Must-Do Attractions At Magic Kingdom

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As many of you already know, my family and I are avid Disney vacationers. Naturally then, I feel like I know what the best rides are at Walt Disney World, and which ones are just “meh.” However, as a future educator, I definitely am aware that no one person can know everything about a given subject, despite how much of an expert they think they are.

So during my internship, I learned just how true that statement is. Throughout the program, I was exposed to some fantastic rides that I in the past overlooked. Two specifically come to mind and I got to ride them on one of the last days of my program. (Just in time!)

Both of these attractions are located in Magic Kingdom. The first one is Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, located in Tomorrowland. Honestly, I avoided Laugh Floor because I thought it was geared towards younger children. However, I quickly found out it is great for ALL ages. Laugh Floor is where the famed characters from Monsters, Inc. entertain the crowd with some jokes, often using the audience members as inspiration. The first time I was there, my friend and I got picked on by the comedians…and we loved it! And here’s a hint if you too want to become the butt of their jokes: sit in front of the lamps.

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My second hidden gem ride is Mickey’s Philharmagic, which is in the center of Fantasyland. I was apprehensive to ride this attraction because for some reason I thought of it as outdated. However, as a route to escape the rain, I checked it out. For those who do not know, it is a 3-D movie/musical featuring various Disney characters and their infamous songs. Being a 90s Disney baby, I LOVED seeing these classics and singing along to the music that make up the soundtrack of my childhood. And I wasn’t the only one! I noticed several other guests singing just as loud and cheering along. It was a really fun experience and one that I look back fondly on.

Both attractions are super fun, each for their own different reasons, and favorites of College Program interns. I am so glad I got to experience them both. And they are definitely added to “Brittany’s Favorite Rides” list, ha!

Written by: Brittany Madden – Follow Brittany’s blog Britty Loves Disney

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What Working At Disney Taught Me | Hidden Mickey Hot Spot

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One of my favorite things to do while at WDW is search for Hidden Mickeys (HMs for short). I even had the official book that listed the location of thousands of HMs in every park, resort, restaurant…even the Disney cruise ships! I would take this book with me on all of my family’s Disney vacation, marking off the ones I found and continue searching for the ones I had yet to discover. It was, and still is, one of my favorite pastimes while visiting WDW. And the best thing about hunting for HMs is it’s free, holla!

For those who don’t know, HMs are exactly what they sound like: they are hidden pictures of Mickey Mouse. Guests can find HMs on rides, inside stores, on sidewalks…basically anything within the WDW area is susceptible for a HM. Most often, HMs are the classic image of Mickey Mouse: one large circle, with two smaller ones on top. HMs do come in different forms though, such as an entire silhouette of Mickey Mouse, so keep your eye out! Also, look beyond just paintings or drawings…many HMs are made with unusual items, like rope, car tires, or plates. And Mickey Mouse isn’t the only one that gets to participate in the fun! Other famous characters, like Goofy and Tinkerbell, have also been spotted hidden within the Disney decor.

Disney Imagineers are responsible for starting the HM tradition. It is the Imagineers’ way of marking their stamp on whatever project they worked on. Think of it kind of like when an artist signs his/her name on a painting.

Before I started the Disney College Program, I was of course very well-aware of HMs. However, I was not aware that I was working nearby the home to the largest collection of HMs in all of Walt Disney World! During my training, I found out that Rafiki’s Planet Watch (which is where the Wildlife Express Train takes guests to and from) has over 100 HMs. In other words, if HMs were like gold, Rafiki’s would be Fort Knox! =P

Being the avid HM hunter that I am, I naturally added this fun fact to every spiel I conducted. I even gave guests hints to some of their locations. And because I love you all so much, here are two hints I frequently told guests: 1) Look into the eyes of the animals and 2) Be sure to investigate the animal mural as you walk into Rafiki’s.

