Osborne Lights Hidden Gems

Osborne lights
Osborne lights history display

As many of you already know, this is sadly the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After 20 years the lights will be packed up to make way for some awesome new changes coming to the Studios in the forms of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land over the next few years. We can certainly hope that the Osborne Lights will return to us in some incarnation down the road, even in another location would be fine, but for now we have to assume that this is the end.

I don’t mean to say this in a melancholy way, but rather to give each and every one of you the encouragement to go out and catch the Osborne Lights for one final (or first) time if there’s any way you can. The last night will be Sunday, January 3rd, 2016, and I am personally planning to be there until they shut it down and kick me out. The lights started just three years before I moved to Florida and first experienced the Osborne Lights in their previous home on Residential Street in 1998. They moved the lights to the Streets of America in 2004 after Residential Street closed. For the past 17 years the lights have been the highlight of the Christmas season at Walt Disney World and are my must do above all other holiday traditions here.

This year it seems that the Imagineers have gone an extra step in adding even more hidden gems to the light display as a final send off. Each year it has been tradition to find the black/purple cat that was mixed in from Halloween decorations from the Osborne family. The first fifteen or so years the cat was placed once and stayed in the same location for the whole duration of the lights in November and December. The last few years the Cast Members made a fantastic decision to move around the cat from week to week, which makes it even more fun for those of us who are fortunate enough to go multiple times throughout the eight weeks of the Osborne Lights.

Among some of the fun things I have discovered hidden in the lights the year, in addition to the dozens of hidden Mickeys, are some other characters in lights, some peeking out of windows, others hanging from fire escapes, and even more in window displays. You can literally spend hours exploring all the corners of the 7+ million light display. I love that the canopy on San Francisco Street and how it has changed over the years, now including one of my favorite dancing projections of Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas when What’s This plays. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures of the Osborne Lights and a few of these hidden gems that I’ve discovered. I hope that you all have gotten a chance or will get to see the lights before they shine and dance for the last time on January 3rd.

All white angel in memory of Jennings Osborne
All white angel in memory of Jennings Osborne
Arkansas Razorback
Arkansas Razorback
Osborne family stockings hung above the fire
Osborne family stockings hung above the fire
Tinkerbell
Tinkerbell
Incredibles logo
Incredibles logo
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo
Mickey and Minnie silhouettes
Mickey and Minnie silhouettes
Hidden Mickey and Jack Skellington
Hidden Mickey and Jack Skellington
Scrooge McDuck
Scrooge McDuck
Mary Poppins penguin in top window
Mary Poppins penguin in top window
Clarabelle Cow in upper right window
Clarabelle Cow in upper right window
Tony's from Lady and the Tramp
Tony’s from Lady and the Tramp
Hanging upside down Animal
Hanging upside down Animal
Miss Piggy
Miss Piggy
Kermit hanging on the ladder
Kermit hanging on the ladder
Kermit playing banjo
Kermit playing banjo
Hidden Baymax head
Hidden Baymax head
Mr. Potato Head Santa Claus
Mr. Potato Head Santa Claus
Roger Rabbit
Roger Rabbit
Santa Stitch
Santa Stitch
Dalmatians
Dalmatians
Dancing stars on the canopy
Dancing stars on the canopy
Jack Skellington head
Jack Skellington head
Toy Story Alien
Toy Story Alien
Star Wars First Order and Jedi symbols
Star Wars First Order and Jedi symbols
Hidden Olaf in white at the bottom of the window
Hidden Olaf in white at the bottom of the window
Purple cat 1
Purple cat 1
Purple cat 2
Purple cat 2
Purple cat 3, Hidden Mickey, and Toy Story Alien
Purple cat 3, Hidden Mickey, and Toy Story Alien
See You Real Soon
See You Real Soon
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Dreaming of a Disney Christmas: Christmas Ornaments With Character

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Dreaming of a Disney Christmas: Christmas Ornaments With Character

Adding a touch of Disney magic to your Christmas Tree is as awesome as ever with these new Christmas Ornaments from Disney Parks.

I’ve shared several of these Disney Christmas Ornaments over the years, but I love how they keep getting better with even more details and expanding to new characters.

