Who doesn't enjoy the windows on Main Street U.S.A? Every single window is decorated, some are references to Imagineers, and some may even be a little magical!
This is no accident. In fact, Walt himself instructed that the windows of the shops on Main Street should be lower than usual so kids could easily see in; and for those willing to take a few moments and appreciate the details and décor in these windows, they won't be disappointed!
For example, on our last trip, we discovered a window outside of the Crystal Arts shop, in the little, quiet alley off the street that few guests notice. This window is all about Walt himself and looks as if it came straight out his own era too!
From a distance, it doesn't look like much. There are no brightly colored souvenirs or plush toys or really anything to draw your attention, only a few antique items that blend with the Main Street USA motif.
But if you get a little closer, you will see just how charming and special this window actually is!
As you can see this window is a little homage to Walt Disney himself. The old desk is stacked with books about Walt, some of which you can find for sale at several shops throughout WDW! Should we go a little closer?
"Welcome to those of you joining me from Disney on Wheels and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail."
Whenever it happens to rain at Walt Disney World, we have several attractions we tend to retreat to, such as The Hall of Presidents, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, One Man's Dream, or the American Adventure!
But there is one attraction in particular that's our standby, and that's the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
The PeopleMover is a futuristic transportation system that swiftly motors guests on an elevated track above Tomorrowland, and even through a few of it's attractions!
Before we explain why this is our rainy day fave, we have to tell you a little bit about this attraction's deep Disney history.
The PeopleMover is actually a form of transportation Walt had planned to use in Epcot; but not the Epcot we know today, but his dream for an actual, futuristic community. Walt's Epcot was never realized, but the magnetically-propelled, environmentally friendly PeopleMover is a little remnant of what might have been.
Why do we head here when it begins to pour? First of all, the attraction is about ten minutes along, which is a relatively long ride for WDW. Secondly, there is hardly ever a line! The ride is also covered, and some parts of the ride take place completely indoors and away from the elements. Did we mention that you get a sneak peek at the inside of Space Mountain; and maybe, if the ride is undergoing maintenance, you might get to see it with the lights on!
One of the best parts of the PeopleMover is the seating. Each car has seats facing each other, perfect for conversation, watching your kids' reactions, or for planning the rest of the day. It's also great to place to rest your feet for awhile too.
Lastly, the PeopleMover lets us experience the park without getting soaked! On this attraction, we don't need a Mickey Poncho to buzz around the park, taking in the view of Tomorrowland, it's attractions, and even a picturesque view of Cinderella Castle; and that's why it's our favorite rainy day attraction! It allows us still be out and about, not matter what the forecast says!
So are you a PeopleMover fan too? What's your favorite attraction when it begins to rain? Share with us!
"Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Orange this month. Our next loop will be on July 16th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.”
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Focused on the Magic
2nd Stop ~ Your Highway in the Sky
3rd Stop ~ Heidi's Head
4th Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
Final Stop ~ A Glass Slipper Vacation (You're Here)
There are so many fun and unique Disney souvenirs to be found around the parks these days. We did quite a bit of shopping last week at WDW and found quite a few items that made us wish we had brought an extra suitcase! Here's a few of our favorites...
Here are a few of the shoe ornaments you've been seeing online and around the Disney blogs! They are so cute and detailed that we had a hard time choosing which one we wanted! In the end, Mary Poppins and Ariel won out.
At the Magic Kingdom, we came across this beautiful blanket inspired by the final stained glass window scene in Beauty and the Beast! Very cute, but the $75 price tag was a little too high for our budget...
If the shoe ornaments aren't quite your thing, how about Mouse Ear ornaments! There are a ton to choose from, but we thought the C-3P0 was a great choice, especially for the Star Wars fans in the family! The twin suns in one of the ears was a nice touch too.
Over at Epcot's American Adventure pavilion, we came across some patriotic home décor with a Disney twist!
What a great purse for a Disney fan! It wasn't very expensive and there was also a wallet featuring the same pattern. A Disney girl can't have too many bags, right?
Awesome. Just awesome.
No, that's not just a cup from a snack cart! It's actually a heavy, insulated cup we found among the coffee mugs. Now you can feel like you're at WDW while sipping your beverage of choice around the house! Plus, it looks vintage!
Found this at the Rock n' Roller Coaster gift shop. Great cross referencing going on here!
Do you enjoy browsing the Disney gift shops as much as we do? Which of these would you like to have?
