Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christmas Tips 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's that time of year! Halloween is over and that means one thing at Disney: it's time for Christmas!

Every year, Walt Disney World transforms into a Winter Wonderland. This year, there are some new changes to look out for. This is a long one, so grab some cocoa and snuggle down by the fireplace.

Without further ado, let's get to the festive fun!

Without a doubt, the most exciting part of the holiday season at Disney is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! Unlimited cookies and cocoa, Christmas music, a parade and fantastic Fireworks display all go into this night. MVMCP is a separate, hard ticketed event, but it's well worth it. The park is less crowded, and the night really is wonderful.

 There are two shows to watch: A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas! and Celebrate the Season. The former is (obviously) in Tomorrowland, and features Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch. The latter stars Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald getting ready for Christmas.

NEW this year is a Frozen Holiday Wish. In years past, Cinderella's fairy godmother was called upon to make the castle sparkle with ice and lights. This year, everyone's favorite ice queen will takeover, along with Kristoff, Anna and Olaf. This is sure to be impressive! Note: This can actually be seen at 6:15 with regular admission, and then again at 8:00, during the party.

It wouldn't be a Disney party without characters! All the favorites make appearances in the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, as well as gingerbread men, toy soldiers, and of course, Santa. NEW this year to the parade will be a Frozen processional, as well as Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck it Ralph.

NEW this year characters can be found in dance parties. The Holiday Hootenanny! in Liberty Square will feature the Country Bears and Clarabel, Horace and Clara. At Club Tinsel in tomorrowland, Phineas and Ferb will be dancing the night away.

NEW this year guests will be able to meet Sandy Claws aka the Pumpkin King himself, Jack Skellington, in his Christmas gear! The seven dwarves, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy are also available to meet in their winter clothes, too!

Finally, snow on Main Street! While this is just a little thing, kids especially (or native Floridians :-p) will be amazed to see snow, especially at the Happiest Place on Earth.

While it's certainly amazing, not all fun at Magic Kingdom is at the Christmas Party! Many things are available with a general admission ticket.

Holiday decorations, for example, are up all day. On main street you can meet Santa, or even just take a beautiful Christmas themed Disney picture of your family.

Gift shops are all decked out too! You might even find a few things to add to your Christmas list.

NEW (from last year) is the Jungle Jingle Cruise! The ordinary boat ride is given a makeover, completely with holiday decorations, yuletide skipper nicknames, and of course, corny Christmas jokes.

Be Our Guest restaurant, as well all the other restaurants, also gets in the spirit. Featuring the tree and angel from Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas. 

Liberty Tree Inn is all dressed up.

Finally at Magic Kingdom, keep your eyes open! You may come across the Citizens of Main Street dancing to Christmas songs, or the Dapper Dans singing your favorite carols.

Pop Century Christmas Tree
Of course, there's more to WDW then the Magic Kingdom. The Resorts go all out too, and they're definitely worth seeing. Grand Floridian builds a life sized gingerbread house! Even the Values have gorgeous trees. Drive, hop on bus or monorail, and check it out!

Pere Noel in the UK at Epcot.

Holidays Around the World at Epcot are a fun way experience how different cultures celebrate. Also at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional, featuring Disney Cast Members, student choirs, and celebrity hosts telling the Christmas story. Candelight Processional dinner packages can be purchased for an additional fee, which includes a reserved dinner, priority seating for the show, and a reserved area for that evening's Illuminations!

Rumor: ENDING this year is the Hollywood Studios Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The Streets of America is covered with Christmas lights, which are set to music. For this year, a Frozen premium package will be available for purchase. With the package, you'll get preferred seating to a performance of the For the First Time in Forever sing-a-long show, as well as a dessert party during the Osborne lights, and a collectable pin and lithograph. Todd and I have done many of these premium packages, and they are well worth it.

Well, that about wraps about this post! There is so much to see and do this Christmas at Disney, so look out for some reviews!

Until then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Villains Sinister Soiree: Part 2

If you haven't read the first part of the review, here it is.

After club villain, we went to Cinderella Castle to check into the dessert party.

Inside the castle we were instructed to wait in the foyer and mingle with some characters before heading up to the main dining room.

The foyer with a slight Tremaine makeover

The Queen of Hearts, Anastasia and Drizella teasing a girl dressed as the Cheshire Cat

This meet and greet time was one of the benefits of our 11:25 seating. The latest party of the evening is 11:45 with seating times between 11:25 and 11:45. Not only does this extend the Halloween Party, which usually ends at midnight, but our 11:25 seating time gave us a check in of about 11:10, which gave us a lot of time for character mingling before the party began.

