Memories from Disney at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Akershus with Belle

Last Thanksgiving, our friends Sheila, Randy, and Jagan invited us to celebrate their daughter’s 15th birthday at Walt Disney World. We were so excited, we had never been to Disney over the Christmas Holiday season, and it was something that we were looking forward to very much. This post is much overdue, but regardless, today seemed like a great day to remember that long weekend with some photos that were taken.

On a personal level, this trip was quite difficult for me because I was suffering from some sciatica issues, and as you know if you have been to Disney, walking is probably job number one while you are there — so it became quite difficult to maneuver through the parks.

I didn’t know that I was going to have this issue, or I would have reserved an ECV beforehand. As a result, I had to request one at each of the parks each day, and hope that they had them. Fortunately, I was able to get one at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but not at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — for that, I had to use a wheelchair. But enough about that, let’s talk about the trip itself!

On Thanksgiving Day, we made a reservation for Akershus, and everyone except me had the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. I had what I always have at Akershus — the Tradisjonell Kjøttkake. This incredible dish is comprised of Norwegian Meatballs served with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Lingonberry Sauce, and it is something that I love to get when we eat there!

In addition to eating at Akershus, we also ate at The Boathouse for Jagan’s birthday dinner, and at Kona Cafe for breakfast, and Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner. Some very yummy food was had that weekend!

Throughout it all, though, what stands out most is the memories, the friendships that continue, the friends that are like family, and the laughter we had. It was far too short, but despite my health challenges, it was still a trip that I will never forget.

Take a look, and thanks for stopping by today!

Coming Soon: The My Dreams of Disney Attraction Guide

Magic-Kingdom-Attraction-Guide

The Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide is the first in our series. Look for it soon!

 

Coming soon, the My Dreams of Disney Attraction Guides!  These sections are going to look at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Parks and share with you all the attractions you can experience there.  We’re going to start with the Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide, and follow up with the others in this order:

Epcot-Attraction-Guide

The Epcot Attraction Guide will be second in our series!

 

The Hollywood Studios Attraction Guide is next!

The Hollywood Studios Attraction Guide is next!

Last, but certainly not least, the Animal Kingdom Attraction Guide!

Last, but certainly not least, the Animal Kingdom Attraction Guide!

Each of these sections will share with you the attractions you can find at each park, as well as our opinions on what we think of it.  We’ll categorize them with rankings such as “get a FastPass” or “wait in standby” or “skip it”, and so forth.  I hope that these attraction guides will be helpful to you in your Disney Vacation planning!

Any questions?  Feel free to leave me a comment, shoot me an email, write on our Facebook page, or send me a tweet!

Festival of the Lion King

A Special Circle of Life

Festival of the Lion King

My wife loves Giraffes, and I think this set piece is great in the Festival of the Lion King!

Hi Guys it’s me, Sophie, and is it a coincidence that the inspiration for this post again came from my band class? I’m guessing that my school is a Disney loving Cougar Nation. So, this time I’m showing you a video that, with the help of Coach Snarey and Kevin (the band’s future drum player), my class created. It’s an imitation our version of the “Circle of Life” song from The Lion King. We made it because my band teacher, Mrs. Rackley, was planning on going to Disney World to “hunt down” all the musical attractions but The Festival of The Lion King was closed so when it reopened she announced it to the class and somehow Coach Snarey started recording something that eventually evolved into an imitation of the “Circle of Life”.

Funny huh? The reason you didn’t see me in there was because I was “behind the scenes”. I played the sun/very-dim-glow-that-didn’t-even-shine-on-kevin/simba-very-well. You could see me in there a few times. I was the girl in the lime green shirt around the edges of the video. I give a shout-out to all of my band-mates!!! You Rock! Well that does it for me have an Awesome Summer Vacation and I can’t wait to find something else to write about!

Why I love going to Disney World in the Summer!

