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Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World includes Theme Parks, Water Parks, Resort Hotels, Disney Springs, camping and a multitude of other entertainment options.

Disney’s Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West Resort – October 2017

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Olivia’s Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As the following photos will attest, my visits have only been for dinner.

Wendy and I stopped in to have a quick bite.  We agreed to split the Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken…which is a favorite of ours and a favorite of many others based on various reviews I have read. As is typical, I start with good intentions to split the meal, but my stomach holds great power over my brain as is becoming quite apparent from my tight pants.

As such, when the special is mentioned and the homemade of the day revealed I weaken and order both soup and entree while my wife is left with the plate of Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken for herself. I don’t believe she minded making the sacrifice but gave me the look that conveyed her chagrin of my weak willpower… and tight pants.

Soup of the day is Chicken Noodle with Mickey Pasta. How can you say no to that? A good light broth with finely diced carrots, celery, and onion with the chicken and Mickey Pasta of course. It is so good. If you like chicken soup you will like this bowl of chicken soup goodness.

If you observe the additional black pepper in the chicken noodle closeup… it has been added by me… I am a fan of pepper. Observe the pepperless pic prior… no need to worry of overseasoning.

Before moving onward to the entree, let me state that prior to the arrival of the appetizer and after the drinks, pineapple and coconut rolls with small chunks of pineapple are served with some mighty fine whipped butter.

Here lies half a roll… all that remained before I remembered to take a photo.

The special that lured me from a shared meal with the wife was Shrimp and Grits in a white wine sauce. I like shrimp, and grits, and a rich creamy sauce. It’s hard to go wrong with this plate. It is very rich though and I was unable to finish the meal.

The shrimp and grits with assorted ingredients are centered in the plate and surrounded by the sauce. An island of goodness. Pepperjack cheesy grits, in white wine cream sauce, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, celery, diced ham with a hint of Tobasco…that about covers it.

Shrimp and Grits Special

 

Following are some photos of previous visits for your viewing pleasure.

Slow Cooked Prime Rib, Olivia’s potatoes and green beans in Cabernet Demi-Glaze.

 

Seven Mile Sea Scallops.

 

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but if you are looking for something refreshing on a hot day this is my favorite. Schofferhofer Grapefruit Bier.

 

More Pineapple Coconut rolls.

 

Cup of chili – soup of the day. Sometimes beans and sometimes not.

 

On the outside looking in. Thought this was a nice view of the main dining area of the restaurant.

 

 

Hurricane Damage on Disney’s Main Street USA – My One Photo

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A few days after a guest appearance by Hurricane Irma, I was strolling down Disney’s Main Street USA and thought I might see some possible wind damage. I tried to keep a sharp eye because I knew it was something that I would tire of quickly… think about it…. how sad is it that I’m walking around the Magic Kingdom looking for storm damage. One might think there are better things to do with your time at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” or anytime that the power is out at the office and you have a free day during the week.

About half way up Main Street at the emporium (on the left when looking at the castle) there are typically window awnings on the Victorian Turrets.  I glanced up and something didn’t look right. Park employees did a nice job of removing the hardware, but my eye knows balance and the Turrets were out of balance. The Turret Feng Shui was no longer harmonizing as well as the barbershop quartet. As proof I submit this photographic image.

Though difficult to see in this image, 3 of 5 awnings are missing from the turret.

Just to the right of the photo, off camera, the other Turret with yellow and white awnings was missing a few too.

Why no second photo? My interest waned and I no longer cared to look for damage. One photo was all I needed… mission accomplished. Power was out at the office and it was time to relax a bit and enjoy the day at “The Most Magical Place on Earth”.

The Diamond Horseshoe – Magic Kingdom – Four Meat Meal :)

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I think this place was called at one time or another, The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon… maybe it was Diamond Horseshoe Revue. No matter, it is now “The Diamond Horseshoe” and it sits in Disney’s Magic Kingdom right smack middle of Frontierland. Let’s make it clear at the start… There is no show at the ‘shoe’ unless we count people watching or the parade as it dances, sings and waves its way down the street.

