Tuesday, September 28, 2010

D.M.D Series Post #8:Disney Does Drama....Right!

Eighth post of the series

Disney does drama…right!

There are so many things to do at Disney World. There are rides to be ridden, parades to be cheered for, autograph books to be signed, Premium Mickey Bars to be eaten, and shows to be seen. That’s right. Disney World offers a wide variety of attractions in the form of live shows. Some have people as actors, some have animals showing off tricks, and I even know of one with animatronic bears. You know my feelings on Finding Nemo the Musical (which is my favorite) and there are so many more shows to take in so that you can experience Disney at its finest!

So, here is a quick list with some (if I posted all of my favorites it would take me FOR-EV-ER) of my D.M.D show favorites and some photographs I’ve taken to let you know by park where you can view some great shows. You’ll want to check on the tip boards or with guest services for daily show times and locations. I know you’ll love Disney at it’s acting best! Don’t miss these great moments within the parks.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

• Finding Nemo the Musical (see earlier post!)

The Festival of the Lion King: Become part of the show when you help take part in the Festival of the Lion King (will you be an elephant, warthog, giraffe, or lion?). Kids and adults alike will love this mix of circus style entertainment (acrobatics, trapeze artists, and even a fire juggler). You’ll also love singing along to some of the most beloved songs from the Disney movie The Lion King. There are selected showings daily and this is an indoor theater!

Flights of Wonder: This is a very entertaining show filled with birds from all over the world. If you are brave, volunteer when asked and you might have the photograph opportunity of a lifetime!  There are selected showings daily and this is an outdoor/covered theater.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show: This is a really cool car stunt show. You’ll get to be part of the filming of a high speed, high energy movie taping. During the taping of the show you will have the chance to learn a lot of tips and tricks on how car stunt scenes are filimed in Hollywood. There are selected showings of this one each day. This is an outdoor show with stadium style seating. You’ll want to plan on arriving early to the show to get a good seat.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid: This is a really fun show that combines live action and the use of puppets. There are a lot of effects that put you “under the sea”. Lasers, bubbles, and even an indoor rain sequence let you experience Ariel’s world like never before. You’ll see an abbreviated (like 15 minutes abbreviated) version of the movie but, you’ll hear all your Little Mermaid favorites! There are selected showings each day and this is an indoor show.

Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage: Wanna see Beauty and the Beast, live on stage? Head over to the outdoor Beauty and the Beast stage near The Hollywood Tower of Terror. You will get to see a vibrant recreation of this Disney favorite. There’s singing, dancing, and even some magic. You’ll really enjoy this show. There are selected showings daily and arena is covered (which is nice when the sun is shining super hot).

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular: I really like the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular because it makes me think about the good old days with MGM studios (they weren’t that long ago right!). Arrive about 30 minutes early to this show to get a good seat (and prepare to get up close and personal with you neighbors as you are asked to pack into the arena). This show will put you on the edge of your seat with pyrotechnics, fog, high falls, explosion, and even some punches…if you are brave, you can volunteer to be a part of the show. There are selected showings daily and this is a covered arena (the wait area is mist fan cooled and has pretty descent shade).

The American Idol Experience: I have had many a good time sitting in the American Idol Experience audience (I’m not the auditioning type thank you very much :) ). If you have ever watched American Idol , you have got to get over to the American Idol Experience stage. Here’s the deal: throughout the daily showings, real park guests (like you) audition for DHS version of AI. Three contestants per showing will get to perform a song of their choosing and will be judged by 3 American Idol ish judges (They have the same personalities of your AI tv favorites (yeah I know they have all left but, think good old original AI days…Simon, Paula, and Randy ). Some of the singers were really good…some, well not so much. Anyway, you get to vote just like the real deal and it will make you feel like you were really there! If you plan on trying out (and you are good), the winners from each showing will compete at the end of the day for the ultimate fastpass…a golden ticket to the front of any true American Idol audition.


Live Performances throughout World Showcase: Each day, performers from each country in the World Showcase perform a variety of live acts. There are so many different acts to see and there is a vast array of talents on showcase. Here is a brief breakdown by Country:

Mexico: Enjoy the sounds and beautiful costumes of the Mariachi Cobre. They perform both inside and outside of the Mexican Pavilion.

China: Hold your breath and cross your fingers as you watch some of the feats the Dragon Legend Acrobats perform. How do they do it? They perform just outside of the China Pavilion.

