Disney Passholder Project Podcast #02 – Best in Show

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This week we discuss the live shows throughout Disney World. Which park has the best? Which ones need an update? The curtain rises on our showy debate. We also discuss the upcoming Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and attempt to go on every ride in Magic Kingdom in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Lineup

The Boneyard closed for refurbishment

Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60

Yesterland

 

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #01 – Trials of Tomorrowland

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This week we talk about Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. What are they getting right? What needs to change? We’ll hash it out for a great big beautiful tomorrow. We also discuss closing at Hollywood Studios and give our trip report in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Ordeal Kingdom

Hollywood Studios Closings

Nine Dragons menu update

runDisney Annual Passholder early registration dates

Alien Encounter

Chefs de France

Join our Community

Support us on Patreon

Universe Box subreddit

Bill’s Twitter

Anne Marie’s Twitter

Contact Us:

E-mail: disneypassholderproject@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneypassproj
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyPassholderProject/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ubannemarie/
Periscope: periscope.tv/disneypassproj
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/disneypassproj/
Voicemail Number: (424) 274-2352

 

Fantastic Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! takes the cake when it comes to Disney Magic!

While Disney stage shows and spectaculars are almost always spectacular, there is just something about Fantasmic! that just leaves me in awe…yes, even more than Wishes.

On Black Friday (yes, I know I just talked about NOT going to the parks during Thanksgiving) we decided to have a 3 park day (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom) and made sure to hit Fantasmic! because it has been months since we last sat in the Hollywood Hills’ Theatre.

We arrived about 1/2 hour before the show was set to begin and the theatre was already very full, but mainly of FP+ seating. By a stroke of luck, we managed to get prime seating at stage left.

Fantasmic rock

 

 

We were in the 2nd row back which is apparently the “Splash Zone” and busted our our kid snacks. We had grabbed some Gingerbread Popcorn earlier and hubs went to grab a beer and a snack for the adults. Yay stadium nachos!

I tend not to buy seasonal snacks because they are even more overpriced than regular snacks, but this was phenomenal. Gingerbread syrup and white chocolate covered popcorn…I must figure out how to do this.

Popcorn Smiles

 

 

 

 

I always try to post a lot on social media when we are in the parks and this was no exception.

Shout out to Simon who was seeing the same show as me!

 

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I also Periscoped a good bit of the show for you guys to enjoy!

 

I hope you guys liked this little glimpse into Fantasmic! Are there other shows/rides you would like me to do this for? Let me know in the comments!

Until then, let’s connect on social media for live updates from my park trips and occasional WDW news.

Facebook

Twitter

Periscope

Instagram

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

We are all saddened that this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For us it is especially sad since this is our first time seeing them. I have a feeling that we will be making quite a few trips back to see the lights before they are gone.

Here is a periscoped walk through the Streets of America and the Osborne Family Lights in November 2015.

Epcot – Not Just for Adults

For some reason I am struggling to write the posts recapping our trips lately. It’s not like nothing happened!

  • We celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.
  • We park hopped for the first time.
  • We got rained on BOTH days.
  • We went to Epcot for the first time.

We have been super busy and have the sore feet to prove it, but for some reason the motivation wasn’t coming for a basic post.

I took to social media and asked our Facebook fans what they wanted to know about. I thought that would help…and it has! Today I am going to address Nicole’s question about whether Epcot is more adult-centric and if the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

The quick answer is…both!

Here is why I think that Epcot is a great park for the entire family. I think that the reason everyone thinks that Epcot is just for adults is because you can drink your way around the world. I get that. I cannot wait to get to do that (hello, Uber!). But there is SO MUCH MORE to Epcot!

Spaceship Earth - Epcot

Rides

First there are the amazing rides like Spaceship Earth, Mission: SPACE, Chevy Test Track, Soarin’, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Journey into Imagination with Figment. There are some height restrictions for the more popular rides, but there are a lot of extra activities after the rides (you walk out into games and then the gift shop) which apply to everyone. Mission: SPACE even has an inside playground to help pass the time while you wait for the rest of your group. It’s a pretty long ride so they will need the entertainment.

