If you are going to be in Walt Disney World for Easter, there are some fun offerings at the parks and resorts to enjoy this spring holiday. Guests looking for religious services can attend Protestant service at the Contemporary in the Fantasia ballroom on Easter Sunday at 9am. Catholic services will be held at 8am and 10:15am. For other holiday services, resorts can assist guests in directing them to off property sites for Hindu, Muslim, Judaism and other religious services.
Table service restaurants across property have Easter meals for booking if you are looking for a special meal. Breakfast with a character buffet is offered at Disney’s Beach Club Resort at Cape May Cafe. A special Easter dinner is also occurring at Cape May with the addition of a Roasted Lamb to the carving station at the buffet. Next door at the Yacht Club, Captain’s Grille is hosting a brunch with Roasted Strip Loin and Baked Ham with assorted sauces with the buffet. Another character meal offered is Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Easter Brunch at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Also at the Contemporary at the Wave there is a brunch with a carving station featuring New York Strip Loin and Bone-In Ham. The Walt Disney World Swan offers a character dinner buffet at Garden Grove. Kouzzina at the Boardwalk and Olivia’s at Old Key West are also providing special dinner menus in addition to their regular dinner menus.
Cupcakes for Easter will be offered in locations at the Boardwalk Bakery, in the food court at Caribbean Beach, and at Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge.
Special Easter merchandise will be available for purchase at gift shops at Coronado Springs and the Yacht and Beach Club. Other resorts will have Easter baskets for purchase in addition to these at the Boardwalk, Caribbean Beach, Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge. Some will be pre-made and others will have the opportunity to create your own Easter basket. Consult the resort directly for further questions.
At Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, guests will have the ability to vote for winners of the Recycled Craft Contest in the dining room.
There will also be a chocolate Easter Egg display in the lobby of the Grand Floridian from April 5 – 22nd.
Stay tuned for more resort and theme park recreation activities to be updated in a future post in April as we get closer to Easter!
Summer is almost officially here and that means vacation time at Walt Disney World for many families with kids now out of school. This also means it is a more popular time in the parks where wait times can increase. We thought we’d share some of our favorite Walt Disney World entertainment options that can give you a break inside or in the shade or pass the time while waiting for your Fast Pass time to roll around.
Betsy – I absolutely love the Dapper Dans! They remind me of one of my favorite movie musicals, the Music Man. I have even been lucky enough to be serenaded by these guys while getting my haircut at Harmony Barber Shop, which was perfect. I love their often A Capella performances, which are sometimes accompanied by the awesome Deagan organ chimes. It is especially cool to see them entertain as the Cadaver Dans during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Cheryl – Push the trash can is very entertaining to watch with kids.
Dana – Wowzer is an acrobatic clown that usually juggles while balancing on boards that he has set up himself. He has a spinning plate act as well. Wowzer is fun and super talented.
Beth – I love watching the Dapper Dans tap dance! You never know when they’ll grab you from the audience and make you part of the show!
Kelly – Main Street Philharmonic – No matter how many time I’ve seen them perform there is a simple, yet amazing way to how they play and what they play with such ease, especially in the Florida weather! It’s awesome to hear Disney songs that most of us know in a slightly different style. Also, to hear them during Flag Retreat is fantastic!
Mike – One of my favorite things to experience while in the Magic Kingdom is the famous Main Street U.S.A. barbershop quartet, the Dapper Dans. Serenading guests, the Dapper Dans are a true piece of Americana. Not only are they delightful to listen to singing classic songs such as “Mr. Sandman” and “Hello My Baby”, but also the Dapper Dans love to get their guests involved in the show by allowing them to play the infamous Deagan Organ Chimes.
Shelley – To me nothing says the Magic Kingdom quite like the Main Street Trolley Show! I will stop EVERY time I see the Main Street Trolley Show, to sing and dance along with the performers. It also holds a special place in my heart, because Zoe has loved them from her very first visit!The Citizens of Main Street really are the heartbeat and soul of Main Street USA! They’re always willing to talk to you about your day, your celebrations, and especially about their lives on Main Street USA. Don’t forget to shake the Mayor’s hand, ask Scoop Sanderson about his latest pin, or let the Fire Chief know he’s doing a great job!
Betsy – This is a toss up for me. Off Kilter and Voices of Liberty are my two favorite entertainment options in Epcot. I love how Off Kilter covers some eclectic choices of songs with their Celtic Rock flare. They range from classics like Amazing Grace and Danny Boy to Bob Marley and Byan Adams hits. Voices of Liberty perform American classics from hymns to revolutionary war songs. I absolutely love their set last year for the Fourth of July! It was one of the most moving performances and brought me to tears.
