Tag Archives: Expedition Everest
Walt Disney World is one of those vacation spots we feel like we can visit again and again. Not everyone understands that, of course, and we Disney addicts get questions along the lines of “But weren’t you just there?” all the time. What those people fail to understand, and what we Disney addicts love so much, is how different the Disney parks are from other theme parks. Sure Disney has great rides and shows, there is something for everyone, from Expedition Everest to It’s A Small World, but the parks offer a lot beyond the attractions. This fall our family is headed to Walt Disney World for an 8-day trip, our longest in quite a while. Our son will be almost 13 and a Disney veteran. We are of course looking forward to all our favorite attractions, but this year and on future trips we will take the time to explore the parks a little deeper. Here are our Top 5 Ideas For Going Beyond the Attractions.
Imagineering –There are tons of books about Disney Imagineering. I’m working my way through the four Imagineering Field Guides, one for each park, and can’t wait to try to spot all the little details these books point out. The Disney parks were built to be immersive experiences and to tell stories. The imagineering team takes a lot of tricks from cinema to pull this off, such as using forced perspective (building the top of a structure smaller in scale than the bottom) to make structures seem taller than they actually are. They designed the transition areas between the “lands” of the Magic Kingdom to be smooth and not jarring to visitors. They use landscaping and architecture and art and technology in subtle ways to make the guests at Disney parks feel like they are inside another world. These things are meant to be unobtrusive, but we are planning to seek them out and learn a little about what makes the magic work
Hidden Mickeys — These are perhaps the worst kept “secret” in Disney world. There are books and web sites devoted to the search for these sets of three circles resembling in various degrees the familiar head and ears of Mickey Mouse. They can be found all over the place, from the attractions to the restaurants to the resorts. Most are intentional and some are coincidence, but the search is fun either way.
Disney Benchmarks — Surveyors and architects use certain fixed points of reference to help in their design and construction work. Many times, these are brass disks a few inches in diameter set in sidewalks and walls. Disney’s designers use these benchmarks as well, but in true Disney style, theirs are just a bit cooler. There are benchmark disks all throughout the Disney property featuring a stylized globe with Mickey ears and the words “Walt Disney World Survey Marker.” Finding these little disks is tricky as they tend to be in seemingly random places and crowds are usually walking right over them, but there are a few websites that can help. Patty Winter’s Disney Benchmark Pages offers either a latitude and longitude for the benchmarks she and her readers have discovered, or sometimes just a general description of the location. We plan to bring our handheld GPS unit loaded with the coordinates, but most smart phones have a working GPS feature which will make hunting these benchmarks much easier. And we hope to find some not on the page so we can add to the list.
Funky Photography — Everyone gets the obligatory shot of the family at the end of Main Street in front of the Cinderella Castle, right? But the Disney parks offer so much more to even the most amateur photographer if you look hard. Disney is all about detail, the names of imagineers and others on the windows of shops on Main Street and the funny tombstones in the Haunted Mansion queue are just a couple ideas. There’s a lot to see and to photograph in about all the queues for Disney attractions, actually. How about the topiary, or the flowers or the fountains? Looking around you with a careful eye instead of rushing from one ride to the next can be a lot of fun, and who knows, you could end up with some new artwork for the living room to remind you of your trip.
Behind The Scenes Tours — Sure it’s fun to research the hidden side of Disney and then go look for it yourself, but for a true look at what goes on “behind the curtain” you’ll want to try one of Disney’s behind the scenes tours. Disney offers a wide range of tour experiences, allowing you to do everything from get a glimpse into the utilidors under the Magic Kingdom to swim in the dolphin tank at Living Seas. There’s a tour that explores the steam trains, one that focuses on the gardens, one that takes you across a rope bridge over crocodiles and one that takes you behind the scenes at all four theme parks in one day. Some of these tours require park admission and some don’t. Some have age requirements as well. We are looking forward to the big behind the scenes tour ourselves, but need to wait a few years as guests must be at least 16 to participate and our son is only 12.