On the first day that we went the forecast was calling for rain all day so the park was pretty slow. This made for some pretty short wait times throughout the park. I think that around 10:30 the longest wait time was under 1/2 hour. We rode Spaceship Earth right away and headed to Test Track because we had FP+’s.

Mission SPACE - Epcot

We soon learned that it was down thanks to some AMAZING wait time signage around the park. (Seriously, Disney, put this in every park) When the time came for our FP+ I received an email telling me that the ride was down and to go ahead to one of the other attractions listed and we would be able to use a freebie FP+ there. Awesome! I was wondering what would happen with that.

Not even half an hour later (still within our FP+ window) Test Track was back up so we made a beeline for it…along with everyone in the park! All three lines were long (Standby, FP+, and Single Rider) but we went with it. This ride was so much fun! I’m not sure it is 100% worth the long wait that it usually has, but if you can get a FP+ do it! All 3 kids loved it!

On our second trip it was Labor Day weekend and there was substantially more people in the park, but still not outrageous. We knew to head straight to Test Track to make sure that we got that in because our FP+ was for Soarin’ for this trip. We actually waited less time in the Standby line this trip vs the FP+ line on our last trip, but I blame the fact that the ride had been down before.

Some rides that you might glance over and skip are Living with the Land and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. DON’T! Living with the Land is awesome and takes you back through some of the research parts of Epcot. It is really neat to see some modern farming techniques, as well as where some of the food for the park is grown. Gran Fiesta is hidden inside the Mexico pavilion in the Worlds Showcase. We almost missed it behind the various merchandise carts and restaurant but had so much fun on it. These are both slow boat rides which are one of my favorites. As much as I love the rides that get your heart pumping, sometimes it is awesome to take it slow.

Living with the Land - Epcot

Shows

Then there are the shows. Captain EO for those of you who haven’t left the 80’s and Turtle Talk with Crush if you wanna talk like a turtle, DUDE! Heck, there was even Circle of Life if you feel like being preached to by adult Simba.

While I cannot get behind Captain EO (sorry, guys, I’m not a Michael Jackson fan!) everyone else in my family loved this 3D adventure. It was kind of cool watching the pre-show behind the scenes stuff. Theatre nerd for life!

I really liked Turtle Talk! I took the little kids on this while Hubs took Kid #1 on Soarin’. We figured a show would be a perfect way to entertain them while they had to wait in a 50 minute ride! It was so cool! The lobby had trivia set up, as well as a few fish displays where they played hide and seek with Nemo and his dad. On our second visit to Epcot Kid #1 got picked to talk to Crush…there was a LOT of “Duuuuuuude” and then Hubs had a little chat with the turtle. It is pretty cool how they make these shows highly interactive.

Then there was the Circle of Life. While we knew going in this was a Save the Earth kind of show we thought it was going to be a bit more enjoyable. The theatre looked like they were going to have some live performers or something in addition to the video, but no such luck.

Characters

Minnie - Epcot

And if you are there strictly at Disney for a character experience, you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy at the Epcot Character Spot with Chip and Dale nearby! However, there are also a TON of characters spread throughout the World Showcase AND most of them have fairly short waits!! My theory behind this is that since most people who are on their Disney vacations almost exclusively for the kids will skip Epcot and even if they do hit it, they may not be in character meeting mode. But Epcot is a great option for maximizing your character meeting. I walked by all of these princesses and there was maybe five people in line to meet them.

  • Mulan
  • Belle
  • Alice
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mexican Daffy
  • Duffy the Bear
  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends
  • Princess Aurora
  • Aladdin and Jasmine
  • Snow White

Snow White - Epcot

Those are just the ones with set meeting spots! If you are looking for the FULL princess experience, book a meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This is basically the Epcot version of eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom…and from what I hear just as hard to get in to.

