Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

Stuck at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

August 16, 2014
Heidi and Daughter Join LanceAround Family (and # 1 Ember's Adolfo) at MK

Heidi & Daughter Join LanceAround Family (& # 1 Ember’s Adolfo) at MK

[Editor’s Note: Today Heidi Strawser continues her series of posts where she joins the LanceAround family at Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a preview of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. Enjoy!–LanceAround.]

Last month, I shared about our Dream Breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort with the LanceAround family.  This time, I’d like to share about our fun day at the Magic Kingdom . . .

I mentioned that we were each issued some goodies upon leaving the breakfast.  One of those goodies was a ticket to the Magic Kingdom!  So, our group set off for a day of fun (and heat!) in the park.

Over the years, I’ve come to love visiting Walt Disney World with my family.  But, there’s something really special about being able to spend time with friends at the parks.  It’s like a whole new experience!  You get to see the park through your companions’ eyes, which often gives you a whole new perspective on things.

moveItShakeItWe entered the park just in time to experience the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party.  Seeing Minnie & Mickey, along with other friends from Disney and Pixar, all dressed up in their party attire, is a great way to kick off any day! It’s hard to stand still.

From there, we strolled the park, taking in some of our favorite attractions.

In addition to our park ticket, we had also been given a free lunch voucher.  So, after some fun in Tomorrowland, we all decided it was time for some down time and lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. LanceAround and Mrs. LanceAround are vegetarians; two of their sons are vegan.  I decided that, in honor of my non-meat-eating friends, I would try the Vegetable Sandwich.  I have to admit, it was actually quite good.

Chillin at Cosmic Ray's

Chillin’ at Cosmic Ray’s

One somewhat interesting aspect of our day was that we got stuck on SEVERAL rides!  I can see getting stuck on one – it’s happened to us many times over the years (usually on the Haunted Mansion).  But, we got stuck on at least THREE rides that day – Haunted Mansion (of course!), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Our trip through Pirates was definitely the most interesting, as we were stuck for quite some time!  Eventually, a Cast Member came out and announced that the best way for us to “get free” would be for all of us in the boat to rock together from side to side.  Needless to say, that caused quite a bit of laughter.  Eventually, after LOTS of rocking, we did set off again, only to get stuck once more!  I caught a bit of the event on video and, while the quality is too horrible to even show it to you, it makes me laugh every time I see and hear it!

All in all, we had a fabulous day and made some great memories.  Later, I’ll share more specifically about the Festival of Fantasy Parade and our experience with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  I hope you’ll stop back.  In the meantime, feel free to visit my personal blog for more Disney fun!

See You Real Soon!

See You Real Soon!

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A Dream Breakfast at Disney World

July 10, 2014
An Unexpected Day at Disney World

An Unexpected Day at Disney World

[Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post, including photos and video, comes from our friend Heidi of Heidi’s Head. –LanceAround]

Ever since our visit to Disney in 2009 – when we stayed at a Florida Dream Homes – I’ve had a dream . . .

I’ve dreamed of moving to Florida and working for Walt Disney World or for LanceAround & Mrs. LanceAround at Florida Dream Homes. FDH provides vacation rental homes for guests traveling to the Disney World area of Central Florida.

Last week, I got a small taste of what that dream might look like, if it were to become a reality.  And, I have LanceAround & Mrs. LanceAround to thank for that!  (I’m going to be writing a series of posts for the LanceAround blog, sharing our experiences from that day, so I hope you’ll stop back and check out more posts in the weeks to come!)

A few weeks ago, my daughter Ashley and I were in the Central Florida area, working for a homeschool curriculum vendor at the FPEA (homeschool) convention, held at the Gaylord Palms.  I got in touch with LanceAround to see if he might be able to show us some Florida Dream Homes, since we’re planning a big family trip for January.  We were planning to stay an extra day or two in the area anyway.  LanceAround said, “sure,” and told us we’d make definite plans closer to time.

A few days before we were to meet up with LanceAround, he called and asked if we’d be ok with a little change of plans — he’d still show us a few homes, but he wondered if we’d mind if he treated us to a Disney breakfast and maybe some other fun surprises.  Who could say no to that?

LanceAround and Mrs. LanceAround picked us up at the Gaylord Palms and we set out on our day’s adventure.

Sharp Ride!

Sweet Ride!

