May 03

Contemporary Resort

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imageDisney’s Contemporary Resort is one of Disney’s Deluxe resorts located adjacent to the Magic Kingdom and it is one of the two original hotels on the property that opened with the MK park.  The resort’s ultra-modern A-frame design allows the Walt Disney World Monorail System to pass through it and provide it’s guests the convenience of transportation to the Magic Kingdom or, with one quick train change, to Epcot.  It is also so close to the Magic Kingdom that guests can get there with a brief 10 minute walk.

The rooms at the Contemporary Resort offers great views of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon from the west side, which is also a fantastic place to view the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks display, Wishes, every night.  Guest staying on the east side of the resort are given beautiful views of Bay Lake.  If you are staying on the west side of the building, it is a good idea to request rooms on Floors 8 and up to get optimal viewing of the Magic Kingdom.  As as Disney freak, I have only two words in response to waking up and stepping out on the balcony with a cup of coffee in hand and taking in the view of Cinderella’s Castle….YES, PLEASE!  What a way to start your Disney day – I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

imageThe 14-story Grand Canyon concourse is where you will find guest services, shops, dining and the monorail station and the atrium is adorned with a 90-foot high mural designed by Disney Legend Mary Blair that depicts American Indian children and is also responsible for the look and feel of “it’s a small world”.   It is quite an impressive sight to behold as you enter the building from the monorail level….again goosebumps!

This resort boasts wonderful dining options to it’s guests and visitors alike.  If it is signature dining you are looking for, look no further than The California Grill for fabulous american cuisine with a pacific focus and a window to the world.  Time your reservations just right and you might just have the best seat in the house for Wishes fireworks.   It’s quite spectacular but keep in mind that there IS a dress code.   Chef Mickey’s is the place to be for character dining.   Enjoy the breakfast or dinner buffet with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy – a definite fan favorite.image

The resort has a lot of amenities to satisfy every age group.  Not only can you lounge around one of the 2 heated pools that overlook Bay Lake, but you can also take in some water sports such as tubing, water-skiing, parasailing, fishing and rent personal water crafts just steps away from you room.  Parents can enjoy some downtime and refreshing libations poolside at the Sand Bar and kids also enjoy the evening beachside campfires and the Game Station Arcade.

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Did you know that the rooms for the Contemporary were prefabricated off site and hoisted with a crane into place within the A-frame structure?

Here’s another interesting tidbit  – In November, 1973, Richard Nixon delivered his “I am not a Crook” speech from one of the ballroom located at the Contemporary.

May 02

Disney Planning – Length of Stay

Another question in everyone’s mind when doing their Disney planning is what is their length of stay going to be.  I am a frequent Disney flyer and I always book a week long stay on the Disney property, mainly because I live 10 hours away and always try to maximize my trip.  Really, if I had my way about it, and my child had longer breaks at school, I would stay in excess of 2 weeks.

imagesHow long you stay should depend upon the trip you are taking. If it is your first visit and you have the luxury of time, a minimum of 6 or 7 days should be considered to see most of what Disney has to offer.  You can never see it all in just a week but that will just mean a return trip for you.

The Disney World Resort has 4 theme parks each of which should have a dedicated day to each.  During peak visitor season, some of the parks can take 2 days to completely see everything.  I personally always set aside 2 days for Epcot because it is so large and you will want to take your time to explore Future World and each of the countries.  We usually allow 2 days for the Magic Kingdom as well but that’s really because we just want to ride Big Thunder, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain over and over….and over again.  Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be seen in one day as well as Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

As an experienced Disney girl, I always buy 5 or 6 day park hopper passes for a week long stay.  This not only gives us plenty of time to do all 4 parks plus one extra day to pick a park to do again.  Having Park Hopper passes allows you to hop from park to park but I don’t recommend hopping parks just to ride specific rides because you could lose up to 2 hours transporting between parks during the peak seasons.  I find the hoppers to be beneficial when you are in one park and it closes early and another park is open much later….like you are in Animal Kingdom and it closes at 6:00 and the Magic Kingdom doesn’t close until midnight.

So now that you know how long to stay, next you will want to figure out where you are going to stay.

May 01

Pop Century Resort

imagesLooking to stay on the property with a budget in mind?  Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of the “value priced” resorts located in the heart of all the magic.  Starting at $100 per night (prices change seasonally), these rooms afford all the comforts and the conveniences of staying on the property like the Disney Transportation, Magical Express and merchandise delivery to your room.  This resort offers two types of rooms – either standard or preferred both with views of the pool or views of the hotel.

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The theme of this resort is based around 20th century Pop culture and features 10 four-story, motel-style buildings decorated with larger than life icons that represent the decades of the past – the 50’s through 90’s.

