Pleasure Island … A Fond Rememberance

Pleasure IslandIf you are anything like me and were fortunate enough to experience Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island in its heyday, it is bittersweet to recognize today as the 25th Anniversary of its opening. There are a ton of changes coming for Downtown Disney with the new Disney Springs project. For now though, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite memories of Pleasure Island as I knew and loved it.

I first became an Annual Passholder to Walt Disney World shortly after moving to Florida in 1998. Living about an hour and a half away, I would often come to Orlando for a couple of days and stay just off property near Downtown Disney in the Crossroads area. My friends and I would usually take a cab for the short ride since we were going to the clubs. Being a premium annual passholder, admission to Pleasure Island was included for guests 18 and up, so I would find myself heading to Downtown Disney most weekends I visited.DSCF7985

There were eight clubs, some changed over time, but some were mainstays. I loved the ten years I got to experience Pleasure Island from 1998 – 2008 and often miss it dearly.

Opening day clubs that I never got to experience included XZFR Rockin Rollerdome, which was later replaced by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Beach Club, the Neon Armadillo, later became the BET Soundstage and Videopolis East, which later turned into 8Trax. I also never made it to the Fireworks Factory that was replaced Wildhorse Saloon in 1998 and later Motion. I never made it to the Comedy Warehouse, but I’m okay with this as standup isn’t really my thing.

Where Raglan Road is now, Pleasure Island Jazz Company use to sit. It was a fantastic club that was cool to hang out in while listening to live bands play traditional jazz, fusion, afro-cuban, even a capella groups performed there. This was one of my favorite places to go and just sit and enjoy a great band while enjoying a cocktail.

Another club where I spent a good amount of time was at Mannequins with the large rotating dance floor. This was one of my favorites and it played primarily current club and dance music. I loved this place especially when Sandstorm came on!

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8Trax was a club that played 70s and 80s music, depending on the night. It was a lot of fun hearing some classic songs to dance long into the night.

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These are the two clubs where I spent the most time aside from my all time favorite, the dearly missed Adventurer’s Club. This club was different from any other I’ve been to. It was part comedy, part improv, but all fun. Set in 1937, the club featured a group of adventurers always willing to induct a few more into their club. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent in the library or the mask room.

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I have so many great memories of nights spent at Pleasure Island with friends and family. The countdown to New Year’s Eve and nightly fireworks were always fun with the live band on the West Side stage. The DJ and video screens played great songs outside between the clubs and shops.

I look forward to seeing how this area will evolve over the next few years, but in the meantime I sure could use a good old Kungaloosh! I guess I’ll just have to wait til I’m back at Trader Sams in Disneyland in November.

Did you get to experience Pleasure Island before the clubs closed in September of 2008? What’s your favorite part of the current Pleasure Island?

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Treasures Of The Walt Disney Archives Exhibit Extended

Treasures Of The Walt Disney Archives

D23 Presensts: Treasures Of The Walt Disney Archives To Stay at MSI Through August 3, 2014

Due to popular demand, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is extending the run of Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club Guests will be able to enjoy the exhibit through August 3, 2014.

Treasures Of The Walt Disney Archives

“This interactive exhibit has been so well-received by guests of all ages,” said Anne Rashford, director of temporary exhibits. “It tells the great story of the imagination and perseverance of Walt Disney and offers a rare peek into his life and the unforgettable entertainment he created. We are thrilled to be able to keep it at MSI for an additional three months.”

From Mickey Mouse to Mary Poppins to Captain Jack Sparrow, the exhibition features more than 300 artifacts from nine decades of Disney’s rich history—including props; costumes; memorabilia; and artwork from classic Disney animation, theme park attractions, television shows and live-action films. Hands-on activities allow kids and adults alike to explore animation technology from all 53 Disney animated films and learn to draw one of their favorite characters in the Animation Academy.

Treasures Of The Walt Disney Archives

The exhibit is not included in Museum Entry but can be added to an Explorer ticket package. D23 Gold and Silver Members will receive a special discount on exhibit entry. For more information and to buy tickets, visit msichicago.org. For more information about D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, visit D23.com.

This exhibit is presented by Walgreens.

 

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Happy Anniversary It’s a Small World!