Learning about Rafiki’s HM claim to fame perfectly illustrates one of my favorite things about working for Disney. That is, no matter how long you have worked there or many times you have visited the parks, there is still so much to learn, see, and do. Every experience at Disney is unique and special, which is why I love it so very much!

Written by: Brittany Madden – Follow Brittany’s blog Britty Loves Disney

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What Working At Disney Taught Me | Don’t Step Over the Yellow Line!

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Unlike many of the attractions throughout Walt Disney World, my job at the Wildlife Express Train was extremely safety conscious. This was for very valid reasons, as riders could get severely injured if they did not follow safety protocols. One way we enforced these safety rules was through the use of yellow painted lines, which were painted at various locations on both platforms.

In fact, these yellow lines are a common safety tactic used throughout Disney. And they all mean the same thing: do not cross them! Talking about and explaining these lines were a daily occurrence at my job, as they were crucial to protecting guests.

I think yellow was used because it is a bright a visualize cue, saying “Hey, don’t step here!” Or maybe it is a nod to The Wizard of Oz. Who knows?! Nonetheless, the point is for guests to not step over it, ha! Plus, by using the same color, the lines promote consistency. Essentially, Disney is training its guests to be aware of the yellow lines and know their meaning. (FYI: If you see masking tape on the ground, they mean the same thing as a yellow line!)

You have no idea how many times I had to remind guests to “please do not step over the yellow line” or “wait to unfold your strollers until you have crossed the yellow line.” On more than one occasion, I had guests get angry or frustrated with this rule. However, we enforced it because it protected guests from harm. So if you want to be an awesome guest, seriously please don’t cross them, haha!

Written by: Brittany Madden – Follow Brittany’s blog Britty Loves Disney

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Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort & 15 Acre Lake

Disney Coronado Springs Lake

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Next to Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs has always been one of our favorite resorts. We’ve stayed many times and have been more than happy with it. One of my favorite things about it is the beautiful 15 acre man-made lake. The distance around the whole lake is just under a mile (.97 miles), so it’s perfect for getting in a quick workout, or a relaxing walk, morning or night. In fact, on our last trip my husband got up every morning and went running while the girls got ready.

I’ve read several negatives reviews about the amount of walking at Coronado, but we don’t mind it. The resort itself is designed with Spanish influences, and the grounds are impeccably landscaped with trees from 10 different states. Environmentalists will be happy to note that the mulch in the landscaped beds consists of shredded wood from recycled pallets.

Although we personally love how spread out the resort is, if you have small kids or trouble walking, this could be problematic for you. Have you stayed at Coronado? If so, what are your opinions?

This is how you can often find my husband 😉
disney's coronado springs

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“I got a 107 at WLE!” | Common Disney Acronyms

disney acronyms

I think every business has some sort of acronym that represents their company’s motto, safety tip, or what have you. They are a great way for employees to remember important bits of information and relay them in a quick manner. Disney is no different, expect in one way: instead of just one or two acronyms, they have HUNDREDS.

I am not joking. Literally, everything I was taught throughout my training and work experience was shortened into some sort of abbreviation. Magic Kingdom is often referred to simply as “MK.” A GAC (pronounced gah-ch) is a guest assistance card. At my job, WLE and RPW were used to signify which station you were working at.

My favorite acronym was the one for Animal Kingdom. Anyone that has worked for the Walt Disney Company hardly ever calls Animal Kingdom by its name. Instead, everyone says “DAK” (dah-kuh). I still call Animal Kingdom DAK, which is funny when I am talking to non-Disney employees and I realize they have no idea what I am talking about.

Disney is also a big fan of codes; codes that only their employees would know. The reason behind this is really quite genius. Cast members employ talking in code so that they can discuss things that are not quite appropriate for guests to hear. Take for instance there was an issue with a ride that required it to stop momentarily. Instead of saying this verbatim, the cast members would use the code that represented the issue. At my work location, when the train had to close, we said it was “101.” When it was back up and running, the train was then “102.” These are common codes used throughout the Walt Disney World attractions. Another common code is a “103”, which is a bathroom break.