America: Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps put you in a Yankee Doodle mood. Join them in front of the American Pavilion for a patriot show with some very talented musicians!

Italy: I love Sergio the Italian Clown Juggler. With just the call of a whistle, you will understand this hilarious comedy routine. If you have little ones, Sergio loves picking an assistant from the crowd for his amazing catching game!

Morrocco: Belly dancers and musicians…must be Mo’rockin! This band performs just outside of the Moroccan Pavilion.

Japan: You can hear them before you can see them. Join Matsuriza at the Japan Pavilion for their drum routine. It is really cool.

Canada: Off Kilter is a rockin’ , kilt wearin’ band that plays a lot of Canadian originals. They play in the outdoor stage just to the side of the Canadian Pavilion. They rock!

United Kingdom: The Beatles are back in full force at Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion...Join the guys of British Invasion as they cover a variety of British Invasion favorites! They will have you singing and dancing!

The Magic Kingdom:

Dream Along with Mickey: This show happens several times throughout the day right in front of Cinderella Castle. Join Mickey and the gang as they dream along with your favorite princes and princesses (and a villain or two). I love the jazz hands and smiling faces that this show leaves you with. Come early and get a good spot to see all the action!

Pirate Tutorial with Captain Jack Sparrow: This is a cute show for the kids to take part in. Join Captain Jack in Adventureland for a tutorial on how to be a pirate. “Look, the governors daughter!” (if you have seen this show this will put a smile on your face!)/This is a really funny show plus, the actor playing Captain Jack really stinkin’ looks like him. Legit.

The Country Bear Jamboree: Well the bear band now will sing in the good ol’ key of G. toot toot. I have been a fan of this show since I was just a cub. This is a Disney classic and you can’t miss out on the Country Bear’s songs like “Blood on the Saddle” or Trixie with “Tears will be the Chaser for your Wine”. This shows at selected times and is an indoor attraction! There’s one sure thing the bear band knows, its real old country rhythm. Toot toot!

Don’t miss out on these and other great shows on your next visit to Disney World! Oh, if I missed one of your favorite D.M.D live shows, you be the blogger and tell us about it in the comment section! I’d love to get some great comments about your favorites so comment below with the details!

oh, and thanks for reading the blog.  You make me feel magical!

Friday, September 24, 2010

D.M.D Series Post #7:Soarin'...need I say more?

Seventh post of the series

Soarin'...need I say more?

I am scared to death of heights, I don't ride "thrill rides", and I prefer my feet to be planted firmly on the ground.  So why in the world do I love Epcot's Soarin' so stinkin' much?  I know...I still wonder that one myself.  But, I love, love, love this ride. This ride gives you a free feeling of gliding, flying, soarin' over California as light as a feather.  I know this is a simulated ride (of sorts) but I feel like it is an experience that you can't walk away from Disney World without taking part in.  This ride is ahead of it's time, combining beautiful sites, wonderful smells, and of course the rush of wind through your hair.  This ride suits me just fine and I am a Small World kinda girl.  So, if you are less of a risk taker like me, give this one at least a shot. 
I thought it would be neat to do a pictoral post (with some words too...I just like words) of what kinds of things you'll see when you ride Soarin'.  I know they aren't the exact pictures but, its the idea that counts here. 
  So, let's soar through California for a minute

source: public-domain-photos.com
Soarin' all begins with a breath taking view of the Golden Gate bridge.  You emerge through the mist and clouds and take in the beautiful bridge. There are four rows of ride seats (there are three rows of "hang gliding esque. seats.  When you board they are one behind the other but, as soon as the ride begins the rows are raised about 8-15 feet in the air and go from horizontally stacked to vertically stacked.  My favorite row is the first row but, second isn't terrible either.  The third row isn't the best but, if you are pushed for time and that is your only choice...do it).  Seats are equpied to bob and turn with the ride and it feels like the real deal.
source: freelargephotos.com

Next, you make your way over a river full of canoers.  I LOVE this part because if feels like you should be able to feel the water under your feet.  I literally look down every time expecting to see ripples let by my dangling feet. 
 source: digital-photography-school.com

Next you come eye level with massive hot air balloons.  I feel like we should bounce off the tops of them like Dory in Finding Nemo.   I love the uplifted feeling you get when you are side by side and even over top these massive floating balloons. 
source: ronliskey.com

The next scene is one of my favorites.  You make your way along a rocky west coast beach.  You can smell the ocean, clean and crisp.  Like a bar of coast soap.  I love the way the waves look crashing on the rocky coast.

