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Wordless Wednesday – Virtual Safari Tour!

Published April 17, 2013 by Disneyways.com

This week’s theme is Flora, Fauna, Fantasy 15 in celebration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary.

Thank you Deb from FocusedOnTheMagic.com for the great idea!

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Focused on the Magic

Kilimanjaro Safaris – Hippopotamuses for Christmas

Published December 25, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Every year at Christmas the radio stations here in Orlando play that old song, I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas!

Here are some actual pictures we took on Animal Kingdom’s  Kilimanjaro Safaris recently! I hope you enjoy them and have a magical day!

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Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safaris – Zebras!

Published November 25, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Once upon a time there were Zebras at Animal Kingdom!

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Animal Kingdom Safaris Sunday – Rhinos!

Published November 18, 2012 by Disneyways.com

I LOVE telling this story. Mama and baby were playing and running around. At one point they were headed straight for our ride vehicle! They were literally 5 feet away when they stopped dead in their tracks. Were they being aggressive? NO! Our ride vehicle was blocking the door that led to their food, and the rhinos had heard it open. Once they realized we were in the way, they politely turned to their right, walked in front of the vehicle and out of the opening that lead backstage. I don’t know how my husband kept calm enough to get these fantastic pictures, but I am so glad he did! What an awesome day at Animal Kingdom!

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Kilimanjaro Safari Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Published November 5, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Friday November 2nd 2012 was a great day for the safari ride over at Animal Kingdom. The weather was BEAUTIFUL, and the animals were loving it! Since they were feeling so frisky and active, some of them modeled for my photo shoot. A few pictures are a little blurry but others came out great!

What do you think?

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Bill “Sully” Sullivan: Disneyways Magical Spotlights: Disney Luminaries

Published July 17, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Disneyways Magical Spotlights: Disney Luminaries ~  Bill “Sully” Sullivan

He spent almost 40 years with the company, starting as a ticket-taker on the Jungle Cruise in 1955 and ending his career as Vice President of the Magic Kingdom in 1994. You can get his book and learn all about him in detail, by clicking below on our affiliate link.

From Jungle Cruise Skipper to Disney Legend 40 Years of Magical Memories at Disney

My first selfie with Disney Legend Bill “Sully” Sullivan taken in 2014

After studying architecture in the 1950s, Sully actually got his first job in the aircraft industry. But then, after tuning in to ABC’s live broadcast of Disneyland’s opening and dedication, he made a decision that would change his life forever.
On Sunday, July 17, 1955, William “Sully” Sullivan was tuned in to ABC-TV. “I watched the opening ceremonies for Disneyland. The following Saturday I went down and applied for a job. “Monday I quit Northrop Aircraft, and Tuesday I reported to work as a ticket-taker at the Jungle Cruise.” Sully was just 19 years old at the time.

As he worked at the Jungle Cruise for nearly three years, Bill earned the title of “jungle bunny”—an unofficial name given to the attraction’s hosts in the ’50s. This experience gave him the opportunity to move around the park, rising through the ranks of park operations and supervising various attractions.

In fact, Bill helped pull off some of the most historic events in Disney history. Bill soon earned a place on the opening team for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, for which Walt Disney served as chairman of pageantry.

What did Bill think of the man, Walt Disney?

“Walt was a really warm individual,” Sully remembered fondly. “He had a great sense of humor, and he loved people. He was an executive, but not what you perceive as an ‘executive.’ He was a real team guy.”

A few years later, he became assistant manager for the groundbreaking Disney attractions at the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair and eventually helped with several famous Disney film premieres. Examples include the premiers for Mary Poppins at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (1964) and The Happiest Millionaire at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre (1967).

Sully also helped develop the world’s largest private construction project – two times! But first, he moved to Orlando in 1969. From here, the construction plans began for the park’s opening day in 1971. Sully spent several years assisting with the preparation and opening of Walt Disney World, which was the world’s largest private construction effort until the development of EPCOT Center a decade later. For Epcot, Sully coordinated operational design input and installation of owner-furnished equipment as as director of PICO (Project Installation and Coordination Office) and, after Epcot opened in 1982, he served as director of park operations. The two largest construction projects in the world, and Sully was there…preparing, coordinating, and assisting with it all!

