Walt Disney Family Museum Tips for Visiting

Walt Disney Family Museum
Walt Disney Family Museum

I finally made my way to the Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio of San Francisco, California. I had been wanting to return to San Francisco since I first visited there in 2009, and the museum was a big part of why. It was not open yet when I went previously, so I thought this was a great cornerstone of a second trip to the City by the Bay.

Before I went to the Walt Disney Family Museum, I did very little research in the way of planning my trip. The one thing I did do ahead of time was to order my tickets. This is by no means necessary, but if you are a member of the free Disney Movie Rewards program (where you get points for Disney movie tickets purchased, movies on dvd and blu ray, as well as soundtracks and other cds), they have the tickets for 1,000 for adults, and 800 points for kids. Basically, you are getting your tickets for free if you have enough points, but keep in mind it can take 2 – 4 weeks for them to be delivered by mail. I’d recommend ordering them a couple of months before your trip and then you’ve got plenty of time.

Hyperion Studio
Hyperion Studio

Regular ticket prices are currently $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (65+) or students (w/ id), $15 for children (6 – 17), and children ages 5 and under are free with a paying adult. If you don’t have Disney Movie Rewards, there are still other ways to get discounts on your tickets. Gold Members of Disney’s fan club D23 can get $3 off one day admission for up to four guests per member. Tickets are good for any days, so you don’t need to pick a specific date when your purchase tickets to the Walt Disney Family Museum. You can also occasionally find coupons for $3 off on sites like Bay City Guide, or in coupon books around the city of San Francisco. The Museum also offers free admission for active duty and retired military and their spouses and dependents with valid id.

Parking at the Walt Disney Family Museum is paid on street, but you can use credit cards or cash. You go to a machine and pay for a certain amount of time, and then it prints a receipt which you put on your windshield to designate you’ve paid for the parking. Museum hours are Wednesday through Monday from 10am – 6pm with closures on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Please note that last entry is at 4:45pm, and that some of the special exhibits can close 30 – 60 minutes before the rest of the museum (I found this out the hard way, but it worked out in the end). Pictures are allowed throughout much of the museum (unless otherwise indicated), but this certainly adds to your time if you try to get pictures of everything like I did.

Walt Disney Family Museum
Mickey merchandise
Walt's Los Angeles
Walt’s Los Angeles
Walt's bench
Walt’s bench
Walt
Walt

Try to get to the Museum as early as you can. Rope drop it if possible. On the two days I went, one in the early afternoon, and the other first thing when they opened at 10, the morning was much quieter. I almost had the Museum to myself for a good hour, which was heavenly. The Walt Disney Family Museum is set up to chronologically follow Walt Disney’s lifespan from 1901 up until even after his death in 1966. Wear comfortable shoes. Even though it isn’t a huge museum, it snakes back and forth with over a dozen gallery rooms plus the special exhibits. There are benches and seating along the way, as well as an elevator at the halfway point to return to the lobby for a refreshing break in the cafe if you need it.

Give yourself plenty of time. I thought half a day was going to be enough, but ended up returning for another two hours the next day to finish the exhibits I did not get to the day before. The Walt Disney Family Museum is made up of lots of pictures, video clips, and audio clips. Allow yourself to play and explore. If you aren’t particularly interested in Walt’s life as a child, then move on to his adult years. If you love Disneyland, make sure you take your time exploring the huge diorama from all angles and the binder that goes with it.

Disneyland diorama
Disneyland diorama

The Walt Disney Family Museum shop has some fantastic books, movies, artwork, and typical gift shop offerings. Don’t forget to factor in shopping time into your schedule and your budget. The Museum Cafe has a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, snacks, and drinks. We took a breather here and were very happy with our snacks and refreshing sodas.

Know that this is a bit of a trek from Disneyland and Southern California to get to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Not everyone will be like me and want to drive from San Francisco to Anaheim, so either plan two trips, or maybe look at flying between the two. The drive down the interstate can be done in about 6 hours depending on traffic. We took our time and split up the drive down through Big Sur, stopping in Solvang, visiting Santa Barbara, Ventura, Hollywood, and then on to Disneyland. It was a once in a lifetime amazing ten day trip, but I don’t know that I want to drive it ever again. In the future I’d probably stick to separate trips for San Francisco and Disneyland, however it was awesome to do … once.

For any Disney fans, I highly recommend a trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum. It has a ton of great information compiled by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller and her family. It covers Walt’s family life, his various animation studios, tv shows, movies, war time efforts, involvement in the Olympics, Disneyland, and more. I could have spent a week in there easily if I was by myself to experience every video clip, audio clip, and picture. Enjoy it and try to check the calendar ahead of time for any special exhibits or events like movie screenings.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Walt Disney Family Museum
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Walt Disney Family Museum

Cats of Disney Animated Movies

A while back I did a post about Disney Movie Bunnies and Rabbits, and today I’d like to look at Disney cats and kittens of all shapes and sizes. For this look at the felines on film, I’m going to focus on compiling a list of the cats from Disney animated movies since there are so many in this category alone. From the most recent Zootopia from earlier this year, back to 1940’s Pinocchio, check out these cool cats of cinema.

 

Numerous background chracters or unnamed lions, tigers, and cheetahs oh my from Zootopia are cats. There are dozens if not more cats of all sizes as would be expected in an animal centric world themed movie. I’ll list as many named characters as I can, but will also include some minor ones too.

