When I started writing these I never believed I’d make it to the end and here I am telling you about Utiladors and Winnie the Pooh.
Did you ever wonder why you never see garbage carried out through Magic Kingdom? Or why characters are never in the wrong spot? It’s due to the utiladors, an “underground” (actually ground level the rest of the park is built above it) system of tunnels that covers 392,040 square feet of space at Magic Kingdom. Cast Members travel through here regularly but it is even large enough for an ambulance. There are 28 stairwells to it within the park. If you’d like to see it the Keys to the Kingdom tour is one of the tours that allows guests to view it.
I thought this time around we might see how many methods of transportation we can use getting to/from and within the park. This is what I have so far I may come up with more: monorail, bus, paddleboat, walking, horseless carriage, train, horse-pulled trolley, raft, omnibus, or fire engine.
Winnie the Pooh
I am a grown-up and I love this ride. I love riding in a honey pot to see all my Hundred Acre Woods friends. I’ve seen promotions for the new Winnie the Pooh movie and it only makes me want to ride it again more. It’s one I often Fast Pass because it can be quite a wait but either way it’s worth it.
Xtra Magic Hours
Could you pick a more magical park to have a longer day at? Starting early is fun but staying late when the crowd thins out is a real bonus!
Yo-Ho,Yo-Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me
As a child, Pirates of the Caribbean was not a favorite of mine. I found the lecherous men and their leg hair creepy.
Enter Johnny Depp and suddenly this was a ride I could get into. The movies brought the ride to life for me and now I enjoy it more each time I ride it. I am excited by prospects of Blackbeard making an appearance with this summer’s new movie coming out.
But as always, I will be hunting for Captain Jack Sparrow appearances… and won’t be disappointed.
Zipedee-Do-Dah, Zipedee-De-Ahhh: Splash Mountain
One of my favorite stories of my husband at Magic Kingdom takes place at Splash Mountain. After one of our longest, hottest waits at any of the parks we finally got on the ride. My husband is not a ride guy but thought he could handle this. Then he found out there were no safety belts or harnesses (there are restraints now). We went through the twists and turns. Being 1st timers, we didn’t know what to expect. Finally the big drop and splash arrived. I loved it! My husband- not so much- but I did not know to what extent until we got off. He began to pick black rubber foam from under his fingernails. He had gripped the safety bar so tightly he actually had foam under his nails. I tell him he’s the reason for restraints today. The ride photo was hysterical as well as he is surrounded by laughing children while he holds on for dear life.
That is the end of my A-Z series. I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Please use it to remind yourself of what YOUR favorites are and do them often.
Space Mountain is my one regret (read more below) but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it. And later we’ll get to the Tiki Birds who have been temporarily silenced but will be singing again in August.No More Space Mountain But I Would If I Could
I love roller coasters. I can still ride most roller coasters. But after having surgery for severe headaches there are some I know I can’t do even if I love them. Space Mountain is one of them. It just jostles my neck too much. Having said that, I wish I could because I really enjoy Space Mountain. I think it’s because it’s one of the first coasters I ever rode. I also like the darkness factor. Now that they have games to play while you wait in the queue, that’s even bearable. I will miss Space Mountain, but you shouldn’t.
Oh Yes, The Mad Tea Party
I just want the chance to spin.
When you grow up in a family of non-spinners and then marry a non-spinner, you can make it to adulthood without ever having experienced the teacups. And that’s just wrong
I have to right that wrong this trip but I don’t know how. I will have to find another lonely spinner like myself and we will spin together.
I know the idea sounds mad.
Philharmagic with Mickey
Mickey’s Philharmagic is kind of tucked out of the way over by Winnie the Pooh but it is so worth finding. A 12 minute 4-D musical starring Mickey, Donald and others it fills the senses and keeps you entertained. It has many of my favorite songs in from The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.
Quick Serve at Cosmic Ray’s
I’m not a huge fan of Quick Serve when I’m at Disney but I really like Cosmic Ray’s. Bay 1 is Chicken. Bay 2 is Burgers. Bay 3 is Sandwiches. What makes Ray’s different is the topping bar. Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, relish, green peppers, mushrooms, grilled onions, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and cheese sauce are available. For as busy as this place is they do a pretty good job of keeping it clean and stocked. When I need to eat a cheaper meal off my dining plan, Cosmic Ray’s is a sure bet.