But Sully wasn’t finished yet. In 1987, still working hard and growing his career,  next up he would be named vice president of the Magic Kingdom, and was responsible for operation of the Park. It was a long list of operations including attractions, merchandising, transportation, entertainment, ticket sales, guest relations, costuming, foods, custodial, maintenance, planned work, and even horticulture.

Sully’s contributions have earned him two tributes on Main Street, U.S.A.! He’s got a window on both coasts. One for Disney World and one for Disneyland! In Orlando at Magic Kingdom Park, look for the one that lists him as a charter member of the “Windermere Fraternal Hall.” Bill actually served as Vice President of the Magic Kingdom from 1987 until 1993, during which he oversaw the openings of experiences from Delta Dreamflight and Magic Journeys to Mickey’s Birthdayland and Splash Mountain. In Disneyland, you will find a window on Main Street listing him as Chief Guide of “Sully’s Safaris & Guide Service” (a reference to his first role at Disneyland.)

Sully retired in 1993 after 38 years with Disney, and without a single regret. “If I had to do it all over,” he said, “I’d do it all again tomorrow.” He would be named a Disney Legend in 2005.

Five things that might surprise you about Disney’s The Lion King

Published July 12, 2019 by Disneyways.com

It was my thrill and honor to be invited to the media preview of Live Action Lion King July 10, 2019 – before it was released to the public 9 days later.

Regarding this version of Disney’s Lion King it is officially stated like this:

“Staying true to the classic story, director Jon Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way.”

Well, you might be wondering, like I was, how it could possibly stack up to the original. Is it possible they could improve this masterpiece? I mentioned before that I have very personal and very loving feelings about this movie that started all the way back in 1994.

Surprisingly, I found some things that I never expected (in spite of the story not really changing much!) even with the 25 year time difference in film release dates. You might be inspired to make your own list of shocking revelations!

Before we get to my list of surprises, I want to share a little about the day I saw this movie. I started practicing my best lion cub roar.

Practicing my best lion cub rawr…

After all, my maiden name is Rohrer. I lost count of how many times I said, “It’s pronounced ROAR..like a lion!” It’s no surprise that I should be pretty good at the Rohrer’s roar by now. Practicing was still fun. I contacted my friend Beatrice to join me for the viewing of this film, and our big day finally came. We both put on our favorite safari shirts and makeup for the occasion. We were definitely “feeling the love tonight” for Live Action Lion King!

OK OK OK – let me stop here for one second. We know it’s not really “Live Action.” No lions or baby ostriches or baby warthogs (OH MY!! More on those later!!) were harmed in the making of this film. But for the sake of this article, we will use the term “Live Action” Lion King to represent the version coming to theaters July 19th 2019. “Live Action Lion King” is easier to say than “Lion King…the photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name.”

Now let’s get to those 5 surprises.

Surprise #1: Mufasa at first glance – caused an audible “WOW!”

You may have already seen him – in the previews –  or maybe in photos – like the one below.

 

So had I.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. When you are sitting in the darkened theater and the film begins, everything seems different. I don’t know if it was the build up, maybe the music, or the herds of exotic animals on the big screen? But, you are going to see Mufasa’s valiant face pretty early in this film, and when you do….it just might make you turn to the person next to you and say an audible

“WOW!” 

Because that is what it did to us!!

Mufasa is gorgeous, regal, and stunning. You can see his wise eyes up-close. Watch his fur and mane blowing gently in the soft wind. The detail is astonishing. As my eyes gazed upon him in that moment …things got serious. I started thinking about the majesty of God and His beautiful creatures that are roaming this earth. For just a little while, I tried to grasp the thought of beautiful and exotic animals in the thousands or millions, so very far from my home, on a giant continent like Africa. God made each and every creature and I believe God cares for each one. I know God cares for me too, even as I sit in my small world, and look at my computer screen to write this for you. He cares for you – as you are reading it! If you believe the Bible then you know that God given us dominion over these beautiful creatures. Just imagine that! God is everywhere. Beautiful, majestic lions are such a small part of what God has created… and when you see Mufasa on the big screen… Mufasa almost leaves you breathless!!