Today It’s a Small World is among three ground-breaking attractions created for the 1964 World’s Fair celebrating their 50th Anniversary, and we wanted to take a moment to talk about why each attraction is so special to us.

It's a Small World

This gentle boat ride is the ‘Happiest cruise that ever sailed around the world’, and was created for the 1964 World’s Fair to salute UNICEF and the children around the world. Filled with beautiful Animatronic Dolls, colorful lands, and an infectious song more than 10 million visitors from 1964-1965.

It's a Small World

It was great to see how each of the five Disney Parks around the world celebrated the anniversary of It’s a Small World, but it is really great to hear everyone’s personal connection to the attraction!

httpv://youtu.be/050ZVhjPiNk

My father is a big guy with a southern accent and usually stern face, but his absolute favorite ride at Walt Disney World is It’s a Small World!

I remember on our first trip to Walt Disney World in 1986 we rode It’s a Small World three times, so when my daughter’s, Zoe, first trip rolled around there was only one thing we could do!

As we walked down Main Street, we made our way to It’s a Small World where Zoe shared her first ride at Walt Disney World with my father at her side.

To this day it remains a family favorite ride, and I will never forget the look of delight and love that my father had as rode hand-in-hand with her.

Keep an eye out for our posts on Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Carousel of Progress that will be coming to you later today!

Do you have a special memory of It’s a Small World?

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Studio 25: Disney’s Hollywood Studios 25th Anniversary Event

Studio 25: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Studio 25

A WDWCelebrations Commemorative Event

Thursday – Sunday, May 1st – 4th, 2014

 

WDW Celebrations has put together Studio 25 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 1-4, 2014, and we are extremely excited about partnering and celebrating with them!

Studio 25

Studio 25 is an amazing four day event around the Walt Disney World Resort designed to bring old and new Walt Disney World enthusiasts together through signature offerings to complement the official Walt Disney World celebrations planned.

The **tentative** schedule includes group dinners, prizes for trivia challenges and scavenger hunts, group rides, and more! I have to say that I am really looking forward to the new interactive game and group rides! You can find the entire schedule on the WDW Celebrations Page here, and with a schedule that is so full of fun events you don’t have to worry about keeping up with any changes or missing things because they have an Event Alert Service.

Studio 25

Registration for the Studio 25 Event by WDW Celebration is open now, and as an extra bonus a good chunk of the registration fee will go towards the WDWCelebrations Charitable Initiative! The Registration Fee for adults (ages 16+) is $10, of which $3 will go toward the charity donation, and the registration fee for children (ages 3-15)  is $6, of which $3 will go toward the charity donation.

More information about Studio 25 and upcoming events will be released on the WDWCelebrations.com website, theWDWCelebrations newsletter as well as the WDWCelebrations official fan page on Facebook and theWDWCelebrations Twitter feed.

Studio 25

We are really excited about attending WDWCelebrations Studio 25, and hope to see you there!

 

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Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of It’s A Small World At Walt Disney World

It's a Small World

Yesterday the Walt Disney World Resort joined in with the other Disney Parks around the world to celebrates the 50th anniversary of It’s a Small World.

It’s a Small World opened as a tribute to peace and hope at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and is an important part of my family’s heart.

It is my father’s favorite attraction (he makes us ride it at least twice per visit), it was my first ride at Walt Disney World, and we brought it full circle as my father and I rode with Zoe for her first ride ever at Walt Disney World.

It's a Small World

As part of a live global sing-along connecting all the Disney Parks around the world, international cast members from the countries of Epcot will lead a choir of children and cast members in song in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Throughout the day, in-park performers – the Dapper Dans, Coke Corner Pianist, Notorious Banjo Brothers, Royal Majesty Maker Musicians and Main Street Philharmonic – are scheduled to include “it’s a small world” in their appearances. And, a special moment is planned for Magic Kingdom guests to join in singing the iconic song prior to the 3 p.m. Disney Festival of Fantasy parade.

Thank you so much to John from Big Fat Panda.com for creating an AMAZING video!!! Make sure that you check out his amazing show (especially show #1 with your’s truly) and videos on his chanel.