 source: villamarinelifestylescalifornia.com

From the coast to the slopes, Soarin' takes you right over the snow covered mountains as skiers race down hill right under your feet.

source: gather.com
As if a gust of wind takes hold of the wings, you are tilted to the right, just before touching a massive waterfall. 

source: golfcoursepics.com

Next we dodge a golf ball as we soar over the PGA west.  You can hear the other guests gasp and dodge the ball.  It feels that real.

source: californiapictures.com

Adding to the real feeling comes my second favorite scene of the California citrus fields and the vineyards.  You can smell the tart citrus in the air as you pass over rows of neatly planted green bursts. Listen as the music matches the scenery. 

source: naturalphotos.com

Next you are going through dry land where the cowboys play.  And don't blink because you might miss the near collision with a jet.  That one draws some more gasps.   You can literally feel your seat vibrate from the force.
source: sciencedude.ocregister.com

You move on to an air force warship.  You can see crew working on board.   And yep, there is a close encounter of the helicopter kind.

source: aquasurfschool.com

There is another view of the California coast (complete with surfers). 
source: superstock.com

Next you make your way over crowded nighttime California.  The hustle and bustle of California can really be felt in this scene. 
source: makingmemoriestravelwny.com

And your ride ends its journey soarin' over Disneyland.  Look closely and you'll see a decorated park (for Christmas) and some of your favorites (including Mickey) will be waving from Main Street.  Finally watch for Tink and enjoy the next best thing to real fireworks...Disney ride fireworks!

I LOVE this ride.  Listening to the music from the ride makes me want to ride Soarin' so bad!  I am attaching a really good youtube version.  Go ride it in person.  It is really worth the wait.  If you go really early (like be there when Epcot opens)  you can sometimes get a good return time for a fast pass (or just hop in line for a shorter wait than during the day).  If you want to fastpass this ride make sure you arrive fairly early in the day.  I like to grab a fast pass and then get in line to wait...that way I can ride again later in the day with minimal wait.  I can't wait for you to experience Soarin' I know you'll love one of my absolute favorite D.M.D attractions!

video by wwwcoasterforcecom

ps. I don't own these photos so that is why the source from which I got them is listed below.  That's all.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

D.M.D Series Post #6: Start off your day the Magic Kingdom way!

Sixth post of the series

Start off your day the Magic Kingdom way!

One of my favorite, not so hidden, hidden Disney gems is the opening ceremony held each day at the gates of the Magic Kingdom. Waking up early to make sure you see this ceremony is a definite D.M.D experience. As you can see from the pictures I posted, this event does draw a quiet an audience so you'll need to arrive about 20 minutes before the park is set to open (30 minutes wouldn't hurt either). So, what will you see during the opening ceremony and is it worth getting up early to get to? Let's talk about it!

The opening ceremonies at Magic Kingdom (you have to enter through the turn styles and stand just in front of the Magic Kingdom train station) all start with the a welcome from a Citizen of Main Street (USA of course). The fun gets going with some song and dance from the main street dancers and the audience is introduced to the lucky family selected to "open" the park with a bit of pixie dust! And then you hear it, the choo-choo of the Walt Disney steam train (loaded with characters, including Mickey!).

The songs and dancing remind me so much of Spring breaks spent at Disney during the filming of the Disney World Easter parade. I love the 20s era clothing and the favorite sing-a-long songs that the main street dancers perform to. They really help to set the tone for an extra magical day at the Magic Kingdom. Finally, the happy family of the day throws their magical pixie dust and the park opens. What is also really cool is that the characters make their way from the train to the park and you can meet some of them right at the opening of Main Street USA. This is a really great show and a lot of people don't even know that it happens...every single day!

I guarantee that you will love this show. It only lasts a couple of minutes (I promise it is under 10 minutes!). I like to make my way from the opening show to a ride on the Main Street USA trolley. Last time I went the Dapper Dans (the Main Street Barbershop quartet) serenaded us with some great tunes as we went, straight down the middle of Main Street USA and then we were actually just in time to see the first Trolley show of the day (see the last picture)...but, that is another post. It was magical and that is because we started the day the Magic Kingdom way! I hope you'll get outta bed a bit earlier on at least one of your days at Disney to take in this great tradition!

Who ever thought the backside of a horse could provide you with such a view.
This was my view point on the trolley!

Wanna see more?
*Allears.net has a GREAT article!

*Studioscentral.com featured a great article as well!