With the announcement of the Frozen ride at the Norway pavilion you can almost guarantee that Anna and Elsa will be making an appearance somewhere. I’ll update you when I know something for sure.

World Showcase

Now this is what everyone thinks of when they think of Epcot. This is the easiest (and cheapest) way to explore the world without actually having to travel the world.

The World Showcase is why there is the common misconception that Epcot is just for adults. You can eat and drink different things that you wouldn’t normally have the chance to try. There are so many fun shops to explore (I am going to be doing A LOT of Christmas shopping in Japan because, Pokemon and Hello Kitty). But that isn’t everything.

British Revolution - Epcot

The entertainment is also spot on. We have wandered past a Mariachi band in Mexico, sat and ate dinner to a set by British Revolution, and almost ran into Sergio the street performer in Italy. My kids absolutely loved playing in Italy. There is a tower that they all insist on knocking on. The door doesn’t open. Nothing happens. They just LOVE knocking on it.

Italy - Epcot

Kids Stuff at World Showcase

Disney has also made sure that there are some activities specifically designed for kids to do while the parents explore the showcase.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure to stop Doofenschmirtz is very fun, but may be difficult if you have a group of kids (ahem). You pick up a smart phone interface at the Recruitment Centers and choose a country to explore then you follow the clues to get you around that country’s pavilion to solve the mission. There are about four things that you need to find and interact with before completing your mission. We completed China and all of the kids really liked it. It made you look a lot closer at the whole pavilion.

Agent P - Epcot

Another mostly kid-centric activity is the World Showcase passports. You can buy these in a gift shop and then take them to the Kidcot areas in each country to be signed in the native language. We haven’t tried doing this yet, but it is on my to-do list. Maybe

Kidcot - Epcot

Illuminations

Last, but certainly not least is the nighttime spectacular Illuminations. This is a much lower fireworks show than Wishes, but it is amazing! I would advise finding your spot at least 15 minutes before the show is set to begin otherwise there might be some tipsy adults who don’t want to let your kids have a closer view. Not that that happened to us or anything. 🙂

This show encompasses the entire World Showcase with fire, fireworks, lasers, and music. Even my husband who is not a big fan of fireworks displays said that this was amazing. Do not leave before seeing this show is you can help it.

Wrap Up

Well, that is a pretty good wrap up of the Epcot experience. I hope that this was helpful and will help you plan your next trip to Epcot. Please let me know if you have any questions that you would like me to answer either in the comments, or Twitter (@DisneyPassProj) or by sending an email to disneypassholderproject@gmail.com.

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Farewell Summer

Monday was the first day of school for all 3 kids, and like proper Disney addicts and passholders we celebrated the last day of summer in the Magic Kingdom! This was also our first time using our MagicBands and taking all three kids. There was a lot of excitement in the air!

MagicBands

Sunday August 23, 2015

We got a late start for our adventure because we had an overnight guest, but we hit the ground running from the minute we hit the boat. We had planned to take the monorail, but it was down…booooo. It was pretty darn warm (in the mid-90s with a heat index over 100) and we could not wait to make our first stop…lunch!

We had a  FP+ for Buzz Lightyear right after lunch so we knew we wanted to hit Tomorrowland to eat. Our Quick Service restaurants are pretty limited there so we went to Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe.

Never. Again. While the food was tasty and filling (there was even a veggie sandwich option), this restaurant gives me hives with how busy AND slow they are. I’m also not a fan of the fact that you must have your food before you can be guided to your seat by a castmember with a lightsaber.

We spent a lot of this day split up based on what rides the kids did or did not want to go on. My husband took Kid #1 on Space Mountain, while I took the other two on the Mad Tea Party and Under the Sea. I tried to Periscope from MTP, but was having connectivity issues, however I did get a little clip from Under the Sea.

I LOVE this Ursula! The combination of animatronics and the video in the globe are so cool.

While we were split up the little kids and I had a few different character meet-ups and THEY DIDN’T WANT TO DO ANY OF THEM! I was so sad! We were *right there* to meet the White Rabbit, Merida, and Gaston. *sigh* The only character s that they seemed excited to try to meet was Winnie the Pooh and Tigger…who had a LONG line and both kids had already met them.