All of these ornaments are $19.99 plus tax, and I would love to hear which ones are your favorites!

Don’t forget you can use the Shop Disney Parks App available on iTunes and Google Play Store to find these and more great Disney Parks items with free shipping!

 

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A Visit To The Star Wars Launch Bay For Beginners

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

Visiting the newly opened Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can seem intimidating if you aren’t familiar familiar with the Star Wars Saga, but fear not because it is actually a really great place to start your Star Wars Fandom if you keep a few things in mind!

The first thing to know is that there is no shame in admitting that you aren’t a huge Star Wars fan! After the initial gasp, you will find that the only thing that Star Wars fans are more passionate about than the movies is sharing their love of the movies!

Now that you’re ready for your visit to the Star Wars Launch Bay, here are a few things to do to make your visit awesome!

1. Bring a friend who is familiar with Star Wars with you.

While visiting the parks alone is always fun, having a friend visit with you who is familiar with Star Wars is a great resource for any questions you may have along the way.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

2. Once you arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head directly to the ABC Soundstage to watch ‘Path of the Jedi’.

This dramatic 10 minute film compiles exhilarating Star Wars movie moments to tell the tale of the Jedi Order’s fall and return.

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Order protected the galaxy and brought peace to the Galactic Republic—with the help of a mysterious power called the Force. A young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker—secretly influenced by the scheming Darth Sidious—turned to the Dark Side of the Force and brought ruin to the Jedi. Anakin became the dreaded Darth Vader and Darth Sidious became the evil Emperor Palpatine.

A generation passed and Anakin’s children, Luke and Leia, joined the Rebel Alliance to oppose the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. With the help of a charming rogue named Han Solo, Luke and Leia succeeded in defeating the Empire and turning Darth Vader away from the Dark Side.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi retells this epic saga and hints at what’s next! The Star Wars story continues in the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens—Luke, Leia and Han return along with a new cast of brave heroes and dastardly villains.

3. Don’t skip the line to enter the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

Why it may be extremely tempting, don’t skip the line to line to enter the Star Wars Launch Bay through the Launch Bay Theater. because the queue is FULL of great details and images!

4. Get Hyped by watching the ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ short film in the Launch Bay Theater!

Inside this stellar screening room, watch a stirring short film celebrating the Star Wars saga. Running continuously throughout the day, this 10-minute “behind-the-scenes” movie includes exclusive interviews with the directors, writers, producers and other key players responsible for bringing the Star Wars galaxy to life.

Now why will you get hyped? I’m glad you asked!

The short film’s interviews are a great glimpse into the passion that the creators have for Star Wars with peeks at the movies.

5. When you are waiting in line for the amazing Meet and Greets in the Star Wars Launch Bay, make sure you pay attention to the trivia that is playing on the screens.

While the Meet and Greet queue itself is full of great props and replicas from Star Wars, along the walls you will find screens playing Star Wars Trivia. This is a great opportunity to learn details from the movies and to find out even more by asking questions.

6. Learn to read Aurebesh…No really…do it!

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios
Super huge thanks to Christie for letting me use her photo! You can find her on Instagram and Twitter!

Along the walls of the Star Wars Launch Bay you’ll see sayings from the movies in Aurebesh, and if you ask a Cast Member they may have the Aurebesh alphabet with our alphabet to help you ‘decode’ the messages.

7. Take your time!

The Launch Bay is full of great galleries chocked full of costumes, props, models, actual items from the movies, and more so make sure you take your time to read all the plaques and to ask the near-by Cast Members questions.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

8. Bring something to trade with the Jawas.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but bringing something to trade with the Jawas is always a ton of fun!

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Jawas love shiny things, don’t we all really, however you can see in my video that I traded an On the Go in MCO button and things went swimmingly!

9. After you’ve had the full Star Wars Launch Bay experience, pick a character that you really liked to learn more about before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18, 2015!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poster

Find your favorite character, find out more about them, buy some fun merchandise, and have fun…just keep away from Bobba Fett…he’s all mine!!!

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A Day Celebrating Holidays Around the World At Epcot

On Friday, November 27, Epcot began their holiday festivities with their annual Holidays Around the World line up. This post will be extra picture heavy as I think they tell the story better than I could.