Take a look at this pixie dust family's point of view as they rode in on the Walt Disney World steam train. Such a cool video posted on Youtube by mtilsher How lucky were they!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

D.M.D Series Post #5: The magic of Disney after dark!

Fifth post of the series

The Magic of Disney after dark!

I've never been able to understand how people can leave before the fireworks, light parades, or other special closing ceremonies. I mean, that would be like going out for ice cream and leaving with just a cone. Lumped into this same quandary, I also don't understand it when people "ride through" during these nightly festivities. I don't understand this in part because, once a parade or event starts, how in the stinkin' world are you even able to get where you want to be (in a timely) manner due to cast members blocking off the walk ways or to the fact that every other person in the park is making a b line to the fun or the fact that because of the sheer Disney of it all they are still able to follow their travel party without stopping dead in their tracks to stare up in the fully illuminated Orlando Sky...how in the world do they do it?

Now, don't read me wrong. I don't go to both Spectromagic parades so, if I am staying for the later, I will go ride something else or in my case be finishing up dinner reservations. But, I don't understand it when people don't take advantage of any of the showing. Craziness I tell you! Craziness! Today I am going to highlight some D.M.D closing ceremonies (if you will). I love the parks at night, the magic really shines through if you know what I mean.

The Magic Kingdom

So, now that the Summer Nightastic firework show is over, I guess I'll just tell you that this firework show was very similar to Wishes! Nighttime spectacular. The only difference was the storyline and Summer Nightastic included a more "surround sound" experience. Wishes! Nighttime Specacular shows several times a week. Wishes! seals your day the Disney way! Narrated by good old Jiminy Cricket, Wishes! takes you on a musical and visual trip through some Disney classics. The magic all starts with a wish: cue Tinkerbell in her 25 year old flight from Cinderella castle. This experience takes you from a heart full of wishes to a victorious romp with a few (dare I say beloved) villains. But don't worry, Jiminy and his crew prevail in the end. I absolutely LOVE this Magic Kingdom tradition! I make a point to take in the Wishes! Nighttime Spectaular at least 2 times per stay. You'll want to find a good space to watch this show. I like standing on the bridge to Tomorrowland. It isn't really that crowded plus, Tink waves her wand right over you...Oh my, I wanna go right now! I know that it is really crowded right in front of the castle and I have only made the mistake of standing dead center once. It was gridlock there for about 20 minutes after the show. Standing to the side on one of the bridges or a bit farther back on Main Street USA will give you just a good of a view with out the chance of getting lost in the crowd or being stepped on.

I often watch Youtube versions of Wishes! and it helps me with my Disney withdrawls. Also, I bought the soundtrack from The Laughing place store . It is weird how music can soothe your soul (or at least my soul). I get all Disney when I hear the trumpet fanfare or hear the chorus of kiddos singing at the end. I just love it!

my gift to you:

A Youtube version of Wishes! by jetnut18

Here are some photographs I took on trips to DW. The first 2 are from the Summer Nightastic firework show. Also you can look at photographs from Wishes! on my previous post Happy 25th to Tink's Nighttime Flight

Also, don't forget to check out Disney's Mainstreet Electrical Parade (I have posted on this one before in more detail just click here to go to the linked post). I know that Summer Nighttastic ended August 14th but, the Main Street Electrical parade is on a continued open run. So if you are headed down Disney way, make sure to enjoy this limited run parade.

If you are planning on going to Disney when Spectromagic continues then you are in for a treat too. I love Spectromagic (shocker. I know!). Spectromagic lasts about 15-20 minutes and makes its way from Town hall (the very left entrance to Mainstreet USA) and wraps its way through the park ending in Frontierland (think Splash Mountain area). You will see all your Disney favorites from Mickey to Marry Poppins. The best part is, "they are illuminated in a million points of electric light" (J. Cricket.). There are a lot of takes on where to sit. I will start off by saying that Main Street USA (the main drag of it anyway) is CRAZY crowded. So, if you plan on sitting here, just know that you need to arrive to secure your seat (and stand your ground for it) at about 6:30 for an 8:00 parade. I know that sounds crazy. But, that is what time people start parking it! You should also know that cast members block off a lot of walking areas during this parade. You won't be allowed to cross certain sections of the parade route until they give you the go. FYI that might take a while. So, do everything you need to do in order to stay put (take a potty break, catch dinner or a snack, buy those Mickey ears). This leads me to my best tip: if there are two showings of Spectromagic or the Main Street Electrical Parade, go to the second showing. Many people hit up the first and leave so your seat choices will be better. I like sitting right in front of Town Hall. #1:It isn't as crowded #2: The parade starts here so it ends here first and you can get out before the crowd really hits.