- Runners to Race Around the “High Banks” and “Bases” As Part of 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Course (chipandco.com)
- City Elite Double rental stroller vs Walt Disney World stroller review (tipsfromthedisneydiva.com)
There is just something about Disney World! Business people become bear hugging, camera toting, firework loving, Disney guests. As a smile forces its way onto the straight face of a serious adult, the magic begins! Today I am giving you permission to embrace Disney World for what it is! In fact in this post, I’m reading you your “Disney as an adult” rights. Take a moment to soak in these rights and apply them to your Disney trip.
Right #1: You have the right to dance in the street!
What better place is there to dance in the street than Disney World? With interactive street shows like Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it! and Disney Channel Rocks!, you are guaranteed to find a way to let loose and dance in the streets.
Quick tip – Hit up club 626 at the Magic Kingdom. This is a character filled spot made just for dancing like nobody is watching. Nestled in Tomorrowland between Space Mountain and The Carousel of Progress, this spot often features dancing characters and a DJ to help get the party started! This party doesn’t happen every day so check your Times Guide (or app if you are tech savy).
Right #2: You have the right to take pictures with characters!
This might seem like common sense. At any rate, I am stating this as a right to every adult. You absolutely do have the right to take as many photos as you want. It is totally cool for you to geek out over characters. Take it from me, an adult who talks with college aged girls dressed as princesses, as if they are real, true, royalty. No lie! Next time you get the urge, get out your camera and ham it up with your favorite character!
Quick tip – There are a lot of spots where you can ensure tons of characters. My favorite is the Character Spot in Epcot. Mickey and his gang hang out in this photo opp dream come true! You can bring your own camera or have a Disney photographer snap shots of you to put on your Photo Pass card. Hey, and even on a crowded day this wait isn’t too bad and on the plus side…the wait is air conditioned.
Right #3: You have the right to eat ice cream every day!
In Disney, there are no such things as calories. Okay, that was a small lie. But, I say when you are on vacation at Disney World, you are required to eat as much ice cream as possible. My poison? Totally a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar. But, I would like to add to this right that any and all calories are okay at Disney World. Now, I know this is completely falsified information, but in my defense, I like to think that all that walking creates a balance (girl math). So, while you are there, get an ice cream or sweet treat of your choice EVERY DAY!!!
Quick tip – Ice cream is availible throughout every park at carts. There are many options for “quick” ice cream. As I said earlier, I am a fan of the Mickey’s Premium Bar. The best part is, you can pay with cash or credit and if you are on the dining plan, this counts as a snack!
Right #4: You have the right to wear funny things!
At Disney World, it is perfectly acceptable to wear funny things. Hats with ears, shirts with characters, I even saw these really weird looking Grumpy (as in the dwarf) hat/beard combos on my last trip in March. I say go for the goofy stuff. Just remember, the likelyhood of you seeing someone in the parks in your daily life is slim. I say go for the pirate themed Mickey Ears sir, you have earned them!
Quick tip – Hat’s can be purchased in various gift shops throughout the parks. My favorite (in park) location to buy and personalize those famous ears is found in the Magic Kingdom. The Chapeau is located on Main Street USA and boasts hats to meet your heart’s desire! Plus, you can pick your thread and font to personalize your hat with your name!
Right #5: You have the right to ride what you want!
I am a firm believer that you can ride whatever you want to ride when you are in Disney World. From the scariest of rides like Expedition Everest to rides made for tots like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, there is no ride that is off limits. With the freedom of height requirements behind us, adulthood sometimes makes people think they shouldn’t ride this or sit through that. There are no age limit requirments. You can fly the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, you can spin to your little heart’s content on the tea cups, and yes, you may sit through as many shows of Disney Jr. Live on Stage as you can stomach (good luck). The World is yours, savor it.
