Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Disney Bound

So our Everything Disney road trip has begun. In 22 hours we should be at The House of Mouse (also known as Disney World). If you’re on twitter you can follow along using the hashtag #EverythingDisney.

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Things my Kids Want to do at Disney World

Not that I’m too obsessed about my distant trip to Disney World (it’s four months away) but my contribution to Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday list Is Disney focused, again.

Last week I listed 10 things I have yet to do at Disney but plan on doing this coming trip. But what I want to do might be, okay will be, very different from what is on my kids list I’m sure. So I thought I’d ask the kids and below is the Top 10 things on their Disney list (in no particular order).

  1. Tower of Terror. This is my 8-year-old’s favorite ride. If she could only ride one ride, Tower of Terror would be it. My daughter doesn’t just ride this ride; she’s the one sitting in the front with her arms high in the air (while I have a white knuckle grip on the seat).
  2. Indiana Stunt Show. My 5-year-old son loves adventure; he thinks he’s Indiana Jones reincarnated. It doesn’t matter how many times he watches this show, each time he stares wide-eyed in awe. I think he secretly hopes to be picked as one of the volunteer extras.
  3. Dinner with Cinderella. My 3-year-old is still very much into princesses so what could be better than having dinner with Cinderella herself.
  4. The Enchanted Tiki Room. I blame this on the family; we love tikis (did you see our display in our second bathroom). So it comes as no surprise that all 3 of my kids enjoy The Tiki Room.
  5. Winnie the Pooh Honey Pots. My 3-year-old loves this ride ‘It’s like riding in Winnie the Pooh’s nightmare‘. Okay, that doesn’t really sound fun but this is still one of her favourite rides.
  6. Test Track. My adventurous 5-year-old would wait in line for 2-hours (and he has) just to ride this. His favourite part of course is the final super speed ring at the end. Even when it’s raining and the rain drops sting your face as you whip by them isn’t enough to deter him from going on this ride.
  7. Toy Story Mania. The first time we went on this ride was on our visit to Disneyland in California so we’re all looking forward to riding this one in Disney World. My husband has already said he plans to run to the FastPass booth as soon as we walk into the gate in order to get on. The last trip to Disney World we went to pick-up FastPasses but the return time was 9:30 p.m. (based on grabbing passes at 10 a.m.). We have since bought the Wii game version but it will never replace going on the ride.
  8. Popcorn. Every time we enter one of Disney World‘s theme parks, usually Magic Kingdom, the first thing my 8-year-old asks for is popcorn, from one of those vendor carts. Yah, I know it’s not special popcorn (though sometimes you can get it in special boxes) but that doesn’t deter my daughter. Having popcorn when she enters the park is now a tradition for her.
  9. Haunted Mansion. I remember the first time we went on this ride, the kids were terrified, not knowing what to expect. But as soon as the ride ended they wanted to go back on again and again. The kids love to ride in a car by themselves and scare each other. The ride isn’t more fun than scary but they’re hooked. The ride moves quickly and sometimes you will find very little line which usually means we end up riding it 3 or 4 times in a row. Of course my favourite version of Haunted Mansion is the Nightmare Before Christmas treatment they do in Disneyland (I had a chance to see it for my birthday last year).
  10. Space Mountain. As soon as my 8-year-old was big enough to ride the roller coasters, Space Mountain was her first pick and what a pick. She loves riding in the very first car and screams her head of in complete excitement (remember, she rides the Tower of Terror hands free).

I’m sure there are more things my kids could add to their list but if limited to just 10 things, these would be them.

What are your favourite things to do at Disney World?

Disney Princesses on Ice

We had the chance to attend the Toronto showing of Disney on Ice: Princess Classics earlier this week as special guests of Mom Central Canada. My youngest daughter was thrilled. She insisted on dressing appropriately for the event.

Ready to greet the Princesses

The show is running in the Roger’s Center in downtown Toronto. If you’ve been in the Roger’s Center you know it’s huge, but they set-up the stage in half the area and kept the seating close. We had great seats near the front, but the view was great from any of the available seats.

The costumes were spectacular and most of the princess stories you’re familiar with were part of the show (not the new Princess and the Frog though). Placed in two acts, the first act covered a main, familar scene from the story of Aladin, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Mulan and Little Mermaid. I should point out that only one scene was shown and they all ended without the prince discovering the princess. I mention that because my seveon-year old noticed it and made mention of it at the end of each scene, a little disappointed. But the prince eventually does find the princess in each story and how it’s done is wonderful.

The second act is all about Cinderella, a quick retelling of the main scenes. You’ll find yourself humming and singing along with all the familiar music.

This video was taken with the compact Flip Mini HD

The performers do an amaing job involving the audience too, by talking to them, interacting with them, performing right in front of them on various parts of the ice. The use of smoke and indoor sparklers also add to the magical feel of the show.

The Disney on Ice: Princess Classics is running until December 27, 2009. And if you use the special Mom Central Canada code (MMC) you may still be able to get tickets for $11 each when you buy four or more tickets (Monday to Friday, excluding Friday evenings) or $4 off all weekend shows. *

To take advantage of this deal, visit TicketMaster.ca and enter the promotional code MCC.

Watching Disney on Ice: Princess Classics was a great way to kick off our Christmas vacation. Even my five-year old son who didn’t want anything to do with Princesses, really enjoyed himsel. His favourite of course was Mulan.

* Not valid for rink side or VIP seating. Cannot be combined with other offers. Service charge and handling fees will apply.