Zootopia

Cats
Mayor Lionheart

 

Cats
Officer Benjamin Clawhauser

 

Cats
Manchas

 

Cats
Gazelle’s tiger backup dancers

 

Cats
Jaguar in Carrot Days festival

 

Cats
Cougar in Carrot Days festival

 

Cats
Various cops

 

Cats
More cops

 

Cats
Snow Leopard

 

Cats
Leopard at Gazelle’s peace rally

 

 

Mochi aka Hairy baby in Big Hero 6

Cat
Mochi

 

Mittens in Bolt

Cat
Mittens

 

Captain Amelia in Treasure Planet

Cat
Captain Amelia

 

Fluffy in Atlantis

Cat
Fluffy

 

Yzma turns into a cat in the Emperors New Groove

Cat
Yzma

 

Sabor (jaguar) in Tarzan

Cat
Sabor

 

Snowball in Hercules

Cat
Snowball

 

Simba, Nala, Sarafina, Sarabi, Scar, Mufasa in the Lion King

Cat
Simba

 

Cat
Nala

 

Cat
Sarafina

 

Cat
Sarabi

 

Cat
Scar

 

Cat
Mufasa

 

Rajah and the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin

Cat
Rajah

 

Cat
Cave of Wonders

 

Oliver in Oliver & Company

Cat
Oliver

 

Felicia in the Great Mouse Detective

Cats
Felicia

 

Cat in the Black Cauldron

Cat
Cat

 

Rufus in the Rescuers

Cat
Rufus

 

Tigger in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Cat
Tigger

 

Prince John in Robin Hood

Cats
Prince John

 

Duchess, Thomas O’Malley, Toulouse, Berlioz, Marie, Scat Cat, Shun Gon, Hit Cat, Peppo, Billy Boss in the Aristocats

Cats
Duchess

 

Cats
Thomas O’Malley

 

Cats
Toulouse

 

Cats
Berlioz

 

Cats
Marie

 

Cats
Scat Cat

 

Cats
Shun Gon

 

Cats
Hit Cat

 

Cats
Peppo

 

Cats
Billy Boss

 

Bagheera and Shere Khan in the Jungle Book

Cats
Bagheera

 

Cats
Shere Khan

 

Madam Mim turns into a cat in the Sword in the Stone

Cats
Madam Mim

 

Sgt. Tibbs in 101 Dalmatians

Cats
Sgt. Tibbs

 

Si and Am in Lady and the Tramp

Cats
Si and Am

 

Dinah, Caterpillars, and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland

Cats
Dinah

 

Cats
Caterpillars

 

Cats
Cheshire Cat

 

Lucifer in Cinderella

Cats
Lucifer

 

Ivan the cat in Make Mine Music

Cats
Ivan the cat

 

Tiger family in Dumbo

Cats
Tiger family

 

Figaro and Gideon the Cat in Pinocchio

Cats
Figaro

 

Cats
Gideon the cat

Disney Spotify Playlists and Profiles

Disney Spotify Playlists and Profiles

Disney Spotify Playlists and Profiles

Recently Disney released a new official playlist on Spotify for the Disney Cruise Line. This is just the latest in their fantastic group of playlists created with Disney movies, parks music, Star Wars, and music inspired by characters from their movies. For those who aren’t aware, Spotify is a free streaming music service (with an option for paid premium service) available on their website as well as on apps for smart devices and computers. Spotify allows users to create playlists (public or private) for artists, albums, moods, genres, almost anything. For instance, my good friend Sally Kilpatrick made a playlist for her great debut novel The Happy Hour Choir which features a lot of music as the title may suggest. It is an awesome thing that is the equivalent of making your own mixtapes to share with the world.

Spotify
Disney Cruise Line Spotify

Disney has taken their music and designed playlists like the new Cruise Line one to help share their music around a specific theme or idea. The Disney Cruise Line Spotify playlist spotlights fun nautical themed songs like Under the Sea and Fathoms Below from the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid. It also incorporates music from the parks including In the Big Blue World from Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s stage production of Finding Nemo the Musical. Even older classics makes it on the list in the way of A Whale of a Tale, sung by Kirk Douglas, from the 1954 live action film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Other playlists in the official Disney Spotify world include those created specifically inspired by character profiles from the Star Wars universe, and more recently, Zootopia. From Star Wars official Spotify account you can find awesome things like the Complete Star Wars Soundtracks playlist with, you guessed it, the complete soundtracks to all seven Star Wars films.

Spotify
Complete Star Wars Soundtracks on Spotify

I think my favorite thing I discovered though may be the character inspired profiles featuring music the film characters would listen to on Spotify. The list of Star Wars characters is pretty extensive featuring Mace Windu, Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, Lando Calrissian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Padme Amidala, Boba Fett, Yoda, Princess Leia, First Order Stormtrooper, BB-8, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, and the Dark Side. Some of my favorites include Kelly Clarkson’s Miss Independent for Rey, a very classic rock and oldies laden playlist for Han, Ridin’ Dirty by Chamillionaire (whatever did happen to him?) for BB-8, and a punk/alternative rock playlist for baddie Boba Fett. I highly recommend you check these all out when you get a chance.

Similar to the Star Wars character profiles, Zootopia has some of their own, and they are pretty spot on.