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Wordless Wednesday – You’re On Walt

Wordless Wednesday – April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday this week takes us to Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is one of my absolute favorite things to do at DHS!!!

Today’s Giveaway will be announced later today on our Facebook Page!!! So be sure to ‘Like’ Us and follow us on Twitter for a link!

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My Favorite Walt Disney World Spring Break Tips

My Favorite Tips For Making The Most

Of Your Spring Break At Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World
My Family at Walt Disney World

With the mad rush of Spring Break at Walt Disney World upon us, I thought I would share some of my family’s tips for dealing with the large crowds at Walt Disney World at this time of year.

When it is super busy at the parks our goal is to try to make the experience as fun and stress-free as possible, while still getting to take in as many attractions and shows as possible in on a busy day.

So here are MY 7 Must Do’s to make a busy time of year fun for the whole family!

1. Have a plan of attack!

I know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but take inventory of everyone’s favorite rides and must see shows and prioritize them. When we visit, I often find that my ability to come up with a ‘Plan B’ on the fly is what really makes or breaks a great day at the Parks since you never know what your day is going to bring.

Make sure you visit our friends over at Touring Plans, because they REALLY know how to plan a day if you are looking to make the most of every minute of your day!

2. Make your day filled with games.

In ev’ry job that must be done 
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

Mary Poppins had the absolute right idea! Your job is to make the most of your day in Walt Disney World, so spit spot!

Why not see how many character shirts you see in a day with extra points going to the more rare characters? Or see if you can find Cast Members from all 50 states. Maybe you can even try your hand at becoming at Hidden Mickey Hunter!

3. Look for things you might have overlooked before that others might, too.

I know this one sounds a little weird, but stick with me!

I often get stuck in the rut of following a pattern of attractions and shows when I visit the parks; however I am now constantly on the lookout for the little things I didn’t see before.

My absolute favorite one of these activities is to go the Animation Academy thanks to Betsy! I will warn you that this will take up a good chunk of time, since classes are held every 30 minutes and you can sometimes have to wait as classes tend to fill up. While you are waiting there is a ton to do and fun trivia to keep you all company.

I promise that you will not regret dedicating some time to trying your hand at the Animation Academy.

4.  Pay a visit to the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.

The 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is an outstanding way to spend the day, but you can really make the most of your visit by taking your time to smell the roses!

While I’ve already shared a lot of my ideas for My Perfect Day at the Flower and Garden Festival, there are even more ways that you can avoid a lot of the crowds during the Festival!

Spend time in the garden exhibits and in the Flower and Garden Festival Center, take the Tea Tour offered in the United Kingdom Pavilion, stroll through the Kinsey Collection in the American Adventure Pavilion to escape the heat, and finally make sure that you find your favorite character topiary and pose for a great picture with them.

5. Take a visit to Fort Wilderness with the family.

If any tip could possibly get me into hot water with the ‘locals’, this might be it…

Fort Wilderness is the absolute best kept secret at Walt Disney World, and once you figure this out you will be hooked!

The recreation offerings at Fort Wilderness are amazing, and ideal for this time of year to take advantage of the great weather! Some of the more unique activities you will find at the resort are archery, horse and pony riding adventures, jogging trails through meadows and cypress groves, and wagon rides for the whole family to enjoy.

But you have to wait all day to get to my absolute favorite thing to do at Fort Wilderness, which is attending Chip ’N Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long followed by a movie under the stars. During the Campfire Sing-a-long you get to sing and dance with two of the best (not that I am biased or anything) characters…Chip ‘N Dale! And then you get to watch a great Disney movie under the stars, while you roast marshmallows (which are available for purchase at the campfire area) over the campfires that are always roaring thanks to great Fort Wilderness Cast Members.

6. Take a Tour!

It is absolutely astounding how many tours at Walt Disney World are offered!

Whether you are a history nut who wants to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour or walk on the wild side with a Wild African Trek, you are sure to find a tour that fits your interests at Walt Disney World!

A tour that I have taken many times and thoroughly enjoy is the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. This tour is my favorite since it is extremely affordable (Adults $18.00/Children $14.00 with Annual Pass discounts available), appropriate for all ages (they even have special strollers and wheelchairs for use on the tour), and gives you the thrill of being backstage while being ‘in’ an attraction. The tour is also offered several times a day, so it is very schedule friendly!