The pool at the Old Key West Resort

The pool at the Old Key West Resort

The other day I saw a post on the internet that talked about the worst times to go to Walt Disney World.  That got me to thinking a little bit.  First of all, if you have the opportunity to go to Walt Disney World, is there ever  a bad time to go?  So, when I looked at the article, the writer let me know that they think that going in the summer is one of the worst times you could ever go to Walt Disney World.  I’m here to tell you, my friends, some of the many reasons why I LOVE going to Walt Disney World in the summer!

Reason #1: The Pools and wet rides

The first reason that I love going to Walt Disney World in the summer is because the hot weather provides for some great cool down opportunities in the pools at your resort!  Today in my area of North Carolina, the high temperature is slated to be 24 degrees, and the low is shaping up to be 9 degrees.  Couple that with the dangerous winds, and we are looking at a wind chill temperature tonight of -10 degrees.  Right now, that picture of the pool at Old Key West is looking mighty inviting, but I’ll tell you, I’ve been to Walt Disney World in January, and I’m going to tell you that with weather like this in North Carolina, it is going to be colder than normal in Florida — and that pool will not be inviting at all right now!  Just for clarification — the forecast high temperature today at Walt Disney World is 47 degrees (the low was actually 31!)  With temperatures like that, you’ll probably have very little wait time for this ride:

Don't think about Kali River Rapids on a day like today at Walt Disney World!

Don’t think about Kali River Rapids on a day like today at Walt Disney World!

Reason #2: The Extra Magic Hours

If not for Extra Magic Hours, this proposal wouldn't have happened at that time!

If not for Extra Magic Hours, this proposal wouldn’t have happened at that time!

Shane’s proposal to my niece Stephanie took place at about 12:45AM on a night when the Magic Kingdom was open until 2AM for Extra Magic Hours.  Shane really was fortunate that the Magic Kingdom had those extra hours because during the day and early evening, the rain was coming down in buckets, and it felt like we really were on the African Savannah at our room in Kidani Village!  During the winter, Walt Disney World still has some extra magic hours, but overall, you get much more park time for your Disney Dollars during the summer!

Reason #3: More Attractions to enjoy!

You see those Guests enjoying Splash Mountain? You won't see that in the Winter!

You see those Guests enjoying Splash Mountain? You won’t see that in the Winter!

Yesterday Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom closed for it’s lengthy yearly renovation.  This year, Splash Mountain will be closed from January 6 until March 21st, 2014!  This is not at all uncommon for big rides such as Splash Mountain — they have to be refurbished at some point — and like I said in point #1, on a day like today at Walt Disney World, Splash Mountain is on the list of rides to avoid.  But, in Florida, as most of you know, today’s temperatures are more the exception than the norm, and it would be nice to ride Splash Mountain on some of the Winter days — but you won’t be able to do so until March.  This is just one example of why I love to go to Disney World in the summer!

Reason #4: No worries about school schedules!

These fireworks are celebrating that school is over for the summer!

These fireworks are celebrating that school is over for the summer!

For us, the summer means no school!  My daughter is in a school that follows a traditional school calendar — no year round, track-in, track-out worries for us.  We start school in August, we get out in June.  When that happens, the summer begins and the fun begins too!  For many people, they have to work around school schedules, long weekends, and so forth — and I think that can, at times, take away some of the Disney Magic from your trip.  For us, we know that from the time we get in the car, we’re on vacation for one week, and we can relax, enjoy our company, enjoy Disney, and make memories that will last us a lifetime.

Reason #5: My Daughter’s Birthday!

Belle shares a hug with Sophie and Anna Jane!

Belle shares a hug with Sophie and Anna Jane!

My daughter Sophie (on the right in the picture) has her birthday in June, so our trips to Disney are in part to celebrate her birthday!  This year we’ll be at Disney for her 13th birthday, and I for one can’t wait for that trip.  It is so much fun to celebrate birthdays at Disney — don’t forget that you can celebrate your birthday all year round (up to 6 months before your birthday or up to 6 months after!) — but we love to be there for the actual day.  That is just one reason why I love going to Disney World in the summer — but it may very well be the most important reason why!

