Night and Day…You are the One

On yesterday’s Theme Park Thursday episode on the Improviser’s Guide Podcast, we played a little game: AM vs PM.

Wait, what’s that? You didn’t listen. Oh, here’s the link. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

http://theimprovisersguide.libsyn.com/episode-24-am-or-pm-play-along

Ok, great! Now that you’re up to speed, we can continue…

As I was playing, it was hard not to come up with resort experiences. This probably sounds weird to non-Disney lovers. Then again, non-Disney lovers don’t understand a lot about a Disney addict. They often ask:

Do you go on rides? Yes, and they’re awesome.

Isn’t it just for kids? No, it’s also for the kid at heart.

Is there anything to do at the hotels? Plenty and that is why it was so hard to come up with park experiences during our AM vs PM game!

It was also hard for me to answer AM. Why is that?

Disney mornings are great. The ground is wet, the sun is shining and you know how hot it’ll be for the rest of the day, as soon as you leave your hotel. That’s a great start to your day! But overall Theme Parks at night give that unexplainable feeling and vibe. The nostalgia becomes more prominent. You feel that magic in the air. When you stay up to go on rides, watch fireworks and pass out in a Disney bed while being an acceptable level of exhausted –  nothing can beat that.

Sister Dillo

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And The Desserts Lived Happily Ever After…

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On the Thursday 2/22/18 episode of The Improviser’s Guide Podcast, we compared the Happily Ever After dessert party at WDW’s Magic Kingdom with the Hollywood (#AlwaysMGM) Studios’ Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party. This blog covers the Happily Ever After party. Click here to read Brother Dillo’s recap of the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular.

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The Happily Ever After dessert party is held in the Tomorrowland Terrace at the Magic Kingdom. There are two areas to enjoy the desserts. In the lower area of the terrace, you’re able to sit at a table and remain there during the fireworks. Instead of standing like most of the crowd, you can sit back, drink your sparkling cider and not worrying about anyone possibly pushing you out of the way. If you sit in the upper area of the Tomorrowland Terrace (which is a lower ticket price), you get to enjoy the same desserts but you are escorted to the Plaza Garden Viewing area. We chose the Plaza Garden Viewing area and it was an amazing view.

Let’s talk desserts, because they were delish. I mentioned on the podcast that there was an amazing ice cream creation that my hubby took advantage of. Unfortunately with the time that has passed, we can’t remember the exact name of this sundae (which included the Cast Member’s name) but it was the ultimate sundae! There was a cookie, ice cream, a brownie, more ice cream, whipped cream and every topping. Take a moment and try to overcome the jealousy.

Other desserts included chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, brownies, along with sparking cider, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. It’s dessert heaven!

I definitely feel that Magic Kingdom can step up the experience a bit, but it’s still a great time and I would highly recommend it! It was the perfect way to end our week-long Disney Extravaganza.

Click here to hear more about both dessert parties on Theme Park Thursdays of The Improviser’s Guide Podcast. 

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Moonlight Magic

If you listened to today’s podcast, you heard our friends David and Steven talk about attending the Moonlight Magic Event at Magic Kingdom. You also heard the plug for this very blog! Thank you again David and Steven and we hope you have you back on our Theme Park Thursday Podcast real soon!

And now for our guest blogger, Steven:

Hi, I’m Steven and I’m not a Disney addict.

I thought it was important to get that little tidbit out upfront. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney, I’ve had magical moments and I married my husband who is a huge Disney addict, so I get it. That being said, I can live with a once a year Disney fix, whereas my husband and other Disney addicts I know need to go multiple times a year to satisfy their need. I had a Disney theme to my wedding, designing Fastpass save the dates and table themes, putting hidden Mickeys in our invitation, and entering the reception with wedding Mickey ears. I love Disney mostly because the people I love, love it.

Sister Dillo chiming in for a second – I attended that amazing Disney themed wedding and it was magical! Now back to our regularly scheduled blog…

My main qualms with Disney tend to be lines, crowds and heat. Price is a whole different monster that I won’t awaken here. So when my best friend’s wife, Kimmy, mentioned the opportunity to enter the park for the private Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Moonlight Magic event, I was immediately intrigued. An event at Disney, in the Magic Kingdom, with limited entry (no lines/crowds) and at night in January (no heat) sounded like my dream really did come true. I had no idea just how right I was.

