Daisy’s Best Week Ever, September 15, 2016: Disney on Ice (and off ice)!

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Hello, lovebugs! I hope you’ve had an amazing last few weeks! This week we’re visiting Disney on Ice, taking a quick trip to Epcot, and finishing up with some nighttime fun at Animal Kingdom.

Now, I’m not sure if you guys will appreciate Disney on Ice. I know it wasn’t very popular when I posted it on Instagram. (Did you know TouringPlans has an Instagram?? Come play with us there!) But I absolutely loved the show. We were fortunate enough to have seats right on the ice and I was ready with my camera. While I agree Frozen has been overplayed,  I was just enchanted with the characters in this format. Just take a look at how pretty Elsa was in her element!


There’s lots more to see this week. Click to read more.

All the newest characters were on display including the creepy, yet cute, Baby Dory. I was surprised and impressed they somehow managed to take us on an aquatic adventure for a nice chunk of the show. Considering they travel from city to city there were more set pieces than I would have expected. Everything seamlessly worked together to transport the audience around the Disney universe.


Of course, they didn’t forget the classics. I was confused that a large segment of the show was themed to Beauty and the Beast until I remembered the live action release is just around the corner. I guess now is a good time to remind kids about this one. What do you guys think? Have you been to Disney on Ice before? What did you think of the show? Maybe I’m the weird one liking it so much!


Of course, Belle and Beast weren’t the only members of The Disney Renaissance that showed up. While I was taking photos, I was trying to cast a live action Aladdin in my head. It seems inevitable that it will happen at this point. So who would you put in the lead rolls? I have a few ideas, but I want to hear from you guys in the comments! 😀


Okay, one more and I’ll move on from Disney on Ice. It wouldn’t be complete without the big cheese himself! I don’t know how the characters manage to stay so graceful on those skates. They really are just so talented. So while it’s a departure from the regular park stuff, I hope you guys enjoyed getting a glimpse. I hope it helps you decide if you’re considering tickets in your hometown.


Getting back to sights and sounds around Walt Disney World, we recently visited Kona Cafe and I wanted to share it with you. We hadn’t eaten here in quite a while, but decided to give it a shot because we wanted to watch the fireworks from the beach and nothing else was available. It wasn’t our first pick, but spoiler alert, we were pleasantly surprised by our meal here!


We decided to start with Pot Stickers and Steamed Pork Buns. These were both awesome with perfect texture and spices! Fair warning that everything was served lukewarm, but I actually prefer it that way. When we were seated we were also greeted with bread and macadamia nut butter. By the time it was time the talk about entrées we were already pretty full!


Since we weren’t too hungry we decided to share the Pan-Asian Noodles with Chicken. I know this looks messy, but don’t be deceived! The flavor was amazing. It was packed full of veggies with a light sauce. We both just loved it, and splitting a meal meant we had room for dessert!


Looking over the options we couldn’t resist the Chocolate Fondue. When it came to the table I was a little concerned that it was just chocolate sauce. I was so wrong! The chocolate was absolutely melted milk chocolate. It was so good we might have even snuck a bite before I took the picture! Overall, I was really impressed and we’ll come back for sure. It’s a great spot for dinner if you’d like to watch Hallowishes from the Polynesion Resort beach.


I also popped over to Epcot for a quick visit. The crowds have been a little lower over the past few weeks making it easier to just run in the parks for a casual evening. Was it really a visit to Epcot if you don’t include a photo of Spaceship Earth? I don’t think it is! 😀


My name is Daisy, and I’m a dark ride photography-aholic. I don’t think I’m ever going to get through a post without including photos on at least one of the rides. Sometimes I wonder when I include a photo like the one below if everyone “gets” it. So, let me know in the comments if you totally don’t know where this photo is from. (No, really. It will help me make sure I don’t lose you guys with my randomness.)


The real reason from my visit was to take a spin on Test Track. With everyone clamoring for Frozen fastpasses, it’s become much easier to get on the other tier one rides. While I really enjoyed Frozen, I think I’d rather ride Test Track if given the choice. What do you guys think? Which would you pick?


Okay, some of them are just for me. While strolling out of the park I walked through MouseGear to check out the latest merchandise and spotted this guy. I don’t know if this was the handy work of a cast member or a clever guest, but either way I’m a fan. Bailey the Whale is working that Stitch t-shirt!


Our last stop this week is Animal Kingdom where I spent a few nights filming for some upcoming TouringPlans videos. Even though there’s a little work being done, doesn’t The Tree of Life look great? Be sure to checkout the TouringPlans YouTube Channel for all out upcoming features, including some bar highlights and safari footage.


While the sun was setting I strolled around Harambe taking in the sights. After the last Festival of the Lion King show this area completely empties out. Once Pandora opens up, I don’t think this will be the case so I’m taking advantage of these empty landscapes while I still can.


