Category: New To Me

New to Me – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

DAK

Last week we celebrated the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom…oh how fast the time has gone.  I’ve loved this park since it’s opened.  The details are amazing and scenery is just beautiful.  It’s like stepping into another world.

The park is often touted as a “half day park” because of the lack of things to do.  Yes there aren’t a TON of attractions and I must say that I have actually done most things in this park, but I definitely don’t think it’s a half day park.  I could spend a few hours wandering through the Maharajah Jungle Trek alone!

Speaking of the Maharajah Jungle Trek, I noticed something on my last trip about my favorite section in there, which of course are the temple ruins where the tigers live.  I had dreamed of getting married there, but that’s a story for another day.  One thing I love in there are the Tibetan prayer flags hanging over the suspension bridge, but I noticed that they were seriously faded.  So I went back in my photos to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind and low and behold I was not.

Tibetan Prayer Flags 2010

Tibetan Prayer Flags 2010

Tibetan Prayer Flags 2013

Tibetan Prayer Flags 2013

The faded colors are much less impressive.  Ritual states that these flags should be replaced during the Tibetan New Year, which just happened in February, so here’s hoping Disney livens up the area for 2014.

Ok…back on track.  Things I haven’t done yet in Animal Kingdom.  Like I said, there aren’t many things, but I did come up with a good list.  Here we go!

Flights of Wonder

I have never been intrigued by this show.  I’ve heard it’s amazing and quite funny, but something about giant birds swooping over my head freaks me out.  I mean has there ever been an accident where they poop on someone???  That someone would probably be me if it’s never happened before.  However, I do LOVE watching hawks in the wild so I would probably enjoy this.  Maybe I’ll don a poncho and head in next time 😉

TriceraTop Spin

To me, this is just another hub-and-spoke ride like Dumbo and the Flying Carpets of Aladdin, but without the spitting camels or nostalgia.  This is a great attraction for kids, but not something I would ever wait on line for.  Actually, if I ever get to experience Animal Kingdom at night, I think this would be much better a midst the lights of Dino-Rama.

Dino-Rama from the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Dino-Rama from the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Restaurantosaurus

I think that with Flame Tree BBQ so close to this restaurant, I just simply overlook it.  I also have some strange connotation with it because a while back it served McDonald’s food, which doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL.  But even though I really don’t want to eat here in the future, I definitely need to make a point to go into Restaurantosaurus and take a good look around.  From what I hear, it is one of the most elaborately themed areas in the entire park.  I’ve listened to numerous podcasts devoted to it and read many blog posts, but still have not ventured inside.  One day…

Dawa Bar

This needs to be done!  I love the look and feel of this bar and it seems like the perfect place to enjoy a pint in the afternoon.  But I always find myself in Africa in the morning for the safari and never seem to venture back here later in the day.  Oh how I wish I was there right now!

Wild Africa Trek

Wild Africa TrekWell who wouldn’t want to do this.  Frankly, the price tag is what has kept me away but I really hope to do this someday.  I was fortunate enough to go on the Sunrise Safari during our honeymoon, but this seems like it will give an even closer look at the animals!  And lunch in that hut overlooking the Savannah…sigh.  Anyone want to get me an early Christmas present???

I mentioned earlier that I have never been to Animal Kingdom at night before.  Well, not without running through it.  This is something I REALLY want to do.  Everest at night looks amazing.  The scenery is so cool at night and I would love to take my time wondering around and not trying to keep pace.

Tree of Life at Night

What attractions and restaurants are new to YOU at Disney’s Animal Kingdom??  

Have you ever been to Animal Kingdom at night??

New to Me – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New to Me - DHS copy

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will forever remain MGM to me.  This park holds a special place in my heart because it is the first park I remember the opening of.  I remember riding the Great Movie Ride over and over and over again…it was truly groundbreaking at the time.  When I was 10 my dream in life was to be one of the cast members working on that attraction.  Oh how times have changed…

I have done almost everything in this park because it is a favorite of mine, but also because of it’s small scale.  It’s easy to get most of the attractions in while visiting.  But alas, there are still a few attractions (mainly shows…shocking!) that I haven’t experienced.  Let’s take a look…

The American Idol Experience

I’m not a big fan the the American Idol television show and have actually never watched any of the seasons, so I think that’s why I’ve never been to this show.  It also seems very time consuming and I haven’t wanted to devote that much of my day to something I most likely won’t enjoy.