First stop was to see a few Florida Dream Homes.  Then, we stopped at their personal home to pick up the rest of the LanceAround family.  We were excited to see the “Florida Dream Homes mobile” – hopefully we’ll get a ride in it someday!

Our next stop was at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  We were to be the LanceAround’s guests for our very first Industry Meeting at Disney World.  (Man, I hope it’s not my last!)

Yummy Disney Breakfast

Yummy Disney Breakfast

Breakfast was waiting for us – a huge buffet complete with Mickey waffles and the wonderful fruit that we’ve come to expect at Disney! (I could seriously eat their pineapple and strawberries ’til they are coming out my eyeballs!  So sweet and delicious.)

After breakfast, was a Disney presentation all about the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, which was set to officially open that Wednesday.  We were also told about some other new surprises in the works at Disney.

The event concluded with them passing out Magic Kingdom park tickets to each of us in attendance, along with free lunch vouchers and Fast Passes for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  I’ll be sharing about our experience on the train, our lunch, and the new Festival of Fantasy Parade in future posts.

Oh, and did I mention they gave us Seven Dwarfs Mine Train backpacks too?  Now, if only we could get our hands on those awesome shirts that the Cast Members were wearing at the event!

Our morning was definitely the stuff that dreams are made of, and the rest of the day was pretty awesome too!  Please stop back for the rest of the story, or feel free to visit me over at my personal blog to find out what’s going on in Heidi’s Head.

Dining Fine at Disney’s Food and Wine Festival

November 10, 2011

What an Entrance - Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

What do you get when you cross a mouse, world travel, and deliciousness?  If you said a scene from Ratatouille, you’d be right, but today I’m talking about the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival.   This annual event takes place for three months every autumn at The Walt Disney World Resort’s EPCOT Theme Park. It’s a major draw for all ages; featuring appetizer sized portions of some of the world’s most delectable offerings.  As if that weren’t enough to convince you to book your tickets now, there are also hundreds of beer and wine varieties, which means, there’s something for even those with the most discerning of palates.  I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this event many times; however, my experience this year was perhaps my favorite thus far.

I came to Florida to participate in the Walt Disney World College Program, a competitive internship where college students are given the opportunity to work for a number of months at the Most Magical Place on Earth.  I had the good fortune, during my program, to live with some truly great people. We decided that we’d all get back together for Food and Wine.  So, last weekend we drove to EPCOT and immersed ourselves in the beauty and culture of the festival. 

EPCOT is divided into two unique sections, Future World and World Showcase.  Future World is an attempt to honor what Walt Disney’s EPCOT was originally intended to be – hence the name Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.  World Showcase is a sprawling horseshoe of culture.  Eleven country pavilions encircle World Showcase Lagoon and walking through them gives you the sense that you really are globe trotting.  World Showcase is the site of Food and Wine, but along with the regular eleven country line up (Mexico, Norway,China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, The United Kingdom, and Canada) there are twenty eight participating cuisine choices.  When we arrived, we were certainly overwhelmed.  Not really having any game plan, we figured we might as well try a little bit of everything. 

Following World Showcase’s curve to the right, we passed a pavilion new to this year’s festival, Craft Beers.  It lived up to its name, offering eight inventive selections from which to choose.  You have the option, when it comes to drinks, to purchase a 6oz, 12oz, or 22oz serving.  I strongly recommend going with the 6oz option if you planning on doing a fair deal of sampling, trust me here I speak from experience.  We continued around and ran into a Food and Wine staple, Greece.  Please do yourself a favor and try the Spanakopita ($2.25.) You’ll love it.   Spanakopita, or spinach pie, is a classic Greek dish consisting of a pastry shell filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, egg, and seasonings.  While it’s still not as good as my grandmother’s (who is not Greek), it remains a close second. 

Our next stop was Ireland (if you know me at all you know there I’ll never pass up a chance to carouse with my fell Irishmen).  Four Thousand pounds of lobster were used at the festival this year. I think I ate most of them personally.  Ireland, which is finally beginning to embrace seafood as a legitimate dining option, featured an exquisitely presented and absolutely delicious Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie ($3.25).  During my afternoon excursion, this was also the only place I opted for a 22oz beer ($11.75, I know, right!) It’s just that it’s a requirement when there’s Guinness  behind the bar.

