12 Months of Christmas in Disney World

So, your friend just came back from Disney World and told you how it was the most magical place to be in the whole world for Christmas.  You’d like to jump on a plane and be there right now to bask in the balmy holiday season of sunny Florida, but you just can’t make vacation plans in the fall and winter.  Is there any way to visit Disney when it’s convenient for you, but still enjoy Christmas while you are there? You bet!

Most Disney fans know that visiting the parks at Christmastime can be one of the most festive and enjoyable vacations that your family can take.  What happens if you can’t visit during the holidays, but you still want to feel some holiday cheer while you are in the World?  Well, as usual, Disney has you covered, with Christmas-themed experiences that span three of the four parks and a few spots outside of the parks.

The most obvious place to go to feel the Christmas Spirit all year round is one of the four Christmas shops that populate Disney World.  Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, and while it isn’t the biggest Christmas shop on property, it does weave itself into the story of its host land better than any of the others.  The Shoppe is actually three separate late 18th century locations that have been combined; they are the home of a music instructor (Ichabod Crane), a woodcarver’s shop (the Woodwrights) and the home of German folk artists (the Kepples – a nod to Walt Disney, whose grandfather’s first name was Kepple).  The exterior still maintains the appearance of three separate facades; the stores are connected inside, but have each maintained their respective personalities.  This is not only a great place to shop for Christmas souvenirs, but Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe also really helps to tell the story of Liberty Square.

There are two other Christmas shops within the parks that help to tell the stories of their locations.  The first is housed in the Germany Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase: die Weihnachtsecke. This shop offers many Christmas items, specializing in those that exhibit German craftsmanship.  This is also a perfect place to get a pickle ornament, a German Christmas tradition.  The other in-park shop is It’s a Wonderful Shop, located in the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios.  Like many spots in this section of the park, it is dressed to appear as though it is being used to film a Christmas movie: decorations are visible, but props and “off-camera” areas are left untouched.  These two are small shops, but offer nice, quick doses of holiday cheer.

They’re sweating from making snow angels. In Florida. In July.

The biggest Christmas Shop on property is located in Downtown Disney and anchors the Marketplace: Disney’s Days of Christmas.  This massive shop houses everything you can think of to hang on a tree, place on a mantle or top an antennae. While the other shops offer better theming, this is definitely the place to go if you are looking for the widest selection. There is also personalization offered on most items. (Tip: Get off the bus at the Marketplace end of Downtown Disney and make this one of your first stops.  By the time you are done walking the other shops and are returning to your bus, your personalized items will be ready!)

There are a few other locations to get your year-round Christmas fix during your Disney World vacation.  The first is Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, which tells the story of a holiday-themed vacation spot for Santa’s off-duty elves.  It’s a little off the beaten path, but Christmas fanatics won’t want to miss it.  Two attractions also offer some allusions to Christmas.  Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress features four scenes, each set in a different time of year.  The final scene, which reeks of the ‘80s, is set during Christmas in the home of the story’s family.  A much more subtle reference is made in the final scene of Soarin’, which features a flyover of Anaheim’s Disneyland during Christmastime, made most clear by the Clark Griswold-inspired lighting of it’s a small world in the upper right-corner of the park.

So, don’t be a Grinch if you can’t make it to Florida during the actual Christmas season.  Take advantage of these experiences to keep a Disney-themed Christmas with you all through the year!

Advertisements

Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour

Thanks to my sons-in-law, Domenic and J.R. for inviting me to be a guest blogger today and Congratulations to both of you on creating such an awesome Disney Travel web site!!

Many bloggers will talk about “touring plans” which will save you time and allow you to see all of your favorite rides and attractions in Disney theme parks in record time,  but rather than a touring plan….. Let’s talk about…. planning a tour!

photo 1On our recent trip to Disney World, my husband Phil and I took the “Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour”.  This is a three hour walking tour that includes a few of the Disney World classic attractions.  The tour begins prior to the opening of the park, so we had early access to the park with very little tourist traffic for our excursion!  We had a small group and a super inspirational guide named Julie!  We donned our souvenir Marceline name tags and neat headphones so that we could hear every word our tour guide articulated and off we wenphoto 5t!

Marceline, as we discovered, is the small historic railroad town in Missouri and the childhood home of Walt Disney.  It is where he began his “career” as a youngster drawing, painting and selling his pictures to neighbors and family!  The town of Marceline served as his inspiration for Main Street USA, sparked his life-long love for trains and his focus on the importance of the American Family.

After an interesting and informative trip down Main Street “Marceline”,   we turned to make our way to Liberty Square and… the Haunted Mansion!   Did you know that all of the creators and collaborators of Haunted Mansion are memorialized on the tombstones and grave markers surrounding the eerie estate?   Take the tour and you will discover all the spooky secrets that lie within!

photo 4

Walt Disney and his Imagineers were very focused on creating a story around the rides in the park.  From the instant you pass through the gates of the Haunted Mansion to the moment you exit  .….if you exit…..you are transported into the world beyond with creative interactive haunts.

After experiencing the ride, we were then escorted by our guide to a special “viewing” of the behind the scenes inner workings of the Haunted Mansion!  Want to know how the dancing ghosts appear and disappear in the ballroom?  Take the tour if you dare…photo 3

The haunted mansion is a wonderful combination of spooky and silly that reflects the styles of the two main designers, Marc Davis and Claude Coats.  They originally disagreed on whether the ride should be scary or funny, but both men got their “dying” wish and today we get to ride the doom buggy through a delightfully “spirited” adventure.

After touring the mansion, we walked through Fantasyland and rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  This is another “story” ride that sweeps you through the world of Pooh on a blustery day in the hundred acre wood.  We boarded our giant honey pot and bounced along with Tigger, entered the dream world of Heffalumps and Woozles , then celebrated sunny days with Winnie’s successful attempt to eat some honey!

