“The View” inside Walt Disney’s Apartment in Disneyland

The ViewDisneyland

DWDads are not regular watchers of “the View” on ABC, but this week we have had a good reason for tuning in. All week, November 18-22, ABC’s “the View” has been broadcasting LIVE at 11am eastern or 10am central/pacific from The Disneyland Resort with a variety of guests and entertainers in order to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 85th birthday (November 18).  Although all of the programming on “the View” was in some way linked to ABC/Disney this week, the espisode I am looking forward to seeing most, is on Friday, November 22nd.

Fri., Nov. 22:  Kurt Russell, who had a 10 year contract in the 1970s with the Walt Disney Company, takes Barbara Walters on a magical walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps as they take a “step in time” into the past and tour never-before-seen places including Disney’s private apartment and a private club. Music sensation Pitbull appears. Singer and co-host Demi Lovato performs.  The hosts bid farewell to the Disneyland Resort during a magical finale celebration.

Since the show hasn’t aired, I can only assume Barbara will document the highlights of a tour that is offered daily at Disneyland called  “A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps”.  This 3½-hour guided tour covers the life of Walt Disney and how his vision became reality.  Basically, this tour tells you stories about the man behind the magic and you will learn some behind-the-scenes secrets to the theme of the various lands, and special touches by the Imagineers and Walt himself. This show might give you a taste of what that tour has to offer or it may leave you wanting the to experience it on your own.  So if you want to book this tour as part of your Disneyland vacation or you would like a quote please contact us.

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 Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps:

  • Passage on the Disney Railroad and two other attractions
  • An exclusive look at the lobby of the famed Club 33
  • An exclusive look at Walt Disney’s private apartment
  • A private Lunch on Main Street USA
  • An exclusive collectible trading pin

Price:

$109.00 per person; Discounted to $87.20 per person for Annual Pass holders, AAA, Disney Visa, DVC members.

Tours are available every day at 9:30am and have a capacity of 15 people per tour. Not recommended for small children.

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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!

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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!!

Disney’s Hidden Gems : Harmony Barber Shop

Most of us are familiar with the most popular “headliner” rides at Disney’s theme parks; after all they are probably the main reason for visiting the parks.  In this series, however, I will focus on some of the lesser known things to do inside the parks.   

Harmony Barber Shop  This week’s entry is one of the first shops you can see as you pass under the train station and enter Town Square in the Magic Kingdom, and you may have never even noticed it: Harmony Barber Shop.  The Harmony Barber Shop is tucked away on the left hand corner as you enter the park just past City Hall & the Firehouse between the “car barn” (where the parade floats enter/exit) and the Main Street Emporium.  Just like many of the shops on Main Street, this hidden gem is another throwback reminiscent of days gone by.  This shop is just another touch that Walt Disney and his imagineers added to give Main Street the feel of a turn-of the century small American town.   The shop is ornately decorated with three very comfortable vintage barber chairs and beautiful woodwork marble-topped cabinets around large mirrors. 

The term barber shop usually has a male connotation, but this shop is open to all guests from boys and girls getting their first haircuts to women who want a style or trim to men who want to trim their beard or mustache.  The Harmony Barber Shop serves them all. 

Check out all the Mickey stickers Jack got!

Check out all the Mickey stickers Jack got!

Toys and Stickers keep Jack happy during the haircut

Toys and Stickers keep Jack happy during the haircut

The “First Haircut” mentioned above is a specialty of the shop.  Young boys and girls who receive this experience are entertained by the cast member with Mickey stickers or bubbles or toys while they receive a very professional haircut and are sprinkled with pixie dust.  After the haircut they receive a set of “First Haircut” Mickey ears and a certificate along with a lock of their hair. At $18 this may be one of the best values in all of Disney. 

"First Haircut" Mickey Ears

Charlie’s “First Haircut”

"First Haircut" Mickey Ears

“First Haircut” Mickey Ears

Even if you don’t need a full haircut, someone in your group might just want a trim or the kids may enjoy adding colored hair gel and pixie dust to their hair for a special look throughout the day.  During your cut you may even be lucky enough to be visited and serenaded with a song by the Dapper Dans (Disney’s famous Barbershop Quartet). They visit the shop throughout the day, so make sure you keep an ear out for them.

