Hidden Gems – Magic Kingdom – Main Street Philharmonic

So as I was walking through Liberty Square, I heard music to my ears…literally coming from the Main Street Philharmonic.

While I knew that this very talented group of gentleman played on Main Street around the parades ( Sunday – Thursday at 1:35 pm & 3:555 pm), I had NO idea that they played just outside of The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square!!!

The first set that I caught at 11:00 am featured several Christmas and Holiday songs. Now, these guys do WAYYY more than just play the songs!!! The Philharmonic led the crowd in a sing along, told some awesomely corny jokes, and did their best to get the crowd in the Christmas spirit!!!

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During the second show at 12:20 pm, the Main Street Philharmonic featured more traditional American Marches. For me the highlights were when they played Stars and Stripes and led some of the kids in the audience in a little march with American flags and when they played “When the Saints Go Marching In”.

Here are a few pics of “Stars and Stripes”..

They gathered up the kids and gave them each a small American Flag.
The march to the...well March begins...
After everyone is ready, they take their place among the members of the Philharmonic!
Stars and Stripes Forever!!!

And here is a pretty poor video of them playing “When the Saints Go Marching In”!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSAR5H86-bM&fs=1&hl=en_US]

I hope that you enjoyed this peek at the Main Street Philharmonic, and maybe even decide to take a detour through Liberty Square to catch them!!!

So where have you been…

Well it is about to happen…

We move into our house in Celebration on Friday, but I am not quite sure how I am feeling about everything.

Moving from Virginia has definitely been an adventure, but as we edge closer to getting the keys I find myself becoming more and more nervous.

We have had an ultimate goal of moving to Orlando in the back of our heads for quite some time, and now that it is here I find myself at a little bit of a loss…

I can’t help but wonder what happens next.

I have been absolutely overwhelmed with all the love and support that the WDW family (or mishpacha for Todd Perlmutter) has shown me, and I believe my ultimate goal is to pass on that same hospitality and cheering section onto others!

So if you’re headed through the MCO…LET ME KNOW!!! I’d love to meet up, share a frozen coke, and maybe a spin on the Peoplemover.

And I’ll continue to feature more of what I see as I am On the Go in MCO, and hopefully one day you will all be here with me!!!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Primer

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, MVMCP, is an absolute blast!!! I love these hard ticket events at the Magic Kingdom, but I always feel like there is almost too much to do and take in for just a few hours!

What I am going to try to do is give you a rundown of the things that I consider MUSTS and tips to make sure that you get it all done without going wacky nu-nu! 🙂

PARTY TIME!

The party officially kicks off at 7:00 pm, but you can get your party wristbands at 4:30 from the special event labeled turnstiles at the main entrance or if you are in the parks you can get them in Tomorrowland at Stitch’s Great Escape.

I would suggest getting to the Magic Kingdom on the earlier side, as you will be able to go to rides that are not open during the party. Our favorite ride to catch before the party is the Jungle Cruise, because the experience of cruising along is definitely different and wonderful after dark! Also you will get a chance to take pictures of the holiday decorations, because as the party gets underway there will be special decorations added just for the party!

But the most important thing to do once you arrive is to look at the party map and get a lay of the land. You’ll definitely want to go in with your priorities (Entertainment, Characters, Merchandise, or Attractions), and this is the perfect time to take a moment to make a game plan everyone can agree on and follow.

ENTERTAINMENT, PARADES, AND FIREWORKS…OH MY!!!

I’ve got to be honest; this is my favorite part and major reason to attend MVMCP!!!

Zoe loves the special dance parties that are held in Liberty Square and Fantasyland!  They are full of fun music and characters in their holiday finest shaking it on the dance floor with the kids (and adults)! At Woody’s Hootin’ holiday Open House at The Diamond Horseshoe, kids can dance with Woody, Jessie, and their Toy Story friends. Then at Cosmic Ray’s Jingle, Dance, and Play in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe you might get to meet some Citizens of Tomorrowland! You definitely should drop in for a few minutes to experience this fun!!!

Also on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland is “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” Show (7:45, 8:45, 9:55, 10:50, & 11:45) featuring song and dance numbers from Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch. It is definitely a cute show to catch a peek at as you are walking through.

On the Castle Forecourt Stage “Celebrate the Seasons” show (7:45, 10:05, & 11:20) features the Princesses and your favorite Disney characters.

The two biggies, at least for me, are the parade and fireworks!!!

“Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade” that steps off in Frontierland at 8:15 & 10:30 is full of festive fun! I absolutely love this parade, because the characters are decked out in their holiday finest and the music is super memorable and fun. If you aren’t bouncing around and smiling by the end of it, you might want to see if Scrooge McDuck has any positions available! 🙂 The second parade at 10:30 is a lot less crowded, but I would still suggest getting a spot for the parade at the same time as you do for the fireworks.