Cheryl – Voices of Liberty – It is great to get out of the sun and just sit in air conditioning
Dana – Miyuki – I always stop to watch her when I hear she is making candy. Yes, I said hear because she usually has a mic on. Her personality is as fun as the candy she creates for guests who stop to watch her. I’ve never been lucky enough to be picked by her, but still very entertaining.
Beth – Hands down Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion. They are so talented and genuinely enjoy meeting and talking with their audience.
Kelly – JAMMitors – It never fails that when I’m walking by Innoventions that they are out there playing. The crowd they draw is amazed by how they are playing and what they are playing. British Revolution – I’m a sucker for British music and the atmosphere is a great way to relax and take in some awesome songs.
Mike – One of my favorite entertainment offerings in the World Showcase is the Celtic rock band known as Off Kilter. They rock out five times a day to some of the best in traditional Celtic music and sometimes will even throw in a few modern day hits in their set as well. If you love the sound of bagpipes combined with guitar, drum and bass this is definitely the band for you. Some of my favorite songs that Off Kilter plays include “Danny Boy” and “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.
Shelley – Off Kilter – Dancing to Off Kilter is quite possibly one of my favorite things to do at Epcot! They’re a really fun group of guys who play music that is great to dance (and maybe drink) to even if you’re just walking by around World Showcase. Their version of Whiskey In The Jar is awesome! Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps – There is something quite special about catching the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps in the American Adventure Pavilion. They have several sets they play, but my favorite is when they have the kids march around, and as a fun bonus they receive a copy of the Declaration of Independence as a gift for participating.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Betsy – You may or may not have seen me at the Studios enjoying a performance of Mulch, Sweat and Shears. I have an affinity for the lead guitarist Axe and may even have picks he has tossed during shows. They cover classic and more current rock and some pop songs.
Cheryl – Citizens of Hollywood – They have some totally funny acts, and it is great to stop and watch.
Dana – Citizens of Hollywood – I love them strictly for the comedy. They can go unnoticed sometimes, but when you spot them, hilarity ensues. Jedi Training – Super cute. I watched it the first time last week. Everyone loved Darth Maul and I loved the sound effects that were perfectly timed to his lightsaber.
Beth – I enjoy the Citizens of Hollywood. You never know when you’re gonna stumble upon a performance.
Kelly – Citizens of Hollywood – Improv acting mixed in with random Hollywood Studios guests always makes for a great show.
Mike – Often found over in the Streets of America, Mulch, Sweat & Shears plays some of the greatest classic rock hits from bands such as Van Halen, Aerosmith, Queen, Kiss and so much more. Not only is this band extremely entertaining but also they do an amazing job with getting the crowd involved and allowing the audience to become an honorary member of the band by playing the cowbell, rocking out on the guitar with band leader Morris Mulch and even singing along with the band.
Shelley – Catching Mulch, Sweat, & Shears at the Studios is something I try to do as often as I can, because it is definitely a family favorite. Zoe will dance her heart out, and has high hopes of playing the cow bell with the band one day!!! Whatever you do, PLEASE take a moment from your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to watch the Citizens of Hollywood!!! This talented group of performers are great at improvisation and making you laugh no matter how long you had to wait for Toy Story Midway Mania.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Betsy – DJ Anaan is one of the newer additions to the live entertainment at Animal Kingdom. I remember going shortly after the Bhangra dance party started last year. It is so much fun watching the dancers move along with the Punjabi style music. Every time I have seen kids of all ages joining in with the party learning moves straight out of some of your favorite Bollywood movies.
Cheryl – I enjoy watching DJ Anaan and the dancing in front of Yak and Yeti.
Dana – DiVine – The first thing you notice is a group of people looking into the plant life on the walking between Africa and Asia. Then you spot her when she finally moves. It’s fun to watch her move into plant-like poses and watch her disappear back into the foliage.
Beth – My 4 yr old nephew Alex visited DAK for the first time this year. He loves playing the guitar and singing songs. As we were walking through Camp Minnie Mickey, Gi-tar Dan spotted Alex and started singing about his grey dinosaur shirt and grey shoes. The look on Alex’s face was priceless as he discovered the song was about him.
Kelly – Tam Tam Drummers – When these guys start playing their instruments you feel like you’re in their homeland. Such a cool dance party!