Entrance Entrance2 Thumper Bambi StitchHoliday DonaldGoofy Snowflakes IMG_8704 IMG_8706

My family and I like to make a day of the special events each year. We always make reservations for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package and spend the day going around World Showcase listening to the different storytellers. I love looking at all the decorations that are country-specific too. We also make sure to sample some of the special holiday treats that are available – make sure to pick up a passport!

bûche de Noël
bûche de Noël
Gluhwein
Gluhwein
Frozen Peppermint Trifle
Frozen Peppermint Trifle

All of the countries feature a special holiday performer or storyteller (or two). We can never fit in all the storytellers in one day, but I have seen all of them at least once before. There are descriptions posted at each country that are worth a read even if you don’t catch the performer. Here is a description of all of them with pictures of the ones we caught over the weekend, plus some of the decorations in the countries.

Canada – The Holiday Voyageurs perform on the Mill Stage singing songs and describing holiday traditions of different regions in Canada.

Canada at night
Canada at night
Canadian Moose
Canadian Moose

United Kingdom – Father Christmas tell us what the holiday season is like in the United Kingdom and explains the mistletoe custom. There’s also a short sing-a-long of Deck the Halls, a song that comes from Wales.

UK Garland
UK Garland
Holiday Tea Set
Holiday Tea Set
Description Card
Description Card
Father Christmas
Father Christmas

France – Père Noël tells us the story of Babette and her Christmas wish. Through the story we learn about french customs.

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Morocco – Hear about holidays and festivals in Morocco, focusing on celebrating the harvests with dances and feasts.

Japan – Listen to the story of the Daruma doll and New Year’s celebrations in Japan.

American Adventure – Hear about the traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and the histories behind them. Santa and Mrs. Claus also meet and Voices of Liberty wear Dickens style clothes and sing songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This year there is a gingerbread Capitol building and Washington Monument inside the rotunda.

Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
IMG_8786
Capitol Building
Voices of Liberty
Voices of Liberty
Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree
Santa and Mrs. Claus
Santa and Mrs. Claus

Italy – La Befana is a witch who brings presents to children in Italy on the Eve of the Epiphany. She tells a story of searching for the Christ child.

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IMG_8814Germany – Helga tells us all about the Christmas traditions in Germany, many of which we have adopted here in the United States like the Christmas tree and the nutcracker.

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China – The Lion Dancers perform and bestow good luck wishes for the New Year.

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Norway – Sigrid explains the holiday traditions of Norway while Julenissen tries to make her believe in the Christmas gnome, with a lot of help from the audience.

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Mexico – Mariachi Cobre and dancers perform traditional songs and dances. Musicians and dancers are fantastic in this and there’s even a piñata for the kids.

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The headliner of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World is the Candlelight Processional. A celebrity narrator reads scripture from the Christmas story surrounded by a choir and an amazing orchestra. Our narrator was Gary Sinise. It’s definitely a must-see. We like getting the dinner package at least once so we get seats without waiting in a long line. Other times we’ve stood in the back and still enjoyed it.

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Of course, we have to end the day with Illuminations, which features a special holiday ending at this time of year with the countries wishing for Peace on Earth.

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Spending the day at Epcot during the holiday season will definitely get you into the spirit.

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Colortopia Presented By Glidden Is Now Open At Epcot

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

Colortopia Presented By Glidden Is Now Open At Epcot

New interactive exhibit creates colorful experiences for Guests of all ages

Colortopia Presented by Glidden is a new and colorful experience opened at Epcot, and it is such a great addition to Innoventions East!

Colortopia is an interactive, educational experience that is full of memories, inspiration, and fun.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

To experience the Colortopia exhibit, the Glidden brand has created three unique walk-through areas that bring to life color theory, the psychology of color and the perception of color, all while engaging Guests in fun and surprising hands-on activities.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

The three areas of the exhibit include:

  • The Power of Color – After you enter this specially designed standing theater, you find yourself engulfed in color that is overwhelming in the best way possible to explore the psychology of color. It really gets you thinking of the immediate response and memories that color holds.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

  • The Color Lab – There are two activities located inside The Color Lab area that are incredibly interactive and competitive.