Animation Academy

Now this is something I REALLY want to do, but always forget about it.  Probably because it’s hidden away in a corner of The Magic of Animation.  I’ve actually tried to go into this a few times, but have just missed the show and didn’t want to wait for the next one.  Yes, I’m impatient.  I’m not a very good artist, but this looks like a lot of fun!

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

I have seen the actual Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast and I think this play a large part in why I’ve never seen the show at the Studios.  This just seems like a condensed version of that show.  I’ve also seen that the seats are bleachers with no backs on them…that doesn’t seem comfortable, especially on a hot day.  However, I do love the songs from Beauty and the Beast so maybe I’ll give it a shot someday.

Hollywood & Vine

Since I don’t have children, I feel a little strange about eating at the Playhouse Disney buffet for breakfast or lunch.  For dinner, you are more likely to find me at Hollywood Brown Derby (new review coming soon on that!) than at a buffet.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m just not a huge buffet fan, so nothing about the menu here appeals to me…at all.  I don’t see this in my future anytime soon.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid

For some reason, this attraction also feels strange for me to see without children.  I’m not really sure why, but it does.  This also fits into my not liking shows thing.  Now with the new Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction at the Magic Kingdom, I think I have my fill of Ariel.  But like Beauty and the Beast, I do enjoy the music from this film so maybe I’ll give it a shot before it disappears one day.

What attractions and restaurants are new to YOU at Disney’s Hollywood Studios??  

Do you prefer shows or ride along attractions??

New to Me: Epcot’s World Showcase

World Showcase

Well we made it through Future World and now it’s time to move to the back of the park to World Showcase.  But before we do, I have to say that I received a TON of comments, tweets, FB messages and texts about great meals that were recently had at Coral Reef!  I am so excited to hear that and can’t wait to eat there this weekend.  (Yes, I will be in WDW this weekend…let me know if you want to say hi!)

So World Showcase…home of my FAVORITE event, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival!  It is also probably my favorite place to grab a beer and just sit on a bench.  This is a regular occurrence for Amanda and I.  But as with most of WDW, there are still quite a few things I haven’t done here.  They mainly consist of films and restaurants.  Let’s move clockwise around the lagoon…

School Bread

I actually haven’t eaten at any of the Norwegian establishments, but I think the fact that I haven’t tried the beloved School Bread is probably the most significant.  If you’re not familiar with this Disney cult classic, it is available at the Kringla Bakeri og Cafe in the Norway pavilion.  It is a sweet roll filled with vanilla custard and topped with icing and toasted coconut.  This sounds right up my alley, so I’m really not sure why I haven’t tried this yet…it’s a mystery!  But now that I know I have an egg sensitivity, it doesn’t look like I’ll be trying this anytime soon because of the custard.  Fail.

Reflections of China

China

As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of films in WDW and this is particularly true when you have to stand for the film.  I get that the Circle-Vision 360 films aren’t conducive to sitting, but after walking around Epcot the last thing I want to do is stand for a 13-minute film.  I’ve heard this is a breathtaking film and I think I would actually enjoy it since I don’t think I will ever see China in my life (that’s a seriously long flight!).  I think the key to seeing this will be to make it one of the first things I do, so I won’t be so tired from walking around all day.  Yeah…that’s the ticket!

Biergarten Restaurant

Biergarten

I’ve been in this restaurant a few times for runDisney meetups, but I’ve never actually eaten here.  Again surprising since my heritage is half German and knowing that so many people rave about it.  I also love sausage and sauerkraut  so what gives??  Well a few things.

1. I only like buffets for breakfast…strange, but true.  There is something about lunch and dinner buffets that just really don’t appeal to me.  Plus, I never feel like I eat enough to make it worth the price for me.