Mike – If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages then look no further than the Burudika band at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Located over in the Harambe Village of Africa, Burudika plays some of Africa’s modern hits and encourages all guests to dance freely in front of the stage joining the band in an African street party. Sometimes if you’re lucky enough, the Tam Tam Drummers will join Burudika’s street party and aid them in teaching guests some traditional African dance moves that they can take home with them to show their friends and family.
Shelley – Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe – NOTHING makes me happier than being able to dance in a park, and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe are my favorite to dance with at Animal Kingdom…maybe even all of Walt Disney World! These guys play a mean song and dance with everything they have. They put on a great show, and taking in a show is a great way to spend time waiting for your Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Pass time!
Betsy – One of my absolute favorite ways to unwind after a fun day in the parks is to grab a drink at Mizner’s and to listen to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. They play big band music mixed in with some Disney tunes and even take requests. I adore sitting for hours to catch their sets alternating with the piano player in the Grand Floridian lobby.
Cheryl – Yehaa Bob – It is no longer a “secret” at Disney. Its great to go and watch him perform.
Dana – Grand Floridian Society Orchestra – This could be a time to relax, beat the heat, and just listen to the Orchestra’s music.
Beth – Watching the Electric Water Pageant from the beach of the Polynesian Resort is fantastic. The pageant sails the Seven Seas Lagoon and around Bay Lake nightly and can be seen from any of the monorail resorts as well as the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.
Kelly – Grand Floridian Lobby Society Orchestra – I love, love, love listening to the orchestra play classic Disney songs. You can hear it all throughout the lobby and it makes Grand Floridian that much cooler when you walk in and hear them playing. Scat Cat’s Club musician – This bar is nice and relaxing and to hear some jazz music in the background is a great way to end a day.
Mike – One of my all-time favorite entertainment options located on Disney property is Yehaa Bob Jackson located over at the River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Join Yehaa Bob for his whimsical piano sing-along featuring numerous classic songs like “Sweet Caroline”, “Piano Man” and of course my all time favorite audience participation song “Sarah, Sarah” (Don’t mess it up!!!) The reason why I love going to see Yehaa Bob so much is because he is not your ordinary piano player. In fact, he is the complete opposite. Instead, Yehaa Bob Jackson is a phenomenally talented piano player who is almost rarely sitting down and plays a piano that rarely sits still.
Shelley – Boardwalk Magician, Juggler, Musicians – The Boardwalk performers are quite different than what you will find at the Walt Disney World Resort, and they variety of shows they put on are sure to please every member of you traveling party. There is nothing like grabbing a snack on the Boardwalk and watching a performance! Yehaa Bob Jackson – Some of my most favorite memories of living so close to Walt Disney World involve going to a Yehaa Bob Jackson show! We’ve had girls nights, birthday parties, and gatherings there and we always have a blast! It can get a little loud, but don’t let that intimidate you from joining in on the fun…just donnnnnnnnn’t mess it up!!!!!!
These are just a few of the many options that Walt Disney World entertainment offers in and around the theme parks. We hope that you take some time to take a break and enjoy some of these fantastic choices for ways to spend time outside attractions. So much of what makes Walt Disney World amazing is the people and interacting with these performers and even other guests can provide some priceless memories. I know I will never forget the time I got pulled up to “sing” with Mulch, Sweat & Shears and my friends just happened to be there with a video camera. Seeing someone spot DiVine for the first time is often quite entertaining. If you haven’t enjoyed the ragtime piano playing while grabbing a snack at Casey’s Corner, you’re missing out on one of the best secrets in the Magic Kingdom. Hearing the Voices of Liberty perform Golden Dream live is a transformative moment to say the least. Take a moment and slow down while you’re on your vacation to experience the live Walt Disney World entertainment. You won’t regret it!
The second annual decorative Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel are up! But only for a few more days – through Sunday, March 31.
If you walk in the front door of the lobby, you will immediately see these gorgeous eggs. I didn’t get a chance to see them last year, so this was a huge treat for me to stumble upon.
The amount of work and detail put into each of these eggs is amazing. The fact that the Wall-E egg has lights kind of blew my mind. If you’re able to stop by the Grand Floridian before the eggs are egg-stict (sorry, I had to), be sure to do so!
Weekly Review: August 27 – August 31, 2012: Our Week on The Go!
Hidden Gems of WDW, Orlando City Soccer, Halloween at LEGOLAND Florida, Magic Kingdom in the Fall, And Solar Bears Hockey
Its Weekly Review Time!!!! This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and its almost my favorite time of year which makes me even more excited about all that is going on around Orlando! Now it’s time to look back, with our Weekly Review, at all that happened her at On the Go in MCO August 27th to August 31st!!!
