Magical Blogograil: What to do on Non-Park Days – Waterways

What’s more relaxing than enjoying the waterways of Walt Disney World? Many take a resort day to escape the crowds, but we like to board one of the many water craft, available at no cost, and chart a course!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing fun things to do at Disney on non-Park days.


Hi Ho and it’s a pirate’s life for me! Well, not actually a pirate’s life, more like a passenger’s life!

Come aboard this post and enjoy the views of Walt Disney World from a different perspective:

Waterways On Board

Here we are aboard one of the many Water Taxis that take passengers from one resort to the next on the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can visit Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (pictured above), Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. And of course, ending up at The Magic Kingdom.

Waterways Craft

While on route, you can enjoy beautiful vistas and view your favorite attractions from unique angles, such as Space Mountain, above. Also above you can see one of the smaller water craft that you can rent for personal tours of the lake.

Waterways Contemporary View

Seeing structures like the Contemporary from the water side is a rare treat, complete with a monorail sighting if you time things just right!

Waterways Docking

Above is a view of one of the Water Taxis arriving at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.

Waterways Shoreline

Sometimes you can see older attractions, or what’s left of them, such as this landing from the old River Country water park. The above picture was taken in 2008 so I wonder how much of this scene is left now.

Waterways Arrival at Magic Kingdom

Ferryboats run from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the entrance of The Magic Kingdom. You could take the monorail, but that wouldn’t be as wet!

Waterways Ferryboat

Empty Ferryboat on Training Run

Other vessels also ply the waterways:

Waterways Misc Boat

No matter which option you choose, the fun is the same! As hinted at earlier, you can also rent jet skis, paddle boats, canoes, and other water craft for solo or group adventures.

Waterways Sailing

Sailboats Too!

Waterways Sunset

And when the day is done, you will be treated to some of the most breathtaking images you can imagine!

So who’s with me? Will you take to the waters on your next non-Park day?

For more ways to spend non-park days at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Magical Blogorail: Best Live Entertainment – Epcot

Disney has always plussed the guest experience with a wonderful variety of live entertainment around the parks. Epcot is perhaps unique in that it offers colorful selections from around the real world around the World Showcase!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing some of the best live entertainment at the Disney Parks.


I’d like to share some of the live entertainment acts that I have seen around Epcot over the years. Just like the other attractions in the parks, these acts have come and gone in an ever-changing line-up of talent.

Live Entertainment Morocco

MO’ROCKIN

This was a 6-person Moroccan musical act that played in the Morocco Pavilion. The group was often accompanied by a belly dancer. Unfortunately, Disney decided to discontinue this act and it played for the last time on September 27th, 2014.

Live Entertainment Extra

Sometimes this version of Mo’Rockin would be playing in the Morocco Pavilion.

Live Entertainment Off Kilter

Off Kilter

Off Kilter is a high-energy Celtic rock band founded by Jamie Holton, bagpiper, in 1996. The band is a unique blend of traditional Celtic tunes and songs with a rock twist, popular covers arranged with a Celtic rock feel, and original songs. Instruments consist of bagpipes, Irish whistles, electric guitar, bass, fiddle, drums and vocals. The band played for 18 years as one of the most popular bands at Walt Disney World in Florida (Canadian Pavilion, Epcot), and currently tours the country performing at many different venues.

Live Entertainment Quartet

Quartet

I wish I could remember which country these four entertainers represented! They were quite good.

So, I’ve shared acts that aren’t in Epcot anymore. I include them to show the variety of acts that have been offered over the years.

The official lineup now is as follows:

  • British Revolution (English groups cover band)
  • JAMMitors (Percussion group)
  • Jeweled Dragon Acrobats (Chinese acrobatics)

Live Entertainment Acrobats

  • Mariachi Cobre (Mexican band)
  • Matsuriza (Japanese drumming)
  • Rose & Crown Pub Musician (Piano)
  • Voices of Liberty (American vocal group)
  • Wies N Buam (German Oomph band)

This is by no means an exhaustive list. You can check out this official Disney site for show times and other entertainment offered.