Speaking of which…”Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” is a fireworks SPECTACULAR that starts at 9:30. My biggest piece of advice for watching this show is to look up to make sure that you aren’t obstructed by trees and buildings!!! I love “Wishes”…but I bring 2 hankies for “Holiday Wishes”!!!

SPECIAL CHARACTERS TO VISIT

During the MVMCP there are four areas to meet special characters that are out JUST for the party.

The first area is located in front of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland. At this location you’ll find Tigger, Piglet, and Winnie the Pooh in their holiday finest in front of some greenery.

The others two areas are located in Toontown. Mickey and Minnie are in the Judges Tent, and Mickey is in a green holiday suit and Minnie is in a festive red dress. You will find the Princes have joined their Princesses in their usual Toontown Meet and Greet home.

The last Meet and Greet is located in the stroller parking area in Fantasyland (just to the left of its A Small World), and here you will find the Seven Dwarves decked out for the holidays!!!!

I would STRONGLY suggest visiting these guys during the first parade, before you scope out a spot for the fireworks and second parade.

EXCLUSIVE MERCHANDISE & PARTY PERKS

Spread around the Magic Kingdom, you will find five stores/kiosks selling MVMCP exclusive merchandise. The merchandise is what you would expect; pins, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.

At Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there are seven areas where you can pick up free hot chocolate and cookies. The hot chocolate is actually really good, and the sugar cookies were moist and delicious!!! Our favorite spot to stop was in Adventureland, in the Adventureland Veranda, where you could meet Lilo with a Hawaiian Christmas backdrop (complete with a sandman).

WHAT CAN I RIDE?

Below you’ll find a list of the rides that are operating by land!

Adventureland:

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Swiss Family Treehouse

Frontierland:

Splash Mountain

Country Bear Jamboree

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Liberty Square:

The Haunted Mansion

Hall of Presidents

Fantasyland:

Peter Pan’s Flight

Prince Charming Regal Carousel

It’s a Small World

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Mad Tea Party

Snow White’s Scary Adventure

Mickey’s Toontown Fair:

The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm

Tomorrowland:

Tomorrowland Speedway

Space Mountain

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Monsters Inc. Laughing Floor – Last Showing is at 10 pm

Astro Orbiter

Stitch’s Great Escape

Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover

While most of the rides are open, the ones that aren’t operating are: Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland; Walt Disneyworld Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland; Liberty Square Riverboat in Liberty Square; Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

GETTING A BITE TO EAT!

Main Street USA:

Casey’s Corner – Hot Dogs, Cracker Jacks

Main Street Sweets – Candy

Frontierland:

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn – Burgers, Salads, Wraps, etc. (closes at 10:00 pm)

Turkey Leg Cart – Turkey Legs

Westward Ho – Quick Bites

Frontierland Churros & Pretzels

Liberty Square:

Sleepy Hollow – Mickey Waffles, Funnel Cakes, Treats, Drinks

Fantasyland:

Storybook Treats – Ice Cream, Milkshakes, Drinks

Tomorrowland:

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – Cheeseburgers & Chicken

The Lunching Pad – Hot Dogs, Pretzels, Chips, Drinks (Frozen Coke here is AWESOME)

BEFORE I FORGET…

First off, this is a party for EVERYONE!!! If you are traveling solo, don’t have kids, have as many kids as the Duggars, or if you don’t celebrate Christmas you should totally feel comfortable at the party! While it is super Christmassy, it is more of a “familiar” Christmas that kind of wraps around you like a warm blanket.

Since the party starts on the earlier side and there aren’t too many places that will be open to eat (and you really don’t want to take too much time away from the party happenings), I strongly suggest eating an early lunch and then when you get there you should grab a quick bite to eat and calm any munchies with the hot chocolate & cookies. This has proven to be the most time effective way for us to move along.

TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!! Don’t forget that a lot of what you will see at the party you won’t see tomorrow at the Magic Kingdom so don’t rely on coming back for a picture of that later!!! I have done this too many times and it breaks my heart just thinking about everything that I have missed!!!!

NOW THAT YOU’VE GOT ME INTERESTED, WHEN CAN I GO TO MVMCP & HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Dates*

November 2010 December 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010 Friday, December 3, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010 Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010 Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Thursday, December 9, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 201
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010

*Advance Purchase Price not available on 12/7, 12/10, 12/12, 12/17, 12/19. All other select nights, when purchased prior to the day of the event: $53.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $47.95 + tax (Ages 3 – 9); Day-Of Event Prices: $59.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $53.95 + tax (Ages 3 – 9);

I hope that this super crazy post helps you plan your time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!!! I’ll be posting my pictures later on this weekend, and I hope that when you go that you share your pictures with me, too!!!

