Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a look at resort decorations at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, then heading to the Magic Kingdom to check out the Jingle Cruise, and wrapping up with meeting Baymax at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We might even sneak in a little mini golf! 🙂 So let’s get started! Anyone that’s read before knows that I normally try to start with a smaller photo, but this one was too good to shrink. This is the new Frozen gingerbread display for this year at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It replaces a gingerbread tree with a more colorful Small World theme from years past. Want to hear more about it? Click “read more” just below the photo. I know that everyone isn’t a fan of Frozen “taking over”, but I’m happy to see a something new! Lots of fun facts about this sweet display can be found in the photo (below left). Below right, you’ll see a long line of Frozen goodies for sale. It’s mostly snacks, but you’ll also find pins and plush available for purchase. The gift shop nearby has also been taken over with tons of Frozen merchandise.
Speaking of the gift shop next door, check out the new Christmas goodies I found. The red night shirt on the left is cute on the front but cuter on the back (below right)! It seems like they should display it backwards to show Pluto off! This retails for $34.95 and don’t forget that you can click on any photo to see more details.
Also for Christmas is a Haunted Mansion Holiday shirt on the below left. At $24.95 the price didn’t seem so bad, and I’m always excited to see more Nightmare Before Christmas in the parks. On the right is a Tinker Bell frame that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I know it doesn’t fit the Christmas theme, but I thought it was worth showing off at $34.95.
Heading over to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, you’ll notice that the Christmas tree isn’t up in the lobby just yet. Very soon that grand piano will be missing and an enormous Christmas tree will be in that spot. Keep an eye out in the following weeks for another photo showing the entire lobby all decorated for the holidays!
One classic decoration is already up in the lobby, the gingerbread house! If you’ve never seen it before this amazing display will actually open for business in a few more days. From inside the house they sell gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, and other specialty chocolates. I love watching people walk up in awe of this massive gingerbread house and then be amazed that there’s a business bustling inside! I’m counting down the days until my first gingerbread cookie of the year.
We visited Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort but didn’t find any Christmas decorations to report. We’ll check back, but we’ve noticed that they haven’t offered anything in awhile. With the construction I can’t imagine that they’ll decorate too much for 2014. Do you have any other resorts you’d like us to visit for Christmas this year? Let me know in the comments below! Next we’re stopping by the Magic Kingdom, look at those flowers out front. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 🙂
As we were walking along a construction wall near The Crystal Palace I popped my camera over the top for a quick shot. It seems like the walls have been up so long, I was just sure that they had to be close to done back there. Well, as you can see below, it’s just a mess. It doesn’t look like they’re anywhere near done. It’s taking a long time, but it’s going to be incredible when this is finally complete. Can you imagine that view without the walls? I can’t wait!
We had a FastPass+ reservation for Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. I’ve been trying to stop by more often since it will be closing in February for a refurbishment and will likely emerge a very different ride. It seems like it might need work, though. As we were waiting the ride stopped twice, making our wait time nearly 15 minutes despite FastPass+. While we were riding it also stopped another three times! They were having trouble, but I still love this ride. Bonus: I’ve been trying for the photo on the left for months! Score!!
We also had a FastPass+ for the Jingle Cruise, and I’m happy to report that it’s much better this year. There seemed to be more decorations and the jokes made more sense. I have a couple photos below for you but I didn’t want to post too much since the very awesome Seth Kubersky shared a full blog on the topic recently. You can find it here if you’re interested in seeing more.
Okay, just one more. How funny is this board full of new year’s resolutions? Last year I did the Jingle Cruise once and was pretty much done with it, but this year I’m excited to try it again.
Also spotted at the Magic Kingdom this week were holiday cups. Okay, so maybe it isn’t the sexiest update. But news is news, right? 😉 Why were we sitting at Tomorrowland Terrace you ask? Well, all the seats from Casey’s Corner to there were taken! It was extremely crowded at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. It was the busiest we’ve seen this day since 2006! Be prepared for the crowds as it seems they’re coming back in full force.
Since it was so packed we decided to sneak over to the Winter Summerland miniature golf course. The weather was great, and it was a treat to avoid the crowds. We were able to play with no wait. If you haven’t visited here then I highly recommend it! I don’t even like miniature golf, but Disney makes it fun. You can find more information on miniature golf at Disney World in this article I wrote last year.
Here’s a sneak peek at the 18th hole on the Summer course. Everyone gets a hole in one and the video is different, so this won’t necessarily be a spoiler. The 18th hole of the Winter course is the same video setup. http://youtu.be/ns4qrbfmdcY Bright and early the next morning we were heading into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They already have their tree up out front, and it looks lovely as always! Though I didn’t include it here, there are also lots of garland and decorations along the main streets inside the park.
So why was I at the Studios? To meet Baymax, of course! I thought I was there in time for his first set, but they had already cut the line. The characters went offstage with 15 minutes still left on the published schedule. I’m not sure if they were having trouble with the Baymax costume or if they just overestimated how long it would take guests to meet him. In any case I was left with time to kill. The queue is really nice for the Big Hero 6 meet and greet (below right). Of course, you can also find Magicbands with the new character. At $24.95 I can’t imagine I’ll ever buy one of these. What do you think? Who is buying these pricey accessories? (Says the girls with a Disney Dooney fetish)
If you’d like to meet Baymax I suggest that you get there at least 15 minutes before he’s scheduled to arrive. Once he’s on stage the line just explodes! I waited a total of 45 minutes from the time we arrived. That isn’t something I would have ever done before blogging, but I’m so thankful for you guys! It was so fun to meet Baymax! After taking a few photos I asked to touch Baymax because I wanted to see what he felt like. With that, Hiro insisted I had to hug him, and I did! He feels like a big, squishy inner tube and you can hear the fan running inside the costume to keep him fluffy. The only miss is that he can’t fist bump like in the movie.
One last note on the Baymax character, take a look at him walking. I have no idea what body type fits inside that costume but this might the the cutest walk I’ve ever seen. http://youtu.be/dfkf7btlbKM Located just beside the meet and greet are new Big Hero 6 pressed pennies. On the below right you’ll see sippy cups that are being sold all over the park. They’re $9.99 when filled with your favorite soda. I’ve also heard talk of Baymax balloons being sold in the parks soon so I’ll keep an eye out for those!
While rumors are swirling about the hat coming down, unfortunately the stage went back up. I’m not sure what events are coming up that would require this space. Maybe it’s a hint that fireworks are coming back for the busy holiday months?
And let’s end where we always seem to… with some shopping! I think I’ve found the ugliest holiday shirts at Disney! What do you think? Would you wear these to that office Xmas party?
That’s everything for this week. Now let’s see what you can expect if you’re visiting next week.
Crowd Calendar: Hunker down, my friends. We’re about to head into the Thanksgiving holiday and one of the busiest weeks of the year. Be sure you have those Touring Plans optimized and that you’re rope drop ready!
Weather: Not much has changed in the forecast since last week. It looks mostly nice this week with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, but there are some possible storms that might take lows down to the 30s. Be sure to check the latest weather if you’ll be visiting.
Remember: The Haunted Mansion will be down for refurbishment December 1 – 19. You can find a full list of upcoming renovations here.
Here’s my top tip for this week: Tired of the crazy crowded parks? Take some time to tour resorts or visit other Disney entertainment options. We had a ball checking out decorations at the hotels and it will only get better once the decorations are finished. Miniature golf saved an otherwise ruined, busy day. Think outside the parks when you need a break.
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!