Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Disney Exchange Podcast, Episode 37 ; Adult or Kid Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

By Nick 

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

-The Disney Exchange is David Hodges, Lisa Green, and me, Nicholas Maglio   

-Main Topic: Adult or Kid Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

I am not on this week's show, but you should all listen anyway, it's still pretty good. ;)

For details as to why I wasn't on, please listen to the show, where Lisa goes into detail.

One hint, it was stuffy in there!

And since I wasn't on the show, I will overcompensate with lots of photos of me in these notes, which I wouldn't even do if I wasn't contractually obligated to do so!


Lisa and Dave discuss a few of the 346 places to dine at Walt Disney World that are either adult friendly or kid friendly, starting with Lisa's choice, the very kid friendly Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort.

 

Barbie, me and our friend Jazz at Chef Mickey's

Lisa disagrees with Dave's choice The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, not surprisingly.

Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom is kid AND dog friendly!

Hollywood and Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios is indeed kid friendly, and great during Star Wars Weekends too!

With Handy Manny

With Dale

Lisa and Dave finally agree on something and discuss more kid friendly options before moving on to more adult restaurant choices.

Dave is going to take Lisa and me to Victoria and Albert's in the Grand Floridian, and is getting us a spot at the Chef's Table including the wine pairing in February. (just seeing if Dave actually reads these show notes)

Lisa and Dave bring my name up the required amount of times per my contract.

Bonus photo of me. You are very welcome.

The Wheel of Distiny topic: Best Run Disney Training Tip
Fun fact about the wheel, there is 850 slots!

Thank you for listening to The Disney Exchange, where Lisa and Dave refuse to take my calls.
You can find us on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thedisneyexchange
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneyexchange
Or email us at: info@thedisneyexchange 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Exactly Is It About Walt Disney World?

Trying on Hats at WDW 

By Lisa Green 

If you’re a fan of Disney vacations and you visit the Mouse as often as you can, you understand me.  You’ll also totally understand what it’s like to have friends and coworkers completely puzzled by this passion for Disney.  Yes, I’m talking about that most annoying of questions we Disney fans are constantly asked – “You’re going AGAIN?” – that query holds genuine puzzlement, usually with a sprinkling of scorn or worse, pity – as if we’re too immature or unsophisticated to know how and where to vacation properly.  “You do know that Disney World’s for little kids, right?”  Non-Disney fans ask me (and you, I’m sure) why we keep going to the same place for vacation over and over, year in, year out.  I save my answer for the ones I think really, genuinely want to know.  I’ve thought about my response a lot and I’ve had a lot of practice explaining what it is that makes Disney vacations so special to me.  I’ll tell you what it is and maybe you’ll leave me a comment and let me know why YOU love Disney vacations too.

Mother/Daughter Moment at WDW

What IS it about Walt Disney World?

Let me start with a couple of quotes – they’re basically the foundation of what Walt Disney World has meant to me over the years…

“Over at our place, we’re sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don’t think of grown-ups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.”- Walt Disney

Waiting for Toy Story Midway Mania 

“Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old.” – Walt Disney

Having fun at Old Key West

For me, that’s the major draw of Walt Disney World – remembering.  When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up.  I dreamed of going to college, getting a good job, getting married one day…maybe having a couple of children of my own.  Over time, though, I think the pressures and responsibilities of becoming an adult and focusing on achieving your dreams can cause you to lose a part of yourself – that “original” person you once were before all that life happened to you.  When I’m at Walt Disney World, I rediscover that person – the first me.  The me that was more carefree, less full of the sense of responsibility that comes with being a grown-up.

I’m more patient, more interested in little details, more relaxed, and certainly…lighter, for lack of a better word, when I’m on a Disney vacation.  I also think it gives my family a chance to get to know the original me a little bit more than they can at home when I’m worried about getting supper on the table, or whether washing whites or darks will have the biggest benefit for the immediate future.  At Walt Disney World, I totally let go of life’s troubles for a while – I’m not worried about how Joseph manages to make so many holes in his socks or how I’m going to help Megan pick out a new dress on my lunch hour and still make it back to the office to make a presentation on time.  We just have fun.  Together as a family, we are completely ourselves, being together, enjoying a wonderful, magical place.
In line at Disney 

“Dreams, ideas and plans not only are an escape, they give me purpose, a reason to hang on.” – Walt Disney

After every Disney vacation, we start planning the next one.  It may be far into the future, but we will be planning a way to return to the place that makes us so happy and holds some of our best memories.  We’ve got countdown calendars and when we’re having a bad day (bad week, heck – sometimes just a bad month), we use that future vacation as a reason to keep moving forward, solving problems, supporting each other, getting on with conquering whatever challenges come our way.

