Monday, April 27, 2015

Breakfast at Royal Court on the Disney Fantasy

   It may seem totally unlikely, but after a few days on a Disney Cruise you may start to get sick of the endless buffet offerings at Cabanas. That establishment touts an enormous variety...most of which is pretty good. However, you end up losing out on some of the niceties of a sit down restaurant.  
   Luckily, there is always an "included with cruise" sit down option for every meal.  These offerings are held in the rotational dinner restaurants, and usually have a shorter window of opportunity than Cabanas.  In our case, we were getting pretty sick of buffet food and decided to enjoy a slower pace on a day at sea toward the end of our trip. 

   Royal Court is the "fancy" (i.e. less in your face) of the three rotational dining restaurants.  It is by no means actual real life fancy, but is nice none the less.  The atmosphere is very warm, especially for breakfast when the sun is still filtering in.  The beige and gold color scheme isn't usually my color choice, but works well enough here.  Don't forget to check out the princess mosaics covering the walls! 

   The whole point of eating here for breakfast as opposed to Cabanas is for table take advantage of this time and relax.  Servers here will probably not be your team from dinner, though they are comprised of the same pool of servers. Rest assured you will be waited on hand and foot, often by a few different people. 
   The tables are dressed in their nice dinner linens, with real dishes.  After a week of cruising it is a real simple pleasure to drink out of a nice coffee cup with saucer. I'm not sure how the doughnut ended up on my table.  I'm pretty sure I just casually mentioned a doughnut and moments later it appeared. This is the kind of service you get. Doughnuts as far as the eye can see. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Marc Davis Haunted Mansion Concept Art

   Its hard to figure out how certain pieces of Disney concept art become well known, while others less so.  I don't fancy myself an expert on any subject, let alone Disney history, but I do spend a inappropriate amount of time trolling Tumblr looking at Disney parks concept art.  It tends to be a lot of the same images, usually showcasing the most classic scenes in an attraction.  Often times these concepts show an illustrated version of something very similar to what was actually produced.  Maybe the familiarity is what drives people to continue sharing these images, which shows a lack of real interest in the actual history of an attraction. This is maddening because the process is the most interesting part of the finished attraction in many cases.  Anyway, I'm just typing to type at this point. Stop overthinking Andy.
   I find this to be the case a lot with Marc Davis.  While reading Marc Davis Walt Disney's Renaissance Man I was in awe of how many concept pieces I was unfamiliar with.  Here are just three gorgeous concepts for the Haunted Mansion.  Yes, I understand others ARE indeed familiar...but heck, I'm sure they're new so some of you.

Why would the attic bride have a dog? What? 

I heart this bat.

   I hope that you enjoyed these as much as I do. Walt Disney's Renaissance Man is seriously a wonderful resource into Marc Davis's background and process, and just stunning to look at.  I couldn't recommend it more. 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BGM Of The Week: Grand Californian

   In preparation for our Disneyland trip, which is just over a week away, I've been scouring Youtube for background music loops specific to the Disneyland Resort.
   Boy was I happy to find what is apparently the loop from the Grand Californian. (where we're staying...)  I say apparently because, though I've stayed at this hotel before, I'm not as intimately familiar with this music as say...Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I do tend to trust the source, aka Superhotlarry...who has never steered me off wrong before.

   This loop is similar to the Wilderness Lodge loop in the fact that it is mostly composed of epic movie scores.  Among them, Dances With Wolves...which makes tons of sense really.  Enjoy.

   I'm getting seriously excited and nervous about this trip.  I feel like there is a million and a half things I need to get done before the trip...but I just don't care.  I'm going to DISNEYLAND.  This loop in particular is getting me amped up for what is sure to be an amazing adventure. 

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Vista Cafe on the Disney Fantasy

   Sometimes the most random things will surprise you. This is kind of what drives our lives really.  Often you will go into a situation with high expectations that will inevitably let you down, while other times the underdog in your mind will exceed those expectations.  This is the case with sweet little Vista Cafe on the Disney Fantasy. 

