WDW Park Hopper Podcast – Show #004

Podcast Show #004 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Podcast Show #004 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Boo to you!!  This week I enter the Magic Kingdom to enjoy Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Follow me into the park just before the party to enjoy low crowds and a crazy, fun ride on Space Mountain.  Then head on over to the hub for the Villains Castle Show, the Boo to You Parade and HallowWishes Fireworks show.  It was an amazing event and I had a blast recording this episode!!

From Beastly Kingdom to Avatar Land

ak-logoTake a look at the Animal Kingdom logo. No really, take a nice long look. Do you see it? There are three “categories” of animals there. Can you tell what they are? As I understand it the Animal Kingdom was based on three categories of animals:

  • animals of today
  • extinct animals
  • fantasy or creatures of legend and mythology

Beastly Kingdom

The basic idea for Beastly Kingdom was it would be the third land filled with dragons, unicorns, and sea monsters.  I would have loved to seen what the Imagineers had cooked up for for this section of the park, but rumored budgets constraints stopped the project.  Beastly Kingdom was planned to be where Camp Minnie Mickey was before the construction of Avatar Land started.  I always felt like Camp Minnie Mickey was just an after-thought.  There was just no story to support it and it was just a glorified character meet-and-greet.  It was the home of the Festival of the Lion King – a great attraction – but I really like its new home in the Africa area of the park.

Disney Imagineers are master story tellers and I am not sure how you could make dragons, unicorns, and sea monsters work, but this is Disney Imagineering!  Again, I wish I could have seen what the plan was for Beastly Kingdom.  Maleficent and her dragon certainly would be a great candidate!

Concept Art of Avatar Land

Concept Art of Avatar Land

Pandora Sets the Context

Pandora, the land of the Na’vi and all of its creatures, on the other hand, provide a great story upon which to build one or more attractions!  I can remember the first time I was introduced to Pandora in the Avatar movie.  It was an escape into another world, much like the feel in the new Fantasyland.  All of the glowing plants, the floating land, and, of course, all of those amazing creatures!  Now this is rich with storyline and context to build state-of-the-art attractions that allow guest to escape into this land of fantasy!  It also hits the mark for the third area originally designed for the Animal Kingdom, the land of fantasy or creatures of legend and mythology.  I want to enter this world and ride on the mountain banshee, see the powerful Direhorses, and be surrounded by the bioluminescent insects.

Avatar Land, Heck Yea!

So, with this rich context to pull from the Imagineers have a great opportunity to create an amazing experience.  One I can wait to explore!  The picture above looks like an experience full of incredible detail.  A great place to escape to.  So, am I ready for Avatar Land?  Heck yea!  Humm, better get a FastPass+ reservations now…

WDW Park Hopper Podcast – Show #003

wdwph-logo-urlAnimal Kingdom Morning

In this episode I hop on over to the Animal Kingdom at park opening and explore Dinoland, ride Dinosaur, and Expedition Everest.

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Sinister Soiree – Frightful Fun

20140901_203022The days are getting shorter, there is a chill in the air, the sound of the local high school band practicing, all if these things usher in the Fall season.  What does this remind me of?  Walt Disney World!  I LOVE the parks during the fall and one of my most favorite events is the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!  The fall colors, the pumpkins, the pumpkin spice… everything, the Boo To You parade, and, of course, the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show all make the Magic Kingdom full of fun and excitement!

VIP Treatment

This year Disney also introduced the Sinister Soiree.  The story goes that Lady Tremaine has taken over the castle and invited a few villains over for a sinister soiree complete with devilish desserts and wicked entertainment.  Yea, sounds cool right!  Well, I was most excited about the other perks of the special ticketed event ($99, ouch!). Mainly that it included reserved viewing of the Boo To You parade and the Happy HalloWishes fireworks.  For me this makes the Halloween Party even more fun.  How, you ask?  Well, you can squeeze in a few more attractions and dining experiences in a park that already has lower crowds (at least the party I attended September 1st).  At 7:00 PM I was able to ride Space Mountain in my own train!  No not just my own car, the whole train was mine (listen to the audio clip of this crazy ride just below)!!

