Disney World

Hiring a Sea Raycer, Walt Disney World

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There is more to the World that meets the eye. Look beyond the theme parks, and you will discover a wide range of activities available. One of my favourites is the Sea Racyers – the small 2 person boats you see zipping across Seven Seas Lagoon.

These are available at several resorts. I’ve hired these quite a few times with my family on past holidays. On a previous trip my partner and I went to the Contemporary Resort and hired one from there.

The price is not too expensive, ( I have just double checked, and the current price is $32 per half hour) and you show a valid driving license. You also have to be over 5ft tall, which seems a crazy rule as there are no pedals and the screen is low to see over! You are given a life jacket, and some quick instructions.

We chose a 30 minute slot. And then the fun begins, they do have a limit of a top speed, but once you out are on the open water, it does feel much faster!

As we hired the boat from Contemporary (you have to return the boat to where you hired it from), we decided to go across to Seven Seas Lagoon first, so off we went, the weather was lovely, waving at children passing on the main transportation boats and me taking lots of photos!

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You get some great shots of the hotels from a different view point, you also do see lots of wildlife.

After we had completed a circle in the Seven seas Lagoon, we headed back to Bay Lake, driving around to Fort Wilderness Resort and beyond. You also circle around the now extinct Discovery Island.

It’s a really exhilarating activity as well as pleasurably calming! I would recommend to everyone who is old enough (and tall enough!) to hire one! And don’t forget sun protection for your thighs.

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Disney World

4 Parks, 1 Day – Walt Disney World Challenge!

Last year was an eventful holiday at Disney. As I mentioned, I was proposed to in a surprise engagement, so I had an unexpected week with my fiancé. Then once he flew home, I still had another 5/6 days with my parents.

I’m all about trying new things at Disney and my Disney bucket list is huge, and is always growing! I had the mad idea of doing all four parks in 1 day! This idea was made the evening before at dinner, so we made a quick plan.

I suggested 2 attractions and then something to eat/drink in each park before moving on. We half made decisions on which attractions to choose based on previous trips and what we knew would be quick and easy to ride. We also decided to be flexible in case the queue was long, or the attraction was shut.

At the time we were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, so it made logical sense to start at Animal Kingdom.

We got the bus to animal kingdom, it wasn’t actually that early! It was after 10am (shock horror!), we went on its tough to be a bug soon as we got in the park, we wasn’t hungry so grabbed a snack of a dole whip. Also for some reason (I can’t remember why, maybe we had plans to go to Animal kingdom that day), we had a Fastpass for expedition Everest, so we rode that and headed out. Park 1 done!

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We got on a direct bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here we rode Star Tours (queue wasn’t too long and we knew the actual ride didn’t last too long), and then Muppet Vision 3D. We also had a sit down with some cold water and a chicken caesar salad. Park 2 done! We then took a boat to Epcot.

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Once at Epcot, we headed to The Seas with Nemo & friends, then straight over to Journey into Imagination with Figment. We realised we had made good time so far, and it was only late afternoon, and we was already at the third park! So we had a stroll around World Showcase. We stopped at Mexico, where I had loaded nachos and a hibiscus margarita – yum! Park 3 done!

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We then got a Monorail to Magic Kingdom. We went to the Enchanted Tiki Room, had a Nutella fruit waffle from Sleepy Hollow, then headed to carousel of Progress. Park 4 done! We had did it. Completed the 4 parks in 1 day challenge!

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Now we was tired, and at this point my parents decided to leave. I elected to stay, so I watched celebrate the magic twice, the electrical parade and wishes!

I also decided to stay until The Last Kiss Goodnight (another first for me! Another tick on the Disney bucket list –yes!).

So I then had the chance to have photos of me down an empty main street! Another amazing dream come true. I also had my own Disney bus back to my resort. So I left the hotel at 10.20am and didn’t get back until 12.40am!! I was so exhausted, but the day was totally worth it!

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Disney World

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, Walt Disney World

 

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When Trader Sam’s opened at Walt Disney world, I knew I had to visit! The Polynesian Village is my favourite resort, Adventureland is one of my favourite lands, and I love the tropical / tiki themes.

Last year I got the chance! Actually it was the night I was proposed to, in the evening he had made no plans as didn’t know what I would fancy. I then knew how I wanted to celebrate.

So we headed to the Polynesian and found the discreet door. You can not book tables, it is walk in only. As luck would have it, there was only one table left!

As soon as you walk in, you know it’s a different experience. Its not like the usual Disney World lounges. Its dark, there’s noises and everyone feels excitable.

The menu choices – the cocktails are all unusual, and sounded strong. We had two each, and I can confirm they are! I think they are mostly rum based drinks.

Another bonus point – if you pay a bit extra, you get to keep the glass! This is now my new collection.

So there is a lot going on in this small room, and most of it related to the drinks you order. For instance, the “views out of the windows” change when a tiki god is angered! I don’t want to give too much away as I think it’s a nice surprise for first time visitors!

But the cast members in there are great fun and clearly love the job!

The first time I had the Krakota Punch, and my fiancé had the Mosquito Mojito. Second round I had the Hippotomai-tai, and I’m sure my partner had a second Mojito.

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I love it here, its just so different, and I feel like a kid on one of the attractions, looking all around and taking it all in.

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When we went earlier this year, and had two nights in Disney before a cruise, we had to go back! Again we had a dinner before (Trader Sam’s does do food – bar snacks etc, but I’m there for the cocktails!), walked in, and two seats left, this time at the bar.

I knew which drinks we needed to have based on what glasses I wanted to add to the collection. My finace had the Shrunken Zombie head – which we was told is the strongest drink on the menu! I had the Polynesian Pearl – yummy!