We continued around the world passing the International Gateway, which is the back entrance to EPOCT that leads to the Disney Boardwalk Hotel and Entertainment district. Walking into France, there was only one thing on all of our minds, pastries. We were distracted, however, when we saw a small group of people ahead all dressed in kilts and shirts that bore the phrase “3rd Annual Eat, Drink, and Repeat Tour.” Intrigued I ventured over to inquire about how the third year was going. Turned out, they were a family from Scotland who use the Food and Wine Festival as a family reunion each year. Naturally, I figured that since we had already concluded the Irish merrymaking we should simply continue it with the Scots.

Our group, considerably larger now, made our way though France in search of something light, fluffy, and containing far too many calories. However, seeing the word’s “Crème Brûlée” made me quickly change course. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never tried it, Crème Brûlée is simply the best dessert ever, period. Meaning “Burnt Cream” in french, it is indescribably good. The base is a rich custard, which is contrasted by a level of caramel. EPOCT’s Crème Brûlée was flavored with chocolate and topped with carmalized sugar. Honestly, I would have paid $1000 for it, but it was only $3.25, so I ate two.

We continued around and were headed toward the American Pavillion when Singapore caught my eye. Well, it was actually the menu outside Singapore that grabbed my attention, but nevertheless, I simply had to stop. Written under the drink section were the words “Tiger Beer………$5.50.” I was puzzled, a little scared, and extremely curious. Eventually curiosity (or rather peer pressure from the Scots) won out and I bought one. Somewhat reluctantly, and with a vague fear I’d somehow transform into Charlie Sheen, I drank it. Frankly, it wasn’t bad. It was actually quite good, but for the life of me I don’t know why. There were no discernible flavors and I haven’t been able to come up with anything to which it is. Which means it gets the same treatment that art does from me. I liked it, but don’t try and tell me why its good just let me enjoy it.

Returning to normalcy, we entered the American Pavillion. There was a Sugar Ray concert going on when we arrived (yes that Sugar Ray, from the 90’s. Yes, I thought it was too awesome to be true too.) It was part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series that accompanies Food and Wine. Some of this years headliners were Boyz II Men, Hanson, and Air Supply. Deciding to switch back to something more my taste we got a sampling of Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat ($3.50) and a Turkey Leg ($9.19) and watched the concert, feeling distinctly American, despite being surrounded by men in kilts.

Next up was Poland and the Golabki – Pork Stuffed Cabbage – which was neither as gross or euphemistic as it sounds. I mean really, if it’s only $2.75, I’ll try anything once. Making the final turn around the horse shoe, we spotted a pavilion that was new for 2011, Scandinavia. I didn’t drink anything from here, mostly because everything they had started with an “X” and if that’s not ominous foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. However, I was daring enough to try the Taste of Scandinavia (Cured Salmon, Herring, and Shrimp Salad, $4.00). Try the Herring at Your Own Risk – Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You!

I figured I like shrimp; I like salmon, so I’ll probably like herring.  Long story short, I don’t like herring, but don’t let that stop you from trying it.    Rounding out the day was Mexico.  It is important to stipulate that Mexico is always the last place to go to in EPCOT.  Why?  Well it’s quite simple really, Mexico has tequila.  We all enjoyed a couple of Margaritas (at $10 a glass they weren’t too overpriced) and decided to call it a day.  Actually, that’s a lie. We didn’t call it a day; we went back around in the opposite direction and then we went around again.  When I think of how much money I spent that day, well, let’s just say I don’t like to think about, so please don’t bring it up. 

Our evening was capped off with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, EPCOT’s nightly fireworks show over the World Showcase Lagoon.  During the show, in the middle of the lake, sits a giant spinning globe covered with LED video screens.  Videos of different natural events, animals, and environments are played on the globe throughout the show and it is truly beautiful to watch.  Perhaps, it was the tequila, but I found myself thinking of how extraordinary the world we live in really is, then the globe exploded and fireworks shot out of it. (Don’t worry it’s supposed to do this.)  After that all I could think of was how awesome fireworks are, but I had that one moment, so give me some credit. 

See, I Told You It Was Supposed to Do That

Food and Wine will continue this year until November 13th, so if you have the chance definitely give it a look.  If not the 17th annual festival will come around next fall and I can guarantee that I’ll be there, as I’m sure will my new be-kilted Scottish friends.  It probably won’t be that hard to spot us, so make sure you stop by and say hello.

