So keep scrolling to see a few of our favorite Mouse Ear hats as this is our ode to Disney Mouse Ears!
Mouse Ear Hats are a Disney icon, beginning with the 1950s Mickey Mouse Club. Now Mouse Ears are a requirement, and even a rite of passage, for first time visitors to Disneyland or Disney World; and these days, Disney has become a little more creative in their Mouse Ear designs! In addition to the traditional Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears, you can also find ears themed after just about everything, from Disney Princesses to park attractions and even Disney food!
So keep scrolling to see a few of our favorite Mouse Ear hats as this is our ode to Disney Mouse Ears!
Isn't this cute? It's hard to see, but this hat even has Pluto's tail coming out of the back. We especially like Pluto's tag!
Disney had released one other Cinderella-themed Mouse Ear Hat before, but we like this new design much better! Naturally, we are big fans of the rhinestone glass slipper on the front!
We're not seeing as many of these Mouse Ear Hats around Epcot like we used to, but you can still find a selection at Epcot's Mouse Gear store. We think they're pretty clever and a fun way to represent your favorite country in World Showcase.
While we love most of what Disney World has to offer, things change and some attractions and restaurants may not be as great in reality as they were in theory. In fact, if you're like us, we bet you have a little list of what you wish Disney would change or even remove! That's why, for today's post, we are putting the Magic Kingdom on our "Wheel of Peril" (see photo above) to discover our What We Would Change at the Magic Kingdom. Check it out!
What To Remove
Magic Carpets of Aladdin: Why? Well, these simple, rotating, up-and-down attractions are not really that creative and the Magic Kingdom alone already has two similar attractions: Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Astro Orbiter. We also feel that the concept, getting to fly on a magic carpet, could really be accomplished in a much cooler way than this!
Astro Orbiter: So like we already said, there are too many attractions like this and they're not that impressive. Plus, the Astro Orbiter line is also usually ridiculously long and the ride vehicles move at such a speed that motion sickness is a concern.
Stitch's Great Escape: Many Disney guests have been calling for this attraction's removal for years. Why? It's too scary for little kids, and not scary or even funny for adults. Basically, it doesn't appeal to any age group and the Tomorrowland section of the park could really use a breath of fresh air!
The Lunching Pad: Magic Kingdom restaurants are incredible when it comes their themes and atmospheres, but Tomorrowland restaurants have always lacked in this area and feel more like cafeterias. The Lunching Pad, for example, lacks personality and is almost like a food stand than an actual counter service restaurant. These dining spots need to go and be replaced with something better.
Main Street Electrical Parade: Some may say this is sacrilegious, but we're just not fans of the Main Street Electrical Parade. We don't really care for the soundtrack and the parade itself just feels outdated. Most kids today don't even know about Pete's Dragon, whose float is represented in this parade. Overall, the Main Street Electrical Parade just seems to lack the magic and charm of its predecessor, Spectromagic; and with the impressive debut of the Festival of Fantasy Parade this year, we know that Disney could do so much more with their nighttime parade.
What to Change
Tom Sawyer Island: While a truly unique corner of the park, Tom Sawyer Island just doesn't match the quality and freshness of the rest of the Magic Kingdom park. We know it's a classic and we appreciate the history, but something should be done to freshen it up.
Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse: This is another classic attraction and one that we enjoy, but it's another that needs an update or a new draw.
The Barnstormer: While the Barnstormer had a face-lift during the removal of Mickey's Toon Town Fair and the installment New Fantasyland's Storybook Circus, the ride itself is the real problem. It's only a few seconds long! While we know it's geared toward little kids and rightly so, there should be more ride time for having waited in line for so long!
Mad Tea Party: Everyone treasures the Mad Tea Party tea cups. After all, they are a Magic Kingdom staple and a true Disney icon! However, Disney World's Mad Tea Party really pales in comparison to Disneyland's version. We wish Imagineers would really adopt Disneyland's take for our version and maybe remove that circus-tent top?
Prince Charming's Regal Carousel: A Fantasyland isn't complete without a carousel; but you have to admit, Prince Charming's Regal Carousel is quite a mouthful! A little update and a better theme could really turn this carousel into a must-do. We are still wondering why there isn't a Mary Poppins carousel in the parks seeing how a carousel was so prominently featured in the film.
Tomorrowland Speedway: This attraction has so much potential! Currently, it looks like any other little car track that is in almost every other theme park due to next to no presence of Disney and the characters. Personally, we think this attraction needs a Pixar's Cars theme, don't you?