The Diamond Horseshoe isn’t about the show any longer, but there still exists a nice ambiance and some good food. I popped in the other day to check things out and chat with the cast members. It’s not your typical interior. There seems to be a bit more theme and craftsmanship at this restaurant. Maybe since it was constructed early in the park’s history a bit more time and detail was allowed.  That’s just a guess or a SWAG one might say.

Stage opposite the entrance. This was taken near the hostess stand. If you notice on either side of the stage are tables. Those tables would seem to be the best seat in the house. Feel like royalty as you dine overlooking the commoners. 🙂

I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but there is an upper balcony. There is no dining in the upper balcony. Dining doesn’t get at any greater elevation than the stage tables.

View towards the buffet counter… my favorite counter of all counters.

Don’t leave your seat. Your server will bring your food. All you care to eat. Buffet style brought right to your table.

Notice the fall garland. Very pretty. Reminds of a crisp October day in Illinois or Indiana, though when you step outside the Diamond Horseshoe, the reality of 92-degree temperatures reminds you that it is still Florida.

Stage left.

More fall garland. You may notice that the place is a bit empty. This is due to the fact that is was after closing time as I snapped these pictures. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween was beginning and the restaurant closed at 7:00 pm.

Since I was dining alone the food is proportional to the number of guests. If I had friends there would be a larger pile of each entree. Not pictured: Cornbread and Mac and Cheese.

Normally I take a photo of the menu, but it slipped my mind. Look it up on the web, but it may not be current. This food photo was taken 9/12/17. All the meats were excellent. The buffet meal is $35 per person for adults. Kids ages 3-9 can eat for $19

Pot Roast is melt in your mouth and that is not an exaggeration. BBQ pulled pork was very good. Sausage (always a favorite of mine) and sliced turkey breast were excellent.

There was a salad before dinner and it was good and I enjoyed the Chipotle Ranch Dressing. But really… to me the salad is just something to pass the time until the meat arrives… and my mom always told me it was good for me. My favorite part of the salad is croutons and dressing so I may be missing something health wise in that regard. Heck, I’ve even seen people eat salad without any dressing. You may as well pull the greens from  your backyard.

I’m a tough judge of the beans, whatever you wish to call them… baked, bbq, cowboy, trailside. These beans were ok. They were not my favorite. What do I look for in beans? Thick sauce and full of flavor, some pork or brisket added and a smokey flavor, some type of pepper probably more for appearance than flavor. That is what I like. Usually my dining choice is not make or break due to the beans since I’m more interested in the meats that usually accompany the bowl of beans.

Dessert consisted of a campfire brownie. Sadly I had to pass on dessert, as the meat coma was beginning to make an appearance and I needed to get moving while I still was able.

I recommend the restaurant for those weary travelers looking for a hearty meal. Maybe your 10 year old won’t make a dent in the $35 dollar meal price if paying in cash so you may want to consider your food value in that regard, but if you have purchased the Disney Dining Plan and would like to treat the whole family to a great meal in a memorable location it can be done for a table service credit.

Minnie Van Service – Walt Disney World Resort

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Have you heard about the new ‘Minnie Vans’ at Walt Disney World? I recently had the opportunity to experience this new way to get around property.

With the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, all vehicles are driven by Disney Cast Members and the vans are owned and operated by Disney. Service is offered from 6:30 am – 12:30 am daily (subject to change). Currently, you use your Lyft app to request a ride. The flat rate of $20.00 will get you anywhere on property from a designated originating resort and, if you would like to tip your Disney Cast Member, tipping is also available through the Lyft app. If all goes as planned, within about 2 years, Disney plans to expand their fleet and offer originating rides from more resorts and locations on property, and add the service to the My Disney Experience (MDE) app.