Fantasyland in Disney World is Closing (Temporarily) Then Doubling in Size

January 21, 2011

Fantasyland at Disney World is Doubling in Size by 2013

On February 11, 2011 Mickey’s Toon Town Fair in Fantasyland will close as Disney begins the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history–designed to DOUBLE the size of Fantasyland.

The new Fantasyland is scheduled to open in phases beginning in late 2012. Here are some of the highlights:

–Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid will be a major new attraction on which guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the wave–all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.

–The castle of the Beast will stand majestically upon a hill just across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle.  According to Disney, the 550 seat restaurant will offer “great food fast” by day and full table service in the evening. In nearby Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.

–Just outside the village will be Belle’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure begins in Maurice’s workshop, where a magical mirror will become the doorway to a new kind of storytelling experience with Belle and Lumiere.

By 2013 Disney hopes to open most of the remaining enhancements

Ride with the 7 Dwarfs

–The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be a rollicking, musical roller coaster featuring a ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth, responding to every twist and turn of the track.

–The Princess Fairytale Hall will be a place where guests can greet guests in their new home, an elegant royal court on the site where Snow White’s Scary Adventures stands today.

Popular Dumbo Will be Twice as Big

–The Storybook Circus will have two circling carousels of airborne pachyderms on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The queue for this attraction has an array of fun-filled family games and interactive wonders for kids of all ages inside the big top

–Next door will be Goofy as The Great Goofini, a reworking of the Goofy Barnstormer coaster currently in use at Toon Town Fair.

It sounds like Disney is expanding their magic. We’ll keep you updated as more details are unveiled.

some portions of this post ©Disney

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

October 29, 2010
 
 
 

 

 

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is Perfect for the Youngsters

[Guest Blog Post–Number One Daughter is only 15 years old. Mrs. LanceAround and I are navigating through the treacherous waters of watching our “baby” as she experiences her first serious relationship. Using two free tickets provided to us by Disney, she invited her new beau to Mickey’s Halloween Party. While there are many Halloween venues in Orlando that attempt to outdo each other in fright, Mickey’s is a playful romp geared towards a younger, less thrill-seeking audience. It’s also one of the few that allow you to wear a costume. Here is Number One Daughter’s review–LanceAround]

By Number One Daughter

Number One Daughter and Number One Boyfriend went to Magic Kingdom on Friday from 7 pm to 12 am for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This event is held every September through early November for children of all ages to come in costume and enjoy everything from trick-or-treating to character encounters. Most rides are also open and some have added features specifically for this party.

#1 Daughter & #1 Boyfriend

As the young couple walked into the park, they noticed the lighting and fog machines turning Disney’s Magic Kingdom into a mysterious and spooky place. The added effects were a wonderful change from the repetitious way Disney stays during the normal months of the year. As Number One Daughter got closer to the park, she heard beautifully haunting music interchanged between silly Halloween songs in a surprisingly cheerful mix of childishly-dark entertainment.

During this affair many people – of all ages – dress to impress for Halloween; from little princesses and Power Rangers to movie characters such as Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Joker and many more. It is a choice to come in costume. Number One Daughter was delighted to see that many of the guests had dressed up for the occasion as she had also come to the party dressed as a Japanese School Girl with a Vampire Escort.

Luckily for all teenagers in the world, the rides were still available to the public. Though Number One Daughter and Number One Boyfriend only rode the Haunted Mansion, it was obvious that this was the most popular ride judging by the wait lines on other rides. However, the rides were obviously not used to being ridden after regular Disney hours because of the constant rate they broke down. Though that kept the lines waiting for a bit, there was some extra help in passing the time. Disney had hired help to keep the lines entertained. For example, there was a woman dressed as a ghost telling witty jokes and interacting with the visitors waiting. She helped make the time pass much more quickly.

The costumes and rides were not the only great things about Mickey’s little Halloween party. The kids can go through mazes, play games and enjoy other tasks to receive candy. Number One Daughter and Number One Boyfriend did not ask to see if adults are excluded as the treating tasks were definitely geared towards the little ones. There are many places where youngsters may trick-or-treat, throughout the park. There was also a parade filled with all of Disney’s favorite characters from Winnie the Pooh to Captain Jack Sparrow.

Every few hours during this spectacular event fireworks would spontaneously go off, filling the dark sky with brilliant explosions of color and sound and leaving the night magical and wondrous.

