Top Ten Reasons to go to Walt Disney World in 2011!

January 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Disney Travel, Disney Travel Planning, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Italy, Magic Kingdom, Main Street, Mexico, Uncategorized, Walt Disney World Resort, World Showcase | 1 Comment
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2011 will be a wonderful year to go to Walt Disney World (as if anyone REALLY needs an excuse to go to WDW)! There are so many wonderful things to do and see and experience! Here is a quick list of the top ten reasons you need to go to WDW this year!

  1. Let the Memories Begin– Disney’s new promotional campaign focuses on the memories made at the Disney parks. I know we all have them. And if we don’t, we will soon! This campaign allows us to see other’s magical memories and to share some of our own! Do you remember your 1st trip to WDW? Or what about your child’s? This campaign makes me smile simply because it is real. Those are real experiences and real reactions. And who knows? Maybe one of YOUR memories will wind up on one of Disney’s commercials or print ads. And maybe even displayed on Cinderella’s castle. For more information on this new campaign, click here.
  2. Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary– Come celebrate WDW’s 40th birthday at the Most Magical Place on Earth! Join in at all the parades, the rides, the shows… Come and see what has made Walt Disney World a must-see travel destination!
  3. Meet the Characters from Tangled– Did your little princess or prince love Rapunzel or Flynn Rider? Well, did you know you can meet them at the Magic Kingdom? That’s right! The beautiful princess and her prince now have their own Meet and Greet area in Fairytale Garden, near the castle side entrance to Fantasyland. Come to this new interactive Play and Greet!
  4. Duffy– So this may not be the MAIN reason, to go to Walt Disney World, but it’s a pretty fun thing to do while you’re here! For years, Duffy has been a popular character at Tokyo Disneyland. In October 2010, he arrived at Epcot for his own Meet and Greet! Duffy, for those of you who are wondering who I am talking about, is Mickey’s teddy bear. He’s a soft, cuddly bear with a “Hidden Mickey” on his face and paws. And of course, the Duffy merchandise abounds! You can get a seasonal Duffy bear, a HUGE Duffy bear, or a plain Duffy that you can dress anyway you want in one of the many Duffy outfits that are available.
  5. Two New Epcot Eateries– Via Napoli opened this past August in the Italy pavilion. This authentic Neapolitan pizzeria features wood-burning ovens and serves wonderful pizza, salads, sandwiches and more. La Hacienda de San Angel is an indoor-outdoor restaurant right on the lagoon that features authentic Mexican dishes. This is the first of Disney’s new concept dining establishments that acts as a quick service eatery for lunch and a table service eatery for dinner.
  6. Disney Channel Rocks– This new street show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios replaces the old High School Musical street performance. This new high energy show features songs that your tweens and teens will know all too well (and most parents will know them all too well, too). You’ll hear tunes from Hannah Montana, Sonny With a Chance, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Shake it Up!, JONAS LA, Starstruck and more.  Some guests will even be invited on stage to dance!
  7. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival– This fall-time event usually lasts from the beginning of October through the middle of November. You’ll be able to enjoy food and drinks from around the World. Besides the usual 11 pavilions, you will find food and wine kiosks from other countries as well such as Ireland, Belgium and South Korea, along with several others. You’ll also be able to enjoy regional entertainment. You can also take in the Eat to the Beat concert series, which highlights performers from years past! For more information on the Food and Wine Festival, click here.
  8. Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival– This event runs from March 2, 2011 through May 15, 2011 and showcases a colorful display of flowers, gardens, topiaries, entertainment and more. During the festival, you will find special entertainers from the 1960’s and 1970’s at the America Gardens Theatre during the Flower Power Concert Series. For more information on the Flower and Garden Festival, click here.
  9. Star Tours– This full-motion flight simulator is currently closed while it is being renovated and being made into a 3D attraction. BUT it will open in 2011 with all new 3D imagery, and any Star Wars fans in your family will be thrilled! New journeys and exciting destinations await. In the meantime, guests can enjoy shopping at Tatooian Traders and can watch (and maybe participate) in Jedi Training Academy, right by the attraction.
  10. The Feeling of Being a Kid Again– Many people go to WDW for their kids. But those of us who go more often know that the fun and excitement is not just for kids. The second I walk into Magic Kingdom, I revert to a kid again. I get more excited than my kids when I see the characters, and I cry when I see the castle for the first and last time of each trip. I remember growing up at Walt Disney World and watching it change through the years. I laugh and squeal on the rides, and I am just as excited as the kids to get a Mickey Bar! Plan that Disney trip in 2011, but don’t just do it for your kids- do it for you, too!

For more information or for a free no-obligation quote, contact us at www.magicalmousecapades.com!

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The Countries of World Showcase- Part 1: Mexico

April 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Disney Travel, Disney Travel Planning, Epcot, Mexico, Walt Disney World Resort, World Showcase | 4 Comments
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I find the countries of World Showcase to be fascinating. I love strolling through each country, learning about the history and culture and speaking to the cast members who originate from these countries.

