Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartyDate of Visit: December 5, 2013

Originally, I only purchased tickets for Dad and I to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, but a few days later Mik decided he wanted to try it out since Mom was with us this trip and the ticket includes theme park admission (she does not have an annual pass like the rest of us).  He figured if he got tired of it, they could at least leave.  He also remembered enjoying the Halloween party we did a few years ago at Disneyland and thought this would be fun like that, although slightly different.

Since you can get in a few hours before the party starts, we killed some time going on Jingle Cruise and shopping in the Christmas store in Liberty Square.  We then got in line to buy the special pins only available during the party. Not as bad as shopping at D23 Expo, but poor location with the traffic flow of the pin store in Frontierland being forced in the accessible entrance and then your stuck exiting the other way, which is not entirely a big deal, but then everyone was already starting to crowd it getting ready for parade.  We decided to just quickly grab a spot one row back from the front to at least enjoy the parade.  Mom then went back and forth several times getting us all some of the free cookies and cocoa they give out during the party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

The parade was overall enjoyable, although the princess float broke down causing a long delay in the parade.  Mik was tired of everything by then, especially since it ended up being actually more crowded than when we have normally been in the Magic Kingdom.  Thus, we quickly went and got the special Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom card for the party for each of us and then Mom took him back to the truck to wait.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party


Dad and I stayed to watch the show on the castle (totally awesome, especially with our Glow with the Show ears from Disneyland now working here, although we got stuck in a spot just off Main Street and it did not always sync with show).  We also saw the fireworks and the show in front of castle before quickly backtracking to Frontierland to buy a peppermint brownie before the second parade started and then grab some cookies and cocoa on our way out.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Overall the entertainment that goes with Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was an enjoyable holiday thing to experience.  However, we expected it to feel more like the Disneyland Halloween party in terms of crowds. Instead it felt very crowded and actually more so than most times we are in the park during normal hours.  I guess that could have to do with it being sold out that night and maybe the Halloween one was not when we did it, but still Disneyland seems to take less people to feel crowded.

It was worth experiencing at least once, especially since I really wanted this year's Sorcerer card with Scrooge's nephews, but not sure we would do it again and if we did we certainly would only get tickets for Dad and me.  Mom and Mik would have more fun and almost spent less money if they had instead gone to the Fork & Dine at the AMC in Downtown Disney.

Destination Info:
Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Friday, December 6, 2013

Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom - Jingle Cruise

Jingle CruiseDate of Visit: December 5, 2013

The Jungle Cruise is one of the wheelchair accessible rides at the Magic Kingdom.  We usually skip it because Mik is not too into it, but since they do not have our favorite holiday ride (it's a small world) or any other holiday themed ride (Haunted Mansion Holiday) like Disneyland does we decided we had to try it out as the Jingle Cruise.  Plus, this trip Mom actually came with for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and Jungle Cruise is her favorite attraction.

Overall I was kind of disappointed in the Jingle Cruise, as I was expecting to see a lot of holiday decorations, but it mainly is just Trader Sam at the end decorated.  The main holiday theme is the corny jokes the skipper's tell, which make it a nice different experience than normal, but I am not into that thing in the first place.  Mom loved it, though.

Jingle Cruise
Mik likes the way the wheelchair gets lowered onto the Jungle Cruise boat (the holiday name for the accessible one is Brrrrr Bertha).  What we did not like, though, is that the disability guide for the Magic Kingdom does not say there is a special mobility access for this ride, but when we tried to get in the regular line we were directed to get a Return Time card to come back instead of wait in the line.  Yeah, it is nice we could go do something else and the wait time ends up being the same, but we missed out on the whole queue experience, which I think also meant missing out on most of the holiday decoration aspect of the Jingle Cruise.  Also, we should have planned better and gone in the daylight, as there is not special holiday lighting (or even much regular lighting) to make the ride more interesting after dark and you can see much more of the attraction in the daylight.

Destination Info:
Magic Kingdom - Jungle/Jingle Cruise
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Monday, August 19, 2013

Disneyland: Enchanted Tiki Tiki Realms at Disney Gallery

Disneyland: Enchanted Tiki Tiki Realms at Disney Gallery
Date of Visit: August 12, 2013

The Disney Gallery is located next to The Disneyland Story and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln exhibit/show area on Main Street. It is partly a store, as most of it is artwork for sale, but it also is a themed exhibit. The current exhibit called “Tiki Tiki Realms: Celebrating 50 Years of Enchantment,” which is about the Tiki Tiki Room attraction.