On Day 3 of our Disney World Vacation, Tropical Storm Andrea descended upon Orlando and the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney World Storm Preparation
We had split dining reservations for the day with two of us were going to lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern while the rest were going to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. So we donned our jackets and ponchos and set out into the rain, only to have our shoes completely soaked through before we even reached the bus stop.
We debated cancelling and hibernating at the resort for the day; but in the end, the call of the parks won out.
After we arrived and were approaching bag check, we were thrilled to find that there was barely a line at all; and that the parks were virtually empty for a summer day! Now that's not to say that there were families and individuals braving the weather as we were. In fact, we were surprised at just how many were doing the same thing; but in was clear that most of the crowds had stayed at their resorts, which was fine by us!
As we walked through Liberty Square, we discovered empty streets and only a ten minute wait for Haunted Mansion; and while the other half of our family was at Hollywood Studios, they enjoyed an empty Sunset Boulevard, which pretty much never happens!
After our delicious lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, we virtually walked onto the Monorail to head over to Epcot to take in World Showcase. We picked up another poncho, discovering that almost all of the stores in the park had stacks of them piled at the registers, and headed for the pavilions. Post-Tropical Storm Andrea Sky
Living in the Midwest, we're familiar with storms and severe weather; and we found that being inland in a Tropical Depression is much like a thunderstorm. The only difference is that there wasn't lightning and the storm lasts almost all day as opposed to an hour or so. There were some wind gusts as we worked our way around World Showcase Lagoon, but nothing too severe; and since we were already wet, it didn't affect us much.
In fact, exploring World Showcase in the storm turned out to be one of our trip highlights! There's nothing like an empty park! Plus, it felt adventurous and was unlike any other day we had spent at Epcot before.
Later in the afternoon, our family reunited at our resort, Port Orleans Riverside. It appears that Disney Resorts offer extra entertainment on stormy days, like a Wii for kids to play in the lobby; and they also had towels for those who were just coming in.
By late afternoon, the storm had finally blown over leaving the usual muggy, Florida air surprisingly cool and breezy and about 75 degrees! This time, we set out to enjoy the Magic Kingdom for the night all together; and once again, were surprised by the still short lines and low crowds despite the clear skies and perfect weather!
We immediately gravitated towards the New Fantasyland, even though we had already seen it earlier in the week; but it was a treat to see it lit up for the night!
We literally walked onto the new Under the Sea-Journey Under the Sea attraction and barely saw anyone as we quickly zipped through the detailed queue; and afterwards, headed over to Enchanted Tales with Belle, which also had a short wait and had next to no line outside the cottage. It was the perfect opportunity to take some pictures!
So what did we learn from Tropical Storm Andrea? Buy a poncho and carry on as normal. Yes, you probably will get wet, but the rewards of braving the rain are well worth it and the experience is something you won't forget!
Anyone who has ever been to Disney's Animal Kingdom knows that it doesn't take much to work up a sweat! Fortunately, we found one of the best ways to cool down at Animal Kingdom: Jungle Juice!
What is Jungle Juice? It actually goes by several names at WDW and can only be found at selection locations. The juice itself is a combination of passion fruit, guava, and orange juice. It's sweet and mellow and you can't enough of it!
Where can you find it? At Tusker House at Animal Kingdom it's called Jungle Juice, at the Polynesian's 'Ohana Breakfast it's called POG Juice, and we've heard that at Whispering Canyon, it's referred to as Moonshine Juice and it may even been served at Boma. But regardless of what you call it, you now can refresh yourself with this sweet, tropical treat without a restaurant reservation at Animal Kingdom's Africa!
Now the Africa section of Animal Kingdom can be pretty crowded, seeing how there's quite a bit happening all in one place; and when we went looking for Jungle Juice, we had a hard time finding it.
Surprisingly, Jungle Juice can be found at a simple popcorn stand near Tusker House known as Harambe Popcorn. Who knew, right? Also for you Disney Dining Plan guests, it counts as a snack credit!
Once you order, your Jungle Juice will be served in a simple, plastic cup; but it is served somewhat frozen, perfect for the Animal Kingdom heat!
So when you visit Animal Kingdom and feeling a little parched, take our advice and drop by Harambe Popcorn for a cup of Jungle Juice! We guarantee you will be as much of a fan about it as we are!
Our Room's Building
On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we stayed at one of our favorite Disney Resorts, Port Orleans Riverside! But what set this resort stay apart from those in the past was that we booked a Royal Room!
