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Friday, July 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Merry Christmas in July

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Well it's time again for another Photo Friday!

I thought I'd continue with the "Christmas in July" theme this week with a shot from my favorite holiday event at Walt Disney World - the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios. 

This shot was taken on the final night of the Osborne Lights for the 2011/2012 Holiday season, during marathon weekend.  I decided to play a bit with zoomed exposures to create Tron-like light trails.  Above is just one of a few shots that came out.

Enjoy!!!  Christmas is only 149 days away!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Christmas in July


Merry Christmas (in July!!)

As we start counting down the days to Christmas, I thought I'd take a quick moment and share some places at Walt Disney World where you can get a little piece of the Christmas season, even as you sweat it out during those hot July days.

Just about every park at Walt Disney World has its own Christmas shop.  In the Magic Kingdom, the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe located in Liberty Square -- in Epcot, Die Weihnachts Ecke store is located in the Germany pavilion, selling different styles of German glass ornaments (naturally).  At Hollywood Studios there's a small shop called It's a Wonderful Shop located in the back corner near Muppets 3D and Mamma Melrose's restaurant.  There isn't a year-round dedicated Christmas (or other winter holiday) shop in Animal Kingdom.

Of course, there's also the 365 Days of Christmas shop in Downtown Disney, which is simply huge.  See if you can find all 12 Days of Christmas.  Trust me, you'll know what I'm talking about when you step into the store.

Aside from shopping, there are several other ways to get a Christmas fix in July.  It's always Christmas in the final scene of the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland and then there's the final scene of Soarin' where we fly over Disneyland at Christmastime (you can see the Christmas parade going down Main Street).  At Hollywood Studios, a rather heat-resistant snowman stands guard just outside the It's a Wonderful Shop store.


Perhaps my most favorite Christmas in July spot is the Winter Summerland miniature golf course near Blizzard Beach.  Here you can enjoy two fun 18-hole courses (one dedicated to Santa during winter, the other themed to Santa's off-season in summer).  There are all sorts of gags and jokes for kids and adults.  Oh, and watch our for some spraying water.  You never know when you might get wet.

No matter when you visit Walt Disney World, there's always the spirit of Christmas in the air -- because Walt Disney World is all about magic and happiness and giving.

It may seem early, but Merry Christmas!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Photo Friday: Animal Kingdom Lodge carving

Giraffe carving at AKL

It's time for another Photo Friday!

This week, I wanted to share a photo of a rock carving from the Arusha Overlook at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.  You can find this carving in the center of the overlook area.  If you look closely, you might even find a hidden Mickey!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Rose and Crown

Rose and Crown
It's time for another Tip Tuesday!
I thought I'd take you to the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot and share a bit about one of my family's favorite restaurants -- The Rose & Crown Pub.
Themed after a genuine English pub (down to the panes of glass), the Rose & Crown has two sections - the dining room and the English pub.  The pub often will be packed to capacity, especially in the evening hours before Illuminations.
ADR's (advance dining reservations) are suggested, though I've been pretty lucky with walkups, especially during lunch.  Some of the Rose & Crown outdoor seating areas offer fantastic views of Illuminations, so dinner ADR's are just about a must, and there's no guarantee you'll get one of those few choice tables.
Ok, but really it's all about the food, so let's get to some of our favorites!!
Rose and Crown

By far the signature dish at the Rose & Crown has to be the English fish & chips -- served just like they do in England.  This is not your average fried fish.  Though (in my opinion) the portion size is too small (really for just about every entree, not just the fish & chips), the flavor and preparation is spot on.  My kids routinely devour this dish - even my picky eaters who prefer chicken nuggets.
Rose and Crown

Now if you ask my wife, she will say the UK burger is the best entree on the menu.  This is a gigantic burger complete with bacon and all the sides.  If you want, you can even ask for a fried egg (it used to be a standard item, but no longer).  In addition, it comes with a fried pickle, which, to my surprise, was pretty good!  My wife claims the Rose & Crown's burger is the BEST burger in all of Walt Disney World -- a high honor, and one that I don't share, but that's a post for another day.  I agree it's very good, but the best?  That's up for debate.
Rose and Crown

I have tried several dishes at the Rose & Crown, but I think my favorite has to be either the fish & chips or the cottage pie (pictured above).  Underneath this cheesy mashed potato goodness is ground beef, onions and mushrooms in a delicious brown sauce/gravy.  Again, the portion size could be bigger (I could have devoured two of these), but it still is worth the cost -- about $17 as of this post. 

The Rose & Crown isn't the cheapest place at Epcot -- entrees run from $14 to $27.  The fish and chips runs around $18, so be prepared for a large dining bill.  The Disney Dining Plan is accepted here, requiring only one table service credit, making the Rose & Crown a good value for guests using the dining plan.

And then there's the beer.  The Rose & Crown has a fantastic selection, so just get a pint and enjoy!

Some tips to keep in mind:  a decent amount of the Rose & Crown's seating is outside, though only a handful of tables offer the best views of Illuminations.  Keep this in mind, especially during the very hot and more chilly times of year.  We dined there last December and despite the heaters, we had to go indoors because of the chilly wind.  In a similar manner, when we ate there earlier this summer, we were seated outside and fortunately had a fan blowing on us or we would have withered from the heat.

If you're headed to the pub, keep in mind that there's not many seats, so you'll be doing a lot of standing.  Most evenings, the Hat Lady will come in to perform, so you'll want to be sure to catch her.

I'm getting hungry just writing about this place!!!  Go on -- get over to the Rose & Crown and enjoy!!!  And send me some fish & chips!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Photo Friday: The Magic Kingdom's Black Widow

Constance the Black Widow Bride

Welcome foolish mortals to another Photo Friday.  In honor of Friday the 13th, I thought I'd share this ghastly photo of the Magic Kingdom's resident black widow bride, Constance (by request from Rebecca P.) 

To date our dear Constance has managed to "sever" ties with five of her dear departed husbands.  She's dying to find a sixth.  Any takers?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Pooh & Dumbo Fastpasses

Dumbo Fastpass

It's time for another Tip Tuesday.

This week, I wanted to share a brief tip about Fastpasses for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and, more importantly, for the newly opened double Dumbo in Storybook Circus.  Both Fastpass dispensing machines are located not by the entrances to the respective attractions, but rather outside the entrance to Mickey's Philharmagic in Fantasyland in an easily overlooked location.  Some guests may even mistake the Pooh/Dumbo Fastpass for that of Philharmagic.

While this may not seem at first to be all that important, it can be helpful to keep this tidbit in mind, especially during park opening when most people rush straight to Dumbo to get in line, thinking they will get a Fastpass at the attraction itself, only to discover that the Fastpass distribution is located on the other side of Fantasyland.  Later in the day when standby lines build to 30, 45 or even 60 minutes, it may be even more helpful to know exactly where to find the Fastpass distribution.

Hopefully this little tip will help you soar into the sky on the quintessential Disney attraction!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photo Friday: A divine Divine


It's time for another Photo Friday!

I managed to catch a very elusive character recently at Disney Animal Kingdom - Divine!

This photo doesn't do her justice -- she truly is a divine character.  If you do happen to see her, be sure to stay for a bit to see how the cast member moves with the stilts - it's quite unique.


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