Very fun, I was able to hit the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and many others, then, just before the parade started I could slip into my reserved viewing area.  No waiting – love it!  After the parade was over I could wander out for a restroom break and pick up a special treat at Sleepy Hollow (a place I frequent at the park), then back to my reserved view for the fireworks.  This, my friends, is how I like to experience Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and why I parted with $99 bones to do it!!

Villains Castle Show

Oh, and let’s not forget the Villains Castle Show.  I really enjoyed this!  It is a nice mix of Disney Villain characters, music, and fireworks.  Check out the video below for a little sample…

Sinister Soiree

sinister-soiree-partyAfter a trip to the Haunted Mansion, (I mean, Halloween, the Haunted Mansion, and maybe a trip to the nearby candy treat spot, what could be more perfect!), and many other attractions, I headed on over to enter Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant.  The restaurant had been transformed into the Sinister Soiree.  I felt Disney went all out with this one!  The evening opened with opportunities to snap a few photos with some rare Villain characters (the step sister’s really stole the show).  Next, we moved upstairs and were seated at our table where a nice mix of meats and cheeses were waiting for us.  Not only that, but with a very interesting drink, complete with a flashing red skull, creepy!  Lady Tremaine and her villainous friends then entertained us with a few frightfully fun songs.  Once the singing was over, the villains wandered around the room for photos and some personality, boo ha ha ha!  Next, dessert was served.  My favorite was the poison apple.  It was a pealed apple with red stain filled with a sweet center and garnished with a mint leaf and cinnamon stick.  Very fun (and yummy)!!

Would I Do It Again?

You bet!  The reserved seating was a great way to enjoy the Halloween Party combined with the very interactive dessert party to top off the night!  I had a blast!

WDW Park Hopper Podcast – Show #002

Night Time Magic

In this episode I wander through the Magic Kingdom at night just after the Wishes fireworks show. Join me as we experience the park at night and hop on a few attractions including the Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain. One of my favorite times in the park is at night!

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WDW Park Hopper Podcast – Show 001

wdwph-logo-urlFirst Day Magic

In this episode follow me into the Magic Kingdom on the first day of my trip. Nothing is quite like that first day when you turn the corner down Main Street USA and see the castle for the first time!

Here is the link to the Pixels and Pixie Dust YouTube channel:

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WDW Park Hopper Podcast – Show #000

wdwph-logo-urlWelcome to the WDW Park Hopper Podcast!
In this episode I introduce myself and discuss what the WDW Park Hopper podcast is all about.

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The Miniature Worlds of Walt

Granny Kincaid's CabinI was reading The Revised Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis and came across this amazing fact. Walt loved miniatures. Many of you may be saying, “Yea I knew that.”, but it was all new to me. I was amazed to learn that Walt would send hours making his own miniatures, even giving away one of his many miniature postbelly stoves as a gift to special guests.

Here is what I find fascinating. Walt had the idea to create a real life miniature of “Granny’s Cabin” as a special exhibit at the Festival of California Living at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in 1952. It was to be a miniature cabin, but with amazing detail, right down to the glowing lamps. He received positive feedback about the exhibit and that encouraged him to move forward with the bigger idea of an entire village. He made it a formal project, called Disneylandia (nope, not a misspelling), that he was personally involved in, making many of the pieces himself. After some time into the project Walt decided that the return on investment was just not there. So, he decided to stop the project. Did it end there? No, Walt decided to try something much more grand. He wanted to build the whole thing for real! A full size world people could explore, like, say… Disneyland!

I believe Walt was captivated by the world of miniatures because it captured the experience of the moment. When he looked into Granny’s Cabin it was like he was there, sitting around the fire listening to Granny’s stories, smelling the apple pie on the stove, and watching life around the cabin. I believe he then thought he could bring this to everyone with a place called Disneyland. Let’s capture the experience of traveling down a river on a safari, let’s travel through space on a rocket ship, or jump into the adventures of Brer Rabbit and plunge into the brier patch. This is what separates Disney parks from all of the others and it all started with a love of miniatures.

To learn more see The Miniature Worlds of Walt

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