And being the mature adult that I am, my coworker (Hi Nichole!) and I came up with our own set of codes, which were not exactly Disney protocol. Not to be crude, but there were a lot of hot dads roaming the Disney streets. So whenever Nichole or I would see one, we would radio each other that we spotted a “105”, and he was giving us a “107”, which is family fever! Definitely not the most appropriate use of the radios, but it was funny nonetheless. =D

So next time you are vacationing at WDW, listen out for those codes and abbreviations! Maybe you can even impress a cast member by asking if the ride is “101”…or freak him/her out by giving them a wink and declaring them a “105”, ahahaha! =P

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Five Facts | Disney Imagineer Mary Blair

Disney Imagineer Mary Blair

It has been such a long time since I’ve done a “Five Facts” post, and I thought I would bring it back with one of my favorite Disney Imagineers Mary Blair.

1. I became aware of Mary Blair through my favorite Disney film, Alice in Wonderland. Blair helped with the movie’s initial creative process by designing concept illustrations. She also worked on Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, Fantasia, and other films.

2. After leaving the Walt Disney Company to pursue other endeavors, Mary Blair came back to help Walt with a project. What they came up with was the now iconic “It’s A Small World” attraction (i.e. the one at Disneyland), which was a huge hit during the 1964 World’s Fair. The attraction has since been replicated for Magic Kingdom, Toyko Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

3. Mary Blair’s work can also be seen inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which showcases a huge, 90 foot mural of hers. Plus, inside Epcot’s El Rio del Tiempo, which is located within the Mexico pavilion, Blair designed the fiesta scene.

4. In 2011, Google honored Blair by using her artwork as their homepage icon. The event marked what would have been Blair’s 100th birthday.

5. In 1991, thirteen years after her death, Blair was honored as a Disney Legend, which is an annual award.

Written by: Brittany Madden

What FastPasses Should I Get? Relaxed Edition!

Disney Fastpasses

The last FP post was all about how adrenaline junkies could use their FPs to optimize their number of thrills while visiting WDW’s four parks. For today’s FP post, I’ll be heading in the total opposite direction and focus more on Disney guests who prefer a vacation that is nice and slow, but still want to enjoy the rides.

Out of all the Disney parks, I think Epcot would be the best for relaxed vacationers because it has plenty of things to look at and explore, while also having some fantastic attractions. Below is how I would get my FPs if I wanted a more relaxed Disney day:

  1. Soarin’ – Definitely go to Soarin’ first! This is the PERFECT ride for relaxed Disney visitors. Since Soarin’ gets busy quick, try to get another set of FPs shortly after your first batch.
  2. Test Track – Although I wouldn’t consider Test Track “relaxing”, it is definitely an Epcot must do. I would suggest getting your FP early in the morning.
  3. Captain EO starring Michael Jackson – I have to be honest and say I have never been on this ride! However, it does seem fun and I think it would be perfect for the “nice and slow” crowd. Since I haven’t been to this attraction, I’m not sure how long the wait is, but I would go ahead a pick up a FP just in case.
  4. Maelstrom – Though a FP isn’t a must for this attraction (the wait time is usually very minimal), if you have room for one more FP, go ahead and spend it here!

Optional FP choices:

  • Mission: SPACE Pavilion – Some Disney guests have had negative reactions to this ride. Because of that, I wouldn’t suggest it for those who have sensitive stomachs or are prone to be claustrophobic.

