Sunday, July 17, 2011

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

One of the most romantic things we did all week was our horse-drawn carriage ride at Port Orleans Riverside. It was a nice way to end the week.

We took a taxi there so we didn't have to deal with multiple buses to get there late at night. That was a really wise choice because it took us no time at all.

As we got there they told us we just needed to walk through the hotel and wait. I realized I had forgotten my camera so the photos here are from my phone and in the dark. We were too excited to be too disappointed.


We didn't have to wait long as the first buggy returned. We watched what they did and then our buggy returned. Jim snapped a few shots while our horse got a drink and I settled our bill. We had a female driver (I apologize for not getting her name.) and I believe our horses name was Donnie.


She held the buggy steady for us to get in and we both had a seat. It is interesting to note that there is a sign posted saying tips are not expected or accepted. I had wondered how to handle it here since we pre-paid and I appreciated Disney making it clear.

Our carriage

She asked us where we were from and if we were celebrating an anniversary (which we were). She was very nice but after that it was a very quiet ride around the grounds of New Orleans. We enjoyed it both because we haven't stayed there and because it was such a unique way to see things. It really felt like the way Walt would have liked people to see things around his parks. Okay, now you can think I'm strange but it was a very authentic moment.

If you're looking for something not everyone experiences, the horse-drawn carriage ride is one option.

After about 25 minutes we pulled back to the center courtyard and Donnie stopped. Our driver tied down the carriage and we were able to get out. A perfectly romantic ending to a great 10 days together.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walt Disney- Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour

We arrived at the park around 8:00 to check in at City Hall. We found our name tags and helped ourselves to a bottle of water. I prayed the rain would hold off.

About 15 minutes later our guide joined us with earpieces which the four of us in the group put on. We could clearly hear him in the quiet park but it wouldn't be quiet for long. He asked us a bit about ourselves and started to walk us down Main Street. Main Street was modeled after Walt's childhood hometown Marceline. The amazing thing is Walt only lived there for four or five years but it made a huge impression on him. Lots of facts were shared with us, I only wish I could remember them all!

We then went through Cinderella castle and looked at the mosaics. Important people in Disney history have been built into the mosaics and even the coloring of the evil sisters is intentional. One is green with envy and the other is red with rage.

One of my favorite parts of the tour was something I had not done before: going on Snow White's Scary Adventure. The best part was when we went on a second time and they turned the lights up so we could see all the effects. I've said many times it would be cool to go on a ride with the lights on and now I have! One thing I will give away is that glowing green eyes were just holes poked in tin cans and lit. Sometimes simple works!What makes this more important to me is that this ride is going to be leaving the park in 2012 to make room for the new Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ride that is coming in the expansion. I'm glad I didn't miss a piece of history.

Next we moved on to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I hated waiting for this ride a few years ago. The queue is much improved now. It's actually a lot of fun! First , because this ride use to be where Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was  and Pooh's tree used to sit where 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was it pays homage to both. There is a small submarine carved inside Pooh's tree. In the ride there is a photo of Owl getting the deed from Mr. Toad.

The queue involves talking moles (mine was sassy!), rolling balls, and I think everyone's favorite the honey walls. When you move the honey on the wall you discover your favorite Winnie the Pooh friends. I was told by the Imagineer I had lunch with some kids would rather play these games than go on the ride! But I enjoyed the ride to and with the guide's help noticed that the ride controls the weather in each room (it's blustery on the blustery day). Things were much more advanced than on the Snow White ride.

As we left Fantasyland and entered Tomorrowland our guide explained that in California Walt Disney originally wanted all the plants in Tomorrowland to be edible because he thought that was what the future would be like.That is not the case at Disney World. We also found out that It's a Small World was a World's Fair Exhibit that almost didn't happen. Someone below Walt said no and when Walt heard Pepsi wanted the exhibit, he made it even though they were over-worked.

Walt also planned out EPCOT. Not like it is today but a true Experimental Prototype Community of Tommorrow. We saw a quarter model of it and it was huge. He planned on garbage and cars being underground to prevent pollution. It would have been amazing to see how far he could have taken it. He died before plans were far enough along to begin it.

After riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, we ended with the Carousel of Progress. Though it seems out of date to many , if you look when it was designed, it's ahead of it's time. Built for the 1964 World's Fair it is a great look back at technology that was new at the time. It was last updated in 1994 looking at the year 200 and may be ready for another update but I have a feeling they'll keep this one around. It was Walt Disney's favorite and he said it should never cease operation.

Our tour ended hear and we turned in our earphones. Our guide recommended Keys to the Kingdom which we have on the agenda for next year. These guided tours are well worth the money for the extra bit of Disney you get out of them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Under Construction

Working to get this up and running. Check back often!