Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chapel Hats Disney Springs


If you have not been to Disney Springs recently and are going soon, you are in for a treat! This article by Lisa is over a year old, and the construction walls she mentions in the first sentence are mostly down, but I wanted to share this because it conveys wonderfully the experience of going to the newly imagined Downtown Disney. It has become a destination in and of itself! - Nick

 By Lisa Green 

Construction walls may still be up all around, but excitement is in the air as Downtown Disney’s transformation into Disney Springs is well underway.  New stores are springing up while old favorites continue to thrive.  We recently spent a very enjoyable evening in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs and there’s a new shop I’ve just got to tell you about!

After a leisurely dinner at one of our most favorite dining locations in the World, Raglan Road, we decided to take our time walking back to the bus stop.  Okay, that’s a lie.  We had to walk slowly on account of being inordinately stuffed from the appetizer, salad, entrĂ©es, and desserts we’d just consumed.  My only excuse for overindulgence is that watching those famous Irish Dancers burn off all those calories makes me hungry.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Anyway, we were strolling along and noticed a new shop had opened that we both wanted to explore!


I know, right?  What are the chances that Raymond and I both wanted to shop in the very same store when it’s not full of Disney merchandise?  It just so happens that we are both wild about hats!  The new Chapel Hat store was irresistible.  We waddled on inside and stayed for quite a visit.

Simple and well-stocked, Chapel hats is easy to shop – it’s like a gigantic closet of hats! 



Shelves and shelves stacked high with just about any and every style imaginable.  Men’s hats on the left and women’s on the right with the checkout counter in the middle, Chapel Hats is a lid-lover’s dream come true. 


Charmed by the variety of hats ranging in style from whimsical to utilitarian, we made use of the shop’s many mirrors…and had a ball!





What started out as a fun diversion soon became a serious quest for the perfect hat for each of us.  We enjoyed picking out different styles for each other to try. 


We took turns modeling different types and colors, narrowing our selection down to the two or three we liked the best then helping each other decide on the ONE.  No matter what kind of chapeau you prefer, Chapel Hats has a topper for you!  After about 30 minutes of fun, we purchased our selections.  Shopping bag in hand, we made our way to the buses and on to the Magic Kingdom for Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade.  A perfect souvenir for a truly magical day, our new hats will be a happy reminder of a great Disney vacation for years to come.

Are you much of a hat wearer?  Be sure to check out Chapel Hats on your next visit to Downtown Disney/Disney Springs!  Chapel Hats on the web.

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our Hurricane Matthew Weekend : Part 2

By Nick

Part 1 can be found here:

Friday 10/7/16, Hurricane Matthew

I slept rather fitfully, waking several times during the night to look outside. I really didn't see much.
Finally, around 7 am,  I went for a walk around our floor.

One thing about staying at Pop Century, as we were in an inside facing room, it seemed to be sheltered from the wind to some extent, so when I first went out, it didn't seem that there was much more than a strong breeze blowing. As I walked around however, I did feel some heavier gusts. Still, it was nowhere near the magnitude I'd expected from the news reports the previous evening. And it was not even raining very hard.

Barbie and I had our cereal while watching the news. Matthew's eye had remained offshore, so while the damage was not minor, especially to coastal towns, it was not as severe as had originally been predicted.

I started seeing more and more people walking around so decided to head over to Everything Pop for a coffee. They were serving breakfast! I grabbed my hot beverage, and a couple of tie dye cheesecakes, and headed back to the room.

Barbie and I had our snacks and decided to take a walk over to Art of Animation to see if anything was happening there. Interestingly, they had a much more limited menu. I talked to a Cast Member who said they had run out of food! And their shop, wasn't open!

We walked back to Pop, got back in our PJs and had our salads, expecting to just spend the rest of the afternoon in. We were contacted by Jill and Zach who had decided to come over to hang out with us, and wound up getting a ride from a Cast Member on a golf cart!

Zach broke out UNO, and we spent awhile playing.

Around 2:30- 3, I got a text from a CM friend, Marilyn, letting me know that Disney Springs would be opening at 4 pm! Shortly thereafter, I received a message from the Pop front desk, also sharing this information. I will say, Disney and Pop did a really good job updating us via messages throughout the whole experience.