For now, to be eligible to use the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, you must be staying on property at one of the designated originating Deluxe resorts – Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – including Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village and Jambo House, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower.
To get started, you must have a Lyft account already set up on your phone through the Lyft app, and there is a one-time set up process using the phone number that you use with your Lyft app.

Note: On your arrival at one of the designated originating resorts, your MDE app should notify you that the ‘Minnie Van’ service is available and you can complete the set up right from your MDE app. If you miss that notification, just inquire at the front desk for set up.

And, Landon, at Bell Services at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is the expert at that location but any Cast Member at Bell Services or the front lobby desk can assist you with set up and questions.

Once you are set up with the service, you are ready to request your first ride!
You should plan to reserve your ride about 15 minutes before your preferred pick-up time as wait times can be 15-20 minutes. The standard ‘Minnie Vans’ will seat up to 6 guests and all carry 2 car seats and each will accommodate rear facing up to booster. Vans are configured with bucket seats in the front row, captain’s chairs in the second row, and a third row bench seat that is best suited for your little ones or smaller adults. All vans offer phone charging via USB ports, and rear seat climate controls to help you adjust the temperate to your liking. And our driver even had Disney music on the radio!

If you require a mobility van, which will accommodate one mobility scooter/vehicle and up to a total of 8 guests, you will need to ask the front desk to request this type of van for you. There are 2 mobility vans currently in the fleet.

The $20.00 flat rate is per vehicle so, if your group is larger than 6 guests for a standard van or 8 guests for a mobility van, you will need to request 2 vehicles from separate Lyft accounts and pay the $20.00 flat rate each.
The ‘Minnie Vans’ will only provide service on Disney property – no airport pick up or drop off service. They will make multiple stops if needed – for example, if you originate at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and you have friends staying at Pop Century that you would like to stop and pick up – as long as you are all going to same destination and you all fit in one vehicle you’re set! The ‘Minnie Vans’ will also make quick stops (around 5 minutes) at non-Disney locations on property, such as gas stations and McDonald’s.

If you are headed to experience the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, your ‘Minnie Van’ will drop you off right at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort so you can skip the bus. At Magic Kingdom, they drop off and pick up at Bus Stop #11 in the bus loop – however, the Lyft app will show Ticket & Transportation Center. At the larger resorts, the ‘Minnie Van’ will pick up and drop off close to your room. And, if you take a ‘Minnie Van’ to a destination on property from your designated originating resort you can absolutely request a return ride!

If you happen to lose any items during your ‘Minnie Van’ ride, they will try to get your Lost & Found items back to the location closest to where you were dropped off or originated from.
I would definitely suggest trying the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, especially for early morning dining reservations, signature dining experiences where you a bit more dressed up or getting back to your resort at park closing after a full day of parks. It’s quick and convenient and, well, it’s just FUN to ride in that red polka dot ‘Minnie Van’!!

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The Pirates League – Magic Kingdom

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Show your Pirate side the next time you visit Magic Kingdom park!

Similar to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience, which is for ages 3-12, The Pirates League is a makeover experience that the whole family (ages 3 and up) can enjoy together! Choose from pirate, empress or mermaid options, all with coordinating accessories to complete your makeover.
Most pirate packages include facial makeup and hair, sword and The Pirates League logo sash, reversible bandana, earring and eye patch, The Pirates League bag, temporary pirate tattoo, unique pirate coin necklace, pirate’s key, official pirate name and personalized pirate oath. The mermaid packages include luminous mermaid makeup and makeup palette and nail polish, mermaid hairstyle and color-changing hair clip, distinctive mermaid necklace, mermaid sash and bracelet.

Our little pirate chose the zombie pirate makeover because it was scary. Your first task for your makeover is to determine your pirate name by spinning a wheel which turns a treasure chest to roll the dice. The numbers on the dice lead you to your pirate name. Our zombie’s official pirate name was ‘Benjamin Sharkstench’.

