Sunday, March 27, 2011


...AKA, the place that you sleep at and not much else!

I decided to take a minute and talk about hotels in the Orlando/Kissimmee/Celebration area.  I will be completely honest; I have never stayed on the resort.  I would love to; however, I don't have the money to throw down for an expensive hotel (I'd rather spend the money on souvenirs).  So, while I have read lot's of research about the resort hotels, I have no first-hand experience.  I'm sorry, I have failed you...
However, if you’re looking for a decent hotel, not too far from Disney, for fairly cheap, than I am the person to talk to.  I have stayed in a few hotels in the area and I have spent hours looking at prices and accommodations.  For my family, cheap is important.  And the resort taxes in Florida do not make cheap easy.  The resort tax is going to add about 12% on to your bill (yikes!).  And, all of the hotels stay competitive by listing one price, but adding a “resort fee” on to your final bill.
For instance, we originally stayed at a Ramada in Kissimmee on W. Irlo Bronson Dr (the main road in Kissimmee).  It was the cheapest place I found with an indoor pool on Travelocity, listed at $35 a night.  When we got there, we found out that there was also a $10/night resort fee to add on.  On top of this, the indoor pool was supposed to be heated and it was freezing!  To be fair to the hotel, we stayed at this same Ramada a second time.  And we still had the same problems with the pool!  We also found two roaches in our room, and the staff was rude.  We will never stay there again!
So, we left the Ramada and stayed at a different hotel for a few nights; the Champion World Resort, also on W. Irlo Bronson in Kissimmee.  And we loved it.  No indoor pool, but 2 out of the 3 pools were heated, including a kiddie pool that my 1 year old loved.  Travelocity listed the hotel as $35.  Unfortunately, they still have a $2/night resort fee, but the hotel lists it on Travelocity’s website.  You can also pay it up front (could not do this with the Ramada), so you have no surprise bills at the end of your trip (when you spent all of your money).  The rooms are your typical rooms, nothing fancy but since you won’t spend much time in the room (other than sleeping), it’s not a big deal.
To give you an idea of how cheap this place is, the Value resorts (the cheapest hotels) on Disney property have smaller rooms for double the price.  Yes, there are some amenities to staying in the resort (we will get into them at a later time), but if you don’t have the cash, its no big deal to stay away from the House of Mouse Hotels.

The hotel I really want to stay in!  Yes, there is a room inside and I will never, ever get to stay in it...

Monday, March 21, 2011

You guys deserve a larger post...

I know, I have been terribly lazy, lately, writing only enough to be able to post something.  This is a longer entry, I promise!

M.K. – Fantasyland Final Part

No, this is not in Disney World.  It is just a super cute pic of my family I took this week.  Aren't they beautiful?

            Well, we finally made it to the end of the Fantasyland attractions.  We only have three more rides to talk about (the rest of the attractions in this area are character greeting spots, which change all of the time).
            First up is another dark ride: Snow White’s Scary Adventures.  Snow White is one of my daughter’s favorite movies and this ride’s line is typically only about 20 minutes long, so we have ridden this one a few times.  To me, this dark ride isn’t as good as some of the others (Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, etc).  It, originally, was more about the story of the Queen than Snow White.  The Imagineers redeveloped it and added more “good guys”, but Snow White is still not actually in the ride that many times.  I have heard a lot of accounts of kids getting scared in this one.  My daughter was fine, but she has only ridden on it at younger than 2 years of age.  I’m not sure she understood all of it and she really likes the movie of Snow White (plus she laughs at the scary scene in the movie, where Snow White is running through the forest, so you can’t trust my kid).  All I am saying is: be cautious.  On a plus note, the carts have three separate rows of seats, which means the carts are large enough for 6-9 people, (depending on how big-bellied you are), so its one of the rare rides that large families can go on together.
            Next up is the iconic Mad Tea Party.  I loved this ride as a kid, but, truth be told, I haven’t been on it in ten years.  I can’t give you a good idea of how it is for big-bellied people because I was worried my daughter wouldn’t like it, so we didn’t ride it.  I will say this, though: if you get motion sickness, do not go on this ride with a teenager.  The ride spins lightly by itself, but there is a wheel in the middle to make it spin faster.  It is a teenager’s job to try and make their parents lose their lunch…
            Last, but certainly not least, Dumbo the Flying Elephant!  I will admit a soft spot here, my daughter’s lullaby has always been Baby Mine, and so I love Dumbo.  The ride is just like Aladdin’s Carpets in Adventureland: Dumbo lifts you up in the air and you go around in circles.  My daughter and I had a blast on this one and it was purely accidental that we got to ride it.  Dumbo is so iconic, that it has one of the longest wait times in the park.  However, if you’re lucky enough to encounter a Florida rain shower (and believe me, they happen almost every day, so you will be “lucky” enough to encounter one), Dumbo will shut down until the rain has ceased.  Stick around Dumbo during one of these showers and as soon as the rain lets up, get in line.  Emily and I only had to wait 10 minutes.  For my big-bellied fans: this ride has a seat belt that will stretch across you and your partner rider.  If the two of you do not fit together, they will bring you an extension.  Emily and I fit together just fine without it, but a bigger partner would have definitely have made one necessary.