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When Kimmy extended the invite, my first move (obviously) was to inform my Disney-addict husband, David. David immediately scoured the internet for some info on this almost “too good to be true” event. Needless to say, if you’re not a DVC member, Disney doesn’t exactly make the information easy to find. Once we were filled in on the details, we were sold. A free, up to 6 hour event, in Disney…what’s not to love?

Around 8pm on a very rainy January 28th, we met Kimmy and 2 of her friends at the main gate of the Magic Kingdom. After she checked in, we were all given wristbands and welcomed into the park. The first sign that this was going to be something special was the mass exodus of “normal” guests streaming past us as we walked under the Railroad tracks. The park officially closed at 8pm, the fireworks were over and the park was clearing out fast. Our first stop was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which still had a line of non-event guests waiting for their turn. In response, we were routed down the FastPass entrance, until the crowds fully dispersed. We were on and off the Mine Train in a matter of 10, maybe 15 minutes. What we didn’t realize at that moment was that this would be the longest line we waited on that night.

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By about 10pm, the park was desolate. I mean, look at the picture above of Cinderella’s Castle. When could you ever get a photo like that without hundreds of people in front of you? Never, that’s when! We made a game plan of hitting all the big ticket items as many times as possible and skipping the rides we would normally be able to walk onto. In the end, we did almost every attraction that was available and did the big ones (Mine train, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain) at least twice.

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Check out this picture of the line queue for Peter Pan! One of the (inexplicably) longest lines in the park on a normal day and now completely deserted. No one in front of or behind us. It was an experience I’d never had in Disney before. It was magical.

In addition to the basic details being hard to find online, we also had no idea what would be included except for “complimentary light refreshments and unique entertainment.” After a few rides, we wanted a snack; namely, popcorn. We noticed a swarm of people entering a restaurant (I’m told it was Columbia Harbor House…who IMG_20180128_231604knew?) and we decided to ask a cast member where the popcorn was. After admitting she didn’t know, and checking with another cast member, she told us there was no popcorn! Then, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked what people were doing in the restaurant here. It seemed odd to me that you would come to an event like this just to spend money on food. Her answer to my question rocked our world: All the food, all over the park, is free. Free.99, Free-50-free, Free.30. Completely free food, drink, and desserts all over the park?! Now I was in heaven. I love food to begin with, but slap a “free” sticker on it, especially in a place like Disney which is known for their high prices for food, and you have a very happy Steven. We found out restaurants all over the park were offering abbreviated menus including chicken nuggets, hot dogs, burgers, soda, cookies, MICKEY ICE CREAM and more! It was just another special touch to an already magical evening. I am however sad to report…there was no popcorn. 😦

Walking around the Magic Kingdom when it’s empty and all lit up at night was a magical experience. The final magical perk of the night was an exclusive fireworks show for the DVC members and their guests. We had no plans to watch the show, as that’s valuable ride time, but we ended up being in Fantasyland when the show started. This location gave us a unique perspective of the show, with fireworks going off all around us. I took a look around during the show and noticed that almost everyone had just stopped in place and were watching and enjoying the show. No one pushing you or putting a camera/phone in your field of vision, just a bunch of Disney addicts enjoying a special moment in the Magic Kingdom.

Although short and exclusive, Moonlight Magic was the most magical moment I had ever experienced in Disney. Bravo to Disney for really pulling out all the stops and showing their true appreciation to those who are DVC members. Also, our never-ending love and thanks to Kimmy and her family for allowing us this experience. I hope we can all do it again next time!

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Hocus Pocus-Alakazam-AbracadaBAR!

The following is taken directly from the Walt Disney World website:

Formerly the stomping grounds for famous magicians, local illusionists and the loveliest of magician’s assistants, AbracadaBar gives interested onlookers and aficionados of alcoholic beverages alike a glimpse—and perhaps a taste—of another time and place.