All of the ‘Pirate Masters’ are friendly and very good with the little ones, telling jokes and sharing pirate stories as they transform your pirate. If it’s your birthday, be sure to let them know and they whole crew will sing you a pirate birthday song!

Once your makeover is complete, you are sworn in to The Pirates League and taken to a hidden chamber where your Pirate Master will surprise you with a bit of pirate treasure.

Our little pirate enjoyed this makeover experience. One of his favorite parts was that during our day in the park everyone was looking at him and commented how awesome his face paint was.

For the money and the experience, I highly recommend this makeover. It’s much easier to confirm a reservation than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and adults can participate too – I think, one day soon, my husband and I might just have our own pirate makeover experience!

The Pirates League is located between the entrance of Pirates of the Caribbean and Plaza del Sol Bazaar. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance, packages start at $39.95. Options for the basic pirate and mermaid packages can even include an entire pirate or mermaid outfit, for an additional charge.

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Pandora – The World of Avatar – My Nighttime Experience

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Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park opened May 27, 2017 bringing a flight simulator based-banshee attraction and boat ride through the landscape of Pandora. I experienced a preview of this amazing new land earlier in May and was there on opening day to experience the new entertainment and nighttime Pandora.

Entertainment on Pandora – The World of Avatar is focused around a Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments you can play, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land. Swotu Wayä – which means “Sacred Place of Song” – is located in the heart of Mo’ara Valley and has the most beautiful backdrop of any stage at Walt Disney World! Performances are fun and interactive with a message of peace and can be seen every hour on the half starting at 10:30 am until 30 minutes before Pandora closes.
*Please check Time Guides for updated performance times.


Once darkness falls, the many unique and exotic plants of Pandora come to life with their beautiful bioluminescence in many different shades and patterns – even the ground you walk on is full of beautiful color!

Look for interactive experiences throughout the land too – floating plants that respond to your arm movements and more. And it’s not only the colors that will surprise you, even the sounds of this amazing land change after sunset. As you move through Pandora at night you can occasionally hear the calls and footsteps of the many fantastic beasts that populate the nearby mountains.

On opening day, Walt Disney World also introduced mobile ordering – only available at Satu’li Canteen. Simply find a table at the canteen area and, using your My Disney Experience Mobile App, you can easily place your order for food and beverage and will be notified via your app when your order is ready. You will only need to know your order number for pick-up. Currently, to use Mobile Order, your MDE account must have a credit card linked and all charges will be applied to the linked credit card – Disney Dining Plans and Gift Cards are not accepted. Mobile Order will expand to other quick service locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park this summer – and hopefully property-wide soon after!

For a limited time, now thru July 4, 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will be open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM, giving you more time than ever to explore Pandora – The World of Avatar.
And for Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels there will be “Extra” Extra Magic Hours—available exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar from 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, May 27 to July 4, 2017 AND July 4 to August 19, 2017 from 10:00 PM to Midnight! There’s still time to book your summer vacation and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar for these special resort Guest benefits!

Be sure to read about my preview experience on Pandora – The World of Avatar too!

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Pandora – The World of Avatar

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Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is scheduled to open May 27, 2017 bringing a flight simulator based banshee attraction and boat ride through the landscape of Pandora. I recently experienced a preview of this amazing new land!

As you enter, you walk through the Valley of Mo’ara and the enormous floating mountains are all around you. The valley is also home to many unique species of plants that can only be found on Pandora. There is a Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments you can play, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land as well as two new Wilderness Explorers challenges with badges to collect.

This new land also offers 2 new ride experiences as well as a new quick service dining option and a new beverage stand and, of course, Pandora – The World of Avatar themed shopping experiences too!

Avatar Flight of Passage is an exhilarating, 3D ride where you fly on the back of a mountain banshee offering you a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape. This experience is for those 44” and taller and is quite a thrilling ride. Once you enter, there is a pre-experience que similar to DINOSAUR that is narrated by video conferencing but that is also interactive. Once you enter the flight room you mount your own banshee and prepare to take flight. Many have compared this experience to Soarin’ but it is SO MUCH MORE! This is not just a view of the World of Avatar, this ride truly immerses you in the land! FastPass+ is highly recommended for this new experience. After our flight we were able to tour the standby que so even if you don’t have FastPass+, the standby que is quite amazing in itself.

Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride that takes you on a journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. This is an experience the whole family can enjoy and is similar to boat experiences at the other Walt Disney World parks. The boats each have two rows that will comfortably seat 4 Guests each. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Your adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music.

The new Pandora – World of Avatar dining and beverage options are Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu, meaning “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi.
Both offer themed menu items with Satu’li Canteen offering Quick Service dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Pongu Pongu offering a quick stop for themed beverages. Of course, my favorite treat on the menu was the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse!

For Pandora – The World of Avatar themed shopping, this new land offers Windtraders, which is the exit for Avatar Flight of Passage where you can choose from Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more.

And Colors of Mo’arais, a retail kiosk that also offers Na’vi-inspired face-painting.





Maximize your time at Pandora – The World of Avatar with extended theme park hours, “Extra” Extra Magic Hours for resort Guests and FastPass+!
For a limited time, May 27 to July 4, 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will be open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM, giving you more time than ever to explore Pandora – The World of Avatar.
And for Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels there will be “Extra” Extra Magic Hours—available exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar from 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, May 27 to July 4, 2017 AND July 4 to August 19, 2017 from 10:00 PM to Midnight!
There’s still time to book your summer vacation and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar for these exclusive benefits offered only to resort Guests! Request Your Today!

*TIP: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are both Tier 1 FastPass+ selections at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. If you are only planning for one day at this park, I highly recommend FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage and doing Na’vi River Journey as standby. However, if you are a resort Guest the “Extra” Extra Magic Hours may give you the opportunity to do both without FastPass+.

Check HERE to read about my nighttime experience on Pandora – The World of Avatar which comes to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night!

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Disney’s Express Transportation – Walt Disney World Resort

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There’s a new way to get around Walt Disney World parks and it’s a VIP experience!!

If you have been to Walt Disney World Resort recently, you know all about getting through security and bag checks… Wouldn’t you love if you only needed to pass through a security checkpoint once per day? Now you can!!

If you have a Park Hopper ticket or are an Annual Passholder, you can add Disney’s Express Transportation option and only go through security and bag check once each day – even if you hit all 4 parks – giving you more time in the parks! Disney’s Express Transportation picks you up and drops you off INSIDE the parks!

Start your day in one park, using the normal security checkpoint, and when you are ready to head to the next park simply check-in at the Express Transportation kiosk location inside the park and a Cast Member will escort you backstage to your VIP transportation.

Purchase your Express Transportation access at any ticket window outside a park, Guest Relations inside a park, Disney Springs ticket window, your hotel concierge, or at the kiosks at the Express Transportation check-in locations and you are ready for VIP transportation for one day for date of purchase or up to 7 consecutive days beginning on date of purchase. Advance purchase is not yet available.



Disney’s Express Transportation service departs approximately every 30 minutes and runs each day from 10:00 AM until park closing. Your VIP Express Transportation will travel directly between each of the theme parks, no stops along the way, and drops you off inside the park so you are ready for fun from the moment you arrive! You will have unlimited transfers between all 4 theme parks for as long as your Express Transportation ticket is valid.

Price per Guest (Ages 3+)
Single-day ticket: $19 – Valid for date of purchase only
Multi-day ticket: $29 – Valid for up to 7 consecutive days beginning on date of purchase
*NOTE: Pricing and availability are subject to change.







I took advantage of Disney’s Express Transportation during my last stay at Walt Disney World Resort. It was so quick and easy to get from one park to another. This VIP experience is definitely the way to go, especially if you have little ones with strollers and bags, and I felt the price was very fair!!