Number One Daughter and Number One Boyfriend can honestly say that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party deserves 6 stars out of 5.

Disney’s Boardwalk

August 14, 2010

Disney's Boardwalk is Part of the EPCOT Resort Area

 

Disney World is packed with serendipitous environments tucked away from the glare of their four world famous theme parks. One such place is the resort area located behind EPCOT. For the lucky readers of my blog, it is just waiting to be discovered. 

The entire area encircles a lake located between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. One could walk or take a Disney Friendship boat from place to place around the EPCOT resorts. There is the Yacht and Beach clubs, the Swan and Dolphin hotels and the Disney Boardwalk. 

The Yacht, Beach, Swan and Dolphin are resort inns that feature convention services, great pools and lots of other resort amenities. You have to be a guest in the resort to enjoy most of these. But there are nice restaurants and other shops that anyone can enjoy. For me, the jewel of the EPCOT resort area is Disney’s Boardwalk 

Unexpected Street Performers Suddenly Appear

 

The Boardwalk itself is built with planks of wood reminiscent of my younger days enjoying similar boardwalks on the Jersey shore. There are various shops, restaurants, arcades and kiosks throughout the area. In my next post, I will review Kouzzina restaurant. There is also the upscale Flying Fish restaurant and the flamboyant ESPN Club where I often go to watch my beloved Virginia Tech Hokies play football. 

On the boardwalk, you can get your hair braided, play a basketball shot challenge, have an artist create a caricature of your family or encounter an extemporaneous show of street performers like this one:

Another one of our favorite activities is renting a bicycle large enough to take the entire family for a spin around the lake. 

Jellyrolls is an adult bar featuring dueling pianos and audience sing-alongs. Try to stump the maestro with your requests! The Atlantic Dance Hall is a huge, art deco ballroom showcasing cool bands and hot DJs nightly for the over 21 crowd. 

Sometimes it’s a pleasure to simply walk along the boardwalk throwing breadcrumbs to the ducks paddling around the lake. 

Whatever your preference, Boardwalk is an enjoyable, relaxing environment for those readers searching for “more than a mouse.”™

Star Wars Weekends

June 5, 2010

Yikes! #1 Daughter is an Imperial Stormtrooper

Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have become one of the most anticipated events of the year.  

During May and June every year, four weekends are devoted to Star Wars fans of all ages.  During this special event there are guest appearances from across the spectrum of Star Wars movies and TV series as well as multiple photo ops, parades and programs.  

Younglings can hone their lightsaber skills and, perhaps, have an unexpected encounter with Darth Vader. Trivia contests provide an opportunity for a special prize. Characters abound and autograph sessions are packed with fans.  There is no additional charge as all these activities are included with your admission into Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Of course, all the usual rides and attractions are up and running as well. 

Uh-oh Jabba the Hut Caught Up with Her

This year, the celebrity hosts for all four Star Wars weekends are Jeremy Bullock, who played Boba Fett, and Ashley Eckstein, who provided the voice of Ahsoka.  In addition, each weekend features special appearances by other guests, such as Jango Fett, the voice of Captain Rex, the chief model maker, Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), a supervising director, Darth Maul, Chewbacca and more!  

For a special invitation to Star Wars Weekends (and a little smile) call 407.827.2799.  

Number One and Two Sons and Number One Daughter went to Hollywood Studios last weekend and reported that it was a lot of fun. They also did some excellent journalistic research to provide LanceAround fans the scoop that Star Tours is planning to change their voyage. Rumor has it, it will be 3-D.  

Click on this link for a video preview of the new Star Tours Attraction: http://www.wdwnews.com/viewvideo.aspx?videoid=113798&siteid=1  

This new remake is planning to come to your galaxy in 2011.  

On a far more serious note…  

One of Amber’s young Montessori School pals was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year. It’s been a real struggle for him and his family. Here’s a link to their blog where they talk about their trip to Star Wars Weekend last week. It will make you smile and cry at the same time:  Jedi Noah’s Blog.  

Please hold Jedi Noah in your thoughts. He’s a terrific kid from a terrific family. If you don’t have time to see his blog, here’s a video of Jedi Noah taking part in the parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  

DiVine at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

January 31, 2010

There's Something DiVine About This Stand of Trees in Animal Kingdom

“Did you see it?”  

“What was that?”  

“Did that tree just move?”  

