Pandora: World of Avatar

It’s finally here! After what feels like decades, Pandora: World of Avatar has finally been opened to the public! The new land based off of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar had high expectations and in my opinion, far exceeded them.

To take it all in was exciting. It was like stepping into the movie. Details upon details made the experience borderline overwhelming. I loved every bit of it. I loved how the imagineers were able to make it seem like you were walking through an almost foggy, dense, overgrown area without feeling trapped. 


The area is pretty crowded right now given the anticipation and excitement over the expansion so be prepared to wait in longer lines for the two rides featured in Pandora. The two rides are Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through the land of Pandora. I have not been on this ride yet so I don’t have many details. I have been on Avatar Flight of Passage. The ride was very built up as a “Soarin x10” type of experience so I went in there with high expectations. 


They matched my expectations plus some. It is a ride similar to Soarin but takes it beyond with the feeling that you are alone riding this banshee through Pandora. If you don’t look around while riding you will completely forget that you are sharing this ride with 48 people(I think). I would consider this ride a ‘must fastpass’ type of ride. The wait has been starting at around 3 hours but if this is the type of ride you really enjoy I don’t believe you would be upset or underwhelmed if you waited in line. 


I found this entire experience to be very immersive and captures everything that made the movie the hit that it is. I have already spent 2 full days in a row in Animal Kingdom since the expansion opened which is something I can honestly say I have never done. This was exactly was Animal Kingdom needed to bring it from the “half-day maybe” park to the “first stop or more” destination it is now.  


Enjoy!

Courtney(@pdcourt)

Feeling Charged Up About the Fuelrod System Currently Being Offered at Disney Parks

I am currently sitting in Hollywood Studios, barely any charge in my phone and my day is just starting but I’m not worried. In the past year, Disney has installed a system that eases the stress of a dead phone on vacation.

Each park has a station(or two) that provides portable chargers AND the cord attachments for the most popular smartphones(Samsung, and Apple gen 1-4 and Apple gen 5-7). But this is not the best part! When your charger dies, you just go back to the station and they give you a new charger. You just insert the rod, but keep the cords, and a fully charged fuel rod comes your way!

 

The initial cost of a fuelrod is $30 but if you order it on the Disney parks app before your trip, the price is $25 and the first time you pay is the ONLY time you pay! In my opinion, this option is the best for me. I have bought many portable chargers, for less money of course, but guess what, I forget all of them, or they’re dead or it doesn’t last long. I love the fact that when it dies, I don’t have to worry about charging it, I just give it back to the machine and it gives me another! I think this is a great thing for Florida residents who visit Disney a lot. Or the Disney/Theme Park bloggers who are always looking charge. 

Quick Service – Part 9 Be Our Guest at Lunch

Be Our Guest (lunch) at Magic Kingdom

Although it can be very frustrating to get an ADR at Be Our Guest for dinner, lunch is considerably easier. We got our reservation the morning of, for a 1:30 lunch time. We then called and added a third person over the phone. MDE would not let us alter the reservation.

The menu is not large but filled with some really great choices. The options may sound fancy but it comes down to sandwiches; roast beef, turkey and ham, salads; tuna and quinoa, pork, quiche and soups.

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We had the French Onion Soup and it was fantastic! To me, it’s second only to the Grand Floridian Café and that is my ultimate favorite. The cheese is thick and the onions are caramelized. The Croque Monsieur (ham sandwich) is served with fries and is delightful. This isn’t deli ham, it’s sliced ham. The Carved Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich was nicely flavored, generously sized and even better when dipped into the French Onion Soup.

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As you can see, the prices are a little higher than your average quick service but not over the top horrible. The food is better and the scenery make up for this!

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The venue is as amazing during the day as it is in the evening. The Rose Room is dark and menacing, the Ballroom is so grand and the artwork will make you feel engrossed in Beauty and the Beast. Not in a cartoony way but in the live action-where is Emma Watson way.

Gina

Enchanted Tales with Belle – Magic Kingdom

Surprisingly. I had never visited Enchanted Tales with Belle until recently. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I had heard from friends and family that it was a fun time but I was sceptical since it would be just Joe and I going. Sure, we may seem hip and happening but we’re actually a middle aged couple who don’t normally hang out with princesses (besides myself).