Some people we don't know on the Dumbo ride.  Yes, there are pics of me and Em on the ride.  No, I have not posted them because they look horrible, it was dark and Hubby took them with his cell phone.

            And there it is: the end of Fantasyland in its current condition.  However, as I have said before, Fantasyland is under construction, so it will be bigger and better in the future.  We will definitely be revisiting.  Alas, now we have a problem.  The next area I was going to write about is Mickey’s Toontown Fair, but it is closed currently for the Fantasyland extension and I have no idea what is going to change in the meantime.  What would my readers like?  Should I talk about the Fair, or skip it?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So exciting!

My little blog that could is beginning to get quite a bit of traffic over the past two days and I couldn't be more excited!  Part of this is because I have been commenting at other blogs and leaving my blog address behnd.  So I would like to take this opportunity to thank the few blogs I read and maybe generate some more business for them!

And if I could afford it, I would treat them all to a trip to Disney World.  But that's only because I want to go again myself...  However, I cannot afford it, so let me just say instead, thanks for letting me advertise on your comments pages!

And now, in honor of the St Patty's Day Gods:

My St. Patrick's Day baby looks like an Italian mafioso in her Adidas pants.  And she looks like she's flipping me the bird...  I love her!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The one with a horse...

...By the way, special kudos points if you can figure out the joke behind the title to this post...

M.K. – Fantasyland Part III

            After reading about my husband’s devotion to Pecos Bill, you are never going to believe this next part: we actually got to try a different restaurant on our last trip to the World.  I know, calm yourselves, my big-bellied peers.  It will probably never happen again…
            But, yes, we got to try a restaurant in Fantasyland: the Pinocchio Village Haus.  It was really cute, my daughter loved the theme and the fact that I kept singing “Figaro and Cleo” to her, but the food stunk.  Beautiful to look at, not very tasty…  It’s back to Pecos Bill for us again.
            Interesting note about this area, it holds the oldest ride in the whole park.  Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel was actually built in 1917 and has had a few relocations before the Disney Imagineers rescued it and brought it to the World.  And if you’re looking to ride the horse that has been designated as Cinderella’s, pick the one with the gold bow on the tail, second one in.  My daughter did not get to ride this horse (not that she cares, she’s not even 2), but my husband took a random picture of it and the girl who was riding it, stalker-style.
            Outside of the carrousel is the Sword in the Stone.  Of course, my husband had to pose with it (I love him, but he really is a nerd).  By the way, look down at the stones surrounding the large rock.  The cement below is shaped like 2 large swords.  It’s the little twists that can turn your trip from great to extraordinary, seeing all of the details the Imagineers include.  Or you could just make a huge spectacle of yourself by pointing out all of these secret treasures to random people like I do…  I’m pretty sure Disney has my picture up and all cast members are to stop me from entering ever again.  Not to mention my stalker husband.

I told you, Stalker-style...  Someone call Dateline...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A change of pace...

I decided to go a little off topic today to give some hints that I have picked up through research and visiting the World myself.  No need to thank me, you haven't read the hints yet (hehehe)...

The Emily-baby sleeping in 40 degree weather with a Beatles cover band right behind her...  She's a great traveller...

1.  Sell your child and get an Emily-baby.  An Emily-baby is so-called because my daughter is named Emily and she is the best travelling baby I have ever seen.  She eats, sleeps, draws and watches movies.  Get one of these kids!  They make the trip worth it.  (I'm kidding, of course, don't sell your child.  Give the child to a family with reproductive issues.  Everyone deserves a home...)