Its a Small World - Magic Kingdom

Next we met back up with the rest of our family and headed to Splash Mountain by way of the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. Last week on his birthday trip Kid #3 loved this Splash Mountain, however on this particular trip he was kicking, screaming, and begging not to ride. What!? It was so hot and sticky that the rest of us were craving a water ride. We got all the way up to our turn and he still wasn’t having it. I decided to not torture him and we didn’t ride. The very nice castmember gave me a Kid Swap ticket so that I could take the older kids back on the ride while the kiddo hung out with Daddy.

Rider Switch - Magic Kingdom

I was so grateful for this because I really wanted to go on Splash Mountain. While the little guy and I were waiting at the exit another castmember (more manager-y because they weren’t in costume) came up and started talking to us. She was so nice asking about his birthday the previous week and really trying to connect with him. Before she left she actually gave him a special ticket to get a free ice cream from any of the carts while I took the big kids back on Splash Mountain. She did this so that he would have a positive association with the ride in the future and it apparently worked. My husband said that as soon as he finished his ice cream he said he was ready to go on the ride.

Kid #3 Ice Cream - Magic Kingdom

The other kids were a little sad that they didn’t get ice cream (okay, the whined and shed a tear or two) but quickly rebounded and talked about how the ride was cooler than ice cream anyway. Good job big kids.

After our next FP+ (Peter Pan) we split up again because Kid #1 wanted nothing to do with Storytime with Belle, so my husband took him to find a rollarcoaster to ride. I took the little kids on Winnie the Pooh and to see Belle.

Pooh, as always, was amazing. I love how excited the kids get for this ride…it’s really nothing special, but their reactions are. Then we headed over to Belle with our final FP+ of the day. I was a little upset using our FP+ because there was only  a 10 minute wait, BUT I knew that we were leaving shortly after so we went with it. Kid #2 was all about being in the show. For her 3rd birthday trip she was a teeny tiny Beast and really wanted to do that again, but we were with some bigger kids and they chose a boy to be the Beast, however, she was Maurice and had an amazing hug with Belle at the end. Kid #3 was completely attached to me with glue and wanted NOTHING to do with the show or meeting Belle.

Belle - Magic Kingdom

Last on our agenda was a quick zip around the People Mover and then Monorail to the car. What a perfectly exhausting day, but a great way to end the summer.

Monorail - Magic Kingdom

Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order

  • Buzz’s Star Command
  • Space Mountain
  • People Mover
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • It’s a Small World
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Incredibles Dance Party
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle

Sidenote: Are my daughter and I the only ones who HATE that there isn’t a Tangled attraction other than a tower and themed bathrooms? We LOVE Rapunzel and think she deserves more than she gets…but then again…so does Merida!

Floating Lanterns - Magic Kingdom

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Our First Passholder Trip

There is a rule in our house that each child’s first trip to Disney (Magic Kingdom) has to be alone with Mommy and Daddy. This way we can focus on just them and taking in the magic. Kid’s #1 and #2 each went right around their third birthday. However, around Kid #3’s third birthday we weren’t able to make the trip due to work commitments. We just passed his fourth birthday in July and we knew it would be our first trip once we were down here.

Well, when we got our Annual Passes we couldn’t get a babysitter for the older kids for a few days, so we decided to hit Hollywood Studios since it would be brand new to all five of us. Bring on the Pixie Dust!

Friday August 14, 2015

My husband had some comp hours saved up so he took a half day and we made the trip down to the park right around lunchtime. We packed sandwiches and snacks for the kids to eat in the car because as Annual Passholders we don’t want to break the bank on food.

After a quick pit stop at the ticket counters to trade in our annual pass voucher for our ticket cards we were off! And we walked right in to a ton of Frozen Summer Fun! We were perfectly placed for the tail end of the Frozen parade..and (of course) that is where Elsa is! Kid #2 was exploding with excitement.