I hope this whets your appetite for live entertainment at Epcot!

For more must see live entertainment at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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‘Walt Disney’s Disneyland’ Book Review

Walt Disney was a master of promotion. His Disneyland television show was basically a weekly commercial advertising his upcoming theme park. And in that theme park, he continued this self-promotion with the release, each year, of souvenir booklets, pamphlets, and hardcover books, all designed to keep guests dreaming about Disneyland long after the visit was over!

This post is a review of one such publication:

Walt Disney Book Cover

This 70-page book has no ISBN number and no publisher but does reference Walt Disney Productions. It was printed in the U.S.A. possibly in February of 1971. However, the copyright date is 1969.

Walt Disney Book Introduction

This book was first published in 1964 and was re-released every year afterwards. For how long, I don’t know. Slight changes to this publication likely would have been made as new attractions were added to the park and others removed.

Walt Disney Book Jungle Cruise

The book is filled with beautiful two-page spreads of popular attractions. The Jungle Cruise, above,  is a personal favorite!

Walt Disney Book Skyway

One of the best reasons for purchasing such an old book is because of the history it contains. Attractions like The Skyway, now gone (but rumored to be returning to Walt Disney World), are fun to see again!

Walt Disney Book Collage

Young and Old Enjoy Disneyland

Walt Disney Book Panorama

A panoramic shot like this one shows both the Columbia and the Mark Twain. Would you like to be sitting on one of those benches right now?

Walt Disney Book Riverboat

Beautiful!

Walt Disney Book Small World

The book covers many of the classic attractions with colorful pictures and informative text.

The book actually starts with a brief history of the construction of Disneyland. It then covers each of the cardinal lands in turn: Fantasyland; Adventureland; Frontierland; Tomorrowland; and of course, Main Street U.S.A.

Next it covers the first and second decades of the park in their own sections. New Orleans Square and the updated Tomorrowland are also featured. The book ends with a ‘what is to come’ page featuring the soon-to-be opened Walt Disney World.

COOL FACTOR: 4.5/5

For the casual Disney fan, this book would be a fun read. For the diehard fan, it is an essential read of the history of Disneyland!

I would have given it a higher rating if not for the fact that it is merely a reprint of earlier, essentially the same, publications. But even so, I highly recommend it!

I picked it up at a thrift store for just $5.00 CAN.

If Florida is more your destination, why not check out my review of the book Disney’s Adventure Guide to Florida. It’s got pictures, too!

Bell-shaped Disney Salt & Pepper Shakers

I love collecting. And Disney Salt & Pepper Shakers are an easy and inexpensive way to grow your collection. These bell-shaped sets are a good example as they are readily available at charity shops and online.

I have two sets (unpacked, more in storage!) to show today:

Bell-Shaped TinkBell-Shaped Tink Back

Tinker Bell / Disneyland Castle

First we have this Disneyland set by Walt Disney Productions featuring both Tinker Bell and a very nice representation of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

This set has a six-hole pattern in the back instead of the more common two holes for salt and three holes for pepper, but each can have more, although the proportion of bigger and more holes for salt is almost always observed.

Next is another set from Disneyland:

Bell-Shaped CastlesBell-Shaped Castles Back

Castle / Carrousel

Here we have stylized representations of Sleeping Beauty Castle and King Arthur Carrousel (now called Prince Charming Regal Carrousel). They are reminiscent of Mary Blair designs.

This set has six holes for salt but only five holes for pepper.

I just couldn’t resist lining them up for a group shot:

Bell-Shaped Together

Group Shot. Say: “Ding-a-Ling-a-Ling”

In the shot above you can clearly see the similar shapes of the ‘bells’ but note the thicker gold banding on the base of the set on the left. And the diameter of the gold rings just under the handles are slightly different.