   Vista Cafe is located on deck four directly overlooking the ships gorgeous atrium.  This tiny cafe only features a few stools at the bar and few high top tables.  There are super comfy sofas just beyond the "official perimeter" of Vista, so feel free to use those. 
   Like the rest of the ship this space is all gussied up in her art nouveau finest. (think art nature.)  The warm color scheme of the ships atrium, and Vista Cafe, really is pleasant and provides a lovely backdrop for endless snacking. 

   Vista Cafe is one of three locations on the ship with a case "grab and go" goodies.  These aren't necessarily meant to be whole meals, merely supplement your hunger between meals...but listen, there is nothing wrong with gorging on the offerings found here.
   During morning hours the case is well stocked with pastries, muffins, danishes, and coffee cake.  Since Vista also has an extensive coffee menu this is a great place to start your morning.  The pastries are DISNEY STANDARD, so don't get too excited.  They're fine for what they are.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Old Harambe Bathroom Signs...

   We've waxed poetic about the importance of well themed bathroom signage before...and you know we will again.  I also realize that we have discussed the very well themed signs of Harambe...and those of NEW Harambe.  But heck, I don't recall ever sharing these bathroom signs from Harambe.
   Located next to Mombasa Marketplace in a cluttered little corner surrounded by planters, random bicycles and a stage, I find myself using these bathrooms a lot.  I'm not sure why, but there is rarely a trip to Animal Kingdom in which I am not using this facility.

   Despite being such a cluttered area, I absolutely adore the building that houses these restrooms.  Sorry about the pink pictures...clearly I had been "shaking to randomize" that morning.

   The actual signage is simple, rugged, and perfectly suited to the area.  Ladies and Gents.  How absurdly charming is that?  I only wish the individual ladies sign reflected the full length dress of the picture above.

   Terrific right?  I don't know what it is about these restrooms, but I am drawn to them every trip.  No, they're not quiet or particularly clean...but I have to use them.

   Do you have a favorite restroom at Disney World? Let us know over on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or better yet...tag us in a photo over on Instagram.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BGM Of The Week: Theater In The Wild

   Welcome back to another Background Music Loop Of The Week! Normally I reserve these posts for lazy Sundays or random Saturdays. However, cleaning the house yesterday morning I noticed a particular efficiency to my housekeeping.  The only think I could pin it on was that mornings music choice...the Theater In The Wild bgm.  For those of you who don't recognize the name the Theater In The Wild is the home of Finding Nemo: The Musical, on the walkway between Asia and Dinoland USA.
   I cannot confirm this, but I'm pretty convinced this background music loop is used by the Merry Maids to up their productivity.   Enjoy these soothing sounds whether you're cleaning or not...its pretty awesome.

   Admittedly, I wasn't always crazy about this loop.  It took a few listens before it really grew on me...but now as I pass Finding Nemo and hear this ambient loop I get the feels for real. Love it. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Animal Kingdom Artifact: Bedu Mask

   It's been far too long since we've featured an Animal Kingdom Artifact on this blog...regardless of the fact that I collected a few hundred photos this past October.  Among these are this insanely gorgeous mask.

   Made by the Kulango people of the Ivory Coast and Burkina-Faso, though it doesn't say, I'm pretty sure this is a mask of a cow or other cattle. Bedu masks are plank based masks that are worn by dancers who are believed to rid the village of evil spirits.  Bedu masks are a common trope throughout the peoples of Western Africa, and have an ancient and rich tradition of awesomeness.

   I forgot to make a note of where at Animal Kingdom Lodge this guy is displayed. (whoops...) But since I don't see him too often I'm assuming at the end of a corridor somewhere.  This is one of the better mask examples at the lodge, and I love the raffia flourishes...which add so much to the bedu dancing.  Oh Animal Kingdom Lodge, how we adore you. 

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Early 1970's WDW Postcards Part 2

   Last week I shared the first half of a fun new acquisition of vintage Walt Disney World postcards.  Here is the second half as promised, which includes some real gems indeed.

This postcard has a lot going for it, and is my favorite of the bunch for sure. I mean

For some reason the Alice walk around characters never age well.  Its weird
because I REALLY LOVE the old White Rabbit costume. 

Shrugging before it was cool. 

