A Girls’s Weekend with Your Best Friend= Disney Magic

Aloha!!!

Aloha means hello and goodbye…. I couldn’t think of a more perfect resort to stay in WDW than the Polynesian for my dear childhood pal Kathy and me to stay . We said hello back in second grade and instantly became life-long best friends and needed to geographically say goodbye almost 10 years ago due to job relocations, marriages, etc. although contact had remainded through emails and phone calls. A recent play of cancelled travel events and a decision to enjoy a mutual Significant Birthday Celebration for us both led its reunion and celebration journey not to the familiar New Jersey beaches we once shared happy days upon, but to the door of Disney World in Florida. This trip to WDW was a true celebration of friendship.

With all of the magnificent themed resorts at Walt Disney World it was quite the challenge to pick the “perfect” place for our Girl’s Reunion and “Significant Birthday Celebration Trip” last week! The Polynesian was the the one for us. Transporting you instantly to the South Pacific setting of lush gardens and waterfalls and softly played Hawaiian music everywhere you go. The main building upon arrival is the Great Ceremonial House with its own tropical gardens and waterfall right in the center – this is where you check in. The resort consists of eleven different buildings called “Longhouses”. Each Longhouse has a unique tropical name and each is surrounded by lush gardens.

We chose to stay Club Level for our trip. (this is the concierge level). We booked a garden view room – outside our balcony stood the most beautiful palm tree we have ever seen!

Upon arrival you are presented with a beautiful lei and staying club level you are wisked away in a golf cart from the main building given a tour of the resort and then are taken to the longhouse“Hawaii”. This longhouse is located at the Volcano pool and a beautiful white sandy beach overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon.

The staff at concierge were extremely friendly, courteous and efficient. After check-in we were presented with yet another beautiful lei and wishes for a wonderful stay! We were escorted to the third floor to our beautiful BIG garden view room. The rooms here at the Polynesian are quite large in comparison to other Disney resorts as The Polynesian was one of the first resorts built at WDW. A noted feature is it’s amazing central location and transportation availability to parks with monorail and boat access. Guests staying club level have access a beautiful lounge . Daily lounge offerings bountied with several flavored coffee, teas and juice selections during continental breakfast in the morning, fresh fruits and cookies during the day and light hors d’oeurvres and hot appetizers in the early evening to include wines and cordials among favorite sampling of desserts that were offered later in the evening.

The Concierge Lounge has a three story wall of windows facing the Magic Kingdom and lagoon with a perfect view of Cinderella’s Castle. Each night guests gather here to enjoy viewing the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle – with the firework display music piped into the room directly from the Magic Kingdom.. We so enjoyed relaxing here each evening after a busy day exploring each park… Truly Magical!!!!!!!

ncluded into this easy chair view of the fireworks is the 9pm Electrical Water Pageant that passes right by the Polynesian on the lagoon!!! A beautiful way to end each amazing day at the parks sitting on the beach or sipping hot chocolate in the lounge!!!!!

This was my friend Kathy’s first trip to my favorite place and I think it has become one of her favorite places to visit now also!! We spent our first morning at Animal Kingdom. The Animal Safari Trek was so exciting. To be so up close and personal with the animals is beyond explanation. I will always treasure my memory of the magnificent lion who was surveying his domain from on top of a huge rock formation. We took in the Lion King Show that day also. Kathy was taken aback by the grandeur of the costumes and glorious music that produced this colorful breathtaking performance.

On our second day we visited The Magic Kingdom. Can you remember the first time that you stepped onto Main Street USA???? Think back, it feels like a great big hug just wrapping you in happiness and excitement. The Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates of the Caribbean were just a few of our favorites. Even seeing an outside street performance from the one and only “Capt. Jack Sparrow” up close and personal. After a quick lunch we headed back by boat to the Polynesian. We had dinner reservations at The Artist Point in Wilderness Lodge. If you have never experienced dinner here – it is a must!!! The cuisine is absolutely fabulous. I had a special order cake made for Kathy’s birthday and during dessert our server brought it out to her. The pastry chefs are true artisans and the cake was delicious!!! What a perfect way to end such an amazing dinner. After dinner it was just a hop –skip – and a jump back to the Polynesian for a quick change then on the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom for The Main Street Electrical Parade. This is a spectacle of lights and sounds like you have never seen. Float after float of your favorite Disney characters waving and dancing in the streets. Later that evening we found ourselves right in front of Cinderella’s Castle, directly in front of the bronzed statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse watching the grandest fireworks display set to music that we have ever seen. Truly an amazing sight.

Off to Hollywood Studios the next day. I so wanted to share with her Toy Story Mania. We raced over to the ride and waited 40 minutes. So glad we did – we laughed through the attraction the whole time. Such fun!!!! A trip to Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride rounded out our day. Thought we would leave the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster to the less faint of heart!!!!