 

 

Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Last night I was able to do something that I have been wanting to do for a loooong time…I got to see the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights!!!

It was dusk and I knew what was waiting for me right around the corner as I approached the BAH…and suddenly I was walking faster and I saw my first peek at the lights.

I was a little worried that I would be overwhelmed by the amount of lights and people that I knew that I would find on the Streets of America, but once I was there none of that mattered!!!

The lights are absolutely beautiful, and when the snow falls (during the non-dancing lights songs) it feels perfect.

This year Phineas & Ferb make a cameo into the dancing light sequence, and it is perfectly placed addition to this experience.

There are vendors selling Christmas cookies and hot chocolate, as well as 3D glasses that enhance the lights. The glasses can be purchased at Youse Guys Moichendise, but almost seem unnecessary as the lights hold their own.

If you haven’t had the chance to see the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, you should do so…NOW!!!

I also want to thank Todd Perlmutter, Cheryl Perlmutter, and Matt Hochberg for showing me around and pointing out things that I shouldn’t miss!

I hope that you enjoy these pictures!!!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Holiday Daytime Edition

So for today’s outing I decided to head on over to Hollywood Studios, and boy was I glad that I did!

For some reason we ALWAYS end up not being able to watch the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and I am soooo excited to be able to see them this year.

I will warn you, that I went a little nutty taking soooo many pictures!!!!

I hope that you enjoy them & if there is anything else you would like to see just let me know!!! 🙂

See ya later!

So I posted this pic earlier on Twitter (from @shelleycaran)…

Imagination! Sign

And while usually change is a good thing, when it comes to the Imagination Pavilion change makes me feel like Forest Gump. You never know what you are going to get, especially when it comes to the future of an unsponsored pavilion. *coughwondersoflifecough*

My first trip to EPCOT Center was in 1986. The Imagination Pavilion was AMAZING! The ride was captivating, and I remember wanting to ride it over and over again! It was an experience, and then when you went upstairs you really got to explore and connect with the subject at hand…Imagination.

Fast forward to today, and you have a tired ride that has no staying power. Besides the cuteness of Figment, which no one can deny, I find that my take away is bleak. Rather than exploring what Imagination is and can be we get shown how much imagination is fought, misunderstood, and held captive at times.

Kodak’s exit after 28 years of sponsorship is bittersweet, but with their departure I find hope that one day we’ll be “Makin Memories” and find the “One Little Spark” we have all been hoping for!

Disney Channel Rocks!…Really!

Zoe is a huge High School Musical fan, and when I heard that they were replacing one of her favorite shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios I was a little nervous that my little Wildcat would be disappointed in its replacement.

So I decided that I would give it a shot, and went down to the BAH to give “Disney Channel Rocks!” a look-see.

Well I can report, that I really loved it! It is a high energy show that features several songs from both Disney Channel shows and movies. I was pleasantly surprised at their song selection, and being a new fan to the mash up (Thank you Glee!) their arrangement was flawless.

As the stage rolls down Hollywood Boulevard, the party has begun and songs are blasting from the stage. Rolling up to Keystone Clothiers, the dancers run out in front of the stage from the crowds to join into the concert.

Before the stage moves into its final position in front of the Sorcerer’s Hat, the crowds are held back to make sure that no one gets hurt.

Once everything is in place, everyone is walked into place for the concert. There really isn’t a bad place to view the show from, so you really don’t need to be up front to take it all in.

The show features songs from Camp Rock 1 & 2, Jump In, The Cheetah Girls, Starstruck, and High School Musical. The singing is amazing! I was taken aback at how well these guys and gals were able to sing and dance! Also, the dancing is SUPER high energy and really well choreographed. Even if you don’t know the songs, you will find yourself bopping around to the music.

As the show concludes and is rolling back down Hollywood Boulevard, they play some more songs and instead of singing they are more like DJs introducing them. The songs were from Selena Gomez, Hannah Montana, and Demi Lovato (the usual suspects).

The show is performed daily at 10:000am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 4:30pm & 5:30pm.

While I did not know all the songs and I haven’t seen all of the Disney Channel Movies that are featured, I really enjoyed the show! The performance quality is really high, and I know that my little Wildcat will have a new favorite show!

Here are some pictures that I took at the show…I hope that you enjoy them!!!

Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando

Last weekend we spent two great days exploring all that SeaWorld had to offer for Halloween.