Disney spotify zootopia

As you’d imagine, Gazelle’s playlist is very Shakira-centric. The playlist for Judy Hopps is filled with girl power and inspirational songs like Rachel Platten’s Fight Song, Unwritten by Natsha Bedingfield, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, Don’t Stop Belivin’ by Journey, and of course Try Everything by Shakira aka Gazelle. Clawhauser’s list is very poppy with lots of boy band and tween type music. Finnick’s Spotify playlist may be one of the best all around with lots of great late 80s and early 90s rap and R&B. Yax is totally fitting for him with loads of music from the 1960s hippie vibe he has. Mr. Big, as I hoped, has a playlist which is exactly what you’d expect for the mafioso he is, including the theme from the Godfather, Papa Loves Mambo, Mambo Italiano, and That’s Amore.

Disney spotify rundisney

Along with the great movie playlists and character profiles, Disney has other somewhat randomly themed lists, along with several complete albums. Some of these include great runDisney training playlists to help you on your training runs and during your races. You can also find things from the Disney tv channels like Disney Junior, Disney Channel 100 DCOMs, and even Dancing With The Stars Disney Night playlist. I love that you can listen to the entire Legacy Collection on Spotify. I absolutely love the variety of playlists like Disney Hawaiian Sounds, Disney Meets EDM, and this time of year especially the Disney Halloween Songs, and Disney Halloween Sound Effects Playlist.

Spotify is a fantastic way to enjoy some of your favorite music or to discover great new sounds. Disney has created some amazing playlists that reflect their parks, resorts, tv shows, movies, and more. I think it is incredible how much music is available to us and in such creative lists. I hope you check out some of these playlists and maybe you’ll even be inspired to make some of your own.

Music of the Jungle Book

Jungle Book Soundtrack
Jungle Book Soundtrack

In honor of the new live action Jungle Book movie coming out next week, I thought I’d take a look back at the 1967 classic animated feature film and its music. This movie holds a place near and dear to many Disney fans’ hearts as one of the last films ever that Walt Disney personally had a hand in directly influencing it. The music from the Jungle Book stands out as some of the best from the Disney movies of the 1960s. The soundtrack was nominated for both an Oscar for Best Original Song for “The Bare Necessities,” and for a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Hathi's March
Colonel Hathi’s March

 

The Mellomen, who Disney fans may know as the voices of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion among other things, including Thurl Ravenscroft and Bill Lee, helped provide the singing voices of the Dawn Patrol elephants in “Colonel Hathi’s March” and its reprise in the Jungle Book.

 

Mowgli and Baloo
Mowgli and Baloo

 

The Bare Necessities was written by Terry Gilkyson, but was deemed a bit too dark in its original incarnation. Van Dyke Parks, who is a famous arranger, composer and songwriter known for working with the Beach Boys, did a new and more upbeat arrangement for the song performed by Phil Harris as Baloo and Bruce Reitherman, who was the voice of Mowgli and the son of director Wolfgang Reitherman.

 

Baloo and King Louie
Baloo and King Louie

 

Phil Harris and Louis Prima who voiced Baloo and King Louie respectively. The men improvised all the scatting that they did in the Jungle Book during their song “I Wanna Be Like You.” Both were popular jazz singers and musicians in their day.

 

Kaa singing Trust In Me
Kaa singing Trust In Me

 

Richard and Robert Sherman were brought in to take over as songwriters and composers after Walt Disney found the original songs from Terry Gilkyson to be too dark, although more true to the tone of the Kipling version of the Jungle Book. The Sherman Brothers repurposed a song called “Land of Sand” they had written for Mary Poppins which was not used, and turned it into “Trust In Me.” Kaa was voiced by longtime Disney veteran Sterling Holloway.

 

Jungle Book
Jungle Book Vultures

 

Did you know that the singing Vultures in the Jungle Book were originally intended to be voiced by the Beatles? Supposedly John Lennon nixed the idea or there was a scheduling conflict, but the appearance and voices of the vultures still are clearly inspired by the Beatles. To make the vultures have a more timeless sound, the music was changed to a barbershop quartet to sing the song “That’s What Friends Are For.” One of the Mellomen, Bill Lee, provided the singing voice of Shere Khan for the song.

 

My Own Home
My Own Home

 

The instrumental version of the song “My Own Home” is woven throughout the score of the Jungle Book. Famous Disney composer George Bruns wrote the score, while the Sherman Brothers wrote all the songs with the exception of “The Bare Necessities,” which was the only surviving song from Terry Gilkyson.

Alice in Wonderland in the Disney Parks

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

As I am gearing up for my next Disneyland trip that will be in a couple months, I am looking forward to visiting and going on my favorite ride multiple times: Alice in Wonderland. While this ride is my favorite of all the Alice in Wonderland themed rides and attractions, it is by no means the only thing themed after the 1951 animated classic. The movie, based on the Lewis Carroll story, spawned several rides in Disney Parks and resorts around the world that I’d like to highlight today. Each Disney property around the world has at least some representation of Alice in Wonderland in their parks.

 

Disneyland

Alice in Wonderland is the classic dark ride which opened June 14, 1958, is found exclusively at Disneyland, and has been a favorite of mine since my first trip five years ago. While it isn’t the first Alice attraction in Disneyland, it is my favorite. I love the new graphics from the latest refurbishment. Going inside and out and on the second level to go over the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Attraction is a fantastic use of space in Fantasyland.

Three original opening day attractions are based on or feature Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Tea Party (tea cups) are a favorite of many to this day. I especially love this ride at night lit up with the colorful lanterns. Also connected to Alice are both the Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybook Land Canal Boats, from which you can see the English Village from Alice in Wonderland. As of 2008, the characters of Alice and the White Rabbit were added to it’s a small world.