    In Color Mix ‘n Match, you use slides to mix red, green and blue to create bold new colors. I played this game several times through, because it was incredibly interesting to learn how color is mixed and tons of competitive fun. I don’t mean to brag…but I am a Honolulu Color Guru!

    Spinning Spectrums is the second interactive area in The Color Lab that shows the persistence of vision through painted spinning discs. Before pressing the buttons you have to guess what color their eyes will perceive once the multi-colored discs start to spin quickly, which is trickier than you may think!

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

  • Color Our World –  Guests can play with fun color shadows while they wait to receive a magic paint brush, which they can use in the studio to bring the world around them to life with their personal color choices.

Combining Glidden paint’s rich tradition of innovation and color inspiration with the creative power of Walt Disney Imagineering was a perfect collaboration to create a one-of-a-kind experience that engages visitors with color in ways they never have before,” said Max Wetzel, chief marketing officer and general manager of home centers, PPG Architectural Coatings, U.S. and Canada, makers of Glidden paint. “With the Glidden brand, we know the important role color plays when selecting paint for your home. Color also has a powerful role in our everyday lives, and it is truly brought to life in the Colortopia exhibit.

Colortopia by Glidden paint demonstrates that color is not only a visual treat, but also a dynamic and emotional experience that fits in well with Disney’s history in color exploration and innovation.

Starting with Disney’s premier full-color film in 1932, our company has been fascinated by color,said Melissa Valiquette, vice president, Epcot. That fascination is evident throughout our parks and our resorts and is why we’re thrilled to collaborate with Glidden as we work together to bring Colortopia to life for our guests.”

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

If you think that the fun ends when you leave the 3,700 square-foot exhibit you’re wrong!

The Colortopia experience extends beyond the exhibit with the Colortopia mobile app and website, allowing Guests to bring a world of colorful fun into their own homes.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

I can’t wait to share more about the Colortopia App soon! 

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Things To Know On The Go: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Things to Know On the Go Header Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select nights from now until December 18th, and this separate ticketed event is a great way to kick off your Holiday Season!

As with any Special Event at Walt Disney World planning is key to making your most of your time, and with so many exclusive entertainment, character, shopping, or food offerings prioritizing your ‘Must Do’s’ is as important as ever!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

So here are 10 things to keep in mind when you are creating your game-plan for attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

10 Things To Know On The Go: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

1. While the event begins at 7 pm, you can gain access to the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm and if you are in the park before the event you can get wristbands inside the park in Tomorrowland and Adventureland.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

2. FastPass+ is not offered during the Party, so arriving early can help you knock out some attractions as the crowds will begin thinning as the party begins.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I suggest catching a ride on the Jingle Cruise as soon as you arrive, because the lighting is better for viewing all the festive additions to the attraction.

3. During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party you can find several locations around the park offering Hot Chocolate and Sugar Cookies.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

If you have allergies or dietary restrictions they offer apple juice, apple slices, grapes, and gluten free cookies at the same locations.

4. If you don’t arrive to the Party early, don’t fret that you’ve missed the Castle Lighting. ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ is performed at BOTH 6:15 pm and 8:00 pm.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

5. The Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade steps off from Frontierland twice a night during the Party, and really there is no bad spot to watch from.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I will say that it is a slower moving parade, so if you are on Main Street you will have quite a wait for the parade to reach you.

6. This year I switched up my Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party game plan, and I really enjoyed it!

Now hear me out on this before you completely judge me…

As soon as the 6:15 pm ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ was over, I went on the hunt for a spot to sit in front of the castle.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Celebrate the Season

While we did invest quite a chunk of our night to sitting (Thank you Heads Up for being a great app to have on your phone for the kids) from our spot we saw Celebrate the Season, A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Celebrate the Magic, and Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season without moving with Cinderella Castle as our backdrop.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Once Upon A Christmas Time Parade

However, since the girls were rested we were able to stay the rest of the party and enjoyed shorter waits for attractions and characters as the night went on.