Tortuga Tavern: This restaurant was aptly named after the Tortuga Tavern in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and it contains several nods to the franchise. But we think this space could be so much more! How about a table service restaurant featuring elements of the attraction and the films? Maybe even a character meal with Pirates of the Caribbean characters and a tasty, unique menu?
Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe: Tomorrowland restaurants need some help! Cosmic Ray's has a draw with its variety of indoor seating and several stations offering different menus, plus the audio-animatronic alien who entertains guests. But yet, at the same time, the restaurant lacks a good theme and atmosphere and the alien is reminiscent of Chuck-E-Cheese or an 1980s cartoon character. What would we recommend? How about bringing the struggling, out-of-place Pizza Planet from Hollywood Studios to this spot? Or even a fine dining experience with a retro theme and a cutting edge menu?
So what would change or remove at the Magic Kingdom? Do you agree with our picks?
In Downtown Disney Marketplace, you will find the Earl of Sandwich, a popular and delicious counter restaurant offering quality items and some of the most yummy sandwiches you have ever consumed!
The story is that Earl of Sandwich was actually a person who first discovered the tastiness and convenience of putting meat between two pieces of bread. This particular restaurant is giving credit to this individual, plus filling the bellies of Disney guests with their vast variety of sandwiches.
We dropped in The Earl of Sandwich around lunchtime and discovered that the line was really really long! This was both good and bad since a long line usually means its popular for good reason, but bad since we were hungry!
But this is Disney World, and while lines are unavoidable, Cast Members are experts at keeping things moving. In fact, a friendly Cast Member was stationed at the door to direct us to the line and handed us a menu (pictured above) so we would have an idea of what to order.
I should also mention that while we visited at lunch, the Earl of Sandwich is also open for breakfast and offers breakfast sandwiches, parfaits, oatmeal, and etc.
The Earl of Sandwich doesn't just have sandwiches. In fact, they also have offer salads, soups, desserts, and grab n' go items. We picked up a Strawberry Shortcake (pictured above) and honestly, we weren't overly optimistic, just wanting to curb a sweet craving. However, in spite of the fact that the Strawberry Shortcake is a packaged to-go cup, it was very very good!
We ordered The Italian, which tasted of salami, ham, mozzarella, and tomato. The sandwich was served hot and was awesome! We probably could have eaten two!
We must admit, it was difficult to find a table during this busy time of day; but to the restaurant's credit, there was A LOT of seating on both sides of the dining area, plus tables outside. It probably would've been smarter to drop in for an early lunch, or to wait to around 1 o'clock and beyond for a late, crowd-free lunch.
Now that we know just how good The Earl of Sandwich is, we would definitely try the signature roast beef sandwich with its cheddar and horseradish sauce next time, or the Caprese which consists of mozzarella, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette!
If shopping at Downtown Disney has you hungry, be sure to drop by The Earl of Sandwich!
Are Disney's thrill rides at the top of your vacation to-do list? Do you crave that adrenaline rush? If so, you may have what it takes to be a Disney Mountaineer!
What is a Disney Mountaineer? Well, Disney World is known for its mountain range of thrill of rides dotted all throughout the Disney World Resort; and if you are brave enough to take on these peaks, and do so during your Disney World Vacation, you could be a Disney Mountaineer yourself.
But before you start to scale the Disney Mountains, you need a little training! Consider this post your base camp as we review your plan of attack, plus give you a few facts and helpful tips. Here we go!
Mountain #1: Space Mountain
A Disney World Vacation can be a little hectic at times; but it doesn't have to be! You really can have a "Hakuna Matata" experience at the most popular vacation resort in the world. How? Check out these carefree tips!
10.) Phone battery getting low? Charge it up at one of the outlets inside of Innoventions or, our new favorite, the breezeway of Cinderella Castle! Who knew they were outlets there, right?
9.) Trying to get somewhere fast? We don't recommend the Magic Kingdom Deluxe Resort buses. For example, the Grand Floridian buses often stop at other deluxe resorts along the way, making for a long ride!
8.) Want to avoid the hassle of claiming a spot for a Magic Kingdom parade? The square at the entrance to Main Street U.S.A. is so spacious that you can walk right up for a great view. You may not be on the first row lining the curb, but you can get close!
7.) When leaving the Magic Kingdom at closing time, don't take the Express Monorail if you don't have to. The Resort Monorail line is usually shorter and you can get/connect to the Transportation and Ticket Center on this route too.
6.) Too crowded? Do the opposite of the crowds! For example, eat at off times, arrive early, do not go to the park offering Extra Magic Hours, etc.
5.) To cut down on hustling to and from your dining reservations, book them all for evening hours if possible. Why? This way, you can better make use of your time instead of spending precious hours getting to and from your reservation. Believe it or not, travel time can add up to an hour each way.