We had. Fast Passes and had just a few minutes wait. You are first brought into Maurice’s workshop. A magic mirror is used to bring us back to the night that Belle fell in love with Beast.

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The next room is where we meet Wardrobe and friends. We are informed that this will be an interactive story. Some children and adults are chosen for different rolls in the story. Sadly, Joe was not picked despite his loud pleas.

 

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We are then led to the library.Lumiere is on the mantle and is FANTASTIC! Belle joins in the story telling looking lovely in her golden gown.

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The show is not long but cute and wonderfully interactive. The little ones were completely engrossed. I truly enjoyed and will definitely go again.

A Disney photographer takes pictures throughout. A wonderful keepsake should your child or spouse be part of the story.

 

Gina

Am I Doing This Wrong? Everyone Does Disney Different

While scrolling through my Facebook feed in the middle of the night, I saw a family’s Disney trip perfectly outlined on a giant white board. My husband, who works at the Disney Reservation Center, told me about a woman with a four page spreadsheet.
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I put my license and debit card in my pocket, slap on my Magic Band and some Ears and I’m good to go! Sometimes I even make FP+ or ADR’s the night before but more often than not, it’s the day of, while I’m walking in the parks.
I wing it. I understand that I can do this because if I don’t do something today, there’s always tomorrow or next week or whenever. Disney World isn’t going anywhere and neither am I.
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Flashback 20 years ago and I was strategically outlining my plan of attack! This was before technology became our constant companion. Dining plans were not even an option (DDP came to be around 2005).Free dining? Nope. I had a plan of attack and fingers crossed. I was the Mom pushing a double stroller, kid on my hip, another one orbiting sround, running to Dumbo. I’m tired just thinking about it! How did we even manage it all!?
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The closest I’ll come to that now is when we have guests down from New England. I’ll make sure to get FP+ for the rides with historically long lines. Other than that, I’ll make suggestions but step back and let them vacation the way they want.
So I guess there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy Disney – just make sure you take the time to enjoy. My unsolicited advice is to take it slow, schedule in downtime and accept the fact that you can’t do it all. Tantrums will happen and your feet will hurt. It’s ok, you can always plan your next trip to finish your spreadsheet. Disney World will be here waiting and so will I!

The Struggle is Real: Enduring Negative Nancies Popping Your Disney Bubble

Anyone and everyone who knows you, knows you love Disney. You love the movies, the music and of course the parks. You wear Disney accessories daily and are always planning your next trip. You’re not trying to hide it, you wear your obsession like a badge of honor.

Why then, do we get asked if we ever get tired of it? Nope.Never. I can’t get enough of the magic! I would live at Port Orleans, if possible. I would eat Mickey shaped food daily, if I could. I would even give up my car to ride in Disney transportation to go everywhere. I’d save tons in gas!

So what to do? You could make a great sales pitch about all of the wonderful aspects of Disney World. Throw in some pointers on saving money. Show pictures of a fire breathing Dragon from the 3 o’clock parade. Sorry but this may not work. 

You could try going with them to the center of all happiness.try to get them to see the magic from your angle. However, you can’t force feed a feeling. You can’t transfer your giddiness about fast passes to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They may just see it as a rollercoaster that they never would have waited 85 minutes for. Don’t attempt to explain the allure of Peter Pan’s Flight (or Carousel of Progress).

In the end, sometimes it’s best to admit defeat. Let it go. Separate your friends into two categories: Magical Disney Friends and Grumpy Gusses. Stay inside your bubble where it’s safe from ridicule and you don’t have to explain why you have to wear Star Wars gear to Hollywood Studios.

Gina

I Hate That I Love You!

There are certain things that we say we will never do. That’s not different at Disney World either. “Oh I’d never wear flip flops at the parks”. I now have permanent tan lines on the tops of my feet. “I’ll spend the money on bottled water because I hate the taste of Florida water”. I now stop at all quick service restaurants for my free Florida H2O.
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However there are things that I am so not proud of, things that I swore I would avoid like the plague. I was wrong. Here’s my list of things that I hate that I love:

      1. Baseball hats – just not my thing, I’m a girly girl and not a jock at all! However, the sun is strong down here. I prefer my hats light colored and made of thin fabric.

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      1. Yoga pants – they are everywhere you look. Know why? Because they are very comfortable and wick away the sweat. Yes, I make sure that I buy non- see through pants and wear long tops.