Believe me when I say that this plan isn’t for everyone, and you need to make sure that everyone in your group is completely on board.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Celebrate the Magic Holiday Tag

We were really lucky to have made friends with a wonderful family around us from Louisiana, so we were able to go on Hot Chocolate and Sugar Cookie runs together for the gang during the longer breaks.

7. The Exclusive Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card this year is adorable as it features Olaf and the Snowgies!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I suggest grabbing your card early, not because they will run out but because you might forget after a long night of merriment!

8. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but the Party Exclusive merchandise is great!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I HAD to have this ornament!!!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

9. New this year is performances by VoicePlay. Voice play is an acclaimed acapella group who you may know from ‘The Sing-Off’, and they take to the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland between performances of ‘A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas’.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartyTheir show is short, sweet, and super fun! I totally recommend catching them at least once during the Party!!!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

10. ‘Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’ is a WONDERFUL fireworks show that includes perimeter launches, and while watching facing Cinderella Castle is the way that most people go don’t be afraid to watch from New Fantasyland. It is gorgeous!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

BONUS!!!

11. If you love meeting Characters, you will LOVE Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

You can find…

  • Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws – Storybook Circus (If this is your top Character priority, as soon as you arrive head back to his area)
  • Donald, Scrooge McDuck, Daisy, Minnie – Storybook Circus
  • Santa Goofy – near Barnstormer
  • Big Al, Liverlips, Shaker and Wendell – Liberty Square
  • Seven Dwarfs – Fantasyland near Mine Train (very popular! Line up by 6 to meet them.)
  • Princesses with their Princes – In Princess Fairytale Hall, you can find Cinderella with her Prince and Rapunzel with Flynn Rider. Just outside in Fantasyland, you will find Aurora with Prince Phillip and Snow White with her Prince.Tiana and Prince Naveen can be found in Liberty Square.
  • Tigger and Friends – Fantasyland near Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Santa Claus – Town Square (Not Party Exclusive, but I thought I would leave him on the list)

You can see more of our pictures from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on our Facebook and Instagram Pages, and to follow along on our adventures make sure you follow us on Twitter!

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Flashback Friday: My First 5K Race

RaceA little over five years ago, I completed my first 5K race. To some this may not have been a big deal, but to me it was huge. I had just had major knee surgery two years before and really had to train and work hard to be able to complete the race in close to the “required” 16 minute per mile pace.

Why do I bring this up now, you ask? It was a Halloween themed race, the inaugural Mickey’s Halloween 5K, and to my knowledge, the only 5K to go through the Magic Kingdom. Plus, we are on the verge of back to back runDisney race weekends starting next week.  This was also one of the most fun races I’ve ever done out of my almost twenty races to date.

So, I thought I’d share some of my pictures and memories from the race since it is almost Halloween. It started at the Transportation and Ticket Center, then the race course went on World Drive under the water bridge and up to the Contemporary. The course took a left along the bus loop and into the Magic Kingdom.

Not ready for the race
Not ready for the race
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale

Stepping onto Main Street for the first time as a part of a race was magical to say the least. Cast members greeted us and cheered as we approached the castle. There were even a good amount of characters like Chip, Dale, and Goofy  dressed up in Halloween costumes meeting guests along the course. There were also villains like Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, as well as Tweedles Dee and Dum, Buzz, and Woody.

Castle
Castle
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Grave digger
Grave digger

I loved running down Main Street, through Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, the Hub, and out through Tomorrowland. My second favorite part of the race aside from running through the park was seeing the Haunted Mansion grave diggers posing with runners pretending to be dead in front of a grave on the ground complete with headstone. One of my biggest race regrets was not stopping for this photo op. Luckily, I was able to do it a few years later during another 5K.

Running under the water bridge
Running under the water bridge
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Finished!
Finished!

 

I don’t know how many others of you got to experience this 5K through the Magic Kingdom, but it was definitely my favorite 5K here. Happy Halloween!

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Party for the Senses at Epcot

Party for the Senses
Party for the Senses

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival once again plays host to the Party for the Senses in World Showplace each Saturday night in October. This Grand Tasting Event is one of the most popular events of the entire festival and has been for years now. This past weekend was my first chance to experience this party first hand. The event is from 7:00 until 9:30pm and does require admission to Epcot in addition to the party ticket. It is a sensory experience, with the party focusing on smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. From dozens of different food and beverage offerings to music and performances by Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba cast, your senses will certainly be stimulated by the Party for the Senses.