4.) Pouring rain during your trip? No worries. Head to the Seas with Nemo and Friends or the Land pavilion at Epcot, shop the connecting stores at Main Street U.S.A. and Hollywood Studios, splurge on a sit-down meal to ride out the storm, or do some resort hopping via Monorail.
3.) Driving at Disney? Don't park at the parks each day and pay the fee. Instead, park at Downtown Disney and use their bus service for free.
2.) The Magic Kingdom parades run through Frontierland, Liberty Square, and onto Main Street U.S.A. During parade times, plan to stick around in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, or Adventureland, as the streets and paths are roped off and can't be crossed and you can find yourself stranded on one side of the park from the other!
1.) Be a Minimalist! Now when traveling with little ones, this isn't easy to do. But if possible, take the least amount of stuff as you can, go ahead and eat in the park instead of bringing in your own food, take advantage of free cups of ice water from counter service spots and free first aid, go for cross-body bags/arms-free bags, and invest in a small, maneuverable stroller. I would also suggest paying via MagicBand so you don't have to mess with cash and change and etc.
We never get tired of walking through the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland and being transported into the worlds of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and more. Part of the reason why this corner of the park is so immersive is due to Disney's attention to detail; but some details guests don't even notice! That's why we have rounded up a handful of secret details from New Fantasyland for today's post. Take a look!
Across from Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid is a carved statue of King Triton. Venture closer to discover these amazing sketches of King Triton and a hidden area you may not have known was there!
How cool is this water fountain? You can find it in the queue for Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Across Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid and up above is a weather vane with a squid that may look familiar. It's the squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, whose attraction once called that space home.
This lock near the entrance of the Be Our Guest Restaurant looks a lot older than it actually is and doesn't the shape of it kind of resemble a Mickey?
Look up when inside the ladies restrooms at the Tangled Bathrooms to see items Rapunzel used in the opening number of the film, ranging from handmade candles to her guitar to, of course, her famous paints and paintbox!
Also in the bathroom are the stars and lights Rapunzel painted inside her tower!
Details are everywhere inside of the Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Storybook Circus' Big Top Treats is full of fun things to see and truly captures the circus theme!
If you've been inside of Princess Fairytale Hall, you know that even the light fixtures are fit for Disney royalty!
There are even details to be found on the ground in New Fantasyland! For example, elephant footprints, like these, or those of monkeys and bears are right under your own feet when walking through Storybook Circus.
Have you noticed any of these details in New Fantasyland?
Looking for a meal without the lines and hassle? Such a thing is a luxury during Disney World's busier times of year, but there are a few dining destinations left on property where you can still escape. Take a look at our Crowd-Free Counter Service Spots at Disney World...
Downtown Disney Marketplace Starbucks
If you haven't heard, Starbucks locations are opening all throughout Disney World; but Downtown Disney's new Starbucks in the Marketplace, which has a grab n' go set-up, also offers café items like packaged sandwiches, meat and cheese trays, etc.
The Grand Floridian's Gasparilla Island Grill
The Grand Floridian's food court, the Gasparilla Island Grill, has been one of our go-to spots for years and is usually crowd-free during lunch. Gasparilla Island Grill is very spacious and offers a huge variety of items ranging from pizzas and flatbreads to salads to unique sandwiches like paninis, cheesesteak, and specialty burgers. The freezer section is packed full of yummy items too, including specialty cupcakes! Lastly, the Gasparilla Island Grill has a connecting arcade for kids, outdoor seating with a view of Cinderella Castle in the distance, and is open 24 hours!
The Magic Kingdom's Diamond Horseshoe Saloon
This Frontierland restaurant is only open seasonally and usually goes unnoticed by the hungry droves. That's why it's one of our favorite places to eat during the more crowded times of the year. The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon makes you feel as if you've stepped back in time. It has two levels, the top being our favorite as you get a great view of the whole place and the old fashioned, self-playing ragtime piano. The menu here is mainly a variety of turkey and pork sandwiches, a welcome reprieve from the standard burgers and fries.
The Magic Kingdom's Sunshine Tree Terrace
Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland is famous for the Orange Bird, and inside by the menu is where you can find him! Most guests form long, long lines outside Aloha Isle for frosty, tropical treats and Dole Whips; but Sunshine Tree Terrace and its Citrus Swirl, tucked behind the Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction, is usually overlooked.
The Boardwalk Bakery
When we stayed at the Beach Club earlier this year, we came to love the Boardwalk Bakery! While it does have an impressive assortment of cupcakes, pastries, cakes, cookies, and more, the bakery also offers sandwiches, soups, and sides that are really really good! The downside to this dining spot? There is no seating inside, but there are tables outside and the staff is great at packaging items to-go.