2. B doesn’t like anything about the menu here.  He hates all things pickled, despises cabbage and beets, and really isn’t a fan of sausage.  Why did I marry him you ask?  Well he is pretty awesome in most other things.  😉  So because he doesn’t like the food, it’s never really on my radar.

3. The entertainment just isn’t for me.  When it comes to music, I turn to my Irish heritage for that.  Yodeling…no thanks.

O Canada!

Canada

Well, the reasons I haven’t seen this are the same as Reflections of China.  Film + Standing = No.  I actually almost went to see this over Wine & Dine Weekend, but we just missed it and I didn’t want to wait 18-minutes for the next one.  I’ve heard Martin Short is actually really funny and again the film is gorgeous.  Plan for this weekend…Canada first, China second…go!

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Gasp!  I know!  The most beloved restaurant by Disneyphiles everywhere and this foodie hasn’t been there!  To be honest, when restaurants are that hyped up, I tend to avoid them.  Don’t get me wrong, the food looks great here, but I just don’t want to be on the phone 180 days out making ADRs.  Now that it’s been bumped up to 2 table service credits on the Dining Plan, I hear that it’s easier to get a reservation so hopefully I’ll be able to give it a try soon.  I recently popped my head in to get a look at the restaurant and was surprised by how small it is, which is what probably attributes to the difficulty of getting in.

What attractions and restaurants are new to YOU in World Showcase at Epcot??  

What are your thoughts on films where you have to stand??

New to Me: Epcot’s Future World

Future World

Epcot is probably my favorite park.  I spent so much time here in the EPCOT Center days that I used to be able to recite Journey Into Imagination (the original!) from memory!  Now as an adult, Future World has a retro feel that I love, but it will still never life up to the days of Horizons and World of Motion.  Sigh…

So if it’s my favorite park, how are there things I’ve missed in Future World?!  Well I think it’s because some the attractions can often be overlooked because they are tucked away and when it comes to dining, I always head into World Showcase.  Here are some things that are still New To Me in Future World.

Circle of Life

I don’t think I’ve ever even stepped foot in this theater!  I’ve heard this is a great film, but I am generally not one for films (which you will see when we get to World Showcase!) and head to the unique attractions.  Living with the Land is one of my all time favs, go I generally head straight there when I’m in The Land pavilion.  The last time I was in there, my friend Amanda even tried to get me to go in and I just brushed it off.  This is definitely on the to do list…I mean how can you not love Timon and Pumba?!

Behind the Seeds Tour

Behind the Seeds

Speaking of Living with the Land, did you know you can actually walk around the gardens?!  Well, you have to have a guide with you, but how cool is that?!  This tour is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but never seem to make the time.  I love fresh vegetables and I find their gardening techniques fascinating, so this is a no brainer for me.  And with the $18 price tag…hello?!?  This is on my priority list for my next trip.

Garden Grill Restaurant

And to round out things that are New to Me in The Land pavilion, Garden Grill Restaurant.  There are 3 things about this restaurant that don’t appeal to me:

1. Family Style Dining.  I’m never a fan of this (well excect for a big breakfast skillet at Whispering Canyon Cafe) as there is generally something I don’t want and it seems like a waste of food because there is always a TON leftover.

2. The Rotating Dining Room.  I know it doesn’t spin super fast, but just the thought of moving during my meal doesn’t sit well with me.

3. The Cuisine.  With a name like Garden Grill, I would expect local, farm fresh cuisine.  But what is on the menu is more like classic, home-style cooking.  There is nothing wrong with that and if I was going somewhere like Liberty Square Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, I would expect that, but not here.  There is so much more they could do with the menu to make it innovative and really showcase all of the wonderful local produce!

Sum of All Thrills

Another attraction that I’ve been really wanting to do for the past few years, but always forget about!  I think this is due to it’s location.  I very rarely walk through Innoventions, so I never think of it.  I think a sign outside would really help!  I’ve done the roller coaster simulator at Disney Quest and loved that…this seems like it would be kicking that up a few notches.  Maybe I’ll set a reminder for myself to do this next time so I don’t forget!