Pixie Dust adds some Magic to this haircut

Pixie Dust adds some Magic to Luke’s haircut

Although the shop does walk-ups, we recommend making an appointment given that the shop is small; and after all who wants to wait in line? A haircut at Harmony early on in your stay will start your vacation off right and make you look great in all of your photos throughout the remainder of the trip. So next time you are planning a trip to Disney World, make sure you book an appointment at one of Disney’s hidden gems: The Harmony Barber Shop.

Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Prices

Haircuts (adults)- $19
Haircuts (children 12 & under) – $15
Colored hair gel –  $5
Beard and mustache trims – $10
“My 1st Haircut” special – $18  (includes haircut, “First Haircut” Mickey Ears, certificate and lock of hair)

Appointments

407-WDW-PLAY, Disney Vacation Club Member Services, the concierge at your Disney Resort Hotel, or talk to your travel agent

Top 5 Ways to Celebrate America in the Parks

Walt Disney was well known for being a patriotic American. When he was a teenager, he wanted desperately to serve with the U.S. Army in World War I, but he was rejected for being underage. He went on to serve with the Red Cross, but his biggest contributions to the US may be what he did – and what his legacy continues to do – for American morale. Here are the top five ways to celebrate America in the Disney Parks.
(BTW: While the Disney Parks throw huge parties for the holidays, like the 4th of July, I’ve chosen experiences that can be enjoyed all year round!)

5. (Tie) Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Disneyland Park/Hall of Presidents (Magic Kingdom)
When Walt Disney was a young boy, his hero was Abraham Lincoln. It’s no surprise, then, that he chose Lincoln as the President to appear in one of his earliest showcases of the ingenuity of Audio-Animatronics. Today, President Lincoln and his speeches are intertwined with the story of Disneyland in a hybrid show that appears on Main Street U.S.A. Its sequel, the Hall of Presidents, is the realization of Walt’s dream to have a tribute to all of the US Presidents in a single exhibit.

4. California Adventure
With its beaches, snow-covered mountains, deserts, and seaside fishing villages, California is representative of the US as a whole; therefore, California Adventure is not only a celebration of all-things-Californian, but also of America itself. More important than the geographic aspect of this West coast love letter, is the park’s underlying message: the power of the American Dream. When you enter the park and walk down Buena Vista Street (which is modeled to look like the California Walt saw when he arrived there from the midwest) you see the manifestation of that dream: the street moves you from gas stations and corner stores all the way to the restaurant modeled after the Carthay Circle Theater, where Walt premiered his first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. American Dream, realized.

3. Liberty Square (Magic Kingdom)
An homage to America’s beginnings, Liberty Square is the home to several popular attractions and dining locations. The land also includes many symbols and representations of Colonial America. Some, like the replicas of the Liberty Tree and the Liberty Bell, are versions of well-known American icons. Others are representative of the detail that Disney Imagineers put into the parks: the leather straps that hold some shutters in place (the metal hinges were needed to make bullets during the Revolution); the two lamps hanging in the upstairs window of a home (“two if by sea…); and the chronological tour of American architecture, from the 17th century Haunted Mansion to the 19th century Frontierland.

2. American Adventure (Epcot)
America plays host to many of the world’s nations in Epcot’s World Showcase. It’s pavilion, called the American Adventure, contains several attractions and a restaurant. It’s main feature, however, is the American Adventure show that is housed in the large, vaguely-familiar building that sits right in the middle of the Showcase. The building doesn’t represent any specific US landmark, but includes a variety of attributes found in colonial architecture (FYI: It is also a unique example of reverse forced perspective; needing to house an immense theater, the building is larger than it appears). The show itself is a worthy cousin of the Hall of Presidents, but featuring other major players in the history of the US, including Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.

1. Main Street U.S.A. (Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom)
The legend goes: Main Street U.S.A., which is the first land to greet visitors to the flagship parks, was based on Walt’s childhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri. While this may be true to an extent, it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Blending reality (fire stations, barber shops) with a sense of idyllic wholesomeness (horse-drawn carriages, a fairytale castle in the distance), Main Street U.S.A. feels utopian, yet instantly familiar. If you close your eyes and picture your own childhood, the image may be vaguely similar to, but more likely influenced by, some of the things you see on Main Street U.S.A. Flags line the rooftops (FYI: They are all replicas, usually missing a star or two, so they can be left out all of the time; the only real flag is the one in Town Square, which is taken down daily during the Flag Retreat, with assistance by a U.S. serviceman or servicewoman in attendance). And it’s for good reason: it’s always Independence Day on Main Street U.S.A. It’s the reason for the bunting, the parade, and the mayor and his red-white-and-blue sash. And it’s why every night ends with fireworks!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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