Have you ever visited any of these quick counter service spots?
At Epcot's American Adventure Pavilion, it's the 4th of July all year round! No matter when you visit Walt Disney World, Heritage Manor Gifts, a small shop next to the American Adventure building, offers unique and inspiring items and souvenirs to help guests show their patriotism. Take a look!
You really can't go wrong with a blend of Disney and Americana, can you? I especially like the Patriot Donald throw pillow!
Looking for something to wear to that Fourth of July Barbecue? You can be "Abe-Solutely-Fab" with this awesome Abraham Lincoln tank! Love the top hat and bow tie touch. It's stylish and historical.
Both of these throw pillows are great, but the top one has to be my favorite. There are few other items similar to this design available in the store too.
If you're a teacher, Heritage Manor Gifts is a great spot to do a little classroom shopping. I think this package of Presidential wooden blocks would be a great classroom tool!
Who doesn't, right?
Another great item for the home...
This blank journal poses a thought-provoking question, "What if you were thinkin' with Lincoln? What would you write?" It would be a great gift for any writer or history buff, or even for teachers and students.
A few other items you can find at Heritage Manor Gifts include history and trivia books, reproductions of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, framed prints of the presidents, jewelry, household items, hats, bags, and more!
Be sure to drop in Heritage Manor Gifts at the American Adventure Pavilion to show your American Pride!
The Boardwalk's ESPN Club is the sports fan's ultimate destination at Disney World, and a welcome haven to the dads and boys on Disney Princess overload! Why? Well, the restaurant boasts dozens upon dozens of television screens, delicious sports bar food, collages of sports memorabilia, enthusiastic fellow sports fans, and, our favorite part, television screens in the bathrooms so you won't miss a thing!
So keep on reading for a few tips on enjoying a meal and a game at ESPN Club...
ESPN Club Tips
1.) Unlike most Disney World restaurants, the ESPN Club does not take reservations. If you want to catch a big sporting event here, plan to arrive in advance.
2.) Not every table at the ESPN Club is created equal. In fact, you probably won't get the full game time experience, or even catch your game, if you're not seated in the big room with the huge television screen. It's located to the left when you first enter the restaurant; and in addition to the dozens of screens around this room, the biggest screen is like that of a movie theater! Be sure to request this room when you check-in.
3.) If your game could go late, be sure to have a plan for how to get back to your resort. For example, we spent the evening at ESPN Club during the NBA Finals and the game ended after most of the parks had closed.
A Few Suggestions: take a bus to the park that has late extra magic hours or to Downtown Disney, drive yourself to the Boardwalk Resort, or take a cab.
4.)Plan on staying for the whole game? No problem. Your waiter/waitress is used to it, but be sure to treat them well seeing how they will be waiting on you for quite awhile.
5.) Don't know how early to arrive before game time? Call and ask! The Cast Members at ESPN Club have a pretty good gauge on how early you should check-in.
6.) If you plan on staying for the whole game, order an appetizer and then wait until later to order your meal. It helps to space things out a little.
7.) Our favorite dishes? The Pub Nachos appetizer, the Char-crusted Ahi Tuna Burger, and the Philly Cheesesteak! The strangest? The PB&J Burger!
8.) While ESPN Club doesn't take normal reservations, you can reserve a VIP Seat right in front of the huge, main screen. These seats are special in that they are actually recliners!
9.) The ESPN Club actually has a working studio, meaning you may catch a recording of a popular broadcast!
10.) An store selling ESPN merchandise is connected to the restaurant offering products and souvenirs you may not see anywhere else on Disney World Property.
Just today, Disney announced a brand new tour at Walt Disney World: The Ultimate Day of Thrills! The name itself caught our attention, as Disney World thrill rides are always at the top of our vacation to-do list.
The Ultimate Day of Thrills is a six to seven hour tour where guests will visit all four theme parks for expedited rides on each park's most thrilling attractions, such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, and Test Track at Epcot! By the way, two of Disney World's most popular rides, Toy Story Mania and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, are also included in the day's agenda!
To make this experience even better, the tour includes a backstage look at these incredible attractions, as well as a lesson in their history and trivia. How awesome is that?
This tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and kicks off at the Magic Kingdom. Lunch is included and is currently being offered at Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge. Guests are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, as it will be a long day. The cost is currently $299 per person, but DVC Members, Disney Visa Cardholders, and Annual Passholders can enjoy a 15% discount! Be sure to book in advance!