Grand Floridian Resort Lobby’s Hosts Some Beautiful Hidden Gems
The other night I was wandering around the lobby at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, and as I was listening to the band play I stumbled upon something that I had never seemed to notice before.
As I was admiring the amazing tiles that can be found in the Grand Floridian’s Lobby, I looked a little closer and noticed something for the first time. Hidden in the marble and stone floors of the resort were some of my most favorite characters. At first I only noticed the silhouettes of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto in the entry of the lobby. But as I was about to head out to my car, a friendly Grand Floridian cast member, who had seen me admiring the floor of the lobby, asked me if I had seen the other characters around the lobby. And when I said that I hadn’t seen any of the other characters, he gave me a detailed tour of the lobby and made sure that I saw all the other hidden characters. Also hidden in the lobby were Tinkerbell, Mrs. Potts, Chip, Peter Pan and Cinderella dancing at the Ball.
One of my favorite details can be found just above where you find Cinderella at the ball. If you go up the staircase, you will find in the carpet that Cinderella’s Carriage is waiting to whisk her home from her night.
I was amazed that even after all the times, and the countless times that I had walked through the lobby of the Grand Floridan, that I had never seen these hidden gems.
It was a great way to explore the Grand Floridian in a way that I hadn’t done before, and now I can’t wait to explore other resorts to see if I can find other hidden characters and gems!
Have you ever had one of those trips that you planned, but nothing seemed to go the way you had hoped? This couldn’t have been a bigger understatement to describe my family trip in December of 2007. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Let me set the stage a bit. I have a background in hospitality management and used to work for one of the better known and respected hotel chains in the country. One of the greatest things about working for a national chain like that is you are typically entitled to discounts at the same brand and affiliates under the parent company’s umbrella of hotels. This afforded me the opportunity to travel to Orlando (again I live in Bradenton, about 100 miles away from WDW), once or twice a month since I was able to procure rates of $29 a night at hotels where it would usually cost well over $100 at rack rate. Because of this, I only stayed on property once in 1998 at Caribbean Beach Resort, and then a handful of times at the value resorts from 2000 – 2006. It was not until the end of 2007 that I was able to revisit property and stay at another one of the moderate resorts, and subsequently my favorite, Port Orleans French Quarter.
On this particular trip, I was accompanied by my mom, who was going to share a room with me to cut down costs, since this was the week of Christmas, and my brother, Andrew, was getting a room to himself. Andrew had just returned from 18 months of serving in Iraq with the Army and was looking forward to unwinding at the parks. We were just going for the weekend and returning Monday since it was Christmas Eve. I wish we were able to stay longer since I was off four days in a row, but we had family commitments at home for Christmas.
We started off the trip by checking in to French Quarter, unpacking, and then decided we would head to Universal’s City Walk to have dinner and visit Pat O’Brien’s. Due to lack of planning, and partly due to my affinity for the music, we ended up having dinner at Bob Marley’s Tribute to Freedom. The food was good and we enjoyed a couple adult beverages between dinner and listening to the dueling pianos at Pat O’s.
We returned to Disney property to catch the midnight showing of National Treasure 2. Now the movie really isn’t an important detail of the story, but in my mind it is inextricably linked with this trip. I still can’t watch it to this day without being reminded of this night. During the climax of the movie, my brother got sick. We didn’t see the end of the movie, needless to say, and were on our way back to French Quarter, now at about 2:30am.
The next day was at a snail’s pace around Epcot due to dealing with Andrew who was still not feeling well. He couldn’t even stand to be around food yet, so we snuck down and grabbed some beignets before leaving the resort mid morning. Eventually we convinced him he should eat and had a nice late lunch at Les Chefs de France. Kindly Andrew bought me a new WDW hoodie and even renewed my mom’s and my pass as a Christmas present (and out of guilt I think). We hopped over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights for our first time. We were planning on dinner at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, but had canceled our ADR when we realized it wasn’t worth it. By the time dinner rolled around Andrew seemed mostly human again and wanted to eat so we ended up get a walk up and eating in the Tune In Lounge.
Sunday was the last day of our trip, as we were scheduled to be in church Monday evening for Christmas Eve with family. We checked out of French Quarter and spent our last day in the Magic Kingdom. For the first time we saw Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which has a totally different feel during the day as opposed to at night during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The day was enjoyable, but rather uneventful compared to the two previous days. Dinner was going to be at Citrico’s at the Grand Floridian at 8pm, so we left MK shortly after seven to give us time to admire the decorations at the resort. As soon as we stepped off the monorail and into the second floor of the hotel, Andrew asked why we hadn’t stayed there. I reminded him it was two days before Christmas and the most expensive pricing of the year and he had wanted his own room, so the $250/night at French Quarter was rich enough for our blood. At this point, none of us had stayed at a deluxe resort, so it is understandable that he was impressed.