Zach called us an Uber and we headed over to the main building to wait. Within just a few minutes we were on our way to Disney Springs, arriving at 3:45. We talked to a really great CM who was a New Jersey local, in fact from the town adjacent to where Barbie works. A few minutes before 4, he took us down to the entrance and admitted us. We were literally among the only people in all of DS! It was pretty amazing to get our first look at the just recently opened Town Center section almost completely empty.

We took a walk around, and as we were looking at the D-Luxe Burger menu, a CM came out and invited us to go on in, they were the only restaurant actually fully open at that point!

The 4 of us split 2 different burgers, fries and milkshakes. I'll have a full review in the future, but will say this, we thoroughly enjoyed it!

We headed over to Jock Lindsey's and were lucky enough to snag a table, because within 15 minutes of our arrival, the place was standing room only, with a long line out front!

Service was a bit slow, but this was understandable, because, as it was explained to us by our server, the CMs that were in were not necessarily servers from the particular establishment, and they were very understaffed. Throw in the fact that DS was literally the only game in town, so to speak, and you have a recipe for huge crowds!

We spent a couple of hours eating, drinking, crowd watching and playing Uno before heading out into the masses! We walked through several shops before deciding to head back, as it was going to be an early start the next day, as Disney had announced they would be opening it's parks at 8 am.

We had missed a day and a half at the parks, but we had experienced something that relatively few people have, a Hurricane at Walt Disney World, and only the 4th time that the parks had been closed in it's 45 year history!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Hurricane Matthew Weekend : Part 1

By Nick

There were several reasons we chose to go to Walt Disney World for a short visit October 6th through October 10th.

The number one reason was that my Disney Exchange Podcast co-host Lisa was going to be at WDW until October 8th. We talked our fellow co-host Dave, who lives relatively close, to come down for an official Disney Exchange Podcast meetup on the 7th!

We promoted said meetup for several weeks on the show as well as all over our social media accounts.

It was going to be epic! We would get plenty of photos of us all together, and hopefully meet a few of our listeners!

And then came Hurricane Matthew.

I started to watch the weather obsessively on October 2nd. By the 4th, I was on the fence as to if we should reschedule. My wife's cousin Jill and her husband Zach were also going to WDW during the same dates, and Lisa was there with her family. I really wanted to go and see my friends and family! Barbie and I decided to just keep an eye on things and not panic.

By the night before our flight, which was due to fly out at 7:05am on Thursday the 6th, Matthew had shifted to a course that looked like it would be making landfall on the eastern coast of Florida.

 From The Miami Herald, 10/5

Disney cancelled several events, and even evacuated people camping at Fort Wilderness, but the parks were still due to be open. Airlines were cancelling flights starting Thursday afternoon. Dave was sending me updates from Florida. To say I didn't sleep well would be a huge understatement. I kept checking to see if our flight was still on time.

Thursday 10/6

Our airport shuttle picked us up promptly at 4 am, we were checked in and at our gate at 5:30am, and our Southwest flight left right on time. On the way down, to commemorate Matthew, all adults were treated to Hurricane cocktails, which were delicious!

We were also treated to some very interesting clouds!

We landed on time, and just a few moments before our family, who were flying in from New England. We met up at the airport!

They got on their Magical Express bus for Caribbean Beach while we headed to Pop Century.

We got our first real glimpse of the effect of the Hurricane at WDW when we walked into the Pop lobby. It was a bit insane. People were either trying to check out early, or their flights had been cancelled and they were trying to book an extra day or two.

After 30 minutes we checked in and headed for our room. As soon as we put our bags down I saw I had several Facebook notifications. Several of them saying that Walt Disney World parks were closing at 5:00pm and that they would be closed all day Friday the 7th! I checked Disney's website and they had not updated with this info at that point.

We headed out to catch a bus to Epcot, and on the way spoke with a groundskeeping Cast Member, and he verified the closures.

On the way to the park, I contacted Lisa who had made us and her family advanced dining reservations at Shula's Steak House located in the Dolphin Resort at 7:30. Our new plan was to meet at Epcot, head to the Dolphin at 5:00pm, have a few drinks before dinner, and take a cab or Uber back to our respective resorts.

These plans were thrown out when we went to Guest Relations to pick up Barbie's Annual Pass. The Cast Members informed us that there would not be any transportation available in the evening as the Governor had declared a state of emergency.

I contacted Lisa again and gave her this updated information.