**Please Note: The Express Transportation add-on service at Walt Disney World Resort will end Wednesday, August 23, 2017. The last day for guests to purchase this service will be Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

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Everything Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios is THE PARK for everything Star Wars! Discover new and updated Star Wars experiences that bring you closer to the epic saga than ever before. It’s all here for you to explore! In order to help you plan your Hollywood Studio’s visit, you will find below links to all of the Star Wars experiences including performance times for the major stage shows and fireworks:
*Please check your My Disney Experience Mobile App or Times Guides at the park for current performance times for major stage shows and fireworks.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park Map

Hollywood Blvd (HB) – March of the First Order, Star Wars: a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
Echo Lake (EL) – Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Tatooine Traders
Streets of America*Coming in 2018
Animation Courtyard (AC) – Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Wars Launch Bay Theater, Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay, Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay, BB-8 at Star Wars Launch Bay *Coming Spring 2017

Rides, Shows, Stage Shows & Fireworks:
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (EL) (40 inches) *Offers Rider Switch Make the jump to hyperspace—and to a new destination from Star Wars: The Force Awakens—during a 3D, motion-simulated space flight. *New for 2017, voyage changes, switching back to randomized beginnings, and final destinations will include scenes from the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
*Tip: FastPass is available for this experience and is recommended.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi (EL)
Watch a 10-minute retelling of the blockbuster Star Wars saga and get a peek at the future of the galaxy.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (EL)
Watch younglings train in the ways of the Force and put their skills to the test against the Dark Side! *TIP: Arrive before park opening to register your child, ages 4-12, for this experience. Your child must be present at the time of registration to participate. Registration is located at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost located between the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and the 50’s Prime Time Café. Availability is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Be flexible with your schedule to accommodate training times.

Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)

Check out movie props, play games, snap photos, screen videos, and greet Star Wars heroes and villains. *New for 2017 Star Wars Launch Bay will feature new props from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Star Wars Launch Bay Theater (AC)
Watch a behind-the-scenes video and see how a new generation of filmmakers is designing the future of the Star Wars saga. *New for 2017 making-of footage can be seen in the attraction’s behind-the-scenes film, “Meet the Makers.”

March of the First Order (HB)
Watch and listen as Captain Phasma, a ruthless commander, leads her squad of Stormtroopers up Hollywood Boulevard to Center Stage. *This experience provides a great photo or video opportunity too!

Star Wars: a Galaxy Far, Far Away (HB)

Witness the power of this live show that brings iconic Star Wars moments to life. *New for 2017 Advanced Weapons Research (AWR) Troopers from the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will debut during a new scene. AWR Troopers are encased in specialized Stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.
*Tip: If you have seen this show previously or the viewing area in front of the stage is already full, stand behind the stage during the show and then just to the left facing side of the stage as the show is ending and you will see the Star Wars characters as they exit, sometimes getting a fist bump or two, for great photo opportunities! Another good spot to see the characters enter and leave the stage (if you have already seen the show) is in the Great Movie Ride courtyard.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (HB)
Conclude your day with an out of this world fireworks finale bursting with Star Wars music and magic which includes a celebration of the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
*TIP: Cast Members will ask everyone stand up before the show starts. The best location is, of course, front and center stage – but you will need to arrive early to snag a spot! If the front section is full, the next best spot is center to the stage just to the right of the handicap area behind the section taped off for a walkway or any spot center to the stage will be a good viewing area. The There is no stage show, everything happens on the screens mounted on the stage or in the sky. Watch for the light sabers too!

Star Wars Characters Meet & Greets:
Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)

Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)
BB-8 at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)


*TIP: Wait times can be long but the lines do move quickly, so don’t be intimidated by a long wait time – at least it’s air conditioned! If you are a Disney Visa Cardmember, just present your Disney Visa card for a special character meet & greet offered daily from 11am to 4pm. Characters may vary daily for this offer. Also, during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is a great time to experience the characters as wait times are 20 minutes or less.

Photo Opportunities:
Star Wars Photo Opportunities
Snap a photo in Star Wars settings or next to replica movie props to prove that you visited a galaxy far, far away.