Some things to know before you go to the party that might be helpful: There are three types of tickets to this event. First is general admission, which runs $169. including alcohol for guests age 21 and up and taxes. This gives you access to the party starting at 7pm, but no seating guaranteed. There are high top tables, but not necessarily seats to go with them, so if you are going with this option, get here early so you can be first in line to get in. Guests were checking in around 5:30pm when we arrived, so be prepared to stand and wait for a couple hours before the party starts if you want to be first in line to get a table. The next option, which is what I’d recommend, is to get a reserved table for $199. per person. In addition to guaranteed seating, you also get early access at 6:45pm, and a cocktail to kick off the party. The third option is the Wine View Lounge, which is a separate section in the middle of the floor, right in front of the stage. These tickets are $319. each and include early access at 6:45pm and the special cocktail to start. Also included is a private reserved table, premium bar access, and an artisanal cheese station.

Waiting area before the Party
Waiting area before the Party
Stations set up in World ShowPlace
Stations set up in World ShowPlace
Reserved area for Wine View Lounge
Reserved area for Wine View Lounge
Menu and place setting
Menu and place setting

My guest and I were seated in a reserved section just adjacent to the main stage where we found it to be convenient to the stations spread out around the World ShowPlace building. We decided early on that we would attack this like we do Food and Wine kiosks where we pace ourselves and split all of the tastes between us. This allows us to enjoy more and not fill up since we are doing half of everything. We then went back for some favorites to get seconds since some were that amazing.

The party features prominent chefs from all over the country as well as Disney chefs from all over property to showcase individual tastes. Some were quite simple with just a taste of one or two items together, and others were magnificently constructed compilations of almost a dozen ingredients combined. If you get a chance to go, remember to pace yourself. This is a two and a half hour event and I didn’t see any of the dozens of stations run out of food or drink.

Pistachio macaron
Pistachio macaron
Chocolate display
Chocolate display
Chefs at their station ready to serve
Chefs at their station ready to serve
View of the floor
View of the floor

One thing that we found extremely helpful was the menu that we got that was color coded to the location on the floor, which made finding specific items you hadn’t tried yet easier to track down. We tried every main food item, missed one of the cheese stations, the dessert with pistachios was skipped since I’m allergic, and I think I skipped the chocolate station. Other than that, we tried everything in the way of food at least once. Since I was driving I limited my alcohol intake to the cocktail at the beginning, which was a nice dry white sparkling wine, and a fantastic strawberry-lime cider from Sweden. My guest on the other hand, took it upon herself to sample quite a few of the wines.

For those who have any food allergies, it is very important that you ask at each individual station if you have any concerns. I mentioned I avoided one of the desserts since it was labeled on the menu with pistachios, but I did find one other location that didn’t list them as an ingredient, but I saw green nuts and figured I’d ask. I was glad I did because they were able to make me the dish without the pistachios and it ended up being one of my favorites of the night.

We grazed through the night sampling dozens of great food items and eventually musicians from Cirque du Soleil took to the stage to sing and perform selections from La Nouba. Later into the evening some of the clowns and other performers mingled on the floor interacting with guests. Towards the end of the night, about six or so of the La Nouba gymnasts and acrobats joined the clowns on stage to replace the musicians. They put on parts of the show, if you’ve ever seen La Nouba or commercials for it, the section with the trampoline and gymnasts going into the house facade with windows, bouncing in and around them and up to the roof. It is quite amazing to see them perform this inside the smaller height of the World ShowPlace building compared to their auditorium at Disney Springs.

Cirque du Soleil musicians
Cirque du Soleil musicians
Cirque du Soleil gymnasts
Cirque du Soleil gymnasts
Clowns bouncing around
Clowns bouncing around
I liked how they also had screens all around the room so you could see the stage no matter where you were seated
I liked how they also had screens all around the room so you could see the stage no matter where you were seated

Once we had completed the list of all the bites we wanted to try, we went back for a few of our favorites before heading out. The party allows you to take home your wine glass, which is the 20th Anniversary edition for the Food and Wine festival. We felt completely full, but not overstuffed with the many appetizers we had tried. Some of our favorites were the Lobster Lo Maine, the roasted cauliflower, the bison, and the lamb with roasted potatoes.