Quick tip – some of my favorite rides and attractions are the ones I remember from my childhood. I can’t pass up goofy childhood favorites like The Country Bears Jamboree. If you you have been to Disney World in the past, ride those favorites with no shame. If this is your first trip, remember, everyone is a kid at Disney World and ride on!!!
Do you have another right that you’d like to add to the list? Write it below in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
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If you have been bitten by the Disney bug, then chances are you try to visit Walt Disney World as often as you can. If so, then you probably have some traditions that you must embrace each time you visit to make your trip complete. I have some Animal Kingdom traditions that I would like to share with you, and they just might be some of your traditions too!
5. Walk Through Asia-One of my favorite places at Animal Kingdom is Asia. For me, Disney is at its best in this part of the park in regards to detail, story, and experience! As I make my way towards Expedition Everest, it’s a tradition of mine to study the signs, the ruins and remains of the old village, as well as the construction projects going on and the references to the mythical yeti as I make my way towards Expedition Everest!
4. Tree of Life Picture-No matter how many times I’ve seen it, the Tree of Life never ceases to amaze. Once I walk out of the Oasis, I am awestruck every time; and it’s a tradition for me to snap a picture of the tree no matter how many times I’ve done it before!
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris-This attraction is one of Disney’s greatest attractions of all time and one of its most unique in that it’s actually alive! Not only do you get to see free roaming African wildlife, you also get to experience a taste of African and an African safari! So for a complete Animal Kingdom experience, this attraction is one of my Animal Kingdom traditions!
2. Mickey Premium Bar-Disney regulars would agree that Animal Kingdom seems hotter than other parks; and since there is a lot to see and a lot of ground to cover, one of my traditions in order to keep cool is to snack on a Mickey Premium Bar!
1. Expedition Everest-One of my favorite WDW attractions, this Expedition Everst has two things that I really enjoy in a ride: a great story and great thrills! I even enjoy waiting in Expedition Everest‘s queue which seeminly transports me to a village in Nepal and is chock full of details! Naturally, it’s a tradition for me to throroughly study all I can in this attraction’s line and then enjoy a pulse-pounding ride forwards (and backwards) down the mountain! It’s a must-do during my trips to Animal Kingdom.
Now it’s your turn! I want to hear your own Animal Kingdom traditions so be sure to leave a comment and share them with us!
- My Top 5 Magic Kingdom Traditions (chipandco.com)
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Inspiring kids and families to connect with nature, Disney is sponsoring approximately 120 Central Florida children to attend a special Spring Conservation Day Camp at Walt Disney World Resort.
During their week-long school vacations, students will be introduced to animals from five different continents, learn more about their unique behaviors and exotic habitats and make new friends in a fun and interactive environment.
Highlights include daily animal encounters, field trips to Tri-Circle D Ranch, The Seas with Nemo & Friends and fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where participants may experience Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris, TriceraTop Spin and Expedition Everest.
“With a philanthropic focus on children and conservation, we believe this kind of exposure could spark a life-long passion or even career aspiration for conservation,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “Through this experience, we hope these day campers will feel empowered to become champions for wildlife and nature and affect change to make the world a better place for all of us.”
The students have been selected from two of the area’s largest neighborhood centers including Engelwood Neighborhood Center in Orlando and Oak Street Park Community Center in Kissimmee.
”The Disney Spring Conservation camp is a wonderful gift that offers our youth an opportunity to do something very different during their school vacations,” said Taryn Rukovitz, regional center manager for Engelwood Neighborhood Center. “By going behind the scenes to learn more about animals and conservation, we hope these students will connect with wildlife and nature in a unique and long-lasting way.”
- Disney World Planning – Extra Magic Hours Strageties (chipandco.com)
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So you just stuffed yourself on a scrumptious meal at your favorite Walt Disney World eatery. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you likely enjoyed a four-square meal and beverage of choice, right? What you need is a nap, but what your family wants is a ride!