We walked up to the main dining room and were greeted by Judge Frollo and Captain Hook. They made their way around to each table for photos, except Captain Hook just sort of skipped by.

At each setting of our table we found autograph cars and personalized menus. Unlike the usual dessert parties, each party is seated at their own table and served by a cast member.

Our poison apple centerpiece

 A cheese plate was served to us as soon as we sat down. There were little pieces of toast, blue cheese, cream cheese, baby gherkins, figs, cheese fondue, and salami. Also waiting was a souvenir Maleficent cup filled with candy, which was convenient because we didn't get to do any trick or treating.

 The drink of the evening was a delicious poison apple concoction, complete with poison apple glow cube and Maleficent drink stirrer, both souvenirs to take home with us.

Lady Tremaine welcomes her guests

 After we got settled into our seats, Lady Tremaine sang us a song welcoming everyone and introducing all of the other Villains that would be joining the event. After their introductions, the Villains made their way around to every table for photos.

 Throughout the night, an organ player played melancholy renditions of classic Disney songs. While the Villains were circulating, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella sang a hilarious mash up of "Sing Sweet Nightingale" and "Royals" by Lorde. After the musical number, each Villain introduced the desserts everyone was waiting for.

 The one I found most interesting was the Evil Queen's bleeding heart apple. It was a bright red apple with a white wine and cherry reduction inside, which "bled" when cut open.

 Next was Maleficent's Dragon Toasted Confection, a pistachio mousse topped with meringue. This was very good, if a bit odd.

Next up was Dr. Facilier's chocolate Tarot Card and flourless chocolate torte. The torte tasted like pure espresso cream, which was strange considering it wasn't mentioned as having any sort of coffee flavoring at all. Still, it was very good.

 Finally was Cruella de Vil's Spotted Mousse Cake, which was dark chocolate and white chocolate with raspberry. This was the most expected of the desserts, but it was absolutely delicious!

 Before we left for the evening, Lady Tremaine made her way over and insisted we take a photo with her. And then she sang "The Party's Over," and indeed it was. Then we made our way out of the park, which was eerily empty, as the party had been over for almost an hour. This was the other great part of the late party: how often do you get to see Magic Kingdom empty? That, coupled with the steam from rain and the party lights made for some pretty spook-tacular pictures.

 And thus closed an awesome evening at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Villains Sinister Soiree: Part 1

It's Halloween time at the Happiest Place on Earth again! And we all know what that means...Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

This year, in addition to the traditional offerings Walt Disney World is hosting an event within an event. Villain Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle is a premium package of sorts, offering a private preferred viewing area of the Boo to You parade, the HalloWishes fireworks spectacular, and a Villain filled dessert party that takes place inside Cinderella's castle. The cost is $99 on top of the cost of the party, but we found it well worth it. 

We got to the party around 3:30 and hung around Main Street so we wouldn't have to go too far to get back out of the park to pick up our Soiree passes. While we were waiting, we took in some of the always impressive Not So Scary atmosphere.

All dressed up as Anna
In front of the castle with Rochelle Briar Rose

Just as it began to rain, it was time to go get our credentials! Lanyards and escort cards were picked up at a Will Call kiosk at the front of the park. The lanyards gained us access to the VIP area for the parade and fireworks, the escort card was our ticket to the dessert party.

We took in some attractions until the party started, and then we began the party off right with a visit to the Haunted Mansion.

Madame Leota waiting for the rain to pass so she can tell her ghost stories.

At 7:45 we checked in right behind the Partner's statue, where half of the Hub was roped off for the event. The viewing area was perfect for the parade and fireworks. As an added bonus, cast members gave us complimentary bottles of water, lollipops, and ponchos to help ward off the rain. It was a wonderfully unexpected surprise! We were already feeling the benefits of the package.

Todd enjoying his poncho and lollipop.

There are a few different seating times for the Soiree each night, and we lucked into the 11:25 time. So, after the parade, we used the hour we had before check in to dance and dry off in Club Villain.

Club Villain is inside the Diamond Horseshoe, and features Top 40 and dance songs, complete with some pretty cool characters.

Anastasia and Drizella fighting over a glow bracelet

Lady Tremaine

Snow White Witch Selfie!

Cruella de Vil showing off her dance moves.

Dr. Facilier
 It was so cool to see so many characters, and we had an interaction with most of them! It was not really crowded at all, which is surprising considering the waits some of characters would get separately. 

After the dance party, it was time for the event! 

And that's where I'll leave you for now...stay tuned for part 2. 

Until then, 
Hurry back...hurry back...