Tea Cups at night
Tea Cups at night

 

Aside from rides, the influence of Alice appears in two shops in Disneyland, both called The Mad Hatter, one in Fantasyland and one on Main Street USA. Just around the corner from the Alice in Wonderland ride, you can find my favorite bathrooms in any park, which are themed around the cards who serve the Queen of Hearts. There’s also a very cute White Rabbit statue here.

In Downtown Disney, an art gallery called WonderGround Gallery takes its name and inspiration from the Alice stories. For the next few weeks one can also experience some Alice themed rock in the Diamond Mad T Party in California Adventure. The Mad T Party was just announced to be closing on March 30th, 2016. This dance party and area of Hollywood Land hosted concerts with musicians dressed up like Alice, The Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, March Hare, and Dormouse with hosts Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. The House of Cards and Drink Me Bar carried on the theme in the evenings for the Mad T Party.

 

Walt Disney World

In the Magic Kingdom the most visible representation of Alice in Wonderland is in the Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland. Alice and friends can be seen in the evening Main Street Electrical Parade. The Cheshire Cafe is a quick service location where guests can find snacks right near the Mad Tea Party Gardens. In the evening before Wishes, Alice is shown along with the Cheshire Cat in the Celebrate the Magic castle projection show.

OHIO with the Mad Hatter at 1900 Park Fare
OHIO with the Mad Hatter at 1900 Park Fare

Other locations across Disney World property where Alice can be found are at the Grand Floridian. She participates along with the Mad Hatter each morning in the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. The Beach Pool Water Play area was created a couple of years ago and features an Alice in Wonderland theme. Over at the Polynesian at Lilo’s Playhouse, Club Disney features an Alice play area with video games for the kids. In addition to meeting guests in the Magic Kingdom, Alice is usually found doing a meet and greet near the tea gardens in the UK in Epcot.

 

Disneyland Paris

Like all of the other Disneyland style parks around the world, Paris continues the tradition of a tea cup ride with their Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. There’s also an Alice in Wonderland themed maze called Alice’s Curious Labyrinth in Fantasyland. In the amazing nighttime castle projection/water screen/laser/fireworks presentation called Disney Dreams, you can see clips of Alice projected onto Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. There is an incredible Alice in Wonderland float in the daytime Disney Magic on Parade. At Walt’s – an American Restaurant, the Fantasyland area has artwork and theming from Alice as well as several other stories.

Alice's Curious Labyrinth
Alice’s Curious Labyrinth

 

Hong Kong Disneyland

Artwork from Alice in Wonderland and many other Disney animated films are on display at the Art of Animation attraction on Main Street USA. Of course you can also find the Mad Hatter Tea Cups in Fantasyland. The spectacular nighttime show called Disney in the Stars Fireworks is a sight to be seen and like some of the other projection shows, this one features animation from Alice.

Mad Hatter Tea Cups
Mad Hatter Tea Cups

 

Tokyo Disneyland

Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall
Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall

There is probably the most variety in the Alice in Wonderland themed offerings in Tokyo. There is the traditional Alice’s Tea Party in Fantasyland. Then Alice can be seen in both parades in the park, during the day in the Happiness is Here Parade, and at night in the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights riding on top of the Cheshire Cat. The coolest thing in the park (it appears to me who hasn’t been there, but has friends who have been) is the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. This entire restaurant is themed from top to bottom around Alice in Wonderland and it looks epic! In addition to the parks, the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel gets in on the fun with Alice in Wonderland themed rooms. Also, in April of 2015, Oriental Land Company announced an expansion of Fantasyland scheduled to start tentatively in 2017 which will include a new Alice in Wonderland section.

Alice in Wonderland themed room at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
Alice in Wonderland themed room at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

 

Shanghai Disney

I know this park isn’t opening until June of this year, but we already know they are going to have some influences from Alice in Wonderland when they do open. The most direct connection is the Alice in Wonderland Maze, but this will be more themed towards the 2010 Tim Burton movie than the 1951 animated classic. Shanghai is going to be the first of the Disneyland style parks around the world that does not have a tea cups ride. Instead, they will have a very similar, but Winnie the Pooh themed Hunny Pot Spin.

 

Outside of Shanghai, all of the Disneyland style theme parks (and Epcot) offer character meet and greets with at least Alice, and sometimes other characters like the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I could not find any evidence that there will be a meet and greet with Alice in Shanghai, but where the park hasn’t opened yet, this may change.

When I first started researching for this post, I thought I’d find one or two things outside the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, but found myself almost overwhelmed at all of the incarnations in which you can find Alice in Wonderland all over the world. I hope to someday experience all of these, but in the meantime I will have to settle for looking forward to my Disneyland trip in May and hope that I get to go on my favorite ride multiple times.

Riding Alice In Wonderland
Riding Alice In Wonderland

The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60

Disneyland 60This coming Sunday, February 21st, ABC will air the Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 tv special celebrating 60 magical years of Disney’s first theme park. The show will highlight talent from music, stage, screens big and small, and will be sure to entertain us all. With segments taped in front of audiences in Disneyland Resort over the last few weeks, the two hour special hosted by Dancing With The Star’s Derek Hough airs starting at 8pm Eastern.

During the show, Disneyland 60 will feature elements of the Disneyland Park’s year plus long celebration commemorating the opening of the park in 1955. I can only hope they will show the great new additions of Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever fireworks. These are two of the reasons I’ll be heading back to California in a few months to catch the parade and fireworks before the celebration officially ends on September 5th, 2016.