EPCOT – of course, SOARIN first on the agenda!!! The sights and sounds and aromas of this experience are totally off the charts!!!!! As we were walking around we could hear “Mine – Mine – Mine” with our curiosity peaked we found ourselves at The Seas with Nemo & Friends.. Seagulls greeted us at the entrance with their call of “mine” and we ventured onto a Clam Shell fit for two for an undersea adventure with Nemo and his friends which brought both the real world of the sea and the fantasy world of Nemo. Dinosaurs???? Who doesn’t like dinosaurs???? Ellen’s Universe of Energy was our next stop of the day…. You are taken back in time to roam with all types of dinosaurs and saw how the earth’s energy began and how we continue to strive for a better tomorrow.

Included into this easy chair view of the fireworks is the 9pm Electrical Water Pageant that passes right by the Polynesian on the lagoon!!! A beautiful way to end each amazing day at the parks sitting on the beach or sipping hot chocolate in the lounge!!!!!

This was my friend Kathy’s first trip to my favorite place and I think it has become one of her favorite places to visit now also!! We spent our first morning at Animal Kingdom. The Animal Safari Trek was so exciting. To be so up close and personal with the animals is beyond explanation. I will always treasure my memory of the magnificent lion who was surveying his domain from on top of a huge rock formation. We took in the Lion King Show that day also. Kathy was taken aback by the grandeur of the costumes and glorious music that produced this colorful breathtaking performance.

On our second day we visited The Magic Kingdom. Can you remember the first time that you stepped onto Main Street USA???? Think back, it feels like a great big hug just wrapping you in happiness and excitement. The Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates of the Caribbean were just a few of our favorites. Even seeing an outside street performance from the one and only “Capt. Jack Sparrow” up close and personal. After a quick lunch we headed back by boat to the Polynesian. We had dinner reservations at The Artist Point in Wilderness Lodge. If you have never experienced dinner here – it is a must!!! The cuisine is absolutely fabulous. I had a special order cake made for Kathy’s birthday and during dessert our server brought it out to her. The pastry chefs are true artisans and the cake was delicious!!! What a perfect way to end such an amazing dinner. After dinner it was just a hop –skip – and a jump back to the Polynesian for a quick change then on the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom for The Main Street Electrical Parade. This is a spectacle of lights and sounds like you have never seen. Float after float of your favorite Disney characters waving and dancing in the streets. Later that evening we found ourselves right in front of Cinderella’s Castle, directly in front of the bronzed statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse watching the grandest fireworks display set to music that we have ever seen. Truly an amazing sight.

Off to Hollywood Studios the next day. I so wanted to share with her Toy Story Mania. We raced over to the ride and waited 40 minutes. So glad we did – we laughed through the attraction the whole time. Such fun!!!! A trip to Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride rounded out our day. Thought we would leave the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster to the less faint of heart!!!!

EPCOT – of course, SOARIN first on the agenda!!! The sights and sounds and aromas of this experience are totally off the charts!!!!! As we were walking around we could hear “Mine – Mine – Mine” with our curiosity peaked we found ourselves at The Seas with Nemo & Friends.. Seagulls greeted us at the entrance with their call of “mine” and we ventured onto a Clam Shell fit for two for an undersea adventure with Nemo and his friends which brought both the real world of the sea and the fantasy world of Nemo. Dinosaurs???? Who doesn’t like dinosaurs???? Ellen’s Universe of Energy was our next stop of the day…. You are taken back in time to roam with all types of dinosaurs and saw how the earth’s energy began and how we continue to strive for a better tomorrow.

Across the lake in EPCOT you will find World Showcase… We set off for our little tour of the countries at EPCOT. The cast members in each country are from that area of the world. You get a true sense of what it is like to visit and live through their eyes. We so enjoyed our tour checking out each and every one comparing the different cultures and wares of each. We had dinner in Italy at Tutto Italia – what a wonderful time!! I felt like I was back in my grandmother’s dining room totally enjoying a most delicious plate of lasagna and cannoli’s for dessert. When the servers realized we were both celebrating a birthday they surprised us with a rousing song of Happy Birthday in Italian and each birthday girl was presented with a beautiful cupcake with a lit candle to blow out– oh yes and I cannot forget our after dinner cordial, Lemoncello, made directly from their represented region of Italy, outstanding in originality!!!!!!

Each evening EPCOT puts on a magnificent firework/lightshow on the lake between Future World and World Showcase. This is a show that will positively give you chills. The Illuminations and music is overwhelming. A perfect way to end an amazing time at EPCOT.