Disneyland: Enchanted Tiki Tiki Realms at Disney Gallery


Mik enjoyed rolling around and viewing the different artwork and seeing the animatronics up close. Of course, his favorite, though, was the miniature collectibles they sell in the shop.

Destination Info:

Disney Gallery at Disneyland
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Hilton Anaheim Convention Center

Hilton Anaheim Convention CenterDate of Visit: August 7-13, 2013

We had booked a King bed accessible room with a roll in shower, but ended up with one with just a accessible bathroom with tub because I agreed to them moving us to the theme park view without realizing it was not with a roll in shower. While the roll in shower makes bathing easier, for this trip sacrificing it for the theme park view ended up being great. This was because the room offered a nice way to view the nightly Disneyland fireworks, which Mik enjoys watching, but hates the noise of.
Hilton Anaheim Convention CenterHilton Anaheim Convention CenterHilton Anaheim Convention CenterHilton Anaheim Convention Center
Overall we enjoyed staying at the Hilton, especially since we could get to the D23 Expo without crossing any streets and they even have automatic doors by the exit to the convention center. Mik disliked that the elevators are so slow and crowded even though they have 2 sets of 6 right next to each other. It was not just the D23 Expo crowd, as it was more crowded after the D23 Expo and there was another convention going on in the hotel.

Bottom line was it was a good use of Mom’s Hilton Honors points, especially since we got the free theme park view upgrade. If we have to pay for a hotel, though, we would much rather go with one of the areas Best Western hotels for cheaper plus the benefits of a fridge, microwave, and breakfast. I did like the Hilton internet speed and quality was better than the Best Western’s inconsistent quality, but it was only free because of the D23 Expo.

Destination Info:

Hilton Anaheim Convention Center
777 West Convention Way
Anaheim, CA

Disney’ California Adventure: Blue Sky Cellar – Fantasy Faire

Disney’ California Adventure: Blue Sky Cellar – Fantasy FaireDate of Visit: August 10, 2013

Mik and I always enjoy seeing the Blue Sky Cellar exhibits about what is being planned or what is new in the park. During our D23 Expo trip, the exhibit was about the new Fantasy Faire area in front of the castle at Disneyland. Mik enjoyed seeing the model of the area in the Blue Sky Cellar more than when we had visited Fantasy Faire in person the day before, although he does like the cheesy garlic twists from Maurice’s Treats there.
Disney’ California Adventure: Blue Sky Cellar – Fantasy Faire


Destination Info:

Blue Sky Cellar At Disney's California Adventure 
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Disneyland: Mickey’s Magical Map


Date of Visit: August 9, 2013


Mickey’s Magical Map is a musical show performed in the Fantasyland Theatre.  We arrived about 30 minutes before the show and were directed to wait at the bottom of the ramp that leads up to the restrooms by the theater.



About 20 minutes before the show they led us up to the top of the theater near the train station. This was kind of a hassle, since it leads through the area barely large enough for people to be waiting for their party using the restrooms.  I don’t get why they don’t juts direct you around the other way like when you go to the train station, as that area is much wider and is only crowded when the train just unloaded.


We were led down a ramp to select a spot in the flat bottom area of the theater right before they let everyone else into the theater.  Since it is not stadium style, we decided to take the last of the two spots in the front for wheelchairs, so our view would not end up blocked by someone in front of us.

Disneyland: Mickey’s Magical Map
I enjoyed the show, as it was a kind of interesting musical adventure featuring Apprentice Mickey and songs from a variety of Disney movies.  Being in front was good for the view, but Mik absolutely hated the loudness of the show, which did seem to partially have to do with them trumpeting right in front of us in parts and the speakers being right there for everything.  He did not really want to see it in the first place, so was quite annoyed with it in the end because besides fireworks it is the only thing we have done in a long time that has bothered him.

Destination Info:
Disneyland
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

D23 Expo 2013: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives

Date of Visit: August 10, 2013

Just like in 2011, the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives was the most spacious and least crowded exhibit to visit, although again we did it right after it opened at 10 a.m.  We enjoyed seeing the items on display, although I did not like the thick carpeting they used in this area, as it made it harder to push Mik's wheelchair around.

D23 Expo 2013: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives


The items on display this time included some props from the new Disney Channel movie, Teen Beach Movie, and from the Once Upon a Time show.