In addition to the great musical and dancing numbers I’m sure Disneyland 60 has in store, one of the most anticipated segments will likely be the details of Star Wars Land being reveled by Harrison Ford. This will be the official public announcement of the details we will be seeing in Disneyland (and possibly Disney’s Hollywood Studios here in Florida?) over the next several years.

According to ABC.com, there is a very long list of celebrities appearing on the show for the Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60. There will be superstars like Elton John and Idina Menzel, “Also taking part in the festivities is a star-studded line-up of music, film and television personalities that includes Alfonso RibeiroAriel Winter, Bryce Dallas Howard, Eric Stonestreet, Fall Out Boy, Ginnifer Goodwin, Dame Helen Mirren, Hilary Duff, Jason Bateman, Jessica Alba, Jessie J, Jimmy Kimmel, John Stamos, Josh Gad, Julie Bowen, Kelsea Ballerini, Kerry Washington, Kiefer Sutherland, Kristen Bell, Little Big Town, Lupita Nyong’o, Maddie Ziegler, NE-YO, Neil Patrick Harris, Nolan Gould, Pentatonix, Pink, Priyanka Chopra, Sabrina Carpenter, Sarah Hyland, Sofia Carson, Tori Kelly and Kermit the FrogTy BurrellViola Davis, and Zendaya!”

With performances of all kinds to keep us singing and dancing along, The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 is something I don’t plan to miss. I grew up watching Disney specials on Sunday evenings hosted by Michael Eisner under the same title and would love to see the Wonderful World of Disney make a resurgence in some incarnation with programs like this and family friendly movies. Will you be joining in on Sunday to watch the celebration of Disneyland 60?

Swiss Family Robinson

Swiss Family Robinson
Swiss Family Robinson

Recently I watched a new to me movie, which reminded me of one of my favorite movies as a kid, Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson. As I was raised to do, I read the book first and loved it, and then was introduced to this live action classic from 1960. Loosely based on the 1812 novel by Johann David Weiss, Disney acquired the rights to the Swiss Family Robinson in the 1940s after seeing an RKO produced version of the story.

The Swiss Family Robinson film is an adventure story laced with quite a bit of comedy, as well as a bit of romance, and lots of action. What I remember most from watching this movie when I was young is how awesome the treehouse was that the family built on the deserted island. This of course has been replicated in multiple Disney Parks around the world, including Disneyland from 1962 – 1999, the Magic Kingdom from opening day on October 1, 1971 and is still currently open. Disneyland Paris also opened with their version called La Cabane des Robinson, which is still open, and Tokyo Disneyland opened their Swiss Family Treehouse in 1993.

Aside from the awesome treehouse, Swiss Family Robinson always conjures up memories of the animal races the family had on the island, especially the ostrich. Right along with that memory is that of the climactic battle with the pirates at the fort. Those homemade coconut bombs looked so cool when I was a child (disclaimer: we do not condone the making of coconut or any other kinds of bombs. Don’t try any of this at home kids).

Treehouse
Treehouse
Ostrich
Ostrich
Battle
Battle

 

This film was extremely successful in its day, making back ten times over its original $4 million budget. In today’s dollars adjusted for inflation that $40 million take would be closer to $400 million, which makes it one of the most successful live action family films to this day. The Swiss Family Robinson is the first Disney live action movie to be filmed in the widescreen Panavision as opposed to CinemaScope. The movie stars John Mills (Disney Legend and father of also Disney Legend Hayley Mills), Dorothy McGuire (who also starred in Summer Magic and Old Yeller), James MacArthur (played in other Disney movies The Light in the Forest, Kidnapped, Third Man on the Mountain, and in several episodes of the Wonderful World of Color before his most famous role of Danno in Hawaii Five-0), Janet Munro (who starred with Sean Connery in Darby O’Gill and the Little People, as well as Third Man on the Mountain, and a few episodes of the Wonderful World of Color), along with Disney mainstays and also Disney Legends Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran.

I picked up the Swiss Family Robinson movie on dvd not too long ago when it was being offered on the Disney Movie Rewards website. It is still available on Amazon as well as a few other places for less than $10, or for rent through Amazon for $3. I haven’t watched it in years and intend to revisit it this week. If you haven’t seen it, or if it has been a while, I highly recommend watching this Disney classic and visiting the Swiss Family Treehouse the next time you’re in one of the three remaining parks you can.

Skipper Canteen Library Books

canteen menuThe Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen is the newest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. This new table service eatery is themed around Adventureland, and more specifically, the Jungle Cruise attraction. For the theming of this location, the Imagineers went above and beyond in some of the details that may be easily missed by guests. The books in the library of the Skipper Canteen are chock full of inside jokes, nods to Imagineers, and attraction mentions.

Some of the books in the library pay homage to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, which was based on the now defunct Adventurers Club in Pleasure Island at Disney World. The SEA was first incorporated into a park at Tokyo DisneySea, and one of the first times in their Tower of Terror attraction. Next, and most prominently, Hong King Disneyland introduced their Mystic Manor, which after SEA member Henry Mystic. More recently, stateside in the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers introduced member Barnabas T. Bullion as the owner of the Big Thunder Mining Company. He also is pictured in the queue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and bears a striking resemblance to former Imagineer Tony Baxter. Albert the Monkey, who is the pet of Henry Mystic even has a book on the shelf along with books written by Mystic, and M.A. Pleasure (founder of Pleasure Island).

