Friday, June 28, 2013

More on MyMagic+

WDWMagic.com has this story about how the new MyMagic+ system will work.  The system is planned to go into operation later this year.

Here's a sampling of the extensive list of rules...

  • You will be able to make FASTPASS+ reservations 60 days out from arrival, plus 10 days, similar to resort reservation dining.
  • The guest will select the park and the three preferred experiences. The system will then return up to 4 groups of availability from which to pick - early, mid day, late, or all day.
  • Grouping of guests allows one My Disney Experience user to copy the details to others traveling in that party with same FASTPASS+ reservations.
  • FASTPASS+ allows one park per day.
  • Check out this link at LaughingPlace.com for some reaction to this.

    Random WDW Picture

    Citizens of Main Street, USA.

    Zz.

    Where In Walt Disney World?

    This time it is a bit different. Rather than asking where in Walt Disney World this is, I'll ask where in Walt Disney World this shot was taken from! :)

    Zz.

    Saturday, June 22, 2013

    Random WDW Picture

    Hello Pooh!

    Zz.

    Monsters University

    Went to see "Monsters University" last night. It was a rip-roaringly good time, with a few predictable storyline.

    The movie tells us a story of how Mike and Sully met and became buddies, and how they ended up working at the scream factory. There were a couple of times in the movie that the scenes at Monsters University campus and the Scare Games kept reminding me of Hogwarts and the various contests from Harry Potter.

    Inevitably, the comparison is with the first movie, "Monsters, Inc." It isn't as good as that first one, which had a rather original storyline. As a "prequel", it, of course, suffers from a higher expectation than the first. But I still give the movie a strong recommendation simply based on the entertainment and chuckle values.

    And make sure you do not leave the theater at the credits, or you'll miss one of the funniest scene at the very end.

    And don't miss the short movie "The Blue Umbrella" before the main feature. It was a very clever take on the "boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl-boy-gets-girl-at-the-end" story.

    Zz.

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    Enchanted Tiki Room 50th anniversary

    This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. This post at Disney Parks Blog talks about the attraction and has some early photos of Walt with the singing birds.
    When Walt Disney debuted his Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland park in 1963, it was a major milestone in the development of Audio-Animatronic technology. Some time earlier, Walt discovered a 19th century mechanical singing bird in a New Orleans shop while traveling on vacation. He began to think about animation, not just as a film medium, but as a way to bring characters to life at the Disneyland Resort.

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Magic Kingdom better than the rest

    The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney is admitting that Magic Kingdom is better than the other parks at WDW.
    But Disney has admitted that it has a favorite child. It's all out in the open now that the company began this month charging a $5 premium on single-day Magic Kingdom tickets.
    Now it costs $95 to get into the Magic Kingdom ... make that $101 with tax.
    Attendance figures show that the Magic Kingdom drew about 50% more visitors that EPCOT in 2012, with the other two parks falling a little less than EPCOT.
    Disney is not only pricing the Magic Kingdom higher than its other three parks for the first time, it also broke the triple-digit threshold — the theme park equivalent of the sound barrier.

    Robert Downey Jr. Signs On For "Avengers 2" and "Avengers 3"

    After months of speculation and negotiation, Disney has a firm commitment from Robert Downey Jr. for the next 2 Avengers movies.

    Marvel announced the news on their website Thursday.

    Downey Jr.’s deal, negotiated by CAA, comes on the heels of “Iron Man 3′s” boffo performance at the worldwide box office. The 3D blockbuster is already the fifth highest-grossing movie of all-time with a giant $1.2 billion.

    “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon recently said in an interview that he had no intention of making a sequel without Downey Jr.
    Looks like all the main characters for the movie are on board.

    Zz.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Main Street Bakery, Featuring Starbucks

    The renovation of the Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom has been completed. It is now opened, and it features Starbucks coffee and a few of their products.


    Personally, I think this isn't as intrusive as a lot of people seem to make it out to be. There are no big Starbucks signs, and the decor is almost in keeping with the theme of Main Street. Plus, I can finally have a decent coffee, instead of those instant Nescafe crap.

    Zz.

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    Hidden Mickey At Home

    I swear that this wasn't pre-arranged to look this way.

    I have a fruit basket that I fill with navel oranges, since I like to peel and eat one every day. I came into the kitchen this morning to make some hot cocoa. While waiting for it to be ready, I walked over to the fruit basket to get an orange. I stopped in my tracks when I saw this:


    Maybe it is a sign from the Disney gods. Maybe it is a symbol from beyond. Maybe my house is haunted by Disney poltergeist.

    Oh, who cares! I'll eat one of the oranges and be done with it!

    :)

    Zz.

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Goodbye to daily trips to WDW

    Author sjhym333 has this post at Laughingplace.com explaining why he/she will no longer be going to WDW every day.

    So for the first time in 33 years I no longer have daily access to WDW. First as a CM and then as a Premium AP Holder I have been able to hop in the car, drive 30 minutes and be at one of the Disney theme parks. But no more. There are lots of reasons for this, but mostly it was the loss of value for me and then the most recent price increase was enough to make me bow out.
     So in honor of this day I thought I would my top 5 best and worst things that I have seen at WDW  for 33 years. I know lots of you will agree and disagree. This is obviously subjective.
    Among the worst things are the dining plan and Fastpass system.  The best things include Animal Kingdom and Soarin.