I am really looking forward to making more time in my schedule for tours at Walt Disney World this year!

7. Be prepared!

I know I sound like I am out of the Festival of the Lion King with my final tip, but it is possibly the most important one I could give you!

The last thing you want on a busy day is to NEED something, and have to wait in long lines to buy something that you left in your room or didn’t think to bring. This is the one tip that I still struggle with and have to remind myself of on a constant basis.

When we visit the park as a family we always try to bring a ‘family bag’ that is full of essentials that we find ourselves needing every visit.

And here is a list of what our ‘family bag’ contains:

  • Umbrellas – It’s Florida, and it’s going to rain when you least expect it!
  • Snacks – We make sure to bring small snacks that won’t melt in the hot sun to help keep spirits high during longer than expected waits for kids and adults.
  • Trading Pins – It is always useful to keep a few of these babies handy!
  • Autograph Book and Sharpie – Zoe ebbs and flows on wanting autographs, but it is a better safe than sorry thing for us now.
  • Ziploc Bags – We carry them in several sizes to make sure that our electronics are safe from the rain (please see umbrellas).
  • Lip Balm & Sunscreen – Pretty self-explanatory for these two items.
  • Baby Wipes – You can get small packages with fun Disney prints, and baby wipes are good for anything…Baby wipes for Moms are like duct tape for MacGyver!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tips, and that if you are visiting Walt Disney World for Spring Break that you have an absolutely amazing time!!!

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Weekly Review – Our Week On The Go October 1-5, 2012

Weekly Review – Our Week On The Go October 1-5, 2012

Weekly Review time!!! This past week here at On the Go has been crazy busy, but a total blast!!!

Now it’s time to look back at all that happened October 1st – 5th!!!

Let’s Go!

Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT!!! I took a look back at my first visit to EPCOT Center in 1986 with some quality Fisher Price Camera Pictures of some of my favorite rides!

EPCOT30 Weekly Review
I think everyone who rode Horizons has this memory planted in their minds.

It’s after midnight, and Cinderella Diamond Edition is out on BluRay! I review this stunning and chocked full of Extras DVD Release. Even if you already own Cinderella, I would run out and get Cinderella Diamond Edition!!!

Cinderella Diamond Edition Weekly Review
Cinderella Diamond Edition Available on October 2, 2012

The Orlando Home Show was this weekend, and it was full of great ideas for your home and the fabulous Mark Brunetz was there, too!!!

Orlando Home Show Weekly Review
Orlando Home Show – October 5-7, 2012

Disney Interactive has launched a Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth App! Fans of Popular Newsy Web Series Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth Can Now Get Their Daily Cup of News and Laughter to Go with the Daily Shot App!

Daily Shot Weekly Review
Daily Shot Now Available in the App Store!

Wordless Wednesday took us to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Lobby of the Tower Hotel.

Wordless Wednesday Weekly Review
Wordless Wednesday – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Tower of Terror

LEGOLAND Florida is Celebrating their First Birthday with tons of great savings and prizes for Florida Residents on October 15th!

LEGOLAND Florida Birthday Celebration Weekly Review
LEGOLAND Florida Birthday Celebration Will Be Full Of Prizes, Savings, and Fun!

Aurora and I had the unique opportunity to see another side of Titanic: The Experience, and it was a ghostly good time!

Titanic the Experience Weekly Review
Titanic: The Experience

Betsy took us along for another look at the Art of Animation Resort, because since all of the sections of the Resort have opened she has some new favorite details!

Art of Animation Resort Weekly Review
Loyal Order of the Lugnuts

Heather Thomson, from the hit Bravo show the Real Housewives of New York, will be speaking on October 21st during the Women for Israel Breakfast at the Hilton Orlando to benefit the Jewish National Fund.

Heather Thomson Weekly Review

And we ended the week with some news that made this WWE FanGirl get excited, WWE NXT is going to be at Full Sail Live! On October 11th!

WWE NXT Weekly Review
WWE NXT is taping at Full Sail Live! on October 11th! Photo Courtesy of Central FL Top 5!!!