Next up is Magic Kingdom. Like Epcot, MK is perfect for both sightseeing and attractions. For the relaxed vacationer, I would suggest this FP order:

  1. Space Mountain – This ride is always a fan favorite, so I would start your FPs here! If you want to ride again, pick up another batch soon.
  2. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Since it is right by Space Mountain, I would go ahead and obtain a FP for this ride. However, if the line is short, you can forgo the FP and just hope straight in line!
  3. Peter Pan’s Flight – This classic Disney attraction always has a long wait, so definitely get your FPs early in the day.
  4. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – If the line is already long, get some FPs. If not, I would go ahead and ride it because it is popular with the younger crowd, which could result in longer lines later in the afternoon.
  5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – If you’re a roller coaster fan, you may want to get this ride’s FP sooner rather than later. However, for those who don’t love roller coasters, but still want to try Big Thunder Mountain Railroad out, you should be fine with getting your FP later in the day.
  6. Jungle Cruise – This ride is pretty laid back, which is perfect for relaxed Disney goers. The line typically doesn’t get too long, but if you can, skip the line and use a FP!

Optional FP choices:

Moving on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! There are tons of awesome shows and leisurely attractions here, which is a laid-back Disney vacationer’s dream! Unfortunately, most of the rides that are available for FPs are pretty extreme. However, if you want to try all the rides out, then you can use these FPs to your advantage. Below is my suggested FP order:

  1. Toy Story Mania! – Go to this ride first thing and get a FP. If you want to ride again (which you will because it is super fun!), check back soon. The lines get way too long, even during the off times, so FPs are a must for this attraction.
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Your next FP should be used at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It’s very popular and I’ve seen lines up to two hours before, so it is good to have a FP handy.
  3. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – This ride is new and improved, so lines will most likely be longer now. Because of that, get your next FP here.
  4. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – If you are in the mood for some extreme thrills, then go ahead and get a FP for this attraction. If not, you probably should skip it and use your FP elsewhere.

Finally, there is Animal Kingdom. Although there is so much to look at and enjoy at this park, I wouldn’t consider the FP rides exactly relaxing. Nonetheless, they are some pretty fantastic attractions. The rides below would be the best for laid-back visitors:

  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris  – This ride is so awesome and perfect for any Disney guest. The lines get long, so get your FP here first. If you want to go again, get another FP soon!
  2. Expedition Everest – If you are into fast and extreme rides, you definitely want to try Expedition Everest. That being said, for those who are “faint at heart”, don’t worry! My mom hates roller coasters, but considers Everest one of her favorite rides. I suggest trying it at least once to form your own opinion of this ride.
  3. DINOSAUR – I like this ride because not only is it exciting, but it is also a great way to escape from the heat.

Optional FP choices:

  • Primeval Whirl – The recurring sharp turns may make more laid-back park goers queasy.
  • Kali River Rapids – Riders get completely drenched on this ride, so be prepared!

And there ya go! Hope this helps those who consider themselves “relaxed” vacationers. For my next FP post, I will be discussing how family with kids should get their FPs at all four Disney parks. =)

Disney 101 | What’s a FASTPASS?
What FastPasses Should I Get? – Kids Edition!
What FastPasses Should I Get? Thrill Seeker Edition!
What FastPasses Should I Get? – The Classics Edition!

Written by: Brittany Madden

What FastPasses Should I Get? Thrill Seeker Edition!

Disney Fastpasses

Now that you all thoroughly understand Disney’s FASTPASS (And if you don’t, be sure to read this post!), it is time for your next lesson: FP order! It is important to get your FPs in a particular order so you can enjoy the rides you like the most first and frequently. Your family’s likes and dislikes will shape the order in which you obtain your FPs. Today, I will be discussing which FPs thrill seekers should get in each park.

The first park I’ll discuss is Epcot. Though Epcot is usually recognized for its World Showcase, there are some really spectacular thrill rides at this park. Here is my suggested FP order:

  1. Soarin’ – I wouldn’t consider this necessarily a thrill ride, but it so innovative and unlike any other ride I’ve been one, I think adrenaline junkies would thoroughly enjoy it. Also, Soarin’ is highly popular and always has the longest wait time, so get your FPs first and often.
  2. Test Track – This ride is awesome and a must for any thrill ride lover. I would spend the most of your FPs at this attraction.
  3. Mission: SPACE Pavilion – Though it is not one of my favorites, many Disney guests love it because it is so realistic.