Royal Table with Cinderella
I have never been in a castle and now I am going to eat in one and have my picture taken with the princess. I am excited and I am thirty years beyond eight.
As a girl I may have been too shy to like character meals. Now, I’m trying everything! Cinderella was the one thing I wasn’t sure about (picky eater issues) but I’m pushing on and having a great time. I’ll even have my autograph book.
Shooting Arcade in Frontierland
My 40 year old husband could be left here with some money and be happy. I used to think, “What a waste of time” until I realized it was his vacation too. Now I let him shoot a while. I usually search for Hidden Mickeys or people watch. It keeps both of us feeling good about our busy schedule.
I am listing this even though it won’t be open when I go in June/July. The renovations from the recent fire will take until August from what I have read. That is too bad because I love those annoying birds in old or new form. I’m hearing they’re coming back old school, which I like, and which makes the wait understandable. Not getting to see them this time puts them at the top of the list next time.
In our final installment we’ll find out what sits under Magic Kingdom and what ride made the biggest splash in my book.
Where else but at Magic Kingdom could I see and hear all the presidents- we’ll start at the Hall of Presidents and end up at a place Walt Disney held very near and dear Main Street U.S.A..
Hall of Presidents
When I was younger I liked this because it was air conditioned and I could rest for a while. Now, it means more to me. Each time I hear it, I seem to take away something new. Something I didn’t get the time before. I’m not a history buff. I don’t know many of those presidents by name. But I do know that it’s incredible that we can sit and watch and learn from it on the same day we’re having so much fun at the park. That was Walt Disney’s genius.
It’s a Small World
I feel I may have equal parts of dislike and like for this ride but as a good Disney freak I go on it like I’m supposed to. It drives me a bit mad but I feel guilty if I just say “No, I won’t do it.” It has its good parts. It’s just that song. Maybe if I’m working on that touring plan I talked about I should put this at the end of the day so the song doesn’t haunt us all day! Once again, hunting for Hidden Mickeys will get me through the tough times.
Jamboree- Country Bear Style
I’ll admit that this is an experience that in the past I’ve walked by as quickly as I could. I was raised that way and never gave it a chance.
This time around we’re trying new things and Country Bears are new to us. I know they are much beloved by many and I hope to add my name to that list soon. It feels like I’m making up for lost time.
Kingdom Exploring-Walt Disney Marceline to Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom has a new tour in 2011 called Walt Disney Marceline to Magic Kingdom. It is a walking tour that gives insight into some of Walt Disney’s inspiration starting with his home town. It is a three hour tour and I’m really looking forward to some behind the scenes information. It was the perfect tour for me to pick for us and at about $65 for the two of us it is also very affordable.
Laugh Floor, Monsters Inc.
I need to find a joke to text in to Monsters Inc. as we are walking in. That would be a fun way to participate. I just DON’T want to be that person they constantly cut back to as comic relief. Maybe I shouldn’t sit by the cameras! I love Laugh Floor. Even if I know how it goes, each time something happens that makes it memorable. And I never, not once, have been with a crowd that couldn’t fill those laugh tanks with energy.
Main Street U.S.A.
Main Street U.S.A. is such a special part of the park, not only because it’s the first part of the park we enter but also because of how it makes us feel nostalgic for the good old days. It was designed by Walt Disney and I think he knew what he was doing pumping in smells and sounds to help with the emotional reactions. My main street doesn’t look like this anymore but I sure have a part of me that wishes it did. It seems like only good things can happen here.
My next entry is filled with good times: space rollercoasters and birds that once sung that will soon sing again. Come back next time to find out more.
In the final A-Z collection we visit Magic Kingdom, where the magic in Orlando all began. Our first installment starts with the ever popular autograph and ends with those ghosts that just might follow you home.
Never been a fan of the autograph. Until now. I received some autograph books which I looked at and gave as gifts. I then began designing my own. If it gets done it will be great! I love the idea of collecting something from your interaction. Waiting with children- no problem, I’m an Elementary teacher. We’ll try it and see how a day of autograph collecting goes. Right now, it sounds like fun!
Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger Spin
Since becoming a Galactic Hero three years ago on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin I have tried repeatedly to conquer the ride and reach my top score again with no luck. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of fun trying! I didn’t have a method the time I maxed out my score so I try not to have much of a method when I play now other than to shoot a lot. I still let Jim drive and I focus intently but so far there has been no repeat. I haven’t given up hope though and this summer may be the one when I once again reach Galactic Hero status!
