney Snacks

The pure, unbridled joy of eating your own Jumbo Emu (I mean, Turkey) Leg!

Hello everyone, and welcome!  Today I’m joining the Magical Blogorail as we talk about our top 10 Disney Snacks!  Who’s hungry now, besides me? I’ve got an eclectic list here, I hope there is something for everyone!  Let me know your favorite Disney Snacks in the comments, and thanks!

Top 10 Disney Snacks

#1: Fresh Popped Popcorn

Disney Snacks

To me, there is nothing better than fresh popped popcorn in Town Square! Image ©Disney

A bottle of Diet Coke, a box of freshly popped popcorn, and a Disney parade — three of the best things, joined together, and when combined, create an incredible night of memories for this writer!  It’s a simple choice perhaps, but one I can’t wait to experience again!

#2 Cinnamon Roll from Gaston’s Tavern

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

This beauty used the be the exclusive snack for me of the old Main Street Bakery, but can now be found at Gaston’s Tavern.  Still as good as always, this yummy treat is more than just a Disney Snack — it’s a full-fledged breakfast meal because it’s so big.

#3 Jumbo Turkey Leg

As seen above, my daughter Sophie loves the Jumbo Turkey Leg as much as I do.  It’s a huge snack, so much so that perhaps it doesn’t qualify as one, but it’s definitely something that we will split among the two of us.

#4 Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

I like the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, but to my wife Cindy, it is bar none her favorite Disney snack anywhere!

#5 Churros

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

While I think all of us agree that the churros at Disneyland are better than the ones at Walt Disney World, I would suggest that you go try them out over in Disney Springs.  It’s been a while since I had one there, so hopefully they still have them, but it was a great churro!

#6 Ice Cream Sandwich

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

Oh my, now that’s a tasty treat!  Nothing like an ice cream sandwich made up of two fresh baked cookies!  Yummy and big enough to share at that!

#7 Beignets!

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

These tasty New Orleans treats can be had at Port Orleans French Quarter.  If you have gluten allergies, don’t worry, you can also get these in a gluten free variety like those seen above! You might want to wear white that day though because of the powdered sugar!

#8 Mickey Shaped Pretzel

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

These are good, especially if you have them in Germany with a beer — it’s a good combination to me, at least.

#9 Waffle Cone Ice Cream Sundae

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

Sometimes, nothing is better than a great ice cream sundae! Over at the Plaza Ice Cream Shop, they’ve got all sorts of tasty ice cream treats to try out!

#10 A Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Disney Snacks

Image ©Disney

Although the cookie shown is not a chocolate chip cookie, at least not on outward appearances, it reminds me of the time that one of the Cast Members had a special chocolate chip cookie — easily about nine inches in diameter — that was for our daughter Sophie, and sent from Cinderella herself!  It was one of those Disney Magic moments, and was part of the Year of a Million Dreams, but to our six or seven year old, it meant the world to her.

It’s moments like those — and of course, the wonderful treats, and incredible rides, and on and on and on — that make Walt Disney World the best place for us to visit.  What are your favorite Disney snacks? Let me know in the comments below, please, and thanks for stopping by today!

 

 


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Under-Appreciated Attractions

Magical Blogorail: World Showcase at Night

World Showcase

Spaceship Earth at night is a majestic ball of incredible lights!

As far as I am concerned, Walt Disney World is so much more incredible to experience at night.  That’s why my family is always looking for the evening extra magic hours over the morning.  When it comes to specific areas of Walt Disney World that truly shine after dark, I look no further than the World Showcase area of Epcot.  Today, we are going to talk about some of the incredible things we’ve seen here, and you might too on your next visit!

For this hopeless romantic, few locations on Disney property hold the sway that World Showcase does for me after dark settles in.  For starters, I love the way the path just flows from country to country, pavilion to pavilion, all the way around World Showcase Lagoon.  There’s a tranquility there, a sense of calm, a timeless about it that just really strikes home in this writer’s heart.  It takes me back, back to that very first trip to Epcot, in the summer of 1983, when my grandparents took me, and we went with friends of theirs that had their grandson visiting also.  I remember, that was the very first time in a setting that big that I had been allowed to go (with Chris, of course) off without any adult supervision.  But it was Disney, and my Grandparents knew it would be all right.

The charm of the World Showcase at night is that it grabs you, clutches at you, drawing you this way and that, and all the while, the crowds start thinning out because they are heading towards the bus terminals, or their rooms on the Boardwalk, or maybe they’re driving back home; regardless, the night and the park soon feels like you and your special someone are the only ones there.  I remember one recent trip, we were walking around World Showcase, and we came to the drawbridge, and it went up!  We happened to be there when the giant Earth from Illuminations was passing through on it’s way back to where it is stored, and I was able to capture this photo with my phone…

World Showcase

The Illuminations Globe passes by on it’s way to bed for the night.