Optional FP choices:

Next is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As you may remember, my favorite ride is at this park (AKA: The Tower of Terror!) and it definitely is a thrill seekers dream ride. Below is how I think you should get your FPs to optimize your thrills:

  1. Toy Story Mania! – The line for this ride is insanely long all day long. Although it isn’t as thrilling as some of HS’s other attractions, you’ll still want to ride it because it is really fun and interactive.
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – This ride’s wait time can add up quick, so be sure to get your next FP here and also pick up a few more throughout the day.
  3. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – One of my favorite things about this attraction is that the wait time is never more than 30 minutes. Still, if you have the option, go ahead and pick up a FP. (FYI, I vacation at Disney in the off times, so I cannot speak for how the wait times are during spring and summer.)
  4. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – This ride was just redone early this summer and the lines are presumably longer now. It would be a good idea to pick up at least one FP.

Now on to Animal Kingdom! Some of AK’s stand-out attractions are thrill rides, so it is certainly a good choice for thrill seekers. Here is how I would get my FPs:

  1. Expedition Everest – Go directly here when you get to AK and obtain some FPs! Also, be sure to pick up some more FPs later on.
  2. Kilimanjaro Safaris – This is a signature AK ride and a must for any guest. It might not have twist and turns like Expedition Everest, but being so close to wild animals is definitely exciting!
  3. Kali River Rapids – If you don’t mind getting soaked, then go ahead and grab a FP for Kali River Rapids.
  4. Primeval Whirl – Thrill junkies will enjoy this ride’s frequent sharp turns and belly-flipping drops. The lines aren’t too terribly long, but if you hate to wait, go ahead and pick up a FP.
  5. DINOSAUR – This ride is primarily in the dark and you’re being chased by dinosaurs…I think that is the definition of thrilling! The wait time is typically short, but if you have room for another FP, skip the line and use a FP.

The final park is Magic Kingdom. MK is a great park for all ages because it has a little bit of everything. Plus, there are definitely some fast and exciting rides to entice any adrenaline seeker. Below is the FP order I would suggest to use:

  1. Space Mountain – This is always a very popular attraction at WDW, so I would try to get more than one FP.
  2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – As with Space Mountain, this ride is a fan favorite, so try to get a few FPs if you can.
  3. Splash Mountain – Personally, this is a one-time ride for me. However, if it’s your favorite, you may want to get a second FP.
  4. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – If you have room for an additional FP, I would use it at this attraction because it is really interactive. Plus, since it is fully enclosed in an air conditioned building, it is a nice way to get away from the Florida heat and have some fun too!

Optional FP choices:

So, there it is! Hope this helps our thrill seeker readers here at Saving Everyday. Be sure to look out for future posts regarding how to get your FPs for other types of Disney guests. Have a great day!

Disney 101 | What’s a FASTPASS?
What FastPasses Should I Get? – Kids Edition!
What FastPasses Should I Get? – The Classics Edition!

Written by: Brittany Madden

FREE Dining At Disney September 2 – 25, 2013

FREE Dining At Disney

Waahoo!! Free dining at Disney is now available for most from September 2 through 25, 2013. This one is very limited and there are some requirements, but it’s better than nothing if you meet them:

  • Must book a Magic Your Way package.
  • Minimum 2-day base ticket and 3-night accommodation at a Disney Resort required.
  • The Quick Service Dining plan is free for those staying in a Disney Value Resort.
  • The Basic Dining is free for those staying in a Disney Moderate or Deluxe Resort.
  • You can upgrade the dining plan, but it will cost extra.
  • Does not qualify for Annual pass holders, Vacation Club members, or those staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort campsites, 3-Bedroom Villas, or Little Mermaid Rooms at Art of Animation Resort.

Must book by 7/31/13, but I suggest calling asap! Disney reservations: (407) 939-1936