1900 Park Fare - Meeting Pring Charming

It’s become kind of rare for the four of us to be at home for supper these days, but when we have an evening together, we almost always do the same thing…At some point, one of us will silently raise their hand.  This is the “I’m going to Disney World” sign and, one at a time, as we notice what’s happening, we will each raise our hand.  Once we all have a hand raised, we carry on as if nothing unusual has taken place – but we’ve each been reminded that no matter what’s happening today, we have something extraordinarily fun in our future.  We will all be returning to a place where we are uniquely happy, together.

“When you believe in a thing – believe in it all the way – implicitly and unquestionable.” – Walt Disney

I’d love to hear from you – What IS it about Walt Disney World?  What does it mean to you?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LivingaDisLife and on Twitter at

Please be sure to check out Lisa along with me and David Hodges on The Disney Exchange Podcast!  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Boba Fett is my Coffee Mate

By Nick

This is not easy to confess, and it's going to make coffee aficionados cringe, but I like Coffee Mate.
I have my vintage plug in coffee percolator, brew up some joe, and add in the Mate.
My favorite flavor is Italian Sweet Cream, and the other day while grocery shopping I stopped by the dairy section to pick up a quart, and saw Mandalorian Armor staring back at me. Nice!


It's a Star Wars promotion, and this is a limited edition.
The back says that I should look for more Star Wars characters and also has a trivia question.


What was Boba Fett's primary starship's name?

I ǝʌɐlS

I knew the answer, how about you?



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Walt Disney World-May 2009 - Part 5

By Nick 

Part Four of this Walt Disney World trip report from May of 2009 that I wrote for the DVC News Forums can be found here.  Any commentary I make will be in italics.

Who: My wife, Barbie, my friends Todd and Meghan, and their baby, our Godson, Flynn who was 16 months old, and me.


Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The day started out innocently enough. Overcast, yet again. Very humid, which you know is trouble.
We went to the Studios because I wanted to see some Star Wars Weekend attendees and their costumes.
I even got some pics with a few folks.





Barbie and Meghan went to ride TSM (Toy Story Midway Mania), since Meghan didn't really get to experience it earlier in the week, while Todd, Flynn and I rode the Great Movie Ride. We then got a couple pastries at the Commissary. Meghan went to another class (she was in Orlando for work), and the rest of us went to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area.



We spent some time there, Flynn especially loved the musical steps.
I wanted to check out the special Star Wars merchandise, so we headed back to the store, only to find a line longer than the one for TSM!

We skipped that, and decided to head to Epcot, so I could maybe get some pics of the flowers before the rain. We hopped a boat, and on the way Todd mentioned he could go for some ice cream, so we got off at the Yacht & Beach Club stop, and had lunch at Beaches and Cream.



We all had burgers, fries, onion rings, and Todd tried to get Flynn to eat a hot dog. Barbie and I split a banana split, while Todd got an Old Fashioned Sundae.

About half way through ice cream, the skies opened up. To the point they closed Stormalong Bay. This was flood level rain.

Flynn was getting tired anyway, and rather than walk all the way through Epcot or take a boat back to the Studios, we got a cab back to POFQ.

I took a nap until I was awoken by thunder, seemingly directly above us.

At about 6PM, we saw that it was clearing, so made our way to the MK.

We rode the train around to Mickey's Toontown Fair (which is where the Storybook Circus portion of Fantasyland is today), where Flynn played in the playground, and we walked through the mouse's houses.

We had dinner at Cosmic Ray's, where Flynn grooved to Sonny Eclipse.

Then we rode the Jungle Cruise. Barbie and I hadn't done it in a while, having had several non enthusiastic CMs doing the same jokes. But this ride we had a skipper named Sarah who was both enthusiastic, and told several jokes we hadn't heard before. I laughed rather than groaned several times! Todd and Meghan thought she was a bit to edgy, bordering on angry, but I thought she was perfect for the role.



We then had Dole Whips. Barbie and Todd tried the citrus swirl, but I didn't care for it.
By now it was 9PM, and most people were out at the parade, so we walked onto Pirates of the Caribbean.



We stayed in back of the castle to watch Wishes, which is a pretty neat spot if you want to get a seat and avoid the throng.



Of course you have to deal with them leaving, but this is a nice respite. It took us nearly 20 minutes to make it down Main Street.

Usually we'll hit the shops and wait till the crowd thins, but they were just as packed. It seems everyone had come out on this lovely evening.

The POFQ revealed a definite advantage in it's small size, line for the bus was short compared to other resorts. Got back at 11:15PM. 





 Please stop back next Thursday for part 6.

Monday, August 24, 2015

An Overview of Disney's Art of Animation Resort

By Nick

Today we'll look at my favorite Value, actually, one of my favorite resorts in general, Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Art of Animation (AoA) is an homage to Disney/Pixar animation, and the theme begins in the fabulous lobby of the main building, Animation Hall, which features a very colorful check in area.