This is the 1st blog post in a series. Travel around World Showcase with us as we explore each country’s pavilion. First up is MEXICO!

Hola y Bienvenidos a Mexico! We’re beginning our tour around World Showcase by going counter-clockwise! You begin your journey into Mexico by entering a tall pyramid modeled after an actual Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, Mexico. Quetzalcoatl was traditionally known as the god of the morning and evening star.  Later he became known as the patron of priests, inventor of books and of the calendar and as the symbol of death and resurrection. He himself is depicted along Disney’s priests’ steps.  Inside you will find a huge gallery of cultural artifacts from different periods of Mexican history. From there, you will enter into an outdoor” colonial Mexican plaza, Plaza de los Amigos, where it is always twilight! Listen to the festive music, enjoy a drink in La Cava del Tequila or sit down for a delicious traditional meal in San Angel Inn.

Located in the back of the Plaza, you will find a smoking volcano and a Grand Mayan pyramid that rises above an indoor lagoon. There are colorful carts and shops offering all sorts of Mexican wares: Mexican jewelry, Kahlua, pottery, clothing and leather goods. There’s usually a strolling mariachi band, Mariachi Cobre, so you can partake in the sounds of Mexico as well. Kids can purchase their World Showcase passports here as well as enjoy the Kidcot Funstop, where they can color a mask and then add on to the mask in each country of World Showcase.

One of the more relaxing rides in Epcot is located in the Mexican pavilion- the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. This ride is an update of the old El Rio Del Tiempo attraction and is usually a walk-on attraction, and while it’s not very exciting, it is entertaining and also serves as a great place to get off of your feet and cool off! It features Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito from Disney’s 1944 animated film “The Three Caballeros.”  The storyline has trouble-maker Donald disappearing en route to the Three Caballeros performance in Mexico City. The other caballeros go in search throughout Mexico for their friend! You can enjoy all sorts of Mexican scenery throughout the ride, even “fireworks”! You begin the ride in Mexico’s 1st century, sailing through a rainforest before you enter a Mayan pyramid and sailing into a temple. You will experience a Day of the Dead celebration and pass by Acapulco’s famous cliffs before you finally make it to Mexico City, where the Three Caballeros can finally perform!

Outside of the pavilion (to the right-hand side if you are facing the pavilion), you will find Donald Duck, dressed in his Mexican finest. He is there frequently throughout the day! Make sure that the kids have their autograph books ready and that you have your camera ready!

San Angel Inn is Mexico’s table-service restaurant. This restaurant overlooks the plaza and the boat ride, and it is very romantic as it appears you are dining in a moonlit courtyard. In the “distance”,  you will hear a rumbling volcano. The food is delicious and traditional. You can enjoy tortilla soup and a mouth-watering steak as well as churros and flan for dessert. San Angel Inn is open for lunch and dinner, and the Disney Dining Plan is accepted here. Reservations are recommended.

La Cava del Tequila is the newest (and one of the most fun) additions to Epcot. Opening in 2009, La Cava is a refreshing change to the Mexican pavilion and it celebrates the history and heritage of tequila. You can enjoy 70 different types of tequila (those over age 21) as well as margaritas and tapas-style appetizers. The resident “tequila ambassador” will educate guests on the history of tequila. Be prepared as La Cava is very popular, and it only seats 46!

Currently closed until fall 2010 for refurbishment, La Cantina de San Angel is great for a quick bite. You can enjoy nachos, tacos, churros, frozen margaritas and more. Once this establishment opens this fall, it will showcase a new type of dining experience at Epcot. You will find it to be a quick-service dining location at lunch and a table-service restaurant at dinner. This will greatly expand the number of people able to dine in the Mexican pavilion, and it will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Find quick-service Mexican food at Taqueria Del Lago on the promenade.

Make sure you also take a look at Animales Fantasticos, Spirits in Wood: ” – In villages surrounding the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, artisans create fantastic wood carvings of animals, humans, and beasts. Their work is prized for the way they freely mix reality with magic. This modern folk art is also unique for the way it blends traditional with contemporary themes. In just a few short decades, Oaxacan woodcarving has become recognized as an important expression of how ancient cultures interact with a modern world.”

“Oaxacan parents tell stories to their children about fantasy animals that live in the nearby forests. Most of these magical creatures are mis-chief makers and the children are warned to stay clear of them. Today, these fantasy animals have emerged from the woods. They have been set free by the artisans who captured them in the branches of the trees. These brightly colored animals have traveled far from their home in Southwest Mexico, but bring with them their legendary playfulness.” (Quotes from the display, October 2001)

Shopping is a delight in the Mexican pavilion. You can bring home kids favorites such as sombreros, maracas and paper flowers. You can also find silver jewelry, as Mexico is well-known for its quality silver. You can find traditional pottery, glassware and decorative gifts as well leather goods, clothing, tequila, blankets and more.

Have a great time strolling through the land of Mexico! Adios!

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