Port Orleans Riverside has a special section of the resort that holds Disney royalty themed rooms which offer extra magical décor and details! The story behind these rooms is that Princess Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog, has decorated these special rooms with gifts from her Disney Princess friends and has invited you to stay!
Now Port Orleans Riverside is not the same resort as Port Orleans French Quarter. Also, Riverside is home to two sections: Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou. The first features Southern Plantation style mansions which contain more elegant style rooms along the banks of the picturesque Sassagoula River while Alligator Bayou rooms are more rustic and are tucked back into the wooded areas of the resort.
Royal Rooms can only be found in Magnolia Bend in special locations. However, they are the same size as any other moderate resort room at WDW; and the amenities offered in these rooms are the same as any other. The only real difference is the difference in theme, décor, and the extra details!
We have wanted to stay in a Royal Room since we first heard about them and are excited to share your experience! So now, we are going to show you what you will find in a Royal Room and just how we would rate our stay.
In the courtyard outside of our room's building we found banners displaying crowns for each Disney princess! Can you tell which crown belongs to whom?
When we walked inside the room for the first time, we were immediately impressed! We also found this letter from Tiana, which is actually part of the surface of our room's table, explaining what these special rooms are all about. It was a sweet detail which I'm sure little girls visiting Walt Disney World would love!
These beds have to be, hands down, the coolest in all of WDW! Did you notice the "T" above the headboard for Tiana? The best part is that when you push a button on the side of the headboard, lightning bugs flash in the scene and fireworks light up the night sky! Plus, Evangeline is up there, shining down on the bayou.
A close-up of the Magnolia detail on the headboard.
The bedspreads are covered with little crowns for each Disney Princess! Our only complaint? The bedspread material could have been a little softer.
Look down to see Aladdin's Magic Carpet in the Royal Room Carpet!
Does this look familiar to you? It's the footstool from Beauty and the Beast!
One of my favorite details in the Royal Room is the faucet which is designed to look like Aladdin's Magic Lamp!
The vanity area offers two sinks, which is a big plus, as well as lots of storage space.
Star Wars Weekends 2013 has now come and gone; but we were fortunate enough to catch the last week of this special event for this year this past weekend!
We are big Star Wars fans, as well as Disney fans, so Star Wars Weekends is pretty much a dream come true; and as the crowd levels and abundance of Star Wars inspired costumes and tees proved, we were not alone.
During our vacation, we dropped by Hollywood Studios shortly after park opening to catch some of the action. So here's a look back at our Star Wars Weekends Experience!
As soon as we passed through the turnstiles, we headed down Sunset Boulevard to Darth's Mall! This is pretty much the Star Wars Weekends headquarters containing event merchandise, special event pins, character spots, themed refreshments, and, most importantly, air conditioning!
You can find Darth's Mall between Rock n' Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It was pretty crowded, but the very well organized. We also picked up a special event pin, as is our tradition. We also checked out the life-size Rancor and saw that you could wait in line for a pic with Luke Skywalker.
Even though Darth's Mall is pretty much a giant tent, the Disney details can still be found here! Here's what we found above the registers when waiting in line to pay! The Mouse Ears bearing the Empire logo were a nice touch, as was the C-3PO head!
On the main event stage, located in front of the giant Sorcerer's Hat, Boba Fett was busy guarding Han Solo frozen in carbonite. As he paced the stage, he interacted with guests snapping pictures of him from below. He even commended a passing guest wearing a t-shirt of a Storm Trooper for being loyal to the Empire!
Designated photo spots could be found all throughout the park. The lines were long, but we managed to snap a quick pic of a Clone Trooper who was patrolling the Streets of America and humorously attempting to keeping guests in line!
The Legends of the Force Parade took place at 11 o'clock; and we grabbed a spot to the side of the stage. We discovered that this was a great spot as some characters came very close to where we stood, including the Star Wars Weekends Celebrities!
Here's the 501st Florida Garrison, a group of serious Star Wars fans who don impressive Star Wars costumes and do a lot of charity work while sharing their passion for the franchise. They are a big part of the parade, but unlike the Disney Star Wars Characters, and the Star Wars celebrities, they don't end up on the stage but pass on by in front of the American Idol Experience.
It's Billy Dee Williams, the actor who portrayed Lando Calrissian in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi!
Here comes Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars Series and behind Her Universe Clothing Line.
This is R2-MK, a Disney Droid with Mouse Ears! We wanted to take him home!