Polynesian Resort Disney waterfall, Polynesian Resort Lobby

As in all fairytales there is a beginning and an ending. So our Once Upon A Time came to an end full of new happy memories to go along with all those of the past. The ones that made us smile and laugh over our long extended weekend we were there together. Two old friends who got to be kids we once were again. No matter what your age while at Disney World time stands still and you are young at heart once more.

As we discovered, Disney and its Magic holds many charms, wishes and discoveries for all ages. It was within a matter of hours that we began to discover a light heartedness overtaking us. The transport of oneself back into a childhood as an adult, is one I strongly recommend for friends, sisters or siblings. It is an awakening of the magic that Walt understood. The living magic not limited to age but into finding the renewed child within ourselves no matter what the age that somehow is lost by everyday life.

Powerful emotions of saying goodbye to our time together overwhelmed and surprised both of us. We were both returning to our homes miles apart but feeling renewed by Walt and his timeless vision. Thankyou Mr. Disney, Thankyou!

We are already talking about when we can go back and enjoy all of the Magic all over again!!!!

3 Big Tips on How to Look Like a Disney Princess!

Those Disney Princesses…they have been roaming around our subconscience for how many years? Probably since we saw our first Disney movie, and instantly, we came to love them. We adored them, and we wanted to be just like them, to look just like them. Now this article isn’t really aimed at the eleven and under crowd, because all they have to do to look like a Disney Princess is put on the princess dresses that are so common now. They’re not reading this anyway. No, this is more for the older crowd who are Disney Princesses at heart. [Read more…]

Photographing Disney: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Test Track...things, they are a changin'.

Every photo has a story.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Walt Disney, at the end of Meet the Robinsons

People seem to freak out when they hear big changes are coming to beloved rides at Walt Disney World.  Change, and I’m not talking about a possible new que for the Peter Pan ride, I’m speaking in generalities, is difficult for most people.  I’ll easily lump myself in with the bunch; I naturally resist change.  But I think wise old Walt Disney had a point…sometimes great joy comes with change.  We may have to wait a little while to realize just how the changes can be positive.  I’m looking forward to the new Fantasyland expansion with open arms. While my children have little interest in Princesses, maybe this new expanded area will shorten some older roller coaster lines!  I will ride the new Test Track with the enthusiasm of a child, and with an open mind, at least until motion sickness sets in.

If only real life change were so easy.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
Winnie the Pooh

Picture this…Speaking of change, this quote touched my heart. People, family, friends, and dear ones come and go throughout our lives. One day, someone I love may not be beside me on the Pooh ride.  I fear that change, more than any other I face.

May we always try to find the goodness in those closest to us, so when that day comes, we have more to hold on to, as we ride the ever approaching winds of change.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride!

Amanda

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share? Drop by and share your photos with Mouze Kateerz on Facebook.  Take a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs.  You can see even more great pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Twitter and  Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  Shoot me an email of your favorite Disney location or architectural wonder at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com. See ya soon!

The Photographic Allure of Walt Disney World

Not exactly the real Mount Everest, but close enough for me.

Every photo has a story.

It’s a fairly common theme with people who have recently vacationed in Walt Disney World; when am I going back?  There are lots of genial debates between friends planning vacations; if you’ve already gone somewhere a bunch of times, why do you need to go back?  Why not go somewhere else new, try something different?

I go back because my children love it there, and I’m just tickled pink we have a love of all things Disney to bind us together as they start to hit their sullen and alienating teen years.  I go back because I will never visit a moon base, stay in a Polynesian village, walk the dusty streets of the Wild West, visit the castles of Europe, or probably any of the other grand places represented at the lands of Disney.  I’m none too thrilled with air travel, and I’m pretty content with my occasional nine-hour drive to Orlando.  I go back because I can have adventures and visit exotic places, and the photographic possibilities are seemingly limitless.  I see the facades and  floral landscaping and thematic decorations of Walt Disney World Disney as art.

Snapping photos on a walk through Epcot.

Picture this…I am not a professional photographer, and I do not use a particularly expensive camera.  But I always have my camera slung over my shoulder, because there is inevitably another image I see that I want to take home, so I can savor the moment for a bit longer.

I am a wanderer on a Disney vacation.  I walked 114 miles in eleven days on our last Orlando jaunt, which is like running four marathons in a little over a week.  I walk for miles and miles at night on our summer Disney trips, when most people are asleep and everything is quiet.  Mid-afternoon when lines are long, I wander the resorts on the monorail track.  I take a seat in the lobby and enjoy the architecture.  I take a boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, both night and day, just to sit by the waterfall or take in the intricate carvings in the lobby.  There are things to see, pictures to take, and every location is different.  I walk until my legs ache, but my artistic soul is refreshed.