Surprise #2: Rafiki is the “Dick Clark” of Pride Rock

The average life expectancy of a Mandrill (Rafiki is not a baboon, he’s a Mandrill) in captivity is 46 years. Who knew?? Well, Rafiki doesn’t even live in captivity, and he has to be at least 100 years old. I think this means Simba’s Kingdom, and Pride Rock, have been very good to him. He is such an amazing character and he holds up beautifully in live action. Have you noticed Rafiki never seems to age throughout the Lion King franchise? He’s portrayed as a wise old man as far back as 25 years ago in the original film, yet he remains spry and active for years and years. There is a beautiful scene in Live Action Lion King where Rafiki gets Simba to follow him through the dark jungle. Rafiki has no problem with his physical fitness, and let me tell you, he can really swing! In fact, young Simba loses Rafiki a couple of times in that scene – and has some trouble keeping up.  Rafiki inspires me to keep my joy and remain forever young! I’d bet he’s a great dancer, too. Maybe he could host his own version of Pride Rock Bandstand or even a New Year’s (Pride Rock)in’ Eve. Yep, I am pretty sure that makes Rafiki the “Dick Clark” of Pride Rock.

Surprise #3: The Baby Animal Cuteness Factor is OFF THE CHARTS 

Something for old and young here. During the big opening song, if you look closely, you will see little speckled baby ostriches running around. They look something like this.

I thought those little chicks just might be the cutest babies I’d ever seen until……later on … during Hakuna Matata. Pumbaa sings about how he was a young warthog. AND THEY SHOW HIM…oh my goodness. The realistic imaging on the big screen was almost too much to handle.

While Simba sings “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” you will need to brace yourself for more baby animals of all kinds!! Grouping together, walking together, frolicking in pairs… SO much baby animal super cuteness all in one place! Off the charts adorable. I don’t remember this many cute babies in the first Lion King. They surprised the heck out of me!

Surprise #4: “Be Our Guest” (the song!) makes an appearance

I don’t want to give too much away here because I loved the way they put this in the movie. I think you might enjoy it too!

Surprise #5: There Are Two NEW Songs

I was surprised to learn there are 2 new songs in this movie! One from Elton John and one from Beyonce.

I noticed a portion of Beyonce’s “Spirit” during the film. I recognized her singing voice right away. On a side note, it’s cool hearing Beyonce voice Nala’s speaking voice, as well.

I think you have to stick around for the end credits so you can hear “Never Too Late” by Elton John. I don’t recall hearing any portion this during the film, but maybe I missed it. Surprise!

A bonus surprise for me was how I sat through the whole film comparing it shot for shot (in my head) with the original. Apparently I am not the only one that thinks this way. I found a little video that gives you a side by side comparison of a few scenes.  The video is a minute and a half long. I have put a link to it HERE.

In closing, the story we think we know so well just might have some surprises in store for you too! If you love the original film and you want to admire exotic wild animals up close on the big screen, go see Live Action Lion King! I enjoyed it very much, and it made for a fun afternoon of spending time with my friend Beatrice. Here are some links so you can follow the official accounts for more fun!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyTheLionKing/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyLionKing

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lionking

Website: https://disney.com/lionking

Hashtag: #TheLionKing

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on July 10, 2019 so that I could bring you this review. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

 

10 Disney Films That Will Inspire You to Travel ~ By Guest Author Jason Biondo

Published January 7, 2016 by Disneyways.com

10 DISNEY FILMS THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL

Disney films are beloved and admired for their colorful story-lines, enchanting and beautiful princesses as well as handsome prince charmings. All movies that Disney creates are loved not only by children, but everyone who are young at heart because they simply showcase beautiful musical scores and shows stunning pictures. Over time, Disney continues to create memorable
memories and inspiration brought about by magic and dreams.