I had never seen it up close like that before, and haven’t seen it that close since.

Of course, the World Showcase at night also means fireworks!  Namely, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  This fireworks show to me is incredible, and now, with Wishes closed down over at the Magic Kingdom, is the longest running fireworks show at Walt Disney World.  IllumiNations strikes a great balance between fireworks, laser light affects, narration, and music, and is a great way to kick off the rest of the evening at Epcot.

World Showcase

In the end, the World Showcase at night is about more than a particular attraction; it’s about more than a special fireworks show; it’s about more than getting one last drink before heading out.  World Showcase at night, to me, is all about slowing down, reliving the day with your family and friends, and sharing a special, Magical moment with the one you love most.  That is why I like walking World Showcase at night.  What about you?  Do you like exploring the World Showcase at night? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!


For more ways to enjoy evenings at Disney,
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NC Beaches

The Blogorail: Exploring the NC Beaches

NC Beaches

The Atlantic Ocean rolls in at Atlantic Beach, NC

Welcome everyone!  Today the Blogorail is looking at beach vacation ideas — and for this resident of North Carolina, I’m here to tell you why exploring the NC beaches is where it’s at!

From the Outer Banks in the northern part of the state, all the way down to Wrightsville Beach and beyond in the south, the state of North Carolina has an incredible selection of beaches for you to choose from.  Whether it is to explore the Outer Banks and see Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made their historic flight from, or to head down to Fort Fisher in the south, there are countless ways to explore the NC beaches year after year.

Today I’m going to focus on a small town that we visited with our family a few years back — Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.  This sleepy little town is big enough to have things that you’ll want while you visit — grocery stores, great restaurants, and a lot of awesome places to stay — but it’s also small enough that you can relax, enjoy yourself, and not find yourself packed together like a bunch of sardines in a can.  The picture at the top was our spot of beach — the vegetation was navigated by a small pathway, and while it looks like there isn’t much beach there, there really is, with plenty of spots to setup your chairs and umbrellas for the day.  On that day the winds were up, and we had rain, but even with some rain, it didn’t matter because we were able to just sit on our back porch and take it all in — the sounds of the surf, the ocean breezes, the warm temperatures — and just let life’s stresses melt away.  That’s just some of the reasons why the NC beaches are worth exploring!

NC beaches

The 4th of July Parade navigates down our stretch of Beach Heaven!

When we visited, it was the weekend of July 4th, and the community had a local parade — grab your jeep, truck, trailer, golf cart, bike, or RV — you name it, go grab it — and drive along and join in. Or, if you don’t want to, just enjoy the parade from the sidelines, like we did.

NC beaches

A patriotic row of beach houses lines the shore!

As you can see, there is civilization further south, but we liked it just here — and even with all of the houses, there was space to move, and we didn’t feel crowded at all!

NC beaches

And don’t forget, what 4th of July celebration would be complete without fireworks?  These were fired off from the pier at the main public beach, and we watched them from our location.

So, when you are thinking about the beaches and where you should spend some of your time this summer, think about all of the wonderful beaches to be found in North Carolina, and give Atlantic Beach some thought — if you come, you will be glad you did!  Have you been to any of the NC beaches?  Which is your favorite and why?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!


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Railroad Story

Walt Disney’s Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination That Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing the Disney books you should have in your collection.


Railroad Story

Walt Disney’s Railroad Story is a treasure for any Disney enthusiast young or old.  This coffee table book of 432 pages written by Michael Broggie is an illustrative work that takes the reader through the life of Walt Disney in a way that features his early beginnings and how his love for railroads led to a passion that he incorporated into his parks worldwide.

The book is divided into several sections, called “scenes”, but before all of that, this reader was captivated with a forward written by Lillian B. Disney, wife of Walt Disney, and spellbound by two of Walt’s Nine Old Men, Ward Kimball & Ollie Johnston, with incredible introductions.

A book of this length can’t be written about properly in one blog post, so what I’m going to do is take each of the scenes in order and offer up my favorite parts from each scene. Let’s journey down each scene in our railroad story, starting at scene one.

Scene One: Humble Beginnings

This scene, comprised of seven chapters, looks at various aspects of Walt’s upbringing.  What I like about this whole book is the incredible photography seen throughout; some of these photos and drawings are ones that we haven’t seen in many a year, if ever, and many of them are likely only found now in the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Near the end of scene one is chapter six, which talks about the trip that Ward Kimball and Walt Disney made to the Chicago Railroad Fair.  Reading through that chapter, Michael Broggie paints a picture of Walt that many of us have imagined, but few have witnessed.  In it, he describes how sentimental that journey was for Walt.  Of course, Walt Disney had some raising in Chicago, so he knew it well; at one point in the story, Walt is leading Ward through various stations in the L, describing where this track went or where that track went. While Ward Kimball had no idea where they were, it finally dawned on him that Walt was reliving his childhood.