Carousel of Progress
I’ve heard many people don’t know what this is. Some get done and say they don’t need to do it again. Not me. I find Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress (straight from the World’s Fair) to be an interesting look at what people thought the future would be like years after that future has already happened. It’s nostalgic and touching and I believe it still belongs in Tomorrowland.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
I have never ridden Dumbo. I may never get too, but elephants with oversized-ears flying are intriguing. This ride is a classic “What do you think of when you think of Disney?” answer. I don’t have a little one as an excuse and I’m not sure I, the roller-coaster rider, am ready to do this one alone. Instead I will watch and take in the joy of other first time riders as they learn baby elephants can fly.
Did you know you can lose family members in this store (I speak from experience) It’s that big. I love to shop and this is one of my favorite places to do it because it goes on and on and has such a variety of items.
I come to Disney World over the 4th of July every year and spend the 3rd at Magic Kingdom watching the most impressive fireworks display. Their regular nightly ones aren’t bad either J This place does fireworks well. I guess they should, they get a lot of practice. The lighting, precise timing, and music make it so memorable. We have a favorite spot that we’re giving up this year to try Wishes Dessert Fireworks Party. That’s new to me and I’m looking forward to it. I also hope to finally see Tink after years of spots where I couldn’t. I’m one of those people who are always moved to tears by the fireworks. It makes the 4th of July a favorite holiday of mine. But at Disney, I get fireworks every night!
Ghosts at the Haunted Mansion
I did not get to see ghosts last summer. I have been reading of recent updates. I haven’t made my touring plan for Magic Kingdom but I’m beginning to thing we may head to the back of the park first to visit Gus, Ezra, and Phineas and see how things are in the mansion. I’ve been trying to avoid leads about the updates so they are a surprise for me but I do know what I read sounded promising. Of course I liked things the old way so I won’t be disappointed.
When we return to Magic Kingdom we get an interesting history lesson at the Hall of Presidents and then meet up on Main Street U.S.A.
In the final part of or Epcot series, we have a few that you’d expect and then a few I think might be new to you. Starting with Turtle Talk, we’ll look at Crush and eventually we’ll loop our way over to Test Track where we’ll zip around a bit.
Turtle Talk with Crush
This attraction makes me want to be 6 again. I really wish I could talk to Crush (although as a kid I would have been too shy). I just am amazed by this process.
If you want to know an animated character talks to real humans in real time you can go to the Wikipedia page for Turtle Talk to find out. I won’t ruin it for you here. I can tell you that knowing doesn’t make it any less magical!
I think my husband’s favorite part about the show is that even though he has no kids to annoy him with it, he does have a loving wife more than willing to call him Dude for the rest of the day!
Universe of Energy
Universe of Energy. When I was younger all I remembered were the dinosaurs. Now a lot of what I remember is Ellen DeGeneres.
As the new narrator she stands out in my head and I’d have to say she’s a good addition as her humor livens things up. I like the beginning which is a video with Ellen. The only thing here is that it can get a little long to stand for.
The rest of the ride you are seated. You move through three films and a diorama section where you still get to see those dinosaurs. Watch for some hidden cameos during Ellen’s dream sequence!
Victoria Gardens Canada Pavilion
These gardens are so beautiful. Yet I wonder how many overlook them. I had never really taken notice until our last trip when we ate at Le Cellier for the first time. As we slowly walked down to the restaurant (we were early for our reservation) I saw the beauty of the gardens around me. Everything was perfect. Everything was beautiful. The waterfall, stream and even mountains. If you haven’t taken the time before, check out this hidden treasure.
World Showcase Lagoon and Friendship
The eleven countries in World Showcase circle World Showcase Lagoon which has a perimeter of 1.2 miles. It is a man-made lake and can be crossed on boats called the Friendship. There are four landings on the lagoon. A Mexico boat lets off passengers at Germany while the Canada boat lands at Morocco. Travel on the boats can be relaxing, but it is not always faster. At night, World Showcase Lagoon becomes the stage for the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth show.
X-ing from Future World into World Showcase
I love the walk from Future World into World Showcase. The separation is very distinct, and you can clearly tell they are separate parts. Yet at the same time this walkway joins them and reminds us that the future is connected to the unity of the many different lands. Next time you’re there take the time to appreciate its significance.
Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store
Yong Feng Shangdian is currently being refurbished and I look forward to seeing the changes. If you visit Orlando in June and July, you’ve likely been caught in a torrential downpour at least once. We had the luck of being in the China Pavilion when that happened. Yong Feng Shangdian has so many things to look at it kept us interested for a long time. We didn’t mind being trapped by the rain. (This was before we developed the “Who care if we’re wet” mindset) Beautiful silks, rugs, chopsticks, jades and toys. Everything is so lovely that I usually find it hard to resist.
Zipping by on Test Track
I always think race car drivers must be a little bit crazy to do what they do. But even when given the chance to get in a car on Test Track you feel like a real race car even though your top speed is only 65 miles per hour.
This isn’t all a fast race around the track. The vehicle also needs to be tested at extreme temperatures and you want your brakes to work well also. Being put through the paces of a crash test dummy makes for a pretty good time.
That’s my Epcot A-Z. Remember, you may not agree with all of my choices. I hope they inspire you to try something new or maybe even try making a list of your own.
I’ll be back with Hollywood Studios From A-Z soon. You can look forward to everything from the American Idol Experience to zero fear on Tower of Terror.
Epcot is a strange mix of many things and today’s list of favorites really shows that. We start on a Viking ship being chased by angry trolls and end up hang-gliding over California.
Norway Pavillion and Maelstrom
Norway’s ride Maelstrom is a little joke in our family. It’s a World Showcase attraction. Those are safe for non-ride goer’s like my husband. It had been a few years since I had been on it and I forgot the 28 foot drop at the end. Luckily my husband forgave me. Oil rigs and trolls don’t bother him but he’s not crazy about the drop. Once getting off we recovered in the shops and bakery that sell many tasty treats.
Obligatory Photo taken in Front of Spaceship Earth
You get off of the tram, bus or monorail bringing you to Epcot. You wait patiently to go through security then send your ticket through the machine at the gate. You’re finally in! Do you know what time it is?
It’s time to have your picture taken in front of Spaceship Earth!
Whether you snap your own picture, or have some Photopass magic added, it seems like every Epcot visitor has the same picture. And for us it doesn’t matter how many times we go, we still have the picture taken every year!
Pin Trading in Different Countries
We are pin traders but what makes Epcot unique and enjoyable when it comes to pin trading is the World Showcase. When we trade in World Showcase we often get the chance to talk to someone from a country we might never visit ourselves. Even though they must do it several times a day they are patient with us and I enjoy getting to learn about them as well.
Quest for Treats from around the World
Okay – this one is a list of what I’d like to try in every country that I haven’t tried yet.
Chocolate Scotch Cake in the United Kingdom
Chocolate on Chocolate Whiskey Cake in Canada
Sugar Crepes in France
Bastilla (crispy leaves of pastry topped with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with toasted almonds) in Morocco
Chocolate Ginger Cake in Japan
Fried Ice Cream in the United States
Coppa di Brutti Ma Broni (cherry and vanilla sundae with cookies) in Italy
Something from the new caramel store in Germany
Red Bean Ice Cream in China
Kringla Sweet Pretzel in Norway
Paletas in Mexico
It’s a good thing we’re in Epcot on several days – I’ll never eat all this food!
Reflections of Earth – Illuminations
Epcot’s night time show Illuminations combines fireworks, laser lights, fire, and fountains to create a show like no other on World Showcase Lagoon. Although it is only 12 minutes long, you will remember it much, much longer. You know the show is about to begin as torches are lit around the lagoon. A narrator begins an introduction and the three act show starts.
First is Chaos. Fireworks and flames shoot from the center barge.
Next is Order. The torches go out and the globe moves out to the center. The countries are illuminated by laser and spot lights. There are high fireworks
Finally comes Meaning. The torches are re-lit and the globe opens. It has a torch within. White fireworks follow. Throughout the show a special soundtrack is pumped through the park
Although I haven’t been on the original in California I’d love to because this is a remarkable experience. Found in the Land Pavilion building this is a ride I try to time right or Fast Pass. It can have long waits. But once you’re ready to ride it’s amazing.
The three rows of seats rise up and move forward as you fly over scenes shown on a huge screen. Beaches, canyons, even Main Street USA and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland (fireworks included). It’s breathtaking!
Although you do leave the ground this is a ride my non-ride husband will do. (He likes it that much).
Next time will be our last at Epcot. We will talk to our turtle friend, Crush, zip on over to Test Track and do a few other things along the way.