According to boardwalk lore, prestidigitators would gather here after nearly every show, often staying up all night as they attempted to out-charm each other with extraordinary tricks before gathering at the bar to conjure up new cocktails.

But then, just as soon as it had appeared, the secret lounge vanished into thin air, never to be seen again… until today!

Back in the spotlight now at Disney’s BoardWalk, AbracadaBar has re-opened its doors, giving Guests like you a peek at an era long since passed—from its enchanted show posters and mystifying mirrors to vintage props and tricks—all while savoring some of the bar’s signature specialties.

Another favorite new thing I did during last month’s trip was visit AbracadaBar!

The Boardwalk Resort is a favorite of mine. A favorite place to stay. A favorite place to eat breakfast. A favorite place for some nighttime entertainment (I’m looking at you JellyRolls).

After dining at La Hacienda de San Angel, we went to check out this cool new spot. MAGIC has taken over the previously occupied ice cream shop which has now moved to the previously occupied ESPN store.

AbracadaBar is a cute, comfortable and a fun little spot whether you’re there to get a drink before heading over to Flying Fish or as a stop for a night cap.

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I felt like my drink had to have “Magic” in the title so I went with The Magician White Blend. My hubby ordered the Hoptical Illusion IPA. Both were great and we were lucky enough to secure a couch right by the window.

I like the drinks. I like the location. I like the vibe. However, I do feel that during the holidays or special events, this location may feel a little too cramped and crowded. We were there the night before the marathon. Much of the crowd that we had seen in the parks that morning was resting up for the big race. But, much like anything in Disney, we’ll just have to find that sweet spot of timing!

Click here to listen to more of our first time favs!

Sister Dillo

La Hacienda de San Angel

On today’s podcast, I discussed La Hacienda de San Angel as one of my 3 favorite first time experiences from our Dillo Extravaganza last month. I promised you more details and pictures soooooooooooo

Drum roll please…

La Hacienda de San Angel

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Boom. This is the view throughout the entire restaurant. World Showcase as your dining experience backdrop. You can see why this is an Illuminations Viewing location hot spot! Very few views within Walt Disney World compare in my opinion, except probably the California Grill.

Even better? The food is great!

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Chips and Guac to start? Yes please!

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Costillas en salsa de Chile

This was my hubby’s dinner pick and it was so good I wish I had gotten it.  Translation: Braised shorts ribs topped with Chimichurri (parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar) served with potato puree and chile de árbol sauce.

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Luckily I chose a good pick as well!

Tacos de Camarones: Fried shrimp, Chipotle-lime aioli, cabbage, lime and salsa verde, all served over flour tortillas.

Yummy Yummy Yummy!

Click here to check out more about La Hacienda de San Angel and their menu! Oh and bonus: you can also take a Margarita to go for your nighttime stroll around World Showcase!

 

Sister Dillo

 

The Beach Club at 25: Happy Birthday!

Something I haven’t talked about before is my favorite alarm clock in Disney World. The best sound to wake up to is that of the Friendship Boats while sleeping in your Beach Club bed.

As Brother Dillo blogged previously in: The Beach Club at 25, “Within two years, the Beach Club Resort would surpass the Polynesian as the favorite Dillo Resort (perhaps Sista Dillo thinks that’s a bold statement).”

Bold? Perhaps. But somewhat true.

For me, The Beach Club Resort represents the second half of my Disney vacationing life. The Polynesian represents the first. These two hotels made us fall in love with Disney, with Deluxe resorts and of course, spoiled us for life.

We can walk past The Beach Club and point out which rooms we stayed in. We can tell you about the corner room right next the quiet pool that was probably our favorite because…um, it was next to the quiet pool! We could leave our room through our patio doors and there we would be. We can also tell you how we were sad to see the shrubbery that was planted because it meant that future guests of that room couldn’t do the same.

We can tell you about celebrities we shared the elevator with, the ones we walked behind and the pictures  that hung on the wall of Beaches and Cream of all those that stayed there.

Time out for Fun Facts:

  • You used to be able to see MGM from the back of the Beach Club!
  • It took me years to go down the slide in Stormalong Bay.
  • The air conditioning of the lobby…I mean come on.