Thanks for joining us this week at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!! We’ll be looking at some fun activities at SeaWorld Orlando, the Richard Petty Experience, some Food and Wine Festival Fun, and more!

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EPCOT30 – Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT CENTER!

EPCOT30 – Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT CENTER!

EPCOT 30 is really here, and I thought that I would take another look back at my first trip to EPCOT Center!

In 1986 my life changed forever, I was introduced to a place called EPCOT Center. I know that may sound a bit dramatic, but the happenings of this trip seem to have influenced and affected me for quite some time.

My family was by no means well off, and when it came time to make our family trip to Walt Disney World my parents were serious about making sure we made the most of our time here.

My parents have always been huge fans of Walt Disney World, and since they had already been to the Magic Kingdom they decided that our first park to visit would be the new EPCOT Center.

I had never been to a theme park, so armed with my Fisher Price camera (I was a bit of a rebel. No flash photography…I didn’t hear that…sorry) I was ready to make the most of my time here! I wish I could have found all of the pictures, but I am glad that I found these!!!

But pictures or no pictures, I wanted to share a few of my favorite and cherished moments.

In World of Motion, my brother’s favorite ride, my fondest memories are frantically pointing to all of the scenes and trying to find all of the funny details. The screens were full of fun background images, while the animatronics depicted scenes that were easy to identify with and fun to deconstruct.

In Horizons, I remember the optimism that we all felt for the future. I know that everyone who got the opportunity to experience Horizons has a fond memory of the smell of oranges. And while the orange smell on Soarin’ is a nice nod to this extinct attraction, it just isn’t the same to me. Here is my EPCOT30 confession, I was once meditating during a Yoga class, and we were encouraged to think of a happy memory and before the image could fully form I was hit by the Horizons orange smell and it instantly made me happy.

Journey into Imagination was the only ride, according got my Mom, where I was silent and in complete awe of what was surrounding me. Plus this one and only one ride cemented my life-long love of the Royal Purple Pigment Figment! Our trip was also right before Captain EO opened, and I remember begging to stay until we could see it unsuccessfully, So when EO returned to Epcot, I was absolutely beside myself because I was going to have the opportunity to see the movie I couldn’t see before. And as I was sitting in the theater before the movie started with Zoe, I couldn’t help but wiggle with the excitement and dance out at the end with her. I know it’s cheesy, but getting the chance to relive these memories with Zoe make me giddy!

As we walked around World Showcase on this first trip, we spent a lot of time in Mexico since it was my Dad’s favorite pavilion. I remember how badly we all wanted to eat ‘inside the pyramid’, as I called it, but my Dad protested saying it was too expensive. However in 2008, we were fortunate enough to take Mom and Dad to Walt Disney World with us for Zoe’s first trip to Walt Disney World and much like my family’s first trip Epcot was our first stop. But on this trip we skipped running to ride attractions, to go directly to Mexico to have our first meal of the trip at the San Angel Inn. The wait staff must have thought I was crazy, because as I sat down I started crying realizing I was making a 12 year old wish come true!

The newest pavilion at EPCOT Center was The Living Seas, and it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Our trip to Sea Base Alpha was the most moving and wonderful thing that I had ever done! The Hydrolators, our seacab journey, the interactive displays, and marine life were almost too much to take in. I kept asking if it was real!

And finally, there is my beloved Spaceship Earth. We all have that one attraction that speaks to us, and for me that attraction was Spaceship Earth. I loved, and still do, this slow moving journey through time. Communication is something we all do, and the history of communication fascinated me. Coming off of our first ride I must have asked a million questions prompting us to ride it 2 more times. Spaceship Earth will always be my most favorite ride, and I often think of how inspired I was as I walked off that first time and how much I am always searching for that same feeling of inspiration and curiosity in my life.

I hope that you enjoyed my reminiscing about my first trip to EPCOT Center on EPCOT30. What were your first memories about EPCOT Center?

 

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A Look at the Destination D Archives Exhibit

Good gravy! Destination  D was JAMMED pack with tons of great presentations and information!!!!

The highlight of Destination D for me was the Archives Gallery that housed a nice variety of Walt Disney World documents and figures!

I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did!!!

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