2.  A little seriousness - Use FASTPASS!  I have talked about FASTPASS before, but haven't really explained it, so I will endeavor to do so now.  FASTPASS is kind of like Disney giving you permission to cut in line.  You take your park ticket to a designated area and swipe it through the machine.  The machine gives you a magical ticket with a time on it, telling you when to get come back to the attraction, to be able to cut in front of the commoners who have been waiting to get in since approximately the dawn of time.  In all seriousness, though, to be able to do everything you want to do at the World, the FASTPASS is a blessing.  It's only available for the attractions with the longest wait lines, but while you are waiting for the time on your card to come up, you can spend that time taking in other attractions with smaller lines.  One word of caution, however, you can only get one FASTPASS per hour, so you can't go around to every attraction in the morning and grab one for all of them.

3.  Pick the line farthest away from you!  There are certain attractions that you will have to get in one line, but will eventually split in to two.  Pick the farther line.  Let me give you an example: It's a Small World has two lines when you get to the bridge.  There is a right line, closest to the entrance, and a left line, against the wall.  Take the left line.  My husband and I took this line and passed up approximately 30 people standing in the right line.  The ride had a 15 minute wait time and we were on in (no joke) 3 minutes, simply because most people choose the line closest to them.

4. A correction from yesterday's post - you do not smell strawberries at the Philharmagic, you smell jasmine and apple pie.  Smelled like strawberries to me, though.  And an addendum for the Liberty Square post - I found out from the Disney Company, that they have gotten rid of the turnstiles at Haunted Mansion.  So for all of my fellow big-bellied fans, you need only worry about the bar on your lap in this attraction now.

TTFN Disney fans!  Ta Ta for now!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mickey's Philharmagic Rocks my World!

I'm very sorry avid readers, this whole blog is on ONE attraction.  I just can't get enough of it, I would talk about it for days if I could.  Forgive me (but, please, keep reading!)...

As much as I like this attraction, you'd think I would have a picture of it.  Alas, I do not...

M.K. - Fantasyland Part II
            I’m really excited to talk about this next attraction in Fantasyland: Mickey’s Philharmagic.  My husband and I originally avoided it, because we had no idea what it was.  But the last trip we took to Disney, we gave it a try and we loved it!  First off, before you go to it, get a FASTPASS for another ride (Peter Pan is perfect because it always has a long line.  If you want to ride it, you NEED the FASTPASS).  I suggest taking this time to get one because A.) some of the FASTPASS booths are conveniently installed in front of the Philharmagic and B.) the Philharmagic is 20 minutes long, usually a nice distraction when waiting for your FASTPASS times…
            Now, why do I like the Philharmagic so much?  One, there is little to no wait time.  It is a 3D movie in a theater and the theater holds a lot of people.  The only long wait you may encounter (20 minutes) is if you get to the theater right after a show starts.  Otherwise, 5-10 minutes, tops.
            Two, it is near the center of Fantasyland.  Most of the attractions at Fantasyland run high wait times; this is nice attraction to catch along the way.  Which brings me to number three, it’s indoors, people!  That means seating and either air conditioning or heating (depending on the season you visit).
            But, the main reason I suggest the Philharmagic, its just plain cute and funny!  As far as 3D movies at Disney World go, I used to be a diehard Muppets fan.  And I hate to say it, but the Philharmagic puts Muppets to shame (Muppets needs some updating, badly!).  In the Philharmagic, you will get splashed with water, smell some strawberries in the air and watch Donald get shot out of a tuba cannon and into the wall behind you.  Too cute!  And for all of my big-bellied readers, this is one of the most comfortable theaters in the whole park.  So you will sit in comfort!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I'm under construction!

Sorry, y'all!  I know I haven't blogged in about a thousand years, but I have been having internet issues.  I hope to be back to my awesome big-bellied blogging by tomorrow...  Sunday, by the latest...  I haven't forgotten about my avid (8) readers!

In the meantime, some information I found out from the Disney company:

The new Fantasyland expansion should be completed by 2012.  In the meantime, Toontown Fair is closed.  The castle is also currently being renovated on the Fantasyland side.

Haunted Mansion and the bridge to Adventureland are also experiencing changes.  That's all I know, I will be back tomorrow or Sunday with some information on some new parts of Fantasyland!