As we were on our way back from getting FastPasses for Star Tours, we saw Kit Fisto and Mace Windu walking through the streets, guarded by several Clone Troopers! We followed them, of course, until they disappeared into a Backstage Area; but hey, it was pretty awesome looking up to see a Jedi walking next to you!
Now for a look at some Star Wars Weekends Merchandise! Here's one of our faves, a Thermal Detonator Hot Potato Game! How cool is this?
Best Star Wars Shirt. Ever.
And so true!
Now the only way to end your Star Wars Weekends Day is to catch the popular Hyperspace Hoopla on the main event stage in the evening; but as we had already seen it, we decided to skip a viewing this visit. But if you would like to see it for yourself, and we strongly encourage you to, check it out here
Next to the newly opened Les Halles Bakery in Epcot's France pavilion is yet another delectable location to satisfy your sweet tooth, L'Artisan des Glaces Ice Cream and Sorbet Shop!
L'Artisan des Glaces features an airy, countryside décor and 16 flavors of ice cream and sorbet! You can enjoy your choice in either a cup or a cone with one or two scoops.
What flavors, you ask? If you're in the mood for ice cream, you can enjoy vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut, profiterole, caramel fleur de sel, Cherry, Coco-White Chocolate, and Coffee!
If you prefer Sorbet, you can choose between Strawberry, Mango, Lemon, Pomegranate, Melon, and Mixed Berries!
All sound delicious and would be a perfect remedy after a long, sticky walk around World Showcase this summer.
We dropped by L'Artisan des Glaces earlier this week to check out this new spot and to sample an ice cream flavor that has had our mouths watering since we first heard about it: the Coco-White Chocolate! We ordered one scoop of this creamy creation and found that it exceeded our expectations!
The Coco-White Chocolate flavor was very creamy, but mellow, and contained bits of coconut! It was delicious and is definitely a flavor we would try again! The only complaints some may have is that the prices are a bit high; and the serving size is a little too small. But hey, it is Disney World, so the price issue is to be expected; and for us, the serving size made the perfect light snack.
Now while we know you can get ice cream all across WDW, L'Artisan's quality and variety of unique flavors proves that it stands apart and offers a whole new take on this corner of the Disney sweet treat market; and from what we can see, the France pavilion is quickly becoming one of the best areas of Walt Disney World for great food and treats!
So have you visited L'Artisan des Glaces? Do you plan to on your next trip? Which flavor sounds the most delicious?
Our Coco-White Chocolate Ice Cream
On our recent trip to the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland, we learned a great tip! The popular Be Our Guest restaurant, which is open for quick service at lunch and table service for dinner, lets guests take a sneak peek inside before it opens for the day! You get to see the ballroom, the entry area, and a peek at the enchanted suits of armor before it packs full of guests.
Why is this great? First of all, as we said, Be Our Guest is very popular. We have seen people lined up down the drawbridge and around the corner waiting to get in for lunch. Also, getting reservations for dinner is almost impossible right now.
So, if you are wanting to get some pics of this awesome new restaurant, and it really is amazing, drop by before they begin serving lunch for a sneak peek! Cast Members are usually stationed at the entrance to the drawbridge; but if you tell them you want to get a glimpse, they will let you pass by to explore.
We headed straight for New Fantasyland after rope drop; and when we reached Be Our Guest, we had it all to ourselves! Take a look!
This is the entrance to Be Our Guest. Just walking up to this restaurant is an experience within itself! The ruins are a nice touch, don't you think?
Here's another view!
When you walk inside, immediately to the right is this mural which is a reference to the stained glass windows which tell Belle and the Beast's story in the film. This mural is huge and a great photo spot!
Almost immediately, you see the entrance to the ballroom! It really is like walking into the film; and snow falls softly outside the windows. If you are taking a sneak peek, you can walk around this dining room; but you can still get some pics and see it for yourself.
This hallway leads to the ordering stations. These suits of armor are enchanted and tend to whisper and even snore!
Look up to see the Beast's face in the molding. Awesome detail!
These statues and gargoyles frame and support the doorways, just like the ones you see throughout the Beast's castle in the movie.
Outside the restaurant, right above the huge wooden doors, look up to see another mural reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast's trademark stained glass windows. This one tells the story of how the Beast became the Beast.
So that's our sneak peek! Unfortunately, you don't get to see the Rose Gallery or the West Wing; but to have this place all to yourself without hungry crowds in the way, is still worth it! So on your next trip, come check it out before it opens for lunch and be sure to bring your camera!