Elsa - Hollywood Studios

I can’t comment on the parade as a whole, but the “Let it Go” at the tail end and when it STARTED SNOWING was lovely! We were also able to follow the parade for a little while before veering off to check out the Disney Jr. section of the park.

I’m sure anyone without small children will just zoom past this area, but we were very excited. I mean, we *may* have been watching the Disney Jr. Live on Stage show on Youtube for years and have watched it change and use different characters. Before the show started we took a few minutes to meet a couple of friends. These lines were relatively short and we only missed meeting Doc McStuffins because we had to get in line for the show. She also had the longest wait of the three.

Sofia - Hollywood Studios

Jake - Hollywood Studios

I cannot believe how excited Kid #1 looks to be meeting Jake. I’m always worried that he is growing up too quickly and this gives me hope that he is still a little boy.

If you have little kids the Live on Stage show is awesome with tons of interactions. I mean, who doesn’t love bubbles and gold dubloons being thrown into the audience?

We then spent our day virtually walking on to ride after ride (including Star Tours) and into shows (Muppets!!!)…until Toy Story Midway Mania. OY! We had walked by this ride many times through the day and were constantly checking the My Disney Experience app to try and find the smallest wait times. It was almost always around 2 hours. WHAT?! I hate to waste so much time in line. There is so much to see! Finally, after an early dinner at the ABC Commissary we decided to brave the 85 minute wait line. Thankfully the line was really only about 60 minutes and not too painful. As with most newer rides at Disney the line is so in brand and entertaining. It was like you were dumped into the bottom of Andy’s toy chest with giant toy pieces and cards everywhere. There was even an animatronic Potato Head gabbing with everyone (and holding up the line) as people took pictures.

Toy Story - Hollywood Studios

THIS RIDE WAS AWESOME, but basically just an updated version of the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom. It was fun, but not worth the wait as an adult. My kids, however, thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

We finished up our day with the 9pm showing of Fantasmic and then Frozen fireworks. I had heard how awesome Fantasmic was, but I knew nothing about the actual show. This might have been the highlight of the trip! I absolutely LOVE the water projections. This makes me excited for the new show that they are putting in at Animal Kingdom. This is a FastPass+ option, but the way that the theatre is set up I don’t think you need it.

Once Fantasmic let out we headed towards Hollywood Boulevard and the entrance of the park. This set us up perfectly for the fireworks with a quick escape to the trams.

Overall it was an amazing trip and got us super excited for Kid #3’s birthday trip to Magic Kingdom two days later.

Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order

  • Frozen parade
  • Sofia and Jake meet and greet
  • Disney Jr. Live on Stage
  • The Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Star Tours
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Adventure
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • ABC Commissary
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Fantasmic
  • Frozen Fireworks

Bonus!

My husband and I host a fan podcast, Greetings from Storybrooke, about the show Once Upon a Time and we had a little too much fun geeking out over the Mr. Gold’s Shop storefront.

Mr. Gold's Shop - Hollywood Studios Gold 3Thanks for joining me for our first trip to Walt Disney World as Annual Passholders! Stay tuned for our next trip…Magic Kingdom!

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Welcome!

 

Welcome to my new adventure!

When my husband and I announced to our friends and family a few months ago that we were moving to Orlando everyone wanted to know when we were getting our Disney Annual Passes. We kept saying “By Christmas.” We really saw ourselves putting it off for a while to save up money and get settled into a routine…or something like that.

Well, apparently “By Christmas meant within 2 months 🙂 This week we pulled the trigger (thanks to the AWESOME payment program!) and we aren’t looking back. Now that we have the passes we plan to make the most of them. I will do my best to post about each of our visits to Disney property with any fun encounters or tips that we have with occasional guest posts from my husband and kids!

This site is independent from Disney and completely our thoughts, opinions, and experiences. If anything is every sponsored or subsidized we will let you know up front.

That’s about it for now. Feel free to share any tips, challenges, or questions that you have for us!

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