If you’re a big Disney fan and a travel junkie at the same time, then you must know where you can find and experience being on the setting of your favorite Disney movie. Here are some of the all-time favorite Disney movies that were inspired by real-life locations.

1. Lion King

lion king

This classic Disney movie has surely created wonderful memories because of the morallessons it brings, songs that marked in every child’s life and of course, the stunning settings of this film. The scenery of this film was inspired by a gorgeous desert in Africa – Serengeti, which is located across northern Tanzania and southwest of Kenya. This safari desert is life-changing like how it was pictured in the movie as it holds beautiful landscapes and wild animals that will surely spark your wanderlust. This movie will awaken your adventurous side as well as you desire to see more of this wonderful world. Hakuna Matata and enjoy life!

2. Aladdin

As a child, you were surely dreamt of riding the magic carpet and wonder how it feels like to see the world up in the sky. Aladdin is a movie based on Arab folklore that is full of enchantments – a magic lamp, a genie and three wishes. The movie has highlighted several stunning places like pyramids, palaces, deserts, alley ways and even China. But did you know that the Sultan’s Palace in the movie was inspired by the real life famous architecture in India – the Taj Mahal.

3. Mulan

Showcasing the countryside and unique cultures of China, Mulan is a story about a fearless girl who disguised as a man to go to a war. The Emperor’s Home in the movie was actually inspired by the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. If you remember the famous line told by Fa Zhou to Mulan about life and how it should be enjoyed, you will surely be moved to accomplish your dreams and go on different adventures and explore the world.

4. Frozen

Photo credit Disney

Photo credit Disney

Remember the scene where Elsa went away from her kingdom to elude people’s judgment about her hidden capability? The ice palace she created as a place she could live for isolation was based on the concept of Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, Canada. The hotel is surrounded by snow vaults and crystalline ice sculptures that open during winter. This fortress has 44 rooms, abundant ice sculptures, and imposing snow vaults. This film by Disney will surely motivate you to free yourself from fear and give you the
opportunity to do things you want without worrying about other’s verdict. Do you want to build a snowman?

5. Tangled

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Rapunzel, leaving the tower to take control over her own life brings inspiration to go on the road and explore different adventures. If you have watched the movie and look forward to seeing settings like the places featured in this film, then the real life places that were actually used as inspiration for this movie will completely amaze you. The tower was inspired by the Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France – a fortified islandcommune with a population of 44 people. The art director of the movie chose this location in order to create gallant painting style. Additionally, the scene at the lake fullof floating lanterns was taken insights from the annual festivity in China, Taiwan and Thailand.

6. Up

Who would have forgotten about the exceptional and adventurous journey of Carl and Ellie? Ellie’s desire to fulfill his and his wife’s dream of going to Paradise Falls was fortified after his wife passed away. Voyaged through Carl’s house hovering in the air has amazed children and the paradise Falls has enthused people to see a similar setting. Well, you may want to visit the Angel Falls in Venezuela’s Canaima Natural Park where this famous setting has been based. It is known as the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, it is also called as “waterfall of the deepest place”.

7. Lilo & Stitch

As Lilo and her family ventured towards the world, it has left a moral lesson about the importance of family and the bond created by traveling together. The settings of this film were enthused by the landscapes of Kauai town in Hawaii which was perfect for its homey-inspired tale.

8. Brave

Meridahorse

Merida, a fearless girl who’s desperate for freedom from her royal family set foot in the woods alone for the liberty she wanted. Brave features beautiful ruins, majestic landscapes and castles along Merida’s journey and some of it were actually real pictures that you can visit. This movie will surely inspire you to visit Eilean Donan Castle, which is known in the film as DunBroch Castle. Built during the mid-13th century, it is located in the Scottish highlands and is overlooking the sea. If you are fond of historic places and folklore, visiting Eilean Donan Castle is what you might need to satisfy your wanderlust.