Do NOT “walk this way” when you are stuffed to the gills:
1) Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith—A tour of G-Force Record Studio is cut short when the band Aerosmith takes off for a show. They take Guests with them, though, in a super stretch limo. Each “car” pumps 32,000 watts of onboard audio through a 125 speaker, 24 sub-woofer sound system and accelerates from a zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds with the force of a supersonic F-14. Three inversions offer a unique view of Los Angeles: upside-down! [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
2) Mission: SPACE—Designed in consultation with 25 NASA experts and five astronauts, Mission Space is a flight training simulator that allows passengers to experience space travel without ever leaving Earth. Green offers a milder ride but still rough on a full tummy. Orange is full throttle, utilizing a multiple-arm centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate speed and 2.4G gravitational forces—more than twice the force of the Earth’s gravitational pull. [Epcot]
3) Mad Tea Party—Climb into one of 18 tea cups set up for The Mad Hatter and the March Hare’s “Unbirthday” party and take a wild, dizzying adventure. Each ride vehicle has a wheel in the center that lets you control the speed of spin. The faster you turn the wheel, the faster you spin. The faster you spin, the faster you may learn what a “protein spill” is. [Magic Kingdom]
4) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—According to legend, the once glamorous Hollywood Hotel hosted stars of the silver screen during Hollywood’s Golden Age until Halloween night 1939, when a violent storm struck the building, whisking 5 unfortunate souls “beyond the fifth dimension.” Guests board the “fright elevator,” which goes up, then down, then maybe up again…or down. Random drops depart the 13th floor and are determined by the Tower itself. [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
5) Star Tours—This recently reimagined attraction features 54 ride sequences, offering motion-simulated 3D journeys aboard a Starspeeder 1000. Each ride is a different experience. You might flash through space at warp speed, zip past trees on the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk, weave through wrong-way traffic on the city-planet Coruscant, slide down treacherous slopes on the snowy planet Hoth, or just hang on for several other thrills before landing and safely delivering the spy to rebel headquarters. [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
6) Space Mountain—This classic Magic Kingdom coaster is an all-time fan favorite. Climb the 180-foot mountain then blast off into deep, dark space through twists and turns and past shooting stars and black holes. Two separate tracks, the Alpha and the Omega, mirror each other as they hurl rocket ships through the cosmos at 28 miles per hour. [Magic Kingdom]
7) Cyber Space Mountain—This virtual roller coaster, custom built by you at Downtown Disney’s Disney Quest, can be as tame or as wild as you wish. Bill Nye the Science Guy directs the computer design. When you’re done, jump in a simulator and ride your creation in full 360° motion—rocking, tilting, rumbling along the “track” you created. [Disney Quest at Downtown Disney]
8) Expedition Everest—Legend of the Forbidden Mountain—The 199-foot “snow”-covered mountain adds a second “wienie” to Animal Kingdom Park. Board a runaway tea train and plunge into dark hairpin turns, careening forward and backward around and through this breathtaking Himalayan Mountain peak in effort to escape the mountain’s guardian Yeti, a phenomenal Audio-animatronic beast standing more than 18 feet tall that, when working, has an arm thrust equivalent to the force of a 747 jumbo jet. [Disney’s Animal Kingdom]
9) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad—The “wildest ride in the wilderness” reaches speeds of 25-30 mph, matching that of the monorail, as it rumbles past gold mining tools on two-and-a-half acres of desert canyons and caverns. Those rough-and-tumble twists and turns can make a full stomach churn. [Magic Kingdom]
10) Dinosaur —Dinosaur! is housed inside the Dino Institute toward the rear of DinoLand, USA. Once you eek past Dino Sue, a 40-foot long, 20-foot high exact replica of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed, proceed through the ride queue, strap into your Time Rover and hang on for a turbulent tour of the Cretaceous era to fetch a dinosaur before it and you become extinct. [Disney’s Animal Kingdom]
You look a little green. Feeling OK? Don’t worry, you’ll have fun, but you might want to take in a show first.