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    1. Matching family shirts – at one time, I would have cringed. Now I look at families in their  WDW themed bring orange tops with envy. What I wouldn’t give to have my adult children in shirts with a catchy phrase and personalized Mickey heads. The closest I’ve been so far is coordinated outfits with the hubby.

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Bonus: it’s a small world – LOVE it even more now with the new goodbyes!
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I may have relented on some things that I always said I’d avoid. There are still some things that I’ll vehemently deny ever considering. You will not be seeing me with a fanny pack ever! Sometimes you have to put your foot down!
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3 Things I Don’t Like About Walt Disney World

I’m usually an upbeat person. You may even call me positive (wink wink) but there are still things about Walt Disney World that just burn my biscuits!
1. The food:
First of all, there are way too many options! With 152 full service restaurants, 393 quick service and 102 nightclubs, lounges and outdoor bars, how am I supposed to choose?
Then there’s the calories! Each Mickey Premium Bar has 330 calories. WDW sells 4.3 million each year. I’m not great at math but that’s a whole bunch!
Sure they also sell 1.6 million pounds of bananas annually too. However, I am assuming that some of those are dipped in chocolate!
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2. The size:
It’s wicked big! At 40+ square miles, it’s often compared to the city of San Francisco. With a staff of up to 74,000, WDW really is it’s own all inclusive community.
With it’s 4 theme parks, two water parks, sports facilities and endless options in resorts, that’s a lot of transportation! You can travel by car, bus, monorail, boat, train and tram but you’ll also be putting on a lot of miles by foot! You will be tired! Or exhausted!
Wear good broken in footwear and carry a backup! I like Sanuk Yoga Mat sandals and Nike or Reebok flip flops with memory foam. I usually have a back up pair of cheap Old Navy/ Wal-Mart flip flops in my bag.
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3. The cost:
Yes, vacationing is not cheap. We always find ways to economize and still have a magical time.
Buy souvenirs before you leave home. Target, Dollar Tree and Five Below are great sources for Disney baubles.
Bring your own food. Nothing better than a Fluff-n-nutter sandwich while taking in the parks. Pop Tarts are made for travel!
Long weekends at a value resort can be the most fun times of your life! I know I look back at those times with my kids and still smile.
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Ok all in all I’m still seeing so many more positives! You just can’t beat the joy a trip to the parks can bring.
PD

Quick Service – Part 8 Capt. Cook’s and Leaning Palms

Leaning Palms at Typhoon Lagoon

This feels like a classic snack shack.The food is fast and the seating is aplenty. No question about it, this is Disney Quick Service but they do have pulled pork and a good chicken sandwich. The theming is really fun and they also have the rapid refill cups.

Not gourmet but not so bad for a day at the “beach”. A big plus – they serve yummy adult beverages!

Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort

Renovated just a few years ago, the look has been refreshed yet maintains the same throwback feel. Capt Cook’s is open 24 hours a day.There are ready to go snacks and meals.All three meals are prepared. This serves as the Poly’s food court.

My personal favorite is the Hot Beef and Cheddar Sandwich with sauted onions. I could eat this daily if I wasn’t afraid of a heart attack. The Fish Tacos are actually really good!

You get a fancy coaster when ordering so your meal can be delivered to you. The outdoor seating area overlooks the main pool. The setting is fun!

Enjoy your meal!

Gina

How To Come Out: Revealing Your Disney Addiction

Pointers on revealing your Disney addiction
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When?
You don’t want to rush this news. Ease into it. Don’t hide your Mickey watch or Figment lanyard but maybe leave the sparkly ears for the parks.
When I started my new job I was able to hold off giving park advice for a solid 2 weeks. It wasn’t easy.
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How?
In casual Friday conversations, when everyone is talking about the upcoming weekend, mention that you are checking out a new restaurant or fireworks. Try not to use abreviations like MDE, ADR or MNSSHP. The un-Disney people will just give you blank stares.
Why?
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You shouldn’t have to hold in your love of Sonny Eclipse or stop humming it’s a small world. Be you, even if it means you are dubbed the resident Disney freak. Don’t make excuses for spending more time with your main Mouse. Enjoy the magic, cry during Wishes and get a FP+ for Test track!
Enjoy!
PD
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