Bell-Shaped Comparison

Disneyland Logo x 2

You can also see that the handles themselves are also different, not in shape, but in thickness. This makes it easy to know if a Seller has mixed-and-matched a bell-shaped ‘set’ for resale. This does happen! Also, the stoppers can also be missing, as with the Tinker Bell / Castle set in this post.

These bell-shaped salt & pepper shakers can sell from $5.00 to $10.00 US on Internet selling sites.

For a more complete look at my Disney Salt & Pepper Shaker collection, click the link, or click Huey Dewey Louie Shakers for another set of spicy little collectibles!

Epcot: Jumping Water Fountain at Night

It’s always fun to watch the jumping water fountain at Epcot in Walt Disney World. But at night, it adds a special dimension:

fountain leaping water

From one pot to another

The shot is a bit grainy but I still like the colors and of course the water in mid leap.

If you look closely, you can also see Spaceship Earth in the background with the Epcot wand still installed.

This picture was taken in 2007.

Big Dig Clock from Disney’s Animal Kingdom

With the invention of the SmartPhone, who uses clocks or watches anymore? Well, I do, for one! And if they come molded into a piece of sculpture, and are called Big Dig Clock, well, it’s even better:

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Mickey’s uncovered a timepiece

This is a wonderful little figurine that comes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World, Florida.

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A good view from all sides!

I have another example of this clock-in-sculpture style of merchandise in the post entitled Waiting With Mickey Mouse. It comes from Disneyland Paris. Be sure to check it out!

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Timepiece is removable

I recently rescued this from a lonely shelf at an Antique Market in Michigan, so obviously the timepiece needs a battery.

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 “Big Dig in the Boneyard”

You can visit this area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom yourself. It’s an open air play space designed to look like a dinosaur dig site where kids can explore and have fun. Smack in the middle of DinoLand U.S.A., you just can’t miss it. After all, even the bones the dinosaurs left behind are BIG!

I wonder if dinosaurs could tell time?

Greenfield Village: Relaxation on a Bench in Summertime

Into every vacation a little relaxation must fall. When visiting a theme park it’s easy to get into the rush of racing from one attraction to the next! But as one gets older, the scene below starts to have a certain appeal:

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Greenfield Village – 2016

Again, I don’t pretend to be a professional photographer, so I try to focus on subject and contrast rather than technical tricks. In this shot, I liked how the building in the background was in shadow as it made the illuminated picket fence pop even more. The curved border and paved walkway added interest through variety of shape.

And yes, I sat on the bench after taking the shot!

Disneyland Dedication Plaque: Welcome to This Happy Place

dedication-plaque

DISNEYLAND – JULY 17, 1955

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past… and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

What more can you say?

Epcot Pavilions as Seen from World Showcase Lagoon

Have you ever looked at something in a different way and come to a whole new appreciation of it? I did so back in 2008 when I boarded a Friendship Taxi to circle the World Showcase Lagoon and saw the Pavilions from a whole different angle.

You can see some of these perspectives by viewing an earlier post entitled Scenes Around World Showcase. But I’d like to display more Pavilions from the vantage point of the water for you again:

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How many times have you taken a Friendship Taxi to get around the World Showcase, viewing it only as a form of transportation from point A to point B? No matter where I am or what am I doing, I always look for opportunities for another photographic essay!

Have you ever taken to the World Showcase Lagoon to get a better angle or the perfect shot?

Sights Around Greenfield Village from 2016

When I’m not reporting on all-things Disney I can be found out and about searching for interesting things to photograph. One of my favorite spots to visit is Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.

Before I show my latest selection of shots I should remind everyone that I am by no means a professional photographer. Many if not most are more competent with f-stops and apertures than I’ll ever be! So what I try to focus on is subject and composition to create interesting pictures.

Please let me know if I’ve succeeded:

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Notice that I used framing, juxtaposition, and repetition to create interest. If you liked today’s post from 2016 you may enjoy a look back at Greenfield Village in 2007.