Monday, January 5, 2015

Disney Favorites of 2014

By Nick

2014 was a good year. We were very fortunate to visit Walt Disney World several times, and take a 4 night Cruise on the Disney Dream.

I shared food favorites this past Friday, but there was, of course, many other great attractions, experiences and entertainment, including one of my all time favorite movies ever, Guardians of the Galaxy. As these are in no particular order we may as well start there.

Guardians of the Galaxy is action packed, cleverly written, touching, fun, and, oh yea, funny. I got the 3D Blu-ray for Barbie for Christmas, because she loved it as much as me. If you haven't seen it, you really should.

Staying in the super hero vein, I would like to mention Marvel's Agents of Shield on ABC. Technically, it started in 2013, but it went from pretty good to great when they tied it in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, (also highly recommended) making for one big, exciting, cohesive story full of great twists. Season 1 of Agents has recently been released on Netflix.

Speaking of ABC television, we discovered another favorite, Once Upon a Time. Yes, I know we are late to the party, and I don't feel this newest season was the best, but we love the show and all the Disney references they put in, and we had a great time binge watching the first 3 seasons, which can also be found on Netflix.

On to Walt Disney World. In January, we stayed at my new favorite resort, the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Great location, great views, being able to hear the Magic Kingdom come alive early in the morning and watch the monorail and ferry go back and forth across Seven Seas Lagoon, the room was beautiful, the restaurants, the pools and the great beer selection at the bars.
I could go on and on.

On that same trip back in January, we had what I'm going to choose as best experience at Walt Disney World last year; being picked as the Celebrities of the Day at our favorite restaurant, The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I say best experience at Walt Disney World, because we had really great experiences outside the bubble, which I would be totally remiss if I didn't discuss, so, in the interest of fairness, I have to mention Barbie getting chosen for a wand, or should I say, the wand choosing Barbie, at Ollivander's Wand Shop in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. Our overall time at Universal was terrific fun, but this was my favorite moment, and as I type this, I'm looking over at the wand prominently displayed in our living room.

Back to Disney!
I have 2 days which leap out immediately as being favorites, overall, both of which are chronicled in trip reports, something I've started doing as a way to not only share our vacation with friends and family as well as blog readers, but mostly as a way for Barbie and I to remember.

The 1st day was on the Disney Dream, our first visit to Castaway Cay, and dressing as Santa and Mrs. Claus for the Halloween on the High Seas activities that evening.

 The second day was from our most recent trip. It was easily the most festive day of the holiday season for me, where we started the day taking the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, met Father Christmas in the UK, Barbie and I got our photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, we had and excellent lunch at the Biergarten in Germany, complete with Christmas Carols from the band there, watched the most moving of all the storytellers, La Befana in Italy, saw the Candlelight Processional narrated by LaVar Burton and were very amused by the antics of Sigrid and Julenissen in Norway! Whew! And I'm leaving stuff out, even!

Favorite attraction. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It's very well themed, features my favorite Disney character, Grumpy, and it doesn't make me motion sick. What's not to love? A new MUST do each trip!

Also at the Magic Kingdom, you'll find my favorite new afternoon parade, The Festival of Fantasy. Actually, there is only this one afternoon parade in Walt Disney World! We aren't parade fans, but this is worth seeing each and every trip!

Best Sing Along, (only Sing-Along ?) goes to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. As I've written about here on Musings, because we don't have kids, we really didn't get bombarded with the juggernaut Frozen became, so we really actually liked all the Frozen themed stuff around the park, and this sing-along was amazing, if only to hear a few hundred people sing what are some really great songs.

Best Character interactions; We love getting photos with characters, and the best are when there are multiple characters that interact with each other. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, we met King Louie and Baloo, and they had an altercation over Barbie's affections! It was hilarious.

A close runner up, Mickey Mouse. He talked to us! And not only that, he asked if we would like to pose as the Hitchhiking Ghosts! That was awesome.

Favorite new Podcast? Well, that's easy! The Disney Exchange, hosted by Lisa Green, Dave Hodges, and me! Please check us out on iTunes!

What was your favorite Disney moment of 2014?


  1. Has to be 2 things. Riding on the Mine Train for the first time, and meeting Ariel in her grotto. It was a kind of unexpected trip to WDW that I took after four days in Orlando for a work conference, and I squeezed in a few days at WDW as well. Being fairly last minute, I still got to do the things I wanted with Fast Pass!

  2. OH, and of course the cruise we took on the Wonder when we left on Halloween! That was a blast!

  3. One trip to WDW and the highlights, some great interactions with cast members! Meeting Anna and Elsa, as well as Ariel.

    Trying out L'Artisan de Glaces at the France pavilion. A wonderful guy with his guitar playing dockside at Downtown Disney. Finding the wonderful GF soup at Earl of Sandwich.

    Going on the new Mermaid ride. Making great use of FP+. Wow, lots of things.


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