Our group then ventured to Tommorwland and the Carousel of Progress.  This attraction was the main feature at the General Electric Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.   In 1967 it was moved to Disneyland in California and then in 1975 it was moved to Disney World!  The ride has been updated throughout its 50 year history to reflect the technological advances experienced by the American family.

photo 2It is said that the Carousel of Progress was Walt Disney’s favorite attraction and I can see why!  As you watch the family members interact through the different seasons and throughout the years, it demonstrates the promise of continued progress and advancement to create a better family life in the future for all of us!  The Carousel of Progress has a catchy theme song that will have you humming “It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow” well beyond tomorrow!

Our tour ended there with a rare insider’s view of some of the history of Walt Disney and little-known tid-bits of Disney World.  Julie, our tour guide was an expert and was open to answering any questions about anything Disney during our three hour adventure!

The Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour is just one of a few different tours you can opt to participate in at Disney World.  Ask your Disney Travel Planner to reserve a spot for you and your family to see this magical park from “behind the scenes”!  The cost was $30 per person and well worth the walk!  So on you next trip to Disney World, in addition to a touring plan, plan on a tour!!

Dog Days of Summer: Top Dogs at the Magic Kingdom

In honor of the us being in that final stretch of the “dog days of summer,” we thought we’d ask our readers for their opinion on a related topic: the top dogs represented in the Magic Kingdom.

Here are the canine-didates:

Goofy – Barnstormer and Meet-and-Greet

Photo Copyright feistyfrugalandfabulous.com

Photo by feistyfrugalandfabulous.com

The Caretaker’s Dog – Haunted Mansion

Photo copyright dqforum.com

Photo by dqforum.com

Polynesian Dog – it’s a small world

Photo by Chris Barry

Photo by Chris Barry

Nana – Peter Pan’s Flight

Prison Dog – Pirates of the Caribbean

Rover – Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Photo by Joe Penniston

Photo by Joe Penniston

Hot Dogs – Casey’s Corner

Photo by disneydining.com

Photo by disneydining.com

Lady and the Tramp – Tony’s Town Square

Photo by makinmemoriesphotoblog.com

Photo by makinmemoriesphotoblog.com

Pluto – Meet-and-Greet

Photo by unofficialdisneycharacterhuntingguide. blogspot.com/

Photo by unofficialdisneycharacterhuntingguide.blogspot.com/

So which one is your favorite? Vote below!

Merry Disney Christmas in July! And The Other Eleven Months!

Merry Christmas (in July)! DW Dads has fun and informative Holiday-themed articles that we are bringing to you all week long.  So bundle up, warm up the cocoa, and get ready to deck the halls with so many Disney ornaments, you’ll need to add a second tree!

Most Disney fans know that visiting the parks at Christmastime can be one of the most festive and enjoyable vacations that your family can take.  What happens if you can’t visit during the holidays, but you still want to feel some holiday cheer while you are in the World?  Well, as usual, Disney has you covered, with Christmas-themed experiences that span three of the four parks and a few spots outside of the parks.

The most obvious place to go to feel the Christmas Spirit all year round is one of the four Christmas shops that populate Disney World.  Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, and while it isn’t the biggest Christmas shop on property, it does weave itself into the story of its host land better than any of the others.  The Shoppe is actually three separate late 18th century locations that have been combined; they are the home of a music instructor (Ichabod Crane), a woodcarver’s shop (the Woodwrights) and the home of German folk artists (the Kepples – a nod to Walt Disney, whose grandfather’s first name was Kepple).  The exterior still maintains the appearance of three separate facades; the stores are connected inside, but have each maintained their respective personalities.  This is not only a great place to shop for Christmas souvenirs, but Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe also really helps to tell the story of Liberty Square.

There are two other Christmas shops within the parks that help to tell the stories of their locations.  The first is housed in the Germany Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase: die Weihnachtsecke. This shop offers many Christmas items, specializing in those that exhibit German craftsmanship.  This is also a perfect place to get a pickle ornament, a German Christmas tradition.  The other in-park shop is It’s a Wonderful Shop, located in the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios.  Like many spots in this section of the park, it is dressed to appear as though it is being used to film a Christmas movie: decorations are visible, but props and “off-camera” areas are left untouched.  These two are small shops, but offer nice, quick doses of holiday cheer.

They're sweating from making snow angels. In Florida. In July.

They’re sweating from making snow angels. In Florida. In July.

The biggest Christmas Shop on property is located in Downtown Disney and anchors the Marketplace: Disney’s Days of Christmas.  This massive shop houses everything you can think of to hang on a tree, place on a mantle or top an antennae. While the other shops offer better theming, this is definitely the place to go if you are looking for the widest selection. There is also personalization offered on most items. (Tip: Get off the bus at the Marketplace end of Downtown Disney and make this one of your first stops.  By the time you are done walking the other shops and are returning to your bus, your personalized items will be ready!)

There are a few other locations to get your year-round Christmas fix during your Disney World vacation.  The first is Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, which tells the story of a holiday-themed vacation spot for Santa’s off-duty elves.  It’s a little off the beaten path, but Christmas fanatics won’t want to miss it.  Two attractions also offer some allusions to Christmas.  Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress features four scenes, each set in a different time of year.  The final scene, which reeks of the ‘80s, is set during Christmas in the home of the story’s family.  A much more subtle reference is made in the final scene of Soarin’, which features a flyover of Anaheim’s Disneyland during Christmastime, made most clear by the Clark Griswold-inspired lighting of it’s a small world in the upper right-corner of the park.

So, don’t be a Grinch if you can’t make it to Florida during the actual Christmas season.  Take advantage of these experiences to keep a Disney-themed Christmas with you all through the year!