It was a ton of fun!!!

We took several trips on the Halloween trail, The Underwater Fantasea Path, to collect candy and pictures with unique characters (included in the price of admission), to decorate cookies, and to have a fun time at the park.

Zoe especially loved Abby Cadabby’s Halloween Adventure! The highlight of this area was an interactive maze that makes use of all your senses to help Abby find her wand.

Our second morning in the park began with an early character breakfast at Count Von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast. Talk about a great value!!! Adults are $18 ($16.20 for Passholders) and Children are $16 ($14.40 for Passholders), and included is a buffet breakfast, Shamu cup, a short show, and exclusive meet & greets with your favorite Sesame Street friends.

We also visited the Seaport Theater to watch “Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween”, which featured Count Von Count, Elmo, and other friends from Sesame Street in a cute musical about Halloween time fun.

Afterwards we had a lot of time to check out the park before the Halloween area opened at noon. We are now super fans of “Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island” and all of their slapstick antics. If you haven’t seen it…YOU MUST!

It was definitely a great weekend!!!

I hope that you enjoy the pictures!!!

Air Force Week Kicks Off at the Magic Kingdom

 

The Thunderbirds flying over Main Street USA

 

This week is Air Force week, and to kick off the celebration The Thunderbirds flew over the Magic Kingdom as the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” Parade rolled right down the middle of Main Street USA. It was the culminating point of months of collaboration between the US Air Force, Thunderbird, and Disney teams.

I would be lying to you if I told you that I still didn’t have goosebumps from being able to see this in person!!!

After the parade, we were escorted to the Rose Garden where we *gasp* were able to speak with Thunderbird officers and pilots as well as representatives from the Air Force.

They all spoke about how flying over the Magic Kingdom was truly a dream come true, and was definitely a highlight of their career.

Colonel Rosen and Chief Sargent Major Hall also hope that Air Force week lets people know how much they appreciate all of the support that they are shown and encourage children to consider a career in the Air Force.

Although for me the highlight was speaking with Derek Routt, a Thunderbird Pilot. He was super intense and passionate about wanting kids to take away the “pure joy” that it is to fly and for their parents to enjoy and foster that emotion in their children. He also wants kids to “dream big and hope to be a part of it all, because anything is possible if you work hard”.

The Thunderbirds will be headlining the Cocoa Beach Air Show this weekend as part of Air Force Week. For more information, you can visit http://www.cocoabeachairshow.com.

And for more information on Air Force week, you can visit http://newpreview.afnews.af.mil/afweek/

I can tell you that this is definitely something that I will remember for the rest of my life!

Visit Key West and Feed the Stingrays at Sea World Orlando

Upon entering the five acre section of “Key West at Sea World” from the main entrance, you will come upon Stingray Lagoon. The brightly colored shacks and vibrant music let you know that this is going to be a fun and quirky experience!

The Lagoon is home to over 200 rays that are all waiting to be viewed, touched, and most importantly fed! Also part of the area is sectioned off from the larger rays and humans to showcase stingray pups as they learn to interact with the world around them.

A Stringray near the feeding/touching ledge.

Stingray Lagoon is usually super busy, but there is always a Sea World expert on hand to give you tips, answer questions, and to help give an extra boost of confidence as you think about putting your hand in to touch and feed the rays.

Hey....Feed Me!!!

First things first, you will notice that these guys (and gals) are NOT shy. They will swim right up to the ledge and start flapping it with their fins to let you know that they are ready to play. You will definitely want to be careful, because their tank is filled with salt water which is super harmful to electronics!

They will splash A LOT!!!
If you want to feed the rays you can purchase a tray of five small fish from a nearby counter. The first tray costs $5.00, and you get a discount if you buy more trays.
They look super gross in this pic, but they really weren't that bad to touch.

The best way to feed the stingrays is by placing the small fish between your fingers and submerging your hand under the water so your fish is jiggling above your fingers. (Yes, jiggling is a purely technical term! J ) You want to feed them like this for two reasons. The first is that their mouth isn’t where you think it is, because they are bottom feeders their mouth is on the underside of their body. The second is that there are always a ton of birds around waiting to grab fish out of your hand. And the birds are definitely the most aggressive thing that you will find around Stingray Lagoon!!!

Don't feed 'em like this...but it does make for a cool picture!

These stingrays are super docile, and feel like a velvety sponge. At first little ones may be weirded out by the idea of sticking their hand elbow deep in water to feel this oddly shaped animal, but after they get their first “high five” they’ll be hooked.

We absolutely loved watching, feeding, and touching these beautiful and friendly stingrays! It is definitely something that we will do again!!!