Dining:
Backlot Express (EL)
Celebrate your love for a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars-themed eats like the Royal Guard Burger, Galactic Chicken Salad or even Dark Side Chicken and Waffle! Desserts, adult beverages and soft drinks are also available.

Shopping:
Tatooine Traders (EL)
Descend upon this desert dome to procure rare Star Wars memorabilia and create your very own lightsaber or droid.

Special Events & Tours:
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party
Watch the fireworks from a reserved viewing area with Star Wars-themed desserts and drinks—plus receive a souvenir stein.
*Tip: Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Star Wars Guided Tour
New for 2017, this seven-hour guided tour will be led by an “all-in-the-know” Star Wars tour guide. You will experience Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, get an in-depth, insider’s tour around Launch Bay, and enjoy Star Wars-themed menu items at Backlot Express. Plus, Guests age 4-12 will have an opportunity to participate in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. And, the finale of this unforgettable day includes the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party with themed desserts and specialty beverages, which also includes reserved viewing for the fireworks show and a souvenir stein. *TIP: I highly recommend this experience, especially if you are a Star Wars fan! The cost for the tour compared to the cost for the dessert party is a DEAL! Plus, this BONUS, if you have younglings that want to participate in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience, doing the tour provides the opportunity to participate without the need to arrive before park opening to sign up.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios park admission is required for both experiences. Additional fees apply for these separate ticketed experiences.

The Star Wars adventure is only just beginning at Walt Disney World Resort—even more is on the horizon! Disney’s Hollywood Studios is already packed with Star Wars attractions, entertainment, and shopping… but new additions are debuting all the time. The Star Wars experience at Walt Disney World Resort will also include a Star Wars-themed Land, the largest single-themed expansion ever added to a Disney theme park!


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Rivers of Light – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

in Orlando/Stay on Property/Walt Disney World by

The long awaited ‘Rivers of Light’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park has finally made it’s debut!

Rivers of Light is located in the park’s Discovery River lagoon between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. It features water fountains, mist screens, floating lanterns, fire effects, lasers, lights, fog, projection mapping as well as live performers and incorporates the park’s Tree of Life into the show too.

This new nighttime experience celebrates the beauty of all living things. With a brilliant fusion of water, sound and light, it’s a unique experience that will entertain the whole family!

Rivers of Light is staged in the middle of the Discovery River, with seating split in two sections: on the shores of Asia in front of Expedition Everest, and along the banks of DinoLand U.S.A. in front of Finding Nemo—The Musical. All of the seats in Asia – half of the show’s 5,000 seats – are reserved for Guests with FastPass+. The other half of the seats, on the DinoLand side, are for those booking the Rivers of Light dining packages (available at Tusker House or Tiffins) and for standby Guests. There are also very limited, partially obstructed viewing areas around the river. I have viewed from all 3 areas and I highly recommend the dining package viewing area if you plan to see this new experience!

As sunlight fades, the ‘stars’ begin to twinkle in the trees surrounding Discovery River. A vibrant awakening of flitting fireflies leading to a ceremonious procession across the water of floating lotus blossoms that morph into colorful dancing fountains and over-sized animal sculptures – tiger, turtle, elephant, and owl – that light up in various colors.

The show begins with four flickering, lotus flower lanterns floating on the lagoon. They’re soon joined by shamans. The shamans conjure the forces of fire and water to reveal the majesty of the natural world, mostly as video projections on a huge water screen projected at the back of the lagoon.

In the final moments, the largest lotus sprouts a blazing tower. This magnetic display culminates in a triumphant blend of song, light, color and earthly elements. We are all bound together by earth and spirit — past, present and future.

Rivers of Light joins other nighttime experiences recently added to Animal Kingdom, including the sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, Discovery Island Carnivale, Harambe Wildlife Parti and the Tree of Life awakening. Be sure to watch the video posted above, my photos do not do this show proper justice!

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