9. Finding Nemo

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The film was set in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, it is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Watching this movie may inspire you to book a scuba diving classes, go snorkeling to a marine conservation or even urge you to book a trip to Australia.

10. Enchanted

The movie is about some animated characters coming into the real world and becoming real people. Based in New York settings, this film features various scenes featuring the Central Park will surely make you want to visit the busiest city in the world. This romantic comedy movie will surely bring in the wanderlust in you as the urbaninspiration and soundtracks will motivate you to see the world.

Inspired to travel? Open your travel planner now, and create your own magical and enchanting Disney-like escapades!

About the Author: Jason Biondo is a travel junkie and an amateur bodybuilder who loves to share insightful tips to his fellow travelers and fitness enthusiasts. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the founder of Trekeffect.
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Top 10 Tips for First Time Disney Guests ~ By Guest Author Jen

Published July 6, 2014 by Disneyways.com

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Top 10 Tips for First Time Guests by Guest Author Jen B.

10) Stay on property

Though this could easily be further down on the list and closer to one of the most important tips for your first visit, many of the following tips are only available if staying on property, so alas, your #10 tip! Disney offers more than 25 different hotels that are broken down into various categories according to price (value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas). Staying on Walt Disney World property puts you that much closer to the magic, provides you with extra benefits, and presents you with even more hidden Disney magic. Each hotel is themed differently, so find the one that fits you and your party the best and book your stay!

9) Try ALL forms of Disney Transportation

In order to take full advantage of all the transportation opportunities Disney has to offer, you must be staying at a resort. Rather than paying for parking and waiting in long traffic lines, opt for the complimentary buses, monorail, ferry, walkways, and magical express. Each form of travel is unique and serves as a great way to both start and end your magical days at WDW!  Disney buses pick up from every resort and arrive every 15 minutes or so. They start running before parks open and drive all day until after parks close. The monorail is a must ride for your first visit as it is an attraction within itself! Another neat option is the ferry between some of the resorts and MK. Lastly, start your vacation the right way and let Magical Express pick up your bags from baggage claim once you arrive at Orlando International Airport. Hop on that motor coach and head right to the parks, there’s tons to see and do!

8) Extra Magic Hours & Fast Pass

With so much to see and do, plus the benefit of being a WDW resort guest, be sure to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours and Fast Pass Times. Every day one of the four main parks either opens up to 1 hour early or stays open up to three hours late.  Only guests staying in a WDW resort can take advantage of these times when crowds are minimal! Use this time to see the wild animals roaming the savannah after their morning stretches, ride the Tower of Terror before the wait time climbs to 2 hours, or stroll down Main Street USA and window shop without the crowds and endless strollers!

7) Park Hop!

 Adding the Park Hopper option to your Magic Your Way Base Ticket is truly a personal preference, but I would advise that you do! When vacationing to WDW you can either plan every minute of your vacation or agree to be flexible, but either way, the ability to travel from park to park to help with either schedule will make your vacation much less stressful and far more magical! I can’t tell you how many times we woke up to catch the first Kilimanjaro Safari ride, but then wanted to see the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular before bed that same night. On a first time trip, it might seem overwhelming and you might be sitting there saying, “This is crazy. One park per day is far more than enough, Disney offers so much!”, but I find the park hopper option to be far less overwhelming. When on vacation, one is supposed to be relieved of all stress, free of all plans, and in favor of spontaneity. Be spontaneous and hop!

6) Visit Magic Kingdom in 2 days (There’s far too much magic to explore!)

After reading #7, this is only necessary. Given that the park is broken into different lands (Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Main Street USA) it’s almost as if this park is really 5 parks in one. Thus, the more time you can spend here the better. Strolling through the shops on Main St. and watching the parade that rides down the street as well, can easily eat up a solid chunk of your afternoon. Pending ride wait times and if you enjoy a sit down meal or not, no matter how early you enter, or how late you stay, Magic Kingdom deserves at least two days. Just think, this was Walt’s dream and the very first part of the Walt Disney World grounds. Plus the castle serves as the iconic staple of all things Disney. All first-timers should truly immerse themselves in all the magic that the Magic Kingdom has to offer. Don’t rush through it!