Lobster Lo Maine
Lobster Lo Maine
Roasted cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower
Bison
Bison
Roasted lamb and potatoes
Roasted lamb and potatoes

Overall it was a fantastic evening of friends, food, fun, entertainment, and trying new things. I am not particularly a fan of lamb or cauliflower, but these ended up being two of my favorite dishes of the entire night. I got to try a sip of the Chewtini that is being offered at the Food and Wine kiosks to celebrate the show the Chew. The music was great, and I didn’t get too scared of the clowns since I knew what to expect having seen La Nouba before.

This is a fantastic way to spend an evening with friends or family enjoying sips and bites from different restaurants all over the country and even world. We even timed our exit just right to come out a few minutes before Illuminations started, and if you come early, you also get the chance to see the Eat to the Beat Concert. I highly suggest that you try to book this soon if it isn’t already sold out, and if it is, add it to your calendar of must dos for next year. The Party for the Senses is a great way to experience Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival in a unique way where you can sit in air conditioning, and enjoy many different offerings for food and beverages while being entertained by the Cirque du Soleil cast.

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MagicSliders Watch for MagicBand

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

While in MouseGear at Epcot, I noticed a nice item for sale by the MagicBands, a MagicSlider watch.

MagicSlider Watch Accessory for Disney's MagicBand

I’m sure there are quite a few of you out there who have checked their MagicBands for the time more than a couple times. I especially run into this challenge since I usually wear my MagicBand on my left wrist where I typically wear my watch. It seems the touch points at all the guard gates are more conducive for guests wearing bands on their left too, so a lot of times I find myself not wearing my watch.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

The MagicSlider is $17.95 plus tax and slides very easily onto a MagicBand like any other slider. The color matches the gray trim exactly, so the watch will coordinate with any color MagicBand you have. It is lightweight and not bulky at all. The watch has three display modes: time in hour:minute format (both 12 and 24 hour options), date with the month and day, and seconds.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

I tested the MagicBand with the MagicSlider watch at touch points in Epcot. It worked great without any change in how I used the MagicBand for charging without the slider. I also checked to make the band functioned at the resort gate to get in, the door to my room, and also for charging at my resort food court. I had no difficulty whatsoever using the MagicBand with the watch attached.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

I am happy to see this great addition to the MagicBand for its practical use. My mom and I both bought one as we’ve been saying for months and months that they needed to add a watch to the MagicBands. I hope they eventually add more fun watches like they have for MagicSliders, MagicBandits, and CoverBands.


  

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Fireworks Flashback

Yesterday marked the anniversary for both Walt Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom (43rd) and Epcot (32nd). I had the great fortune to be able to celebrate these parks’ respective 40th and 30th fireworks celebrations. For the 40th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom in 2011, a group of friends and I had a spectacular experience renting out the Grand 1 Yacht from the Grand Floridian for a unique perspective of these special fireworks. In 2012, I also had a great view of the fireworks at Epcot thanks to friends from the upper level of the Japan pavilion. To commemorate these two great parks and their anniversaries, I’d like to share some of the fantastic fireworks pictures I was able to capture.

First, a few shots of the Grand 1. If you aren’t familiar with this beautiful yacht, it is docked at the Grand Floridian and guests may reserve it for a fee for a specialty cruise scheduled in the evening for the fireworks, for a private lunch with a butler, or just a cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. The yacht can accommodate up to 18 guests plus the captain and deckhand. If you get a chance to do this at any time, but especially for a special fireworks occasion like Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, I highly recommend getting a group together to experience this awesome vessel. We had the yacht for a couple hours before the fireworks, so we cruised back and forth around Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary, Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian before settling in to watch the Electrical Water Pageant just feet in front of us. We then were positioned almost directly in front of the train station for the fireworks with some slight drifting with the current it was a magnificent view!

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Epcot’s 30th was a fantastic combination of Illuminations and then paying homage to classic Epcot attractions and music with gorgeous fireworks.

 

 

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