As always, Citrico’s was fabulous and beyond satiating. While splitting our dessert, Andrew and I declared we didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay another night, and I wasn’t really relishing the thought of the almost two hour drive home after dinner and a full day in the parks. My mom asked our server if they knew if there was any availability for the night and he insisted they were completely sold out. Coming back to that hospitality background, I know there are often reservations that are canceled last minute and dates are occasionally changed, so my mom went down to the front desk to investigate. After we paid the bill Andrew and I joined our mom in the lobby as she had found that there were actually two rooms available after she had been speaking to the front desk cast member, Christina, for a bit about my brother’s return from Iraq. We were given the option of a standard room in the outer building with a garden view or an outer building room that was club level. As we had just eaten dinner and were going to leave in the morning, we opted for the standard room as it was still $500+ for the one night (again this was two days before Christmas and we were thankful for the room).
We completed the check in process and were told by Christina that the manager, Stephan, would be escorting us to our room. We found this especially puzzling since we were staying in an outer building and it was almost 11pm. Stephan emerged from the front desk, greeted us and led us across the lobby to the elevator for guest rooms in the main building. Following unquestioningly, we stood behind Stephan as he allowed a couple to enter the elevator before us. We said hello and he had a brief conversation with the couple as they apparently knew each other. After letting the other guests get off, Stephan asked us if we knew who they were. We were clueless and he informed us that we had just met Mr. and Mrs. Jennings Osborne, as in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights we had enjoyed the night before at the Studios. I never would have guessed! The guy was a millionaire many times over and was relaxing in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian print shirt. Still fazed by that, Stephan led us off the elevator on the fifth floor and to the other side of the landing. He stopped before a set of double doors and we stood there still confused.
Stephan turned and faced my brother and said that it was his honor to thank Andrew for his service to our country and this was Disney’s way of giving just a little back to him. He opened the door and we were stunned as we were shown into our two bedroom suite. It was like something out of a dream. I was pretty sure it was one of the suites Samantha Brown had shown in her visit of the Grand Floridian on her show Great Hotels. I tried to play it cool until Stephan left, but we were awestruck. To go from a standard room in French Quarter to the third largest suite in the flagship resort for our first stay club level, or even at a deluxe resort for that matter, was incredible. I about lost it as soon as Stephan left. The room was by far the nicest hotel room I had ever stayed in and I think that probably stands to this day.
My mom and I eventually realized my car was still parked at the Magic Kingdom parking lot with our stuff, so as Andrew decided to sleep, we went to fetch our luggage and to move the car. After swinging by the front desk to profusely thank Christina and Stephan for their generous upgrade (the suite goes for over $2,500/night), we returned to the room with new found energy. Andrew was exhausted, so we let him sleep as we opted to return to MK for Extra Magic Hours until 4am. We got back in the park around 2am and walked on to every ride we wanted to at that hour. The CMs were even asking us if we wanted to ride again since the parks were almost completely empty, but we kept moving. The euphoria and bewilderment still didn’t wear off after we got into bed around 5am.
We didn’t sleep a whole lot that night. We woke up around 9am and ordered private dining (Disney’s fancy name for room service) and then packed up and headed home to get ready for church. The day was kind of a daze, but like nothing we could have ever dreamt of in a million years. The trip that had started off so beyond horribly had done a complete 180 and made us so appreciative of the annoyances we had gone through to get there. I guess it all works out in the end. It really was the best of trips and the worst of trips all rolled in to one, but thankfully in the opposite order.
My mom and I stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge the following summer and ran into Stephan working as a manager there and he remembered us immediately. We spent quite some time revisiting that night in conversation with him. The next year, Andrew, my mom and I were staying at the Boardwalk Villas and ran into Christina from the front desk working recreation and she remembered us, even telling us that was still one of her favorite magical moments she was able to share as a CM. She was moving to transportation at the Magic Kingdom the following day and we ran into her on the docks working the ferryboat. Stephan is now a manager at the Yacht Club and I occasionally stop in and visit him there. It was really nice to be able to share the experience with my family, but I’d rather not have a repeat of the first half of the trip. Things like this are why I keep supporting the Disney brand. Making magical moments for guests is something that Cast Members enjoy and makes me appreciate every last bit of magic I come across.