Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Five Reasons to Visit Chef Mickey's Character Meal at Walt Disney World

Sometimes it seems as if there are a zillion choices for dining at Walt Disney World. This is all well and good, but can also be overwhelming.
Read along to see why I think Chef Mickey's Fun Time Buffet is a top choice for families with children.
  • Flexible. Some dining locales have limited hours. Not Chef Mickey's! You can choose to eat beginning early in the morning to late in the evening, with a small gap between Brunch and Dinner. I'd suggest Breakfast or Brunch (which ends at 2:30PM) for the Mickey waffles if nothing else. What's a visit to Walt Disney World without a Mickey waffle or ten?
  • Food Variety. It's a buffet! Big eater or small, picky eater or easily pleased, you're covered. No surprise when the check comes at the end of the meal and you see the juice your child ordered and didn't drink cost more than the meal. It's all included and yes, there's dessert as well.
  • Location. Chef Mickey's is located at the beautiful Contemporary resort. Even better, it's an easy walk from the Magic Kingdom. Make your life easy and combine a Magic Kingdom Day with a Chef Mickey reservation so you don't have to deal with busses to make your reservation time. As an added bonus, the atmosphere at the Contemporary is a welcome respite from the crowds and the hub bub of the parks. Explore a just might want to stay there on your next visit.
  • Enjoyed by all. Do you have one of those wanting to be jaded Tweens or Teens? They won't get away with that here. There's no coaxing to get in a line, the characters just appear and are careful to include all. The sulking Teen who is 'too old for this' will soon be hamming it up with an old friend.
  • Characters. I should say this again...CHARACTERS! Clearly I've saved the best of last. No Fast Passes or lines needed. As said before, they characters come to YOU, with plenty of time to interact, take photos and get autographs. Here's a tip...take a photo mat with you, have all the characters sign that, and go home with a great frame for a favorite vacation memory. In general, you will get to spend time with the Fab Five of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald.
As with most dining at Walt Disney World, reservations may be made 180 days in advance, and take 1 credit on Dining Plans that include Table Service Meals. Paying out of pocket? Try breakfast for a more economical experience.







Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Disneyland ~ Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

The very first of Walt Disney's castles, and the only one he ever actually walked through remains the icon of Disneyland. Sleeping Beauty's Castle is sometimes scoffed at for its size, being much, much smaller than Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World. But in Walt's original park, it is quaint and homey and fit for it's esteemed title as the first.

But did you know it also has a unique attraction inside? Yes, you can actually go inside Sleeping Beauty's castle. Like most things in Disneyland, much history surrounds the attraction.
The entrance is tucked away by the tunnel to Frontierland. There are stairs involved, going up and going down and twisty and sometimes tight walkways. It doesn't take many folks inside to make the space feel crowded. Luckily, it's usually fairly empty. If you have mobility issues or are just hesitant about the trek, never fear, there is a high definition video of the attraction on the bottom floor.
Think about this. Disneyland opened in 1955 with Sleeping Beauty's Castle as its showpiece. The movie Sleeping Beauty must have been a big hit during that time, right? Nope! The movie didn't open until 1959, so visitors weren't even familiar with what Disney's take on the classic tale would be.
The walkthrough wasn't open until 1957. It is said that Walt didn't like wasted space, and the movie was still 2 years out, so how about a big commercial for the film in that space? Using a clever design of the open gilded storybook matched with dioramas of the story, guests could see a preview of the upcoming film.
Using the colorful graphic style designs of Disney artist Eyvind Earle, the story was brought richly to life.
Over the years the walkthrough has been closed and opened, upgraded in technology and changed. In 1977 the scenes were portrayed as miniatures, using doll like figures and styled after windows on Main Street.

After being closed in 2001, fans wondered if it would ever reopen.
But reopen it did, in 2008, with the original Eyvind Earle style intact and 2st century technology added in.
I was fortunate enough to attend a history of the attraction presented by Imagineers. What stories! And what amazing things they found each time the attraction was re-done. Knowing the history behind everything that is done in the parks makes the experience all the richer.

The next time you find yourself in Disneyland, take a break from the mountains and the thrills and take time to explore this little gem.