In the 50’s area you will see an oversized jukebox, 45 rpm records, a transistor radio, giant bowling pin staircases and a 144,352 gallon pool also shaped like a bowling pin with Lady and the Tramp statues overseeing kids playing in the pool.

imageIn the 60’s area you will enjoy giant hippie power flowers, a massive can of play-doh, staircases that are giant yo-yos, statutes of Baloo and Mowgli and peace symbols galore.  Take a dip in the 1960’s Hippy Dippy Pool with it’s flower power water jets.  Groovy baby!

imageVenture into the 70’s to climb the staircases made of 8-track cassette tapes, a giant foosball game with a Mickey phone in the center, and if you’re really feeling funky, feel free to do some disco dancing.  Don’t miss the giant Big Wheel – how can you since it is 4 stories high!

When you are in the 80’s area, you will find a giant Rubik’s cube staircase, a giant walk-man and Michael Jackson – just a few of the iconic items from that decade.  And don’t forget Pac-Man, everyone’s favorite dot-munching, ghost-running video game and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.   There is even a Roger Rabbit statute.  image

The 90’s computer and digital age is depicted in it’s oversized cellphone staircases, a giant laptop, and oversized floppy disks and keyboards.  How can one forget the rollerblade craze?  Wonder what size those giant rollerblades really are?   Do a little hip hop dance around the 1990’s style computer pool, the third pool at this resort.

With 2,880 rooms, the 3 large themed swimming pools and one central area, named “Classic Hall”, that houses the front desk, gift shop, arcade and the food court offering several options, there is always something to please everyone.

Tired of the crowds in the parks?  Let the kids play at the 60’s based playground  or see the stars under the stars – complimentary movies are shown poolside.  Check with the front desk for viewing times.

Tip:  This is the only place on the whole Disney Resort to get a piece of tie-dyed cheesecake….  it’s to dye for!   

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Apr 30

Star Wars Weekends 2014

studios6The Star Wars Weekends 2014 extravaganza returns this summer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Every weekend from May 16th through June 15th, guests can immerse themselves in a galaxy far, far away with a full line up of celebrity guests, character interactions, Jedi training academy and limited edition merchandise.

Here is a full list of celebrity guests:


Weekend I – May 16-18

  • Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca
  • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla

Weekend II – May 23-25

  • Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett  and Capt. Jeremoch Colton
  • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren

Weekend III: May 30-June 1

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul
  • John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger

Weekend IV: June 6-8

  • Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul
  • Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger

Weekend V: June 13-15

  • Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones and Bossk
  • Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala
  • Tom Kane: Yoda
  • Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

The fifth Weekend will be also be a reunion for the cast of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  With five weekends full of interstellar entertainment, guest will definitely feel the force.  For all those who attend, May the Force Be With You.

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Apr 29

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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This here’s the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!  Legend has it that that gold was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain in the town of Tumbleweed in the late 1800’s. Mining was prosperous and a line of mine trains were in place to transport their newfound fortune.  Unbeknownst to the settlers, the mine was sacred ground to local Native Americans and was cursed.  When a flash flood came upon the town the town was abandoned leaving Big Thunder Mountain a ghost town.  Locomotives were found to be racing around the mountain on their own without engineers and tourists were drawn to the ghost town to take rides on the possessed trains.

440px-Big_Thunder_Mountain_Entrance_Sign_at_Magic_KingdomBig Thunder Mountain Railroad is a speedy roller coaster that offers fun for the whole family.  This thrill ride offers small drops and fast turns as you rip through the caverns and the abandoned mine company in the haunted runaway train.  As riders leave the station, the train immediately enters a dark tunnel and embarks on it’s first climb as bats hang overhead.  Once the train reaches the top, the adventure begins as the train passes over two hops and severals exciting turns and drops.

imagesRiders pass by Professors Cumulus Isobar’s rainmaking machine that went wild causing flash floods and eventually making Tumbleweed a ghost town.  After the train passes through Tumbleweed, riders pass through a tunnel called Dave V. Jones mine as the train where a mysterious earthquake creates huge boulders threatening the safety of the train then passing through a boneyard and geysers as the train slows for its return back to the station.

This is our absolute FAVORITE ride.  I’ve been riding it since it opened in 1980.  Our tradition – it’s Unknownour first ride AND our last ride.  Any experienced rider knows that where you sit on Big Thunder makes all the difference.  Ask a castmember if you can sit in the back part of the train to get the wildest ride.  The last row is always the best!

If you are seeking Hidden Mickeys, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the location for one of the classics.  You will have to look quickly, but as your runaway train ride run comes to an end and nears the loading/unloading area look to your right and you will find one large gear and two smaller gears on the ground that create the classic Hidden Mickey.

Snow White’s Ranking:  


Interest:  Kids, tweens, teens, and adults

Height Requirements: 40 in. or taller

Accessibility:  Guests must transfer from Wheelchair/ECV

Thrill Level:  Small drops, fast curves  Speeds reach maximum of 30 mph

FASTPASS+ is offered

Location:  Frontierland