D23 Expo 2013: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives


The most interesting area was probably the Oz props.  It is was not about the recent Oz movie, although it may have had stuff from it, but rather it was about older Disney Oz projects including how Walt Disney tried to get the rights from MGM and concepts for Oz project such as having Oz in the Storybookland Canal Boats scenery.  There was also stuff from the 1980s Return to Oz movie.

D23 Expo 2013: Treasures of the Walt Disney ArchivesD23 Expo 2013: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives

Of course, my favorite part of the exhibit was the Mary Poppins props, photos, and fan art.  This area had costumes and props from the movie including Mary's carpetbag and a carousel horse.  I think my favorite was the storyboard for the Jolly Holiday sequence.  There was also some interesting photos from the set when they were making the movie.  The last part featured fan art from a contest in honor of the 50th anniversary of the movie.

Destination:
D23 Expo
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA

D23 Expo 2013: Journey Into Imagineering

D23 Expo 2013: Journey Into ImagineeringDate of Visit: August 10, 2013

The first thing we hit on the second day of the Expo was the Journey Into Imagineering exhibit. Lining up for entrance at 7:30 a.m. allowed us to get in at 9:30 a.m. and there was no line to get in the exhibit.  It was good we went there first, as by the time we were done it started to get crowded and there is not that much room to move around in the different booths or the center area in the first place.


D23 Expo 2013: Journey Into Imagineering


Overall we enjoyed the Journey Into Imagineering exhibit.  It begins with a little presentation/show about imagineering and then you go through a door to freely explore the different booths.  Mik especially liked the miniature models in the Dimensional Design area and not just because they had the original Grumpy from the grotto at Disneyland.  We also enjoyed the Art Library exhibit with early concept drawings of Disneyland.

Destination:
D23 Expo
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA

Friday, August 9, 2013

D23 Expo 2013: Mickey's of Glendale

D23 Expo 2013: Mickey's of GlendalesDate: August 9, 2013

Mickey's of Glendale was the worst shopping experience at the 2011 D23 Expo, but it was also the one that gave Mik his story he tells over and over about him thinking the Sorcerer Grumpy pin was for me and I did not get one for him.  He knew he might not find anything this time, but at least we went in knowing it could be crazy and leave with nothing (well, actually we knew we would get at least one pin, as there is always something Sorcerer at least for me!).

The line to get into Mickey's of Glendale moved much slower than the Dream Store and then you end up in another line to get the pins, but we found the experience so much better than last time.  Sure, I think we spent more time getting to the pins than last time, but it was not stressful, as it was an organized line that wound through most of the store.  Now if you did not want pins you could wander the store and those people had to cut through the line at times, but for us it worked great as you still got to see the other stuff and could pick it up along the way if you wanted.

D23 Expo 2013: Mickey's of Glendales


Mik was particularly happy to find a new Grumpy pin for his collection, especially since I really think the last one he got was at the last Expo.  They had ones representing the images on the construction walls around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride being built at the Magic Kingdom.  He almost got the one with all the dwarfs, but I found him the one where Grumpy is with Doc painting the roses red and he liked that one better since Grumpy was more prominent in it and it is funny.  Of course, we also ended up with some Sorcerer Pins including a special one for the Expo.

Destination:
D23 Expo
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA

D23 Expo 2013: Dream Store

D23 Expo 2013: Dream StoreDate: August 9, 2013

After getting into the D23 Expo taking almost until 10 a.m. this year and seeming to take much longer than last time and from past experience of the Dream Store being crazy, we decided to tackle it first, especially since it was the one store with things we knew we wanted to get.


This expo's experience at the Dream Store was so much better than in 2011 and not just because we did not wait as long to get in (that was only because we went there first, it would have been as long or longer if we went later I am sure).  The main thing that we liked was that inside it did not seem so crowded.  It partly seemed to be easier navigate because there were less on display, but it also seemed they allowed fewer people in at a time or at least the checkout line was contained in the checkout area while we were there.

D23 Expo 2013: Dream Store


I quickly found and got the Disneyland 4D puzzle. Since it was not crowded, except around the Vinylmations that they could barely stock as fast as people grabbed them, we also browsed to make sure there was nothing else we wanted before getting in the checkout line to pay and get pins.