Jungle Cruise mainstay Trader Sam is referenced numerous times in various books as the author T. Sam. Titles of his include: Friends for Dinner, Top Hats and Umbrellas, The Missing Mask, and more. Other books from the Jungle Cruise are authored by Dr. Albert Falls. His offerings vary from A Small Village With A Large Heart to Rockefeller, Hippo, Pet, Family.

Other attractions in books that get mentions are the Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris with The Harambe Chronicles by author Wilson. The Eyes of Mara by Jones might be referring to a certain archaeologist we all know and love with an attraction at Disneyland called Indiana Jones Adventure focusing on the Temple of the Forbidden Eye (of Mara).

In addition to the attractions, several Imagineers past and present get nods in the books of the library. J. Lasseter has a book called Great Characters of World Literature. Sklar has written a book called Meeting Royalty. Prof. Boag has penned Songs of the Tiki Bird. I’m sure John Lasseter, Marty Sklar, and Wally Boag would be honored. My favorite may be True Life Adventures by W.E.D. (Walter Elias Disney).

Then there are just the fun titles paired with authors that fit right in with the Jungle Cruise kind of humor in some of the library books. Native Orange Birds of the Southeastern United States by Dr. Sid Truss (citrus, get it?). Other titles without visible authors are Crooning Flowers, Bathing Elephants, The Congo Queen, In the Jaws of a Butterfly, and Two Bees or Not Two Bees (the Hamlet lover in me adores that one). Rock or Stonez by Col. Pebble, Is This Deadly? by Mort, Al, The Overwhelming Dodo Population by Dr. Francis X. Tinct, Spotted Tigers by G. Rowl, R.E. Venge wrote the series called Getting Even, Shades of Khaki by B. Land, Fleas Navidad and other Winter Insects by Hart, 101 Ways to Split a Banana by Peale, Swimming in the Amazon by Doug E. Paddle, and the Ten Minute Voyage by S.H. Tick. Also included for good measure is Rudyard Kipling’s the Jungle Book.

I’m sure there are many more fantastic jokes hidden in the books of the library of the Skipper Canteen and I cannot wait to go back and explore more. I hope you enjoyed this peek at some of the fun titles and let me know if I’ve missed any of your favorites you’ve discovered.

 

bookscanteen books 2canteen books 3canteen books 4canteen books 5canteen books 6canteen books 7canteen books 8canteen books 9canteen books 10canteen books 11canteen books 12

High School Musical 10 Years Later

High School Musical
High School Musical poster

High School Musical is one of the most beloved and highest rated Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) and the movie celebrated its 10th Anniversary yesterday. In honor of this momentous occasion, I will share ten things I love about the High School Musical series, or at least the first three movies. Disney Channel replayed the movie last night with clips and interviews from the core six original cast members, including Zac Efron via recording since he was promoting his new movie and couldn’t be there in person. Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu, and Lucas Grabeel got together to reminisce about their days at East High. Tonight, Disney Channel will also replay High School Musical 2 at 8pm eastern, and Freeform will play both movies this weekend. Double check your local listings for correct times and channels.

 

Fun fact, my mom was actually the one who first got me to watch High School Musical. I, for whatever reason, probably work, originally missed this DCOM on its first airing, but thanks to its amazing record setting popularity, it wasn’t long before I had the chance to fall in love with Troy Bolton and the rest of the Wildcats. The songs were catchy, the dancing was fun, and it was like Grease lite for the slightly younger and more innocent teen and tween crowd. Since the first tv movie in 2006, there was another DCOM in HSM2 in 2007, the theatrical release of High School Musical 3: Senior Year in 2008, and the direct to dvd Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure in 2011. I have them all, yes, even Sharpay. I’ve seen the concert movie and also watched the “reality” tv competition, High School Musical: Get In The Picture, in 2008 where someone won the right to perform the end credit song in HSM 3.

  1. I love Troy and Gabriella together. From their meet cute on New Year’s Eve at the ski lodge all the way up to choosing schools within 32.7 miles of each other. #RelationshipGoals
  2. I miss the several incarnations of High School Musical live entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t tell you how many times I caught the High School Musical Pep Rally, High School Musical 2: School’s Out, High School Musical 3: Right Here Right Now!, and of course Disney Channel Rocks. The music to all three movies are still on my ipod/iphone.
  3. I was lucky enough to have a fan girl moment, but still cool and collected of course, while meeting Lucas Grabeel this past summer. He was so nice and was happy to pose for this selfie with me. 🙂

    Lucas Grabeel and me
    Lucas Grabeel and me
  4. What I used to refer to as Troy’s angry dance soliloquy is hilariously mashed up with Frozen in “Bet It Go.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbO9QFxnOVk
  5. One word: humuhumunukunukuapua’a https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir38tIOQdT0
  6. Scenes in the rooftop garden are so gorgeous and I’m glad they revisit it from the first film in the third. I want to dance with Zac Efron on that roof.
  7. The original High School Musical broke sales records for the fastest selling tv movie on dvd selling 1.2 million copies in just six days. HSM2 broke records too when it aired to over 17.2 million viewers essentially live, eclipsing the original by over 10 million viewers.
  8. Ryan’s hats throughout the series are incredible. Here is a sampling of just some of them.
    Ryan's hats
    Ryan’s hats

     

  9. Kenny Ortega, known for his choreography on Dirty Dancing, directed High School Musical as well as other Disney movies like Newsies, Hocus Pocus, HSM 2, HSM 3, Cheetah Girls 2, and last year’s Descendants.
  10. I love the fact that practically the entire cast remained in tact for all three movies from the core six to classmates, parents, teachers, etc. It has also been reported that the main six cast members are all still close and see each other regularly.