Our railroad story continues in scene two, where we learn how the stage is set.

Scene Two: Setting the Stage

In scene two, the stage is set for exploring the growing fascination with railroads, and Walt and Lilly purchase the land that would become the site of their home in Holmby Hills. This scene goes into greater detail on the building of Walt’s backyard small scale railroad, but what I really enjoyed reading was the chapter known as “The Birth of Lilly Belle”.  In this chapter, Broggie goes into detail on the locomotive that would run Walt’s backyard operation, the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, and how they made the locomotive by hand in the machine shop at the Studio, under the direction of Michael Broggie’s dad, Roger.  Reading more about the deadline they were under, and the pressure to make it work, really made the pages turn in that chapter, and I felt like I was there with them making it happen all over again.

Scene Three: Happiest Place on Earth

Our railroad story continues in scene three.  In this section, the real meat of the story starts to come alive as we look at the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland, and the Santa Fe  & Disneyland R.R. that was built at the park.  In addition, we learn of how the park attendance outgrew the pace that the railroad could operate at, even with two running locomotives at a time, and the search is on for a 3rd locomotive for the railroad.

Scene Four: A Magic Kingdom

It is in scene four that our railroad story takes a sad turn.  As you all know, Walt Disney died before the Florida Project could be completed, and Walt Disney World (replacing the original name of Disney World) is completed with Walt’s brother Roy at the helm.  Though the show must go on without Walt, the legacy that he built and left behind continued with many of the same special features that were employed under the direction of Walt.  The new Magic Kingdom was built with a railroad around it like at Disneyland, but the trains were larger — and I learned that the reason for this is because the railroad had as much as a 2% grade in places, and larger trains would make that more manageable, as well as allow for more cars and more passengers as a result!

Epilogue: Leaving a Better World

The conclusion of our railroad story leaves us with perhaps the words that we all should strive to emulate.  Thank you for reading our post today, I leave you with the words of Walt Disney himself to close us out:

“If I leave this world a better place, then my time here will have been worthwhile.” ~ Walter Elias Disney

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Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail: Avoiding the “I’ve got to do everything” trap!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we sharing tips for your first Disney vacation.


Magical Blogorail

Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail look at tips for your first Disney Vacation!  You’ve been saving your money, you’ve been paying regularly on your trip, hopefully you have been working with a travel agent to help you plan your trip and save you money, and now, it is finally here!  Your Walt Disney World vacation is about to begin!

When you arrive, though, sometimes your thoughts get the better of you.  You think to yourself, I spent so much for this trip, I’ve got to see absolutely everything in order to get my money’s worth.  That line of thinking, though, is incorrect, and hopefully in this Magical Blogorail post, I’m going to share with you some things that will help you prevent the feeling of not seeing anything and keep you from falling into that trap.

Tip 1: It’s not all about the attractions, it’s also about the memories…

Magical Blogorail

Our daughter Sophie shares a secret with Princess Jasmine!

As great as the attractions are at Walt Disney World, what will really make or break your trip is the memories that you and your family create while there.  The picture above was taken way back in 2008, and to this day, it remains one of my all time favorite Disney photos.  Let me set the scene.  We were in Morocco just wandering through the marketplace, looking at things, just browsing.  When we got to the back of the pavilion, there was a meet and greet location, with Princess Jasmine and the Genie just waiting for someone to come visit with them.  Sophie had been talking about Princess Jasmine all this time, about how she was going to get a costume just like her costume, and she was able to talk with her for what felt like an eternity!  In this picture, she was telling her that she was going to get that costume, and sure enough, she did a couple of days later.

Tip 2: Take time to relax and slow down

Magical Blogorail

Far too often, first time guests — and yes, even those that visit more regularly — are way too focused on getting from point a to point b, from getting from their last attraction to their next attraction, and they don’t really slow down to breath.  Part of the reason you are taking your Disney vacation is to take a break from everyday life, from getting away from the rat race that is the world today.  Let your vacation be just that, a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and instead, take time to enjoy everything about your trip.  The picture above was taken back in 2010, when we were leaving Test Track and heading somewhere — I don’t even remember where.  Anyway, we weren’t in a very big hurry, and if we had been, we might have missed the perfect setting of the flowers, pond, TRON Monorail, and the Imagination Pavilion in the background.  I love this photo, and hope you do as well!

Tip 3: Enjoy the little attractions as much as the big ones.

As much fun as I have riding Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the other big attractions, I get as much fun out of the smaller attractions, the ones you can almost walk right on.  Carousel of Progress, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, it’s a small world, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, and so forth.  Don’t overlook the little attractions just so you can enjoy the big ones.  You will be doing yourself and your vacation a disservice, and you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities to let the child within out to play.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you as you plan your first Disney Vacation!  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by today!  Check out the rest of the posts from the Magical Blogorail writers, and then go out and make it a Disney day!

 

For more tips,
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