Both the Main Street Electrical parade and the Spectromagic parade are on Youtube (but you gotta see it in person to get the full effect).

Take a look at some of the sights of Spectromagic by familiaestradagtz

Quick Reference Tips for the Magic Kingdom:

-Check the park calendar for schedules so you know when Wishes! takes place and when Spectromagic/Main Street Electrical Parades take place.

-If there are two parades stay for the later. It will be a lot less crowded.

-Don't try to sit on Main Street USA . There are other great viewing spots in Frontierland and my favorite spot at the beginning of the parade route.

-For a less crowded view of Wishes! , try the bridge to Tomorrowland. This is less crowded and gives you a good view of Tinkerbell's famous flight!

-After Wishes! stay put (there will be a mass exodus but, the park doesn't officially close right after the fireworks. Most stores remain open for about an hour after the parade). If you stay around long enough you can see what is called the "good night kiss". Last year I asked a cast member what time it happened and even she had no clue. The good night kiss is the official closing of the park and it puts a sentimental end to the day. There is no actual kissing (wouldn't it be neat if there was with like Cinderella and Prince Charming) this kiss is a seal on the day with some memorable words from good ol' Walt Disney. Get right in front of the castle and enjoy a hidden gem. As an added plus by staying back you will miss out on the crazy rush to exit the park.

-Buy a light toy for the parades. You will be glad...it will make you smile!

-Remember that cast members rope off parts of the park for the parade route. You are only allowed to cross the path when they usher you through. So, if you are at the castle end of Main Street USA and you want to get out, try entering the stores at Casey's Corner you can walk through the whole line of stores (they are all connected so you can make your way through all the way to Town Hall area). You can get out SO much easier!

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth takes place nightly at the World Showcase Lagoon. This is more of a grown up geared firework show that combines, lasers, fog, fireworks, projections, and so much more. This show has TONS of great viewing spots (Pick anywhere from Mexico to Canada). You'll wanna see all three acts that make up this show. Check out the official
Disney Website for more information on each act as well as some great pictures. This show lasts about 12 minutes and is worth the wait! I know you will be moved to watch the people of this Earth celebrated through unity!

Quick Reference for Epcot:
-You can get a good seat for this show any where around the World Showcase Lagoon. Just arrive about and hour before the show and get ready for a great show!

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic! is just that. Disney at its most Fantastic. Fantasmic! shows on selected nights only and is a hot ticket. The popularity of this show always blows me away. Fans come in droves to pack into the 1,500 person amphitheater (yeah, its an outdoor show so weather can effect the showing) shows last about 30 minutes and schedules can be found on the tip boards and via guest relations. Cast members let in a limited number of guests and I have only had the pleasure of standing, in the way back. I mean WAY back. If you plan on seeing this show, you should plan on making your way over about 2 to 2.5 hours early, because it will fill up and I mean fast. What I saw (keep in mind I am about five foot nothing) was spectacular. A mixture of music, lights, magic, smoke, projections, and so many characters. The show takes place on the stage as well as on floats in the water. The story stars Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice and takes you through his imagination. Of course the villains make an appearance and Mickey duels it out with Maleficent (in dragon form of course). This one is not for the faint of heart; partly because of the drama and mostly because of the wait time and crowded viewing if you are too late. Try and make a showing, it will be worth it in the end!

Take a look at this playlist I created from aquany1's footage of Fanstasmic!

Quick Reference for Disney's Hollywood Studios:

-Plan on getting here REALLY early. About 2 or so hours ahead of time.

-I'm pretty sure that you can't take strollers into the arena so, be prepared to park them. All of your party has to be together to be seated so, plan on making sure everything is squared away before you plan on entering.

-Two restaurants at DHS have special dinner arrangements that allow you to get a guaranteed seat at Fantasmic! This information is detailed on the Disney page (here). Just make sure you make your reservations early by calling 407-WDW-dine (407)-939-3463. I know that the restaurants are The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano (lunch or dinner) or Hollywood and Vine (dinner packages only). This package is called the Fantasmic! Dining Package and guarantees you dinner and a great seat at the show. This is a good thing to consider if you are a few months out

I hope you got some new tips, tricks, and ideas from this post. I also hope that you try out these D.M.D after dark edition faves! Cheers friends!