These are just a few things I love about the series and hope you found some things you enjoy about High School Musical also. I had a blast live tweeting last night and wish I could do the same tonight for HSM 2. Wildcats! Share some of your favorites if I missed any!

Eight Fun BB-8 Merchandise Picks

bb-8
image copyright Star Wars

Some of you may have heard of this cute little astromech droid named BB-8 from this little indie flick called Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I have fallen in love with BB-8 and thought I’d share some of my favorite merchandise gems I’ve found featuring this adorable new droid.

We’ve all seen the Sphero BB-8, which looks amazing by the way. There are tons of the usual merchandise offerings like pins, shirts, hats, backpacks, phone cases, MagicBands, etc. for sale in the Disney Parks and all over the internet. I’m going to share some of the more unique items I’ve come across online in particular, but not in any specific order.

 

  1. For the golfing enthusiast, these BB-8 golf club head covers would make any golf bag the talk of the course.
BB-8
golf club head cover

 

2.  I’ve been looking for some new over the ear headphones, and these BB-8 ones may be taking the lead.

headphones
headphones

 

3.  One of the more intriguing items I discovered on Amazon was this set of The Force Awakens nesting dolls with BB-8.

nesting dolls
nesting dolls

 

4.  This BB-8 mini fridge is perfect for storing cold drinks under or on your desk at work, and it is stylish too!

mini fridge mini fridge open

 

5.  This Rey LEGO mini figure comes with a cute little BB-8 and her Jakku-wear. You can find them both in this Millennium Falcon LEGO Set.

LEGO mini figures
LEGO mini figures

 

6.  I have a tendency to lose flash drives, but I have a feeling I’d be able to keep my eye on this BB-8 storage device.

flash drive
flash drive

 

7. I cannot decide if I have to have this BB-8 suitcase, or if I just need it. 😉

suitcase
suitcase

 

8. This car decal will be mine! I mean it even has my initials on it. Maybe this is part of why I love BB-8 so much. Currently this isn’t available from purchase individually on TeeFury, but only as a part of the Galactic Bundle. I guess I may just have to get more Star Wars stuff. Oh well.

car decal
car decal

 

And as a bonus, I have my own favorite piece of BB-8  merchandise…The BB-8 Interactive Hoodie from the Disney Store that uses the Disney Store Become App.

BB-8 Interactive Hoodie from the Disney Store

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

Bond Wishes

BondToday marks the official opening of the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE, in the United States. This 24th installment in the official Bond series has been widely anticipated for months now. U.K. box office records have been smashed with the opening of SPECTRE, and I have high hopes for a very strong performance after following up from Skyfall being a massive hit in 2012. Daniel Craig dons the tux for the fourth times as 007 and I cannot wait to see this movie. As I mentioned previously in our fall round table, this is the second most anticipated film of the year for me, just behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven’t already, go back and check out my post on SPECTRE and why I cannot wait for this movie here.

Before I see this movie, probably multiple times in the next few weeks if it is half as good as the trailer seems to be, I wanted to share some of my wishes for this James Bond movie.

SPECTRE is the classic organization featured in Ian Fleming’s original stories as well as most of the Sean Connery era Bond flicks. I hope they reintroduce this group of baddies in a fresh way, but still paying homage to the Bond films of the 60s and early 70s.

To take this one step further, I’d love to learn the connection between SPECTRE and Quantum, and I’m sure Mr. White is somehow involved.

Bring Blofeld back! It doesn’t have to be the Oberhauser character that Christoph Waltz is playing, but I do want to see the return of the criminal mastermind in this or Bond 25 in a couple years.

I need to see a classic M/Q/Moneypenny scene in and around M’s office with the double red quilted leather doors. Ralph Fiennes as M needs to go back to treating Bond like Bernard Lee did back in the beginning. He acts as a scolding father figure who always has his agent’s best interest at heart, but never loses sight of the mission.

A return to the gun barrel opening with Daniel Craig as Bond would be amazing! This is just one of the quintessential Bond elements I would love to see in SPECTRE.

Another element I’ve been missing is a great action skiing scene reminiscent of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, and The World Is Not Enough. Maybe we can skip the cheesiness of the snowboarding to the Beach Boys’ California Girls in A View to a Kill.

Speaking of music, I’d love to hear more of the James Bond theme used properly at dramatic or action filled moments.

Lastly, I would adore a return to some of the fun, quippy one liners that we got with Sean Connery and Roger Moore. I understand this has been a reboot and was going for a darker tone, but just throw me a couple fun moments and I’d be a very happy Bond girl.

Are you planning on seeing SPECTRE this weekend? Are you one of the lucky ones overseas who has already been to see this new Bond film? What are you most looking forward to?

Falling in Love with Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin
Image copyright CW

I have found a new love in my life, and it is a tv show called Jane the Virgin. This fantastically quirky, heartfelt, and humorous show debuted on the CW in 2014 and just started its sophomore season a few weeks ago.

Gina Rodriguez plays the title character whose full name is not really Jane the Virgin, but Jane Gloriana Villanueva. Jane is 23 when we first meet her, and despite the fact she’s in a two year committed relationship with her boyfriend, Michael, she is still a virgin. This is almost completely due to the influence of Jane’s abuela (grandmother), Alba, who Jane lives with, along with Jane’s mother Xiomara. Alba is originally from Venezuela and is a devout Catholic. Xiomara had Jane when she was only sixteen, so it is Alba’s mission to protect Jane’s virtue and to not let Jane follow her mother’s path.