Animation sketches from the movies represented in the different sections of the resort adorn the walls.

Even the chandelier features sketch art.

Buses to the parks are located just outside of the Hall. We thought the bus service was fine, perhaps better than at Pop Century.
AoA opened in phases through 2012, starting with the Finding Nemo family suites, which are located directly behind Animation Hall.
There are large character sculptures located throughout each area, similar to the Pop and All Star resorts.



This is also where you'll find the main pool. We loved this pool, which has underwater speakers. You can actually hear the fun soundtrack, which features appropriately aquatic themed music, which can be heard better while submerged! There is also an interactive water play area for kids.


There is a bridge connecting AoA to the Pop Century resort at the back of this section.


The building exteriors also feature animation art from the film being represented in that section.



There are also trivia and fun facts strewn throughout the resort.


The next section that opened was Cars family suites, which is where we stayed.
It is AMAZING! It's like staying in Radiator Springs!
As you approach, you are greeted by billboards, and the Sheriff, to let you know to keep your speed down.



You then travel up Route 66, to one of 3 themed buildings, or the Cozy Cone pool area.


The building to the left is themed after Luigi's Tires, where you'll find the proprietor and Guido.


To the right is Tow Mater's Towing and Salvage.


At the far end is The Wheel Well Motel, where Sally and Lightning McQueen can be found. This is where we stayed!


The theme extends inside as Red welcomes us.


On to the room. The family suites can easily sleep 6. There is a dining /sleeping area (yes, you read that right, more on that in a bit), small kitchen area, 2 bathrooms, a living room, and a bedroom.


The bathroom to the right is a full bath with a tub.


The bedroom has a queen size bed. The mattress was a bit on the firm side for me.


It has a flat screen TV.


The bath off the bedroom has a shower and no tub. Water pressure was great, and this was easily my favorite shower of all the resorts we've stayed in at Walt Disney World.


The cars theme is everywhere in the suites, with cone lamps, a fold out sofa bed that looks like a car seat, a table with a map of Radiator Springs, etc.


The kitchenette has a small refrigerator, sink, coffee maker, and microwave.


Our view was terrific as well, but of course, this is not a guarantee.


I mentioned the dining/sleeping area earlier. Here we see a table. There are usually 4 chairs around it, we are in the process of moving them here.


Why are we moving the chairs? To pull the murphy bed down of course! We actually found this bed more comfortable than the the one in the bedroom, and slept here a couple of nights!


Overall, the room was fantastic. The one and only complaint I have is that you cannot lower the temperature below 68 degrees.

The pool is themed after the Cozy Cone.


The cones, are cabanas, which is first come, first serve. Also, bring towels. We were not aware you needed to do this, and I had to run back to the room on our first swim.


It's well lit at night.


Speaking of night, the place is really magical in the evening.



This is easily the best themed resort on Disney Property.
Don't forget to get your pictures taken with some of the citizens of Radiator Springs!

 Barbie with Flo.
Me and Mater.

The next section to open were The Lion King family suites. This is the only area not to have a pool of it's own.


Finally, The Little Mermaid standard rooms opened in late 2012.


The pool is called the Flippin’ Fins Pool, featuring the “Under the Sea Orchestra” conducted by Sebastian.


Back at Animation Hall is where you can find the excellent counter service restaurant, Landscape of Flavors.
We ate breakfast several mornings at Landscape.


Landscape is a food court with several food stations.
As you enter, you can get an overview of some of what they have to offer.


There are plenty of choices for breakfast, including smoothies, create your own fruit bowls, and one of my favorites, create your own yogurt parfait.


Choose from a selection of  fresh fruit, berries, dried fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.


There are several cereals.


Plenty of pastry items to tempt you.


One morning, Barbie had an egg white omelet from the Create Your Own Omelet station, which features a choice of ham, sausage, tomato, mushroom, onions, green bell peppers, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese and turkey bacon served with biscuit.


We also had several other entrees, including the Bounty Platter: scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuit and pancakes.
The bacon is typical Disney bacon, a bit thin and not very flavorful. I suggest the breakfast sausage if given a choice.


I had Chocolate Chip Pancakes with fresh fruit topping and choice of bacon or sausage.
The Portuguese sausage is very tasty, but a bit overpowering for breakfast.


Another morning I had the Waffles with Fresh Fruit Topping and Bacon.



Landscape also serves lunch and dinner.
The seating sections represent the movies that are featured throughout the resort, Cars, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King.


Landscape of Flavors is a great spot for either a quick snack or a sit down meal, but be warned, it can get very crowded, so try to arrive before too late in the morning, or eat at "off" times.
There is also a really great store, the Ink and Paint gift shop.

For more on resort categories, please listen to Episode 20 of The Disney Exchange Podcast.