Coral Reef Restaurant

This restaurant has always intrigued me, but the lackluster reviews have always kept me away.  A little secret you may not know about me is that I wanted to be a Marine Biologist when I was younger.  I realized early on that it probably wasn’t the right career path for me, but I still have a love of all aquatic life.  I could stare into the aquarium at The Seas all day.  So dining at Coral Reef seems really cool, I just haven’t wanted to waste a whole meal there if the food isn’t good…you know how important food is to me!  I’ve decided that on my next trip, I’m going for lunch to test it out and check out the atmosphere.  I’m really looking forward to it!

What attractions and restaurants are new to YOU in Future World at Epcot??

New to Me: Magic Kingdom Edition

In planning for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, I was thinking about things I wanted to do. Being fortunate to visit a few times a year I’ve done many of the must dos, but I still have not seen everything. Actually I’m far from it! So I thought this would be a fun new series here on RAD. Over the next few weeks, I will be covering some of the attractions, restaurants and recreation that I’ve never experienced (or haven’t done in a super long time) at WDW. Fun, right?! Let’s get started with the original park…The Magic Kingdom!

New To Me MK

Since I’ve been visiting the Magic Kingdom since 1985, it’s safe to say that I’ve done almost everything in this park.  But there are certainly some exceptions…some that might surprise you.

Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor

For some reason, this attraction has never appealed to me.  I love the film and the characters, but there is something about the audience participation aspect to this attraction that makes me want to steer clear.  As you’ll see in this series, many of the things I haven’t done are stage shows and interactive attractions…seems to be an ongoing theme of things I don’t like (or perceive to not like since I haven’t done them!).

I’ve heard mixed reviews about Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor, but given my love of corny jokes I think I’d probably enjoy it.  Time to give this one a try…

Dumbo (the new version)

Dumbo

How gorgeous are the new Dumbo attractions?!  I’ve only visited this area once since it opened and the wait was about 50 minutes, which is why I haven’t experienced the new version yet. This was early on before the 2nd ride was added and before the new interactive queue.  I am also yet to see the entire Storybook Circus area complete and would love to explore Pete’s Silly Sideshow and Big Top Souvenirs…the details look amazing!  Growing up in WDW, Dumbo will always hold a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to take a spin.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest

I think this is on everyone’s must do list right now.  I’ve been dying to eat here since it opened a few months ago, but just haven’t been able to make it due to the hectic nature of race weekends.  This needs to happen on my next trip.  I’m actually more interested in visiting for lunch here.  Not only because it’s easier to get in, but because I’m intrigued by the “Magic Rose” you get when you order.  However, I will need to have a glass of wine in the Magic Kingdom one of these days 😉

Cinderella’s Royal Table

This is actually a surprising one for me to realize I’ve never eaten here.  Maybe I did when I was a younger when it was King Stephen’s Banquet Hall which I have foggy memories of, but I really don’t remember.  (Dad…do you remember eating here??)  You know that I’m a foodie and enjoy all of the fine dining options available at WDW, so I think this is why this is never a priority for me.  I have heard such mixed reviews about Cinderella’s Royal Table and the price for a meal is ridiculous based on the quality I’ve seen in various reviews.  $52 for scrambled eggs and sausage or $65 for a mixed green salad and some chicken pasta…um no thanks.  Yes, I know it’s all about the ambiance, but I still can’t get behind this.  I would LOVE to dine in Cindy’s castle, but I think I’ll be sticking with Beast’s Castle for now.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday.  Gasp, Shock, Awe…Estelle just dropped to the floor…I know, shocking.  It’s just always such a stressful time of year for me and I much prefer Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day…you know, fun holidays without obligations.  While Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party looks fun, I haven’t wanted to shell out the $55+ just for a parade, a few shows and some cookies.  I feel like I can enjoy the holiday decor during regular park hours and get my fill of Christmas cheer.  Plus, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are the real winner of the holiday season in WDW.  Who knows…maybe one year, I can be convinced to go.

What attractions and restaurants are new to you in the Magic Kingdom??