The show is set in Miami and is so delightful with the cast of characters. The best way I have come up with to describe this fantastic show is a wonderful combination of the Gilmore Girls, a Mexican telenovela (soap opera), and the magical realism of author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, infused with the hallucinations of Ally McBeal. For Gilmore Girls fans, there are many similarities between Jane and Rory, and Xiomara is a much looser interpretation of Lorelai. Jane is hardworking, determined, goal oriented, and loves her family. She also longs to know her father, but Xiomara lied to Jane telling her he was a soldier on leave. In reality, Jane’s father was Xiomara’s high school love, Rogelio de la Vega, who turns out to now be a megastar on the Villanueva family’s favorite telenovela, The Passions of Santos.

The premise of Jane the Virgin is tricky, but I’ll try to explain in the least complicated way I can. It is a soap after all, complete with a narrator and captions on the screen. Jane lives at home with her mom and grandma, is in a loving relationship with Michael, is finishing up her undergraduate degree in education with hopes of becoming a teacher. To help pay her way through school, Jane works as a waitress at an upscale hotel on South Beach called the Marbella.

Here is where it starts to get complicated. Jane the Virgin works for the super hot young hotel owner, Rafael Solano, with whom she had shared a kiss five years prior when she was a waitress at the country club where he belonged. Rafael is married to Petra, who wants to have his baby to save their troubled marriage. He previously had cancer, but is now in remission, so Rafael had saved some sperm prior to his chemo with hopes of eventually having a child with Petra after she miscarried a few years earlier.

Petra is now taking Rafael’s sample to her ob/gyn to be artificially inseminated, without his knowledge. It so happens that Jane is at the same doctor for her annual exam. The doctor also coincidentally is Rafael’s half-sister Luisa, who is very upset, having found her wife cheating on her the night before. Even though her nurse tells Luisa correctly that she has an insemination in one room and an exam in the other, Luisa mixes up the rooms and goes into Jane the Virgin’s room. Luisa asks the exhausted and partially sleeping Jane if she’s ready for her insemination and Jane pulls a “what? yeah” out. So Jane is accidentally inseminated with her boss Rafael’s specimen, then Luisa enters the second room to find Petra there waiting to be inseminated. Did I mention this was also Rafael’s only remaining sample?

As you can imagine, hilarity, and a good bit of drama ensues once it is discovered that Jane the Virgin is pregnant with the baby her boss’ wife was trying to surprise him with and it was his half-sister that caused the mix up. Many soap opera tropes appear like hidden identities, twin swapping, unknown parentage, affairs, and of course murder.

Having said all of this, Jane the Virgin is one of the funniest and most lighthearted shows I’ve seen. I highly recommend you check it out. The first season is streaming on Netflix and available on dvd, and the first four episodes of this season are still streaming online at the CW. Jane is one of my favorite characters on tv ever. She is intelligent, independent, loving, and hilarious. Go watch Jane the Virgin now and I bet you’ll fall in love too!

Gearing up for Thanksgiving at Disney World

Disney Vacation Club Thanksgiving
Image copyright Disney

This week marks a shift from Halloween to Christmas in the Disney parks, but let’s not forget about Thanksgiving in between. Although the decorations may be overlooked, or at least overshadowed by Christmas, Thanksgiving still has a presence at Walt Disney World.

In the parks and at several of the resorts, Disney has a wide variety of restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving meals for lunch and/or dinner. Here are the restaurants that are offering meals on Thanksgiving that vary from their regular menus:

Animal Kingdom

Tusker House

 

Epcot

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Biergarten

Coral Reef

Le Cellier

Restaurant Marrakesh

Rose & Crown

Tutto Italia

Via Napoli

Hollywood Studios

50’s Prime Time Cafe

Hollywood & Vine

Disney Springs

Fulton’s Crab House

Planet Hollywood

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

Resorts

Artist Point

Boatwright’s Dining Hall

California Grill

Cape May Cafe

Captain’s Grille

Chef Mickey’s

Citricos

End Zone Food Court

Flying Fish Cafe

Fresh Mediterranean Market

Garden Grove

Grand Floridian Cafe

Jiko

Kona Cafe

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Narcoossee’s

Olivia’s Cafe

Sanaa

Shutters at Old Port Royale

The Turf Club

The Wave

Trail’s End

Trattoria al Forno

Victoria & Albert’s

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Yachtsman Steakhouse

 

Most of these restaurants are offering both lunch and dinner meals special for Thanksgiving. As always, things are subject to change and it is best to contact Disney Dining directly with any questions or to make reservations at 407-939-3463.

 

A few of the resorts will also be having special recreation activities for Thanksgiving if you are staying there as a guest on November 26th.

Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary is hosting an Autumn Festival from 3:30 – 8:30pm. They will have “fun games, crafts, giveaways and more” according to the recreation calendar.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort will have activities starting at 12:30pm with Football Fun. This is followed by a pool party, “Gobble ’til you Wobble,” design your own turkey themed cupcake, s’mores, and then Pocahontas will be the Movie Under the Stars at 7:00pm.

Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is following the same schedule as Old Key West at the High Rock Spring Pool. At the Paddock Pool starting at 12:30pm also will be Make Your Own Turkey Hat. After that will be the pool party, Football Fun, Pine Cone Turkeys, and then the Disney Junior pool party.

 

If you happen to be at Walt Disney World this Thanksgiving, check out some of these great offerings!

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!