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If you are looking for a quiet relaxing drink, maybe skip Trader Sams, but if you want an interesting visual treat for adults only and decent drinks – give Trader Sam’s a go!

It’s one of my new favourite must do places!

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Disney World

Behind the Seeds Tour, Walt Disney World

 

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On a previous visit a few years we booked the Behind the Seeds tour.

This is very reasonably priced at $20, and lasts one hour. I’m not a huge fan of gardening but I do like to see behind the scenes at Walt Disney World, and would like to slowly work my way through all of the tours.

It’s based in The Land at Epcot, and you start by the entrance to Soarin’

You learn about insects, the high light was being able to free the ladybirds! You are given a vial and then allowed to set them on the plants. The reason for this is they are considered useful insects as they are a natural pesticide.

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Later you are given a hand-out so you can learn how to implement a different way of growing at home.

You are also given some cucumber that was grown in the greenhouses, it tasted very fresh.

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You are taken through the green houses with your group and cast member. You stop and gather round which item or food they are talking about and you can ask questions.

In another area, you are given glass jars to pass round and smell, the group then try to identify the food/spices that they are.

I did learn a lot about food and different ways on growing it, and future research. I did like the tour, but its not one of my favourites. But to learn more about Disney World and for such a good price, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

Disney World

A Morning with Jim Korkis

 

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A few years ago – through a friend I got the chance to meet Jim Korkis. Jim is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles about all things Disney for over three decades. He is also a former Cast Member.

I had been a fan of Jim’s since hearing him on WDW Radio, and I have all his books.

 

My family, boyfriend and I met for breakfast at Olivia’s at Old Key West. We sat and chatted for over an hour about Jim’s job history, the parks, films and how we came to be huge fans of Disney.

Jim told us some back stories, including the one of the restaurant Olivia’s.

Olivia was a resident of Key West and used to cook for all, but didn’t have enough chairs or cutlery so asked the others to bring their own! That’s why it’s all mismatched in the restaurant.

After Breakfast Jim suggested we went to Wilderness Lodge for a tour of all the secrets and hidden treasures of the resort, I wasn’t going to pass this opportunity up! He also signed my new book for me.

We walked round the lobby and outside by the pool with Jim pointing out hidden mickeys, and bits of trivia. There was too much to say in this one small blog, so I will mention a few!

This is the only resort with an official mascot – Humphrey the brown bear. He is all around the resort, including on this sign with Mickey.

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If you exit to the back of the resort, and head towards the pool. Take a look back and you will notice it looks like a bear. The top windows are his eyes, beneath that his muzzle, with the sides of the building being his arm stretching out. This is more noticeable in the evening with the lights on.

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This a spring in the back of the resort looking towards Bay Lake, every morning a cast member has to measure the wind to determine how high the water jets, this is so it doesn’t drench the guests by the pool!

 

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Look for bear paw prints in the walkways!

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We also went and sat in the Carolwood Pacific Room, which is in the villas at Wilderness Lodge. This has part of the train that Walt himself used in his own back garden, this was on loan from his daughter Diane, other parts are in the Walt Disney Family Museum.

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All in all I had a great morning with Jim, I learned a lot about Walt, the parks and Wilderness Lodge. It was a nice birthday treat organised by my friend Michelle, and I’m glad I got to meet Jim. I am aware this is a very special treat, and is not a common occurrence!

If you want to read about Disney stories I suggest you buy his books!

 

 

Disney World

Walt Disney: From Marceline to the Magic Kingdom Tour

 

 

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One of my favourite things to do at Walt Disney World is the tours! I have done quite a few now, and have a few more booked for my next visit. I thought I would review some, to help decide if anyone wants to try one.

I experienced the above mentioned tour  (3 years ago now, so may have changed slightly).  I chose this as it was a good price – $30 for 3 hours and also it starts before Magic Kingdom is open!

It starts at 8.15am by the Main Street guest services; you are given an individual ear piece so you can hear the guide. I do think our group was a little too large, and she did mention it was a bit bigger than normal.

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Seeing Main Street mostly empty, and freshly washed down was great! I say mainly as so many other tours were there! So our group went to Liberty Square to start the tour, there wasn’t even any background music, and there was no other person in sight!

 

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Our tour guide Julie, was a really nice girl from Chicago who genuinely loved Disney and Walt, and the Magic Kingdom.

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Once we had the beginning speech we all headed to the Haunted Mansion, Julie discussing the new additions to the queue. We then all rode Haunted Mansion, Julie continuing to give up facts throughout the ride. Those headsets have a decent range! She sat in the middle of the group on her own doom buggy, and people before and after her could still hear her talking.

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After we went to the new Tangled toilets, where she pointed out some hidden Pascals, I think she said there was 12 in that area. Also it was a restroom and 10 minute break.

We then moved on to some behind the scenes magic at Haunted Mansion, this was unexpected and my favourite part of the tour! (no photos!). We all then walked to Cinderella’s Castle where we were informed about the mosaic and the artists.

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After this discussion, we walked round to Winnie the Pooh, we all got straight to the front of the queue, some clues was discussed before the ride as our headsets wouldn’t work whilst on the ride. After there was some talking too – did we spot Mr Toad handing over to Pooh?

We then walked through Tomorrowland to all ride Carousel of Progress, we had the whole theatre to ourselves for our group. Throughout the show, Julie gave us facts and pointed out hidden Mickeys.

After the show was a quick question and answering, and the tour was done!

We were then free to explore ourselves. It lasted a little shorter than advertised, about 2 and half hours, and I honestly thought the whole tour was going to take part on Main Street and be about the names in the windows and inspiration from Missouri! Overall, the tour was a nice length and I did enjoy it, and would recommend.