It’s magical to be able to have any part of a Disney park all to yourself. If anyone is looking to take family photos this is a great tip. The area is lovely! There’s no telling how long it will last, though. Popular theory is that Avatar will open around spring of next year. Well, that is unless it pulls a “Rivers of Light”. 😉


Looking at my photos you can tell I ran all over the park trying to catch a sunset that never really materialized. I won’t take a blue sky for granted, though. Even Dinoland USA looks nice against a backdrop like that. If you look up in the left hand corner that little dot is the moon!


The large outdoor theater for Rivers of Light is sitting empty without a nighttime show at the park. I know they’re working on getting it right, but it seems like such a waste of space. For now we’re all watching and waiting for nighttime entertainment to come back to Animal Kingdom.


Of course, what Animal Kingdom is really about is incredible view like this one. I still really want Rivers of Light, but where else can you see something like this in a theme park?


It’s also worth mentioning that a whole new type of “animal” is prevalent in Animal Kingdom. I’m late to the Pokemon Go craze, but still have had some fun catching them all. (Fact check: I’ve caught a few at best!) I know most people have better things to do while in the parks, but why not check in while resting your feet?


My last stop of the night was Africa for an evening safari. While not everyone agrees with me on the subject, I’m not really a fan. That might be because I enjoy photography and the extra dark conditions make that almost impossible. I guess I’d rather go during the day when I can see the animals? Have you tried the night safari? What did you think?


Along the way I passed some of the new entertainment in Harambe. If nothing else, I hope these acts all stay in the park. They bring so much energy! I don’t think that photos really do them justice so I uploaded a couple of videos here and here.


And now, here it is, the one photo that turned out from my night safari. I hate not being able to share things with you! But really, the evening safari is more something to be felt. It’s about sounds and shadows out with the animals. If nothing else, I love Animal Kingdom having later hours and the safari is part of that!


Heading towards the front of the park I heard the unmistakable sound of fireworks! I bolted for the bridge hoping for any kind of a view. While I didn’t have any time to compose a shot, I think this gives you an idea of what fireworks from Hollywood Studios look like in Animal Kingdom. The view wasn’t half bad! 😀


My last view walking out for the night was the Tree of Life, looking totally amazing. I can’t get over what a great job they did here. It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago this was a daytime only park for the most part. Now, just a few months later, this centerpiece is absolutely stunning. If this is any indication what we can look forward to in Pandora then I’m one excited girl!


And with that we’ll wrap up this week. I always love to hear from you in the comments below. Please give me your feedback and let me know what you’d like to see in future weeks. (I’m thinking maybe a “World Tour” of Epcot?) Until next time, I’m wishing you the BEST WEEK EVER!

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Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

24 thoughts on “Daisy’s Best Week Ever, September 15, 2016: Disney on Ice (and off ice)!

  • September 15, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Daisy, thanks for your great posts! I follow y’all on Instagram and love your pictures…makes a bad day at work a little better to dream about being at Disney. I think your earlier dark photo is from Spaceship Earth when Michelangelo is painting the Sistene Chapel – I love that ride! We are going to AK on Sunday and hoping to stay later to see the park at night. We are also trying Wild Africa Trek for the first time, have you experienced it before?

    • September 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      I have done Wild Africa Trek… and I’ll tell you an embarrassing story! 😀 For the first part of the tour you are required to wear a pretty heavy safety vest. (You use it to clip onto safety wires when you’re high up) Well, it was July and I was so hot I sweat completely through my shirt. That wouldn’t have been so bad but I had on a VERY bright bra.. which was visible for the second half of the tour. So, just keep that in mind! LOL. It was an amazing tour though. I know you’ll love it!

      • September 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm

        Thanks for the tip, Daisy! I will make sure I wear a dark colored shirt! My husband and I are going for our anniversary, and doing the “adult” extras that my kids would not want to do. 🙂

      • September 15, 2016 at 9:52 pm

        I hope Trader Sams made the list too! 😉

    • September 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      I’ve done the Wild Africa Trek twice and I LOVE it! My tip is to wear long pants and closed shoes. I’m not sure of the time of year you are going but I felt better knowing that my legs and feet covered as I was trekking because you do go “off road”.

  • September 15, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I always love these posts! Daisy, you take some great photos! How in the world did you take the one with the fireworks?? It’s really good for a nighttime shot! Also, that last photo of the Tree is perfect! I absolutely love all the colors and I’m so anxious to see it in person!

    • September 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you, Jamie! The fireworks shot is total wizardry. 😉 No, really it is. I started by setting my camera on a wall so I could open the shutter for 10 seconds. Then when I got home I edited the photo to lighten the shadows and pull down the brightness in the fireworks. (The photo was in a format called RAW – which means rather than the camera deciding how to process it I was able to do it myself on the computer) It’s complicated, but I really enjoy messing with photos. I did the same thing with the tree photo – but it really looks that good in person. I can’t wait for you to get to see it!!! 😀

  • September 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you so much for your post. I follow you on IG as well – thank you so much for posting such great pictures! I haven’t tried the nighttime safari yet but I will try it when I’m at WDW in November. I think I would feel the same as you – my favourite would be the daytime option because I could see everything so clearly in the day. I’ll keep you posted on my final thought 😉

    • September 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Belinda! Thanks for your nice comment and following on Insta. I really would like to know what you think in November. I dunno, sometimes I think it’s just me because I can’t take photos! 😉 November isn’t very long!! Let me know if there is something specific you’d like me to see in future weeks to help with your countdown.