When walking through Disney World, one expects to meet lots of characters. Sometimes these encounters are expected and intentional; sometimes they are unexpected. Often you meet “first tier” characters, such as Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Goofy, or Donald Duck. Sometimes you meet unconventional characters like the soldiers from Toy Story, the Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars or the elusive, sometimes smoke free Pecos Bill.  

For a truly serendipitous encounter, I hope you meet DiVine.  

DiVine Revealed

She can be as allusive as her character.  A search on Disney’s website does not reveal her. On the internet, I have seen her referred to as “Tree Woman” or “Ivy Woman.”  

Who is she?  

Her name is Priscilla Blight and she is a performance artist who is part of a group known as The Living Garden. When she moves, it is with the grace and agility of nature itself. When she stands still, she portrays the strength of a rock. When she so wishes, she can blend into the scenery so completely that all are blind to her prescence.  

I posted a picture of her at the top of this blog. Did you see her?  

Currently, DiVine appears on the pathway between Africa and Asia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some websites state that she performs at 10am, 11am, noon, and 1pm. But I can’t find any official listing of her in Disney literature. And she surely can’t perform every day of the week. My family saw her on Saturdy.  

Once Revealed, She Always Draws a Crowd

Using stilts, extended arms and creative costuming, DiVine fluctuates between 7 and 16 feet tall. When she crosses the path, it’s impossible to miss her. When she curls around a post, it’s easy to mistake her for ivy. When she hugs a tree, she vanishes into the landscape.  

There is something both mystical and magical about DiVine. The best way to see her occurs when you are innocently looking at a grove of trees and, suddenly, one of them begins to move. Fortunately, that’s how I first encountered her. With that first movement, however, she draws a crowd. Then most people see her as they strain to understand what everyone is looking at.  

Her performance ability, however, is superb. Not only can she move in a way that convinces you she is a moving plant; not only can her face take on the luminecent quality of a natural organism; she also has great timing. She can stand perfectly still and tranquil until all the nearby guests have taken their look and moved on. Then–suddenly–unexpectantly–she will begin to move right in front of an unsuspecting youngster who will cry out in delight, astonishment or sometimes terror.  

She does not speak. She does not look directly at you. Her eyes are either wide open or so serenely shut you just know she has returned to Nirvana.  

This is a character performance worth experiencing. It is, for lack of a better word, DiVine! 

[2/1/10 Editor’s Note:  Whenever I write a blog, I usually send an email to the subject of the blog. This blog was partially based on information from the website cited above. After posting, we were delighted to hear from Priscilla Stephan (nee Blight) who created the character DiVine. She gave us the following update to that information: 

Dear LanceAround,

Thank you for writing such a poetic Blog 🙂

I felt it was also important to update you so that you have a few current facts!!

DiVine has recently become part of a new company i have just formed called  Living World Entertainment. I am now called Priscilla Stephan (not Blight) because I got married a few years ago.

While i created the character DiVine and used to perform this act I now function mainly as a Creative Director.We now have about 10/12 DiVine performers that work through out the states and beyond!!

Up until very recently DiVine was part of The living Garden which was produced by 2nd Nature Productions. i started 2nd Nature  in FL in 1999. Divine now however as been transferred out of 2nd Nature into my new company Living World Entertainment.

The performers name who was working that day is Carol ann Byron.

I hope this helps:)

and thanks again for sending this to me.

Warm Regards

-Priscilla

Which Way Did She Go?

Space Mountain Re-Opens After Refurbishment

January 28, 2010

Blast Off on This Newly Refurbished Ride

After a 12 million dollar renovation, Space Mountain in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has now re-opened and is ready to blast off passengers on this iconic roller coaster thrill ride. 

A Space Mountain Rocket

The thrill of Space Mountain is created by the illusion caused from operating in near darkness. This 2.5 minute attraction achieves speeds of only 28mph.  However, in the dark it feels like it is going so much faster. This photo shows how each “rocket” requires only minimal restraints. 

For this reason, Space Mountain is the perfect coaster for those who are a little squeamish about riding a faster, more heavily restrained coaster. In addition, the cool star and planet special effects in Space Mountain make for a delightful immersive environment. Part of the thrill comes from not knowing which direction your “rocket” will turn next.