5) Bring your own snacks and drinks but splurge on a Main Street Treat!

When you’re waiting for the parade to start (as it is suggested that you find your spot along the parade route at least thirty minutes before it is to begin) enjoy a delicious treat from one of the many shops and snack stands. Disney, in an attempt to cut back on cost for it’s guests, allows you to bring in your own snacks and refillable water bottles, but the Mickey ice cream bars, Dole Whips, or anything from the Main Street Confectionary will appeal to your taste buds and please your tummy, just as much as a honey jar does for Winnie the Pooh!

4) Slow Down & Take Part in Character Meet and Greets

It is unacceptable to visit Walt Disney World without meeting Mickey Mouse right? What about his sweetheart Minnie Mouse? Or his friends Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, and Donald Duck? Though the lines may often seem long, there is nothing better than interacting with the characters that roam the parks—this is when the magic truly comes to life.  Take a picture with Donald Duck wearing his sombrero in the Mexico pavilion of Epcot; meet Rafiki in the jungle at Animal Kingdom; high five Sully and his pal Mike Wazowski on the Laugh Floor in Hollywood Studios; or spend some time chatting with the princesses in Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. Hugs are free, autographs are unique, and interactions with all of Disney’s characters, whether you are young or old, last a lifetime!

3) See the Shows & Parades

Festival of Fantasy Parade, Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Illuminations, and Fantasmic. just to name a few. Walt Disney World prides itself on all the intricate details it employs for the fantastic, heart-pumping, ear-to-ear smiling, sing along shows and parades throughout each park everyday.  Take a break from the sun, find some shade, sit back and relax. Immerse yourself in Disney Entertainment. Without it, no first time visit is complete.

2) Timing is Everything…On many different accounts!

First things first, plan the proper length of stay for your visit. My suggestion is at least a week, but of course that decision is up to you! Don’t try to cram all four parks into a 3-day visit.  It’s just not worth it. In addition, plan your first visit for the right time of year. Take into account all factors including first, what works best for you and your family, but also weather, crowd control, and WDW specials and promotions.

Next, once visiting WDW, timing continues to be everything. Save valuable time as you venture through the parks by using your time wisely.  Eat your meals during non-meal times, either earlier than normal or after the rush; Ride the most popular attractions during major parade times or fireworks shows; Take breaks during the middle of the day and go swimming in your resort pools or enjoy a nap to recharge!  And lastly but most importantly, by no means rush through the parks. Slow down, you’re on vacation in the happiest place on earth! Enjoy every millisecond!

1) Allow the magic to erase your fears!

2, 10, 14, 27, 42, 60, 75…no matter your age, Walt Disney World is a place for you to always feel like a kid. Allow the magic to erase all of your fears. Celebrate your first visit, and every consecutive visit afterwards, by releasing all your fears and fully embracing the happiest place on earth! Conquer your wardrobe fears and wear something that you wouldn’t think to in your “normal” life. Embrace your inner child and break out that Goofy t-shirt. Or, buy yourself your first official pair of Mickey ears, in whatever style suits you best, and wear them around the parks for a full day, at least. Conquer your fear of heights and free fall 13 stories on Hollywood Studios’ Tower or Terror or face the Yeti on Animal Kingdom’s Everest.  Conquer your fear of the dark and ride Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios or Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. Conquer your fear of all things haunted by gliding through the Haunted Mansion. Conquer your fear of stage fright and bright lights by volunteering to be an extra in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show at Hollywood Studios. Conquer your fear of singing and dancing in public by singing along and dancing to the beat at Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King or any of the shows at the stage at Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. Lastly, conquer your fear of the unknown by allowing the magic to take control and see what Walt Disney World has in store for your very first visit!

Most of all, get that trip booked and enjoy your magical first time at Walt Disney World!

Feel free to comment with YOUR tips for first timers – or email guest blogger Jen at diariesofdisney@gmail.com if you have questions about any of these tips!