Jill and Zach arrived, and the 4 of us headed back to World Showcase to get in as much park time as we could. It was a little after noon, but the crowds were not very heavy due to on and off again showers, as well as the general situation.

We headed off to the Patagonia booth to get my perennial favorite dish, the beef skewers with chimichurri sauce. We had just gotten in line when I heard someone ask if I was Nick from The Disney Exchange! Jennifer is a fan of our show, and a frequent contributor on our sister/brother podcast, Geekin' on WDW. Thank you for saying hello Jennifer, you made me feel like a celebrity!

After a couple more stops, we met up with a long time Facebook friend Diane and her husband Andrew, and had a nice time chatting at the Canada Pavilion. One minute the weather was beautiful, and then within moments it started to pour.

We said goodbye to Diane and Andrew and headed into the Craft Beer building where we shared a couple of flights and snacks, before heading over towards the Seas to meet Lisa and her family.

On the way we stopped into Club Cool, and a very odd thing happened. 2 people I know (Jill and Zach) liked Beverly. I mean they commented on how good it was to Barbie and me, without any provocation. Really. Beverly.

We met up with Lisa (thanks again for the Komodo Dragon figure and tee shirt, buddy!) and her family and walked back towards World Showcase with the intention of riding Frozen Ever After.
The park was mostly empty, so there would be no long wait, right?
Uh, no. 105 minutes. So THAT'S where everyone was!

We moved on to the American Pavilion and grabbed a beer at the Hops and Barley stand before parting ways.

Following Zach's suggestion, we went into the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Japan to get some snacks for the storm, and he treated me to a saki. Thanks Zach!

By then it was 4:15, and we had 4:50 FastPasses for Soarin.' When we got there, Zach approached the Cast Member at the FastPass entrance and asked if we could go in early, and she said yes!

Ah, Soarin' Around the's good. I'll talk more about that in another post.

By the time we exited it was 4:50 or so. We were getting hungry and I noticed very few people at Sunshine Seasons. It looked like they hadn't started cleaning up yet, so I suggested we go there. This turned out to be very fortuitous. There were several pre-made salads and sandwiches, as well as cereal and milk, so we grabbed breakfast, lunch and dinner food for the next day, and had dinner then and there as well.

Heading out there was still a lot of people getting buses, so we had to wait a couple of rounds, but we met a really wonderful couple and time seemed to fly by as we chatted with them.

When we got back to the resort we really appreciated having picked up our food from the Land, as the line for the pre-packaged meal Disney was offering was over 2 hours long. The meal, which, if I can recall correctly from what I was told, contained a sandwich, chips, and dessert, was $12.99. I don't remember the drink or if there were snacks included.

I bought a bottle of Captain Morgan's Long Island Iced Tea at the shop and we headed back to the room to watch the weather. The news and media made it sound very dire indeed, and we prepared to be in for the entire next day!

Next up- Hurricane Day!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

WDW, a Hurricane, and Lisa Green - 096 The Disney Exchange Podcast

The Disney Exchange is Lisa Green, Dave Hodges, and me, Nick.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

This week Lisa shares highlights from her recent trip to Walt Disney World, the biggest being, I'm sure, was getting to spend time with me, regardless of how brief.


She also talks about her experience with Hurricane Matthew. And me.

Lisa, her family, and Barbie (or is that Stephanie?!) over my right shoulder.

The Wheel of Distiny topic: What is your favorite thing about the recently opened Soarin' Around the World?

Listener question: Have you noticed the new smells on Pirates of the Caribbean and what do you think they are, and do you miss the sulfur water smell?

We had some technical difficulties, and were on a bit of a tight recording schedule, so really didn't plug our Numbered Listener Giveaway which will be taking place on Episode 100 of The Disney Exchange.
The giveaway will include many fantastic gifts!
Do you have your listener number?!
If you do, you are already eligible for the Giveaway. If you don't, all you need to do to get one is ask! Be proud to be a listener of mine. Or us, I mean us.

You can get your listener number, request a show subject, suggest a Wheel topic, just say hello, tell me how great I am, share your thoughts on the meaning of life, etc. on Facebook:, Twitter:  or email us at: info@thedisneyexchange  

And, if the mood strikes, why not give us a 5 star rating and review on iTunes

Thanks for listening to The Disney Exchange Podcast!

Oh, and so Dave doesn't feel left out:

Dave, Zach, me, Jill, and Barbie