If someone in your group does not want to ride, they can still join everyone in the queue where there are new, interactive games, a new glow-in-the-dark spaceport and even brief glimpses of the ride. Prior to refurbishment, the ride “rockets” had reflective decals on the side and you could see more of the ride. These were removed in the new version to allow for even less light, creating a darker and more immersive thrill ride. As with all Disney rides, there is a last minute way to exit prior to boarding the ride as well as a baby swap and an area where you can wait for your party members who have chosen to ride.

I have not had a chance to try the new Space Mountain but Number One Daughter wants to take her friends to Disney this weekend so I might have an opportunity then. If so, I’ll give you an update.

Chip ‘n’ Dale Sing-a-Long at Fort Wilderness

December 15, 2009

Chip Sits with His New Friend--Brooke

Sometimes the best things in life ARE free!  

One of our family’s favorite things to do at Disney World is the Chip ‘n’ Dale campfire sing-a-long and movie in the Fort Wilderness Campground.

We like to pack our own food, including a s’mores kit, drinks, buns and vegetarian hot dogs to roast on the fire.

Doug with # 1 Vege Hot Dog Roaster

The campfires are lit around 6:30pm in the winter and 7:30pm after the time change.  On the hour, the sing-a-long begins.  The energetic guitar players chooses lots of children’s favorites.  If you are celebrating a birthday during the month, you get to come to the stage for rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.

During the singing, Chip ‘n’ Dale come on stage to help out.  Then, they go through the audience and interact with each guest.  Those who know Chip ‘n’ Dale bring along their favorite–chocolate chip cookies–to hand to them when they come to visit.  This provides the best, most intimate character interaction in all of Disney World! 

Chip Tries to Steal Brooke's Food

Our Number One Daughter invited Brooke, her 17 year old second cousin who is mentally challenged.  We packed hot dogs and s’more fixin’s, potato chips and drinks and made our way to the campfire.  Doug and Amy, Booke’s parents, enjoyed roasting the food over the fire.  Meanwhile, Brooke had the thrill of her life when Chip sat down beside her during the show.  After the sing-a-long, the movie begins. 

There is a different movie every night–on some evenings they show two movies.  Usually the movie is preceded by a Chip ‘n’ Dale cartoon.  You can search the internet for the movie schedule or call Disney and ask the person on the phone to look it up.  Movies rang from the classic full length Disney cartoons to more modern PG movies such as “The Santa Clause” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”  

Here’s how to get to the campfire show at Fort Wilderness: 

1. Drive to the toll booth for the Magic Kingdome (stay to the far right) 

2. Tell the attendant you are going to Fort Wildnerness (you won’t get charged the exorbitant parking fee) 

3. Past the toll booth, take an immediate right 

4. Go past the 1st entrance to Fort Wilderness (this is for guests checking in to the campground) then take a left at the second entrance (sign says “Pioneer Hall”)   

5. Park your car and head to the bus stop, which will be to your left 

6. Take the Orange or Yellow bus line to the Meadows Trading Post Stop–The campfire is just behind the trading post 

There are benches, bleachers and plenty of room to lay out a blanket.  There is a small stage designed to look like a chuck wagon and beside that a large, white movie screen.  On either side are large metal cauldrons which contain the campfires.  Behind the bleachers are an actual chuck wagon where you can purchase marshmallows, s’more kits and long sticks.  Beyond that are nice, clean rest rooms. 

If you want to enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale but aren’t interested in the movie, after they visit you can always head down to the docks near Pioneer Hall and watch the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom castle.  That’s what Amy and I did while Mrs. LanceAround stayed and watched the movie with Doug, Brooke and Number One Daughter.  At the docks they pipe in the music and Jiminy Cricket narration from Magic Kingdom for the firework show.  

Chip Visits Guests During Sing-a-Long

Another fun activity you can enjoy for free at Fort Wilderness is the Electric Water Pageant.  This whimsical boat parade travels every night from the Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts to the Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort.  It also performs in front of the Magic Kingdom when guests are departing.  You can view it from the docks at Fort Wilderness.  The time varies by season and the resort can let you know what time it begins.  

The campfire program at Fort Wilderness provides a nice and inexpensive respite from the otherwise crowded and frenetic pace within the theme parks.  

If you have young children, then we highly recommend it.  If you don’t have young children…well…go to it anyway and feed your child within…  

…At least that’s what I tell myself when Mrs. LanceAround and I go there on a cool autumn’s eve just to enjoy the movie! 

# 1 Daughter and Booke Enjoy Yummy S'mores!