 

Become Senior Wilderness Explorers in One Day! ~ By Guest Author Kelly

Published November 9, 2013 by Kelly of Simply Kelly Designs

Are you excited to learn some great tips on how to become Senior Wilderness Explorer in one day? This fun, interactive game has taken the Animal Kingdom Theme Park by storm and I have only heard great things about it. This fantastic post comes to us from guest author Kelly! Kelly loves to share her passion for digital scrapbooking and preserving memories. Her blog features tutorials, tips and designs to help make scrapbooking your memories easier! You can check out her blog HERE. Thank you Kelly for your wonderful contribution!

Become a Senior Wilderness Explorers in One Day! ~By Guest Author Kelly

BadgeStationsLast month we went to Animal Kingdom for the first time since the beginning of the year. We got there soon after the park opened and we stopped at the Wilderness Explorers booth at the end of the bridge leading to the Tree of Life. My 4 and 6 year olds, each received their own Wilderness Explorers handbook from Disney cast member. I was only half listening when I heard the cast member say that there was 31 badges the kids needed to earn to become Senior Wilderness Explorers. 31? I remembered there were only 5 or 6. The new Wilderness Explorers program replaced the Kid’s Discovery Club at Animal Kingdom. Kids take their handbooks to stations throughout the park to earn badges. Earning badges consisted of different activities like a scavenger hunt, reading signs for information, finding animals, etc. A Wilderness Explorers guides give each child a sticker for their handbook when a badge is earned. The sticker for each badge is different. Here is the handbook map of all the badge stations.

WildernessExplorersBadgesMap

The cast member explained to us that they didn’t have to earn all the badges that day and that their handbooks would be good for years. I think what my daughter heard was that it could all be done in a day! From that point on she was on a mission. Can it be done in one day? YES! Will you be exhausted? YES! Will your kids learn a ton of great information about animals and the environment? YES! Will you get to see all of Animal Kingdom? YES!

Here are my tips:

  • Get a fast pass. My husband made a beeline to get a fast pass for the Kilimanjaro Safaris as soon as we got to the park while the kids and I took our time getting the handbooks and taking photos.
  • Plan out your day (rides, shows, dining) so that you only have to go through each section of the park one time. We started with Festival of the Lion King at Camp Mini Mickey and worked our way around the park in a clockwise direction. In order, we earned badges in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A. and then Discovery Island.
  • Bring a stroller if you have young kids. My 6 year old barely fits in our double stroller but that doesn’t keep her from sitting in it to be pushed all over the park. At the end of the day my husband and I were exhausted from all the walking but my kids were still full of energy.
  • Take time to enjoy the park. If you can’t get it done in one day, you can always come back. Beyond earning all the Wilderness Explorer badges, we also saw the Festival of the Lion King, went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and had a delicious lunch at Yak and Yeti Restaurant. The kids spent extra time at Conservation Station and the Boneyard (Dinoland USA).
  • Keep an eye on the map in the handbook. My daughter was our navigator and she is great at reading a map but she missed a few stops so we had to backtrack once.
  • Make this a learning experience! The Wilderness Explorer guides were great at teaching the kids important facts at each station and making sure they understood. My husband and I took the time to discuss the topics with the kids and we learned extra information from reading the signs, etc.

WildernessExplorerBadges

  • Make sure your kids want to do this! Both of my kids were self-driven to earn all the badges in one day. I think both my husband and I would have preferred a more relaxed pace but the kids were having fun so we decided to go with it. If they hadn’t wanted to do it so badly, I think it would have been miserable trying to push them through the park. We have also been to Animal Kingdom many times so the kids have been on all the rides and seen all the shows.

My kids picked up their handbooks at 9:49 am and at 5:55 pm they were taking the pledge to become Senior Wilderness Explorers!

SeniorWildernessExplorers

I could tell that the sense of accomplishment and all the information they learned made this day of the best my kids have ever experienced at Disney and a day that I will never forget! Enjoy your Disney Adventure!

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