D23 Expo 2013: Dream Store



Destination:
D23 Expo
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Companion Restrooms at Dallas Fort Worth Airport

It has been awhile since I have flown through Dallas Fort Worth Airport with Mik.  In Tucson, we used to always choose Chicago over Dallas because Chicago seems to have fewer weather delays/cancellations and I have often had bad luck with Dallas.  Now that we are in Huntsville, though, Dallas is the only real option unless we are actually flying to Chicago, as Mik hates the narrowness of doing the aisle chair on American Eagle so much he would probably choose flying through Dallas to Chicago just to avoid that situation.  We still ended up spending more time than planned in Dallas, but this time it was because we volunteered to fly out later and earned ourselves some vouchers, which is kind of funny because we had used vouchers to get these tickets to go to the D23 Expo in the first place.

Companion Restrooms at Dallas Fort Worth Airport

Anyways back to the point of the post, we now like Dallas a lot more because we found the companion bathrooms located by every restrooms we saw.  Mik particularly liked that they were large including having space to roll his wheelchair up next to the toilet to transfer over.

Companion Restrooms at Dallas Fort Worth Airport

There was also a ledge to put backpacks and such down without actually putting them on the ground. 

Companion Restrooms at Dallas Fort Worth Airport

The auto flushing annoyed him as usual, but he did like the sink being a sensor to turn on.  However, the sink still did not work all that well for him with the soap being far away and not with a sensor and the faucet being somewhat of a stretch and he has reasonably long arms.  Overall, though, that is minor when all that really matters is not having to decide what restroom to go into because your only companion is not the same gender as you.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Disney Mediterranean Cruise with Greece: Day 11 – Captain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s Palate

Captain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s Palate
Date of Visit: June 24, 2013

Captain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s Palate


Appetizer – Mik had the garlic and herb sautéed shrimp, which he thought were only okay.

Captain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s Palate


Entrée – Mik had the Oven-Baked Lobster Tail. He liked the lobster, but he really liked the saffron rice that came with it.

Captain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s PalateCaptain’s Gala Dinner @ Animator’s Palate

Dessert – Mik had the Tropical Sundae (Sherbet, Coconut Cream, and Coconut Macaroon) and the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake. He liked both other than giving Dad his macaroon since he does not like coconut. However, he wished he had ordered them separately rather than getting them both at the same time because he did not realize he would get ice cream with the lava cake. Once he ate the lava cake with the ice cream the sundae had started to melt and it would have been better still more frozen.

Disney Mediterranean Cruise with Greece: Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s

Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s
Date of Visit: June 24, 2013

The Pirate’s Menu is in all three restaurants on the night that there is the Pirates in the Caribbean Party. Around dessert time the servers come out and play Limbo and guests can join in if they wish. Our server entertained us with a pretend banjo made with the pepper shaker and a plate cover.

Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s


Appetizer – Mik went with the Pirates Golden “Pot Stickers” for his appetizer.

Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s


Soup – Mik enjoyed the Caribbean-style Conch Chowder.

Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s


Entrée – Mik thought the Dutchmen’s Dijon Crusted Sirloin of Beef was the best steak he had on the cruise. He substituted the sweet potatoes with a baked potato.

Day 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’sDay 10 – Pirate’s Menu @ Lumiere’s

Dessert – Mik tried the Crunch Time Sundae (rum raisin ice cream and pineapple whipped cream) and the Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake. He liked the sundae, but not so much the chocolate cake.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Disney Mediterranean Cruise with Greece: Day 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot Cay

Date of Visit: June 23, 2013

Appetizer – Mik enjoyed the Citrico’s Shrimp for his appetizer.

Day 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot Cay


Soup – Mik thought the Chicken Consomme soup was okay.

Day 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot Cay


Entrée – Mik loved the Center Cut of Beef Tenderloin and to a lesser extent the Lobster Medallions that came with it.

Day 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot CayDay 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot CayDay 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot Cay

Dessert – For Dessert Mik was going to order three things, but since it was his birthday he knew he would get a little cake, too. Thus, he started by only ordering the Chef’s Favorite Sundae (rocky road ice cream with roasted marshmallow, chocolate wafer, and fudge sauce) and the Sticky Toffee Date Pudding. He enjoy both, but his favorite was the chocolate Happy Birthday cake. After finishing those three, he ordered a fourth dessert of the Caramelized Apple Cheesecake, which he also liked, but still did not top the cake.
Day 9 – Master Chef Dinner @ Parrot Cay

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