      • September 15, 2016 at 7:48 pm

        Hi Daisy 🙂 I will do my best to update you on my opinion – let’s hope they continue to offer the evening safari 🙂

        I’m actually going to be arriving on Oct 30th and will fly home on Nov 11th so I could hit both MNSSHP and MVMCP on the same trip! As well as Food and Wine Festival!!!!! 45 days to go! Can you tell I’m excited? 😀

        I’m in full on research mode for F&W – even though it’s my 5th time going I still want to be prepared and not miss a thing. I would love any pictures of the festival you can spare…honestly you do such a great job with your post that my only complaint is when I get to the end of the post – it’s over too soon. 🙁

        Thanks for all you do in feeding my Disney obsession!

      • September 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        OMG – that is the perfect trip. And the weather should be great! I haven’t even made it to F&W yet, they’re going to take my blogging card away!! 😉 Happy yo feed your obsession – it’s my obsession too!! 😀

      • September 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm

        Oh my word! they wouldn’t dare take away your card – I wouldn’t hear of it 🙂 and in your defense the festival just started. Thanks for all you do 🙂

      • September 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm

        Belinda, you are going at my absolute favorite time! We we’re there one year for the last Halloween party, the last day of the food and wine, the first day of the Christmas party and the first day of the Osborne lights. The weather was great..not to hot, not too cold but we were still able to swim without freesing.

      • September 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        *freezing. (I went to fix it and hit “post your comment” instead)
        Anyway, we literally saw it go from Halloween to Christmas overnight. It was so awesome!
        Have a great time!

      • September 16, 2016 at 6:48 pm

        Oh thanks! I can’t wait! As a DVC member we have the privilege of visiting often but so far the only month we haven’t been is November – glad to hear it’s pretty much perfection. It’s always been on my bucket list to go to both parties on the same trip (been several times to both, just on separate trips). The only “sadness” is that we won’t be enjoying The Osborne Lights again – oh well, I guess Star Wars is a pretty good exchange.

  • September 15, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Definitely keep the dark ride photos in your posts; we love ’em! If anyone doesn’t recognize a scene, it’s just another thing for them to keep an eye out for next time. 😉

    • September 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks, Gillian. For me a big part of getting into photography was to take great photos on the dark rides! I was totally confused when they didn’t get half as many likes on Insta as just a photo I took on my phone. I’m glad to know you like them!! I’ll slip some in the next time I’m scheduled (10/13) and I’ll also have another special surprise! 😀

  • September 15, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Daisy!
    Love the dark ride photo…I vote to keep them coming. Also, love the pics and mini review of the Kona Cafe. That all looks delicious! We’ve never really given that place much thought but we’re definitely going to go there next trip.
    Great post as usual and all the pics are great. 🙂

    • September 15, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Thank you!! 😀 I always appreciate your nice comments. Love you guys!

  • September 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Bailey the Whale reminds me of the chest-burster from Alien!

    Love the night time photos. I’m curious about the fireworks shot. I thought the issue with night fireworks at AK is because of the animals being frightened but it looks like they can see and hear them.

    Always love the dark ride photos! Thanks for sharing your Best Weeks with us!

    • September 18, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Hi Roland – I’m so sorry I haven’t responded to you sooner. I was out of town without my laptop. I can’t imagine what fireworks IN Animal Kingdom would be like. The ones pictures were miles away and still loud and clearly visible. I can imagine it would be hard on the animals to do them in the park. But doesn’t Busch Gardens?? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know. Thank you for reading and commenting. Glad you’re a dark ride fan too. 😀

  • September 17, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Another stellar post, you have a gift! Question- the first few pix from the Animal Kingdom part of the post look “bendy”…were you using a GoPro by chance? Specifically it was the one from Dinoland and a few from the Lion King theatre. Let me know! And PS- that fireworks shot is totally BOSS!!!

    • September 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Haha, I don’t know about that, but I’m glad you enjoyed! 😉 I wasn’t on a GoPro. I used to have one but I just couldn’t get the hang of it, so I sold it off. The bendy shots were taking with a Sony a6000 + Rokinon 8mm f2.8 lens. The fireworks shot was with much more expensive Canon gear, but that’s just because it’s what I had with me. The Sony could have gotten that shot too. 😀 Are you a photo guy? Link me to your flickr page or something? (Though, admittedly I haven’t updated mine in ages!)

  • September 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I agree 100% on the night safari. As the guy behind me said, “feels like a night time hayride”. I felt really, really sorry for the animals. The brakes alone on the jeeps were screeching and loud, and I tried to imagine hearing that all day AND night. The whole thing just felt wrong and cheesy.


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