Beaches and Cream used to connect directly to the game room. We could play basketball and knock hockey and then walk right through for some burgers and ice cream. Now you have to go outside and back in again (its the little things we miss).

We have blogged many times of the serenity of the quiet pool. The place of baptism for my son (Disney baptism). A body of water to cleanse our soul and breathe in the Disney air. A pool where our family came together and relaxed.

Dillos don’t love change and changes have been made at this resort that we don’t love. But it doesn’t take away our love for the resort.

Happy Birthday Beach Club Resort!

>Why You Should Make Time for the Pool or a Nap!Sista Dillo

 

28 Hours of The Diz: The Final Six Hours

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I’ve been reading famed Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar’s book ‘Dream It! Do It!’ (this is a must for Diz lovers), and the the first thing that really caught my attention in it was how Halloween crowds were making a serious challenge to Christmas attendance numbers…

I’m not a Halloween guy. Halloween and my birthday are too close together so, when those two days approached as a kid – the excitement landed me with bronchitis. That ruined Halloween for me to this very day. I try to dress up and my costume doesn’t look the way I had hoped. I try to Trick or Treat and no gives me candy…

Wait, that’s not right.

Joking aside, this is the first time the Halloween decor at the Magic Kingdom and the Hallomerchandise all throughout the park and, the next day, at Downtown Disney, really made me take notice.

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I mean, how could you not want Haunted Mansion ornamentation?

See, but I like ornaments… ones that go on a Christmas Tree. WDW at Christmas enhanced the season for me as a kid… and as a young adult (let’s just say I felt it was an honor that I got to ‘spend some time’ with Santa Goofy). The Main Street Christmas loop is a frequent selection in December.  That’s why Disney’s Days of Christmas is such a dangerous store for me. My apartment is Disneyfied just enough (even in my opinion) but, let’s be real, if you’re buying more Christmas decor you’re not going to get rid of your old Disney decor… There’s nostalgia in that!

I was also proud of myself for not buying this shirt…

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Or this awesome Mad Hatter mug…

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After hitting my Downtown Disney trifecta (Days of Christmas, Once Upon a Toy, World of Disney) it was off to the serene loop that is Disney’s Boardwalk and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club. It was a college football Saturday, so the ESPN club was hopping so no boneless wings for me. It was off to Beaches & Cream for my favorite Chocolate Shake before heading to the airport and bringing our 28 Hours of The Diz to a close. That didn’t stop us from taking a good hour or so to enjoy this view…

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Brother Dillo

@DillosDiz

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28 Hours of Diz: Hours 6 & 7 – Future World

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Walking into EPCOT still has a big game feel. Spaceship Earth is so iconic that it can transport you to a time when the park was the hot new thing. Even if I had left my millennial legacy at the front of the park, I’m not sure I would be paying attention to it. The geosphere summons you the way Cinderella’s Castle does, the way The Great Movie Ride did, and (sadly) not the way The Tree of Life does.

It has been a long time since Mouse Gear was called Centorium, and yet this was the first time it really hit me that it was no longer such. In a previous blog I related the shop to the Magic Kingdom’s Emporium. On this trip I rated my favorite ‘character’ shops 1) Mouse Gear, 2) World of Disney, 3) Emporium. This was the first time the Emporium was not in the first spot (when applicable). The Mouse Gear taking that top spot reminded me just how good of a retail store it was, thus making me wish it was still called by the Centorium name.

Mission: Space is one of my wife’s favorites (I’m not sure there are many of you out there that can say that). And, though, I did not feel the angst of riding with all its intensity this time, I passed and let her fly solo. I felt the old dehydrated headache coming on and riding through the red planet would have me holding cold beers on my head rather than drinking them before I even the Food & Wining had commenced.

We took a stop in Club Cool. Lots of the usual beverages were unavailable. Thankfully the Italian form of Brontican was available. If you know me, you know why it’s worse for me than all the others who wince in taste.

We would hit the updated Test Track on the way out of the park, but first it was time to eat and drink around the world!

Well, after a stop and the fountain!

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NEXT BLOG: Food and Wine and Food and… More Wine!

 

Brother Dillo

 

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