So there you have it, my friends, my top five reasons why I love going to Disney World in the summer.  Tell me, when do you love to go to Walt Disney World — or even Disneyland?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by today!

My Top 5 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life stands proud and tall at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

By Mike Ellis.

Hello everyone and welcome to our fourth installment of our series where I take a look at my top five attractions at each of the parks.  You may remember we had our top five attractions for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so this week, we’re taking a look at my top five Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions!

#5: Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most realistic safari type rides I've ever been on.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most realistic safari type rides I’ve ever been on.

Starting us off on our countdown to #1 is Kilimanjaro Safaris, that very realistic safari ride that takes you through the African plains on your own safari to see exotic animals.  It’s always a lot of fun to take a look at these incredible creatures, but what do you think of the attraction? The only problem I have with it is I have a tendency to get very blurry pictures from all of the bouncing the vehicle does!

#4: Festival of the Lion King

I know this is at the top of many people's list, but it doesn't make my top choice.

I know this is at the top of many people’s list, but it doesn’t make my top choice.

Festival of the Lion King is a great show, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my favorite show.  That choice goes to my selection for #3 in our countdown…

#3: Finding Nemo: The Musical

Finding Nemo: The Musical is my favorite show at Animal Kingdom.  I love the way the story is brought to life!

Finding Nemo: The Musical is my favorite show at Animal Kingdom. I love the way the story is brought to life!

When it comes to shows at Walt Disney World, Finding Nemo: The Musical may be my favorite Disney show.  I love the way the actors bring the story to life and how they work their characters in such creative ways!

#2: Kali River Rapids

For a very hot park, nothing is better for cooling off than Kali River Rapids!

For a very hot park, nothing is better for cooling off than Kali River Rapids!

Coming in at #2 in our countdown is Kali River Rapids, a rafting tube ride that takes you down some great  drops, splashes, and twists and turns so that, at the end of the ride, your objective has been met: you are drenched from head to toe!  The backstory of so many of the rides at Animal Kingdom is incredible, and the backstory for Kali River Rapids is no less so.  You are going to take a rafting expedition for a couple of reasons — to explore the African wilderness, but to also help raise funds to stop all of the cutting of the rainforest that has taken a toll on the environment.  Part of your trip is past the clear cutting, and it is at this point that the runoff speeds up the water, and causes you to go faster and be more out of control.  The ride is a lot of fun for me, but you tell me — do you like it?

#1: Expedition Everest

At number 1 is Expedition Everest, one of my favorite roller coasters at Walt Disney World!

At number 1 is Expedition Everest, one of my favorite roller coasters at Walt Disney World!

For the longest time, I wouldn’t ride Expedition Everest…and then, when I did, it felt like it was too slow for me.  But the last couple of times I’ve ridden on it that has changed.  I’m not sure why, but now, Expedition Everest is easily in my top 4 for roller coasters (#1: California Screamin’, #2: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, #3: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, #4: Expedition Everest).  I now have a unique appreciation for this attraction.  It seems faster than it used to, I love going backwards, I love the darkness, I love it all!  It’s a great ride, and I hope you agree with me!

Honorable Mention

Rafiki's Planet Watch is a deceptively good attraction, and that is where we saw Pocahontas!

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a deceptively good attraction, and that is where we saw Pocahontas!

Primeval Whirl is a fun roller coaster that has you spinning in a circular ride vehicle!

Primeval Whirl is a fun roller coaster that has you spinning in a circular ride vehicle!

Thank you for stopping by to check out my top five attractions for Disney’s Animal Kingdom!  Leave me a comment please and let me know what your top five are!  Also, don’t forget to enter to win a $500 Disney Gift Card, or one of two $250 Disney Gift Cards!  Just click on the image below to go to that post and enter.  Good luck everyone!

1000 Disney Gift Card Giveaway-Red