This shot from Small World seems like such a weird image for a postcard. Right? 

I have no idea whats going on here.  Can someone tell me what this is? 
Maybe Discovery Island? 

   I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.  Adam and I will be going to the fossil and gem show, which we look forward to every my weekend is awesome.  Make sure you're following along via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Top Five Counter Service Meals At Disney World...For Vegetarians

   Hey guys! We're celebrating a milestone 100,000 views over on our Youtube page.  I know that is peanuts compared to some other Disney related Youtube pages, but heck...we will take it.  Since we appreciate each and every view that we get, I decided to actually make a new video.  I know that new videos are few and far between, but I like to think of it as a quality over quantity thing. (Yes, I'm just making excuses.)
   So please enjoy the following somewhat controversial list of my top five favorite counter service meals for vegetarians at Walt Disney World.  I say controversial because I don't necessarily eat these meals on every trip...but they're all somewhat interesting, delicious, and have a lot of bang for their buck. 

   If you don't already, please take a moment to subscribe to our tragically underutilized Youtube page...Just click here to subscribe!  And if you don't already follow along on our adventures take the moment to join the fun via Twitter, Facebook, and Insta. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

St. Thomas/St. John: Get Off The Boat Or Not?

   Our first Disney cruise last year on the Disney Magic had one port of call, Disney's private island Castaway Cay.  This was the part of the cruise we were looking forward to more than anything else.  On our most recent cruise however there were two additional stops along the way...and this really threw a wrench in our planning.   You see, we felt obligated to get off the gorgeous Disney Fantasy and explore a little, though we were super apprehensive about it.  What is there to do on these islands? Are they just tourist traps?  Why would we leave the comfort (foooood...) of the ship? Do we book excursions, or explore alone?  These island turned out to be a mixed bag.

   Our first stop was St. Thomas/St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  A quick google search will quickly lead you away from any time on St. Thomas, where the boat actually docks.  But being true investigators we also asked the Twitter community who also pointed us away from this giant tourist trap.  So that was that...we would head to St. John.
  Here is the problem with this plan: It takes forever to get from one island to the other.  And by forever, I mean like and hour and fifteen minutes.  I know the time does vary somewhat, but between the cab ride and the ferry, it seemed like forever.  Plus your time ashore is very limited.  Strike one USVI.   Also, the part of St. Thomas you travel through is FILTHY and not much to speak of.  Plus, they play Bob Marley everywhere which is just dreadful.

   Once you get to St. John take a big sigh of relief. This island is so beautiful its unreal.  However, to get anywhere of note you have to take a communal taxi/bus system which is super awkward to hail.  By the time we got to our destination at Cinnamon Bay half of the day was gone, and we had spent quite a bit of money to get there.

   Once at your chosen beach there are often plenty of things to do.  The wonderful thing about St. John is that 60% of the island is a national park, and vastly untouched.  There are plenty of hiking opportunities, if thats your thing.  We went for a walk along a self guided trail through the woods that took us 30 minutes total.  The plant life on the island was super cool, and something you'll miss out on unless you go into the interior a little.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Early 1970's WDW Postcards

   This week one of my friends from work brought me a super amazing gift.  A set of ten Disney World postcards from the early 1970's that he found in a photo album of his grandmothers.  First of all, wow...thats super generous and I'm so glad he thought of me first, second of all, these postcards are full of faded yellowy 70's deliciousness.  I basically love them.

Can you tell I just woke up, and am writing this post last minute? 

   There were ten postcards in all, but in the spirit of lazy blogging I'm going to break them up into two blog posts.  You'll have to wait until next week to see the rest.  I know a lot of these images are iconic press photos from the parks early years, but there are a few that I had never seen personally.  Enjoy the vintage awesomeness.

Hunnypot Pooh is so much more cuddly than modern pooh. Its funny how
the others didn't evolve as well...Tiggers color remains awful and out of place. 

20,000 Leagues sub shot. I never actually went on this since it closed
while my family were still "Disneyland People."

By far my favorite shot of the bunch.  WDW were  so proud of their
new monorail fleet.  Its sad that the same isn't true today. Also, the lone
pine tree is everything.