Mickey’s Very Merry Rainy Christmas Party

So we arrived on a rainy Friday afternoon to Disney. Our plan was to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that night. This was great since we didn’t plan to go to the park that night; we’d now have some extra time in Magic Kingdom. 

Of course it didn’t help that the plane was an hour late arriving so by the time we arrived at the hotel we had to head out to Magic Kingdom. My two youngest were tired from the travels and with their colds we thought it best not to take them out to the park in the rain. 

So it was my seven-year old and myself. It wasn’t that busy but I think the rain kept most people away. It rained off and on all night. Mickey’s ‘Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade’ runs twice during the night so we decided to wait for the second show and hit the park. We shopped for pins and holiday hats. We also grabbed our FREE cookies, apple slices, hot cocoa and apple juice. There were a number of fun activities for kids throughout the park like signing a Christmas card for Santa, pretending to walk the plank, bowling and more. At one point the rain stopped and I actually packed the rain ponchos in my bag. But as we rode Thunder Run roller coaster the rain came back. And a light shower feels pretty sharp when it hits you whizzing around on a coaster. 

A little rain doesn't stop my daughter

Signing a Christmas Card for Santa

One of the many marked snack stops in the park

Enjoying unlimited cocoa and cookies

We were starting to get pretty wet at this point (it’s a good thing the other two kids didn’t come out). My daughter wanted to go but I convinced her to hang out a little longer to catch the ‘Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’ fireworks show. She was glad we stayed; it was pretty spectacular. We hoped to catch the second showing of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, but they decided to cancel it due to rain. I should point out this was the one moment when it actually wasn’t raining. 

Waiting in the rain for the fireworks to start

Fireworks...

...fireworks...

...fireworks...

...fireworks...

...and more fireworks

It was cold and wet so we didin’t get to enjoy the party as much as I hoped but my daughter and I still had a great time. Hopefully we’ll be able to attend sometime in the future when the weather isn’t so disappointing.

I love Disneyland but…

You may be aware that I made a trip to Disneyland this past Halloween in celebration of my birthday. I’ve been to Disney World a few times but this would be my first time to Disneyland, where it all began. It was kind of exciting.

I had a great time but Disneyland isn’t the same as Disney World and I’m not just talking weather or size. In my opinion, the only connection Disneyland has to Disney is the name. The things I love about Disney World weren’t part of my Disneyland experience or at least they weren’t that obvious:

**** Photo Pass ****

At Disney World there are PhotoPass photographers throughout the park, at all parks. They take pictures of you at key locations and save them on your PhotoPass card which you can order from later. They’re usually super kind enough to take pictures of you with your own camera too. We’ve never really taken advantage of the PhotoPass photographers but on this trip, probably my only trip to Disneyland, I had decided to get photos at every spot I could and order a CD with all the pictures. As the family photographer in our house I’m not in many family vacation shots, so having a collection of pictures of my family AND me would have been great.

Problem of course, the PhotoPass photographers were nowhere to be found (I think we had one picture taken). Even during the special Mickey’s Not So Scary  Halloween Trick or Treat party they weren’t there. So needless to say I have very few family shots from this trip.

trading

Shhh...pin negotiating in progress

**** Pin Trading ****

Our kids were first introduced to pin trading during out last trip to Disney World and they loved it, especially my seven-year old daughter. All three of my kids have pin trading books at home and they plan which sets they want to collect and have an amazing time trading with the staff.

In Disney World you can’t pass a staff person without a sash of pins up for trading; even those cleaning up in the stores have these on. In Disneyland we were hard pressed to find anyone with pins to trade. On our Disney World trip the kids went through almost 100 pins in one week; in Disneyland we were lucky to have traded 10 pins. A bit of a disappointment.

cinder3

Then she met the real Cinderella

**** Costumed Characters ****

My youngest was so excited about going to Disneyland. On the plane ride there (two planes actually) all she talked about was seeing Mickey and Cinderella and the other characters. In Disney World there are designated areas to see certain characters, but walking around the parks we would see Captain Hook or  Buzz Lightyear or Chip and Dale walking around, waiting to greet people. Our whole trip we saw Goofy and Minnie Mouse and that was it (though there were more characters at the Halloween Party).

**** For the little Princesses/Princes ****

My first trip to Disney World, years ago, the first thing that struck me was how much the people in the parks focused on the kids. They talked to them. They called them princess and prince. The kids are the focus and parents second, which is what I want for a trip to Disney. This has stuck with me and is one of my favourite things about Disney World; something that I thought was  a Disney trait. But in Disneyland this isn’t the case. Sadly I didn’t feel a lot of Disney magic in the park.

I think my husband said it best:  Disney World is a destination. Disneyland is only a theme park.

And I think he’s right. Visiting Disneyland was just like visiting Wonderland or Six Flags but with the Disney name attached.

The big advantage to Disneyland is it’s size; it’s much smaller and easier to get around and to the other parks. Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney all branch off from a central courtyard so it’s easy to hit all three without taking a bus (not true in Disney World). And there are some differences in the rides too. Haunted Mansion has the Nightmare Before Christmas theme and it was amazing. It’s worth the trip to Disneyland just to see that. Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean were different (and I actually preferred the Disneyland versions), plus there are all new rides.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time, but I expected a little more from Disney; Disney World has set the bar high. If given the choice of travelling to Disney World or Disneyland, Disney World would be my choice hands down. And good thing because we’re back there in December for the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I can’t wait!