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Where in WDW is this?

    This photo was taken somewhere in WDW.  See if you can tell where.  Hint: you don't always see everything that is in this picture.


    More Hints On New Star Wars Movie

    J.J. Abrams gave more hints on the direction of the upcoming Star Wars movie that he has been slated to direct.

    "It is so massive and so important to people," he said. "I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before." The Bad Robot head also declined to comment on a question concerning the many Star Wars novels' relation to the upcoming film, which will be scripted by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt.

    This certainly is consistent with the rumors that Carrie Fischer, Mark Hamil, and Harrison Ford might reprise their roles in the upcoming movie. One can only hope!

    Zz.

    The Wanyama Safari

    During our last trip to WDW (April/May 2013), we were able to take the Wanyama Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you don't know about this, the safari is offered to guests staying at the resort. Seating is very limited, so you will definitely have to book it early. And the price of the safari includes not only a tour of the Animal Kingdom Lodge savannah, but also a 4-course family-style meal at Jiko.

    So this is a report on the Wanyama Safari that we took.

    The safari was to start at 4:00 pm. We were told to check in a few minutes early (3:40 pm) at Jiko. They seated us at one of the large dining table, and offered us finger food and a nice cup of Rooibos tea.

    It was a pleasant start because we got to meet with other members of the tour and got to know a bit about everyone. From the beginning, I knew it would be a great group of people because the conversation among all of us was just flowing smoothly. This is a picture of our group.

    At around 4:00 pm, we were escorted to the front of the lobby of Jambo House where we found our ride vehicle.

    We were given opportunity to snap a photo next to the ride vehicle by a photopass photographer. The photopass photos were complimentary and part of the safari.

    Soon we were off on our safari. We had a wonderful guide, who works closely with the animals at the AKL's savannah. So she was full of a lot of information about the animals, about taking care of the animals, even info about the Kilimanjaro Safari at DAK. In the photos below, we had just left the parking lot of AKL and making our way to the savannah backstage area.

    We reached our first gate. The savannah are all double-fenced. Since these animals are not native to the area, they have to make sure they do not escape, and so, throughout the safari, we continue to drive through several double-fenced area and gates as we made our way from one savannah to another.

    Here we got to see a few animals backstage that are being taken care of and not released out into the savannah for one reason or another.

    Even though we were now backstage, we were still not on the savannah area yet. We drove inside the outer fence, but still outside the inner fence that has the savannah and the resort itself.

    As you can see, if we looked to our right, we can start seeing the villas at Kidani Village inside the fence.

    This was where things started to get exciting, because we finally reached the gates into the savannah itself. Our poor driver or the tour guide had to do this all afternoon long where they had to get out of the vehicle and unlocked the gates in front of us and locked the gates behind us.

    We were almost in, but we had to pass through one more gate that was being guarded by this feathery guard.

    We are finally on the savannah. This is the one that surrounded Kidani Village and also covers a part of Jambo House. Once in, immediately to our left, we saw several giraffes having their own afternoon snacks.

    The next few pictures are scenes from the Kidani Village savannah.

    Soon it was time to leave the Kidani Village savannah and move on to the Jambo House savannah. We had to go through another set of gates. As we approached this one, I noticed a head sticking above the gates, obviously check us out. It was utterly cute!

    And there he was! He was certainly very curious about us.

    After we got in, one of us got to ring the bell on the truck, and that somehow called out to a couple of warthogs to run towards us. Again, this was another very cute moment, and definitely a Kodak moment.

    The next few photos are scenes from the Jambo House savannah. Several times during the safari, our vehicles stopped while we got closer looks at various things and animals, and certainly we spent a lot of time receiving info from our tour guides. As you can see in a few of these photos, we got very, very close to these animals.

    We stayed at Jambo House with savannah view. This is the wing of the building where our room was located, on the 5th floor.

    So this part of the savannah was what we could see from our room.

    Much too soon, the safari was over, even though we were on it for about 90 minutes. We exit the final set of gates.

    We were brought back to Jambo House where we were escorted to Jiko. They sat us in the middle of the still-mostly empty restaurant at a large communal table. I love Jiko and the decor, especially this decor representing migrating birds.

    Donald was very excited about the upcoming dinner.

    We took a look at the family style menu and also the wine pairings for each course.

    The chef appeared at the beginning, explaining to everyone the menu and checking to see if anyone had any dietary restrictions. She came over at the start of each course to describe the food and the wine pairings.

    We started off with assorted flat breads and dips.

    We then moved on to the appetizers, which consisted of various rolls and filled pastries. All delicious and Donald approved it.

    We then got to the main course. It consisted of grilled filet mignon, roasted chicken, and fish.

    I got a good plate full, and Donald nibbled a bit.

    The final course was dessert, and it was yummy.

    When dinner was over, each one of us was given a gift bag.

    Here was the content of the bag.

    We had a terrific time. It was a wonderful safari, excellent meal, and terrific company.

    And as a bonus, here is a panoramic view of part of the savannah from our room.

    And here is a video I edited of the safari:



    I certainly would consider doing this again next time I stay at AKL. It was well worth the money.

    Zz.