There are Disney places to go, Disney pictures to see, so I dream and scheme of going back.  Many of you are doing some scheming of your own right about now.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride!

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share? Drop by and share your photos on Facebook at Mouze Kateerz.  Take a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs, and you can see even more pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  Shoot me an email of your favorite Disney location or architectural wonder at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

Magic as Wide as a Smile

Ah, the Magic.

Every photo has a story…

The magic is as wide as a smile and as narrow as a wink, loud as laughter and quiet as a tear, tall as a tale and deep as emotion. So strong, it can lift the spirit. So gentle, it can touch the heart. It is the magic that begins the happily ever after.

– Unknown

Thanks for stopping by for a Disney photographical ride!

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share?  Drop by and share your photos on Facebook at Mouze Kateerz, where you’ll take a virtual Disney vacation every day in photographs. E -mail your favorite artistic Disney photo to mouzekateerz@gmail.com.

Dreaming of Castles and Princes

Every photo has a story…

I’ve heard the song A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes many times.  I do believe they play this song as you are leaving the Magic Kingdom at closing time, but sometimes the music gets all jumbled in my head.  There’s always music at WDW, everywhere you go, piped in from hidden speakers all around. When I go home from vacation, it seems oddly quiet for a time. I’ve often joked about having outdoor speakers installed in our yard. A boom box seems a bit more practical.

I realized the other day I wasn’t exactly certain what all the words were, so I looked up the lyrics here.  The music and lyrics were by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston. Their ideas of dreams, heartaches, wishes, and would resonate with many people in need of some uplifting.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

A dream is a wish your heart makes

When you’re fast asleep.

In dreams you lose your heartaches

Whatever you wish for, you keep.

Have faith in your dreams and someday

Your rainbow will come smiling thru.

No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

the dream that you wish will come true.

Walt Disney said of Cinderella in 1949, ” She believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him.”  We can’t all have a castle, or a prince, but we we all have a wish in our heart, even if we’ve buried it in the way-back of happier days gone by. Sometimes, I think holding on to dreams and making a few wishes is what gets us through our stressful days.

Here’s to dreaming, and wishing, and making your dreams a reality…

Amanda

Thanks for stopping by for a photographical Disney ride!

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share?  Drop by and share your photos on Facebook at Mouze Kateerz.  Take a virtual Disney vacation twice a day in photographs. Or shoot me an email  of your favorite Disney location at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

Miles and miles of Disney Garland…

Garland as far as the eye can see.

Walt Disney World.

During the holiday season, there are 15 miles of garland strung far and wide, and 1,314 wreaths hung with care across all of the Disney World Resort property.

Grab your camera.

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share? Drop by and share your photos on Facebook at Mouze Kateerz. Take a virtual Disney vacation twice a day in photographs. Or shoot me an email of your favorite Disney location at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

Paging Mr. Tom Morrow…

Tomorrow; today.

“The grand promenade that leads from the central Plaza into Tomorrowland is now known as the Avenue of the Planets.”

Jeff Kurti, Since the World Began 

Some Day My Prince Will Come…

Some day my prince will come.

Some day my prince will come…I’m grateful every day that mine already showed up.

 

 

Oh, Disney Key Chain Tree!

Oh, Key Chain Tree, your branches are so heavy...

Every photo has a story.

One of my all time favorite souvenirs from Disney World has to be key chains.  They generally run from $5.95 to $8.95, which is a pretty good bargain considering my favorite Disney sweatshirt was $49.95.  Even Disney Christmas ornaments (which are spectacular!) will run you upwards of $20. Key chains, like all things Disney, are good quality items that last a long time.

Picture this…most people have one or two cars at the most. How many key chains does the average Disney fan need? A better question might be, just how many key chains can you actually put to use?

The Disneyfied answer is quite a few, actually, if you know where to hang them.

Last January, I left a plain three-foot Christmas tree in my dining room, just because the soft white lights added a touch of mood lighting, plus a little comedy to a pretty straight-laced room.  One day, I hung a few key chains on the tree, and no one complained.  I came home from work to find several old Disney Resort room keys tucked into the tree,  plus a few more straggling key chains appeared.  There’s even a few Vacation Club Fast Pass cards between the branches. I slipped a note to Santa asking him to refill those cards this year with spanking new Fast Passes, but I’m not holding my breath.

We’re up to 7 cards and 14 key chains, reflecting the twinkling lights and staring me in the vacation-anticipating face during every dining room meal, 365 days a year.  Our family, and visitors alike, find the Disney in my Key Chain Christmas tree all year ’round.

“It’s July. There’s a Christmas tree in your dining room.”

“You mean the Disney Key Chain Tree?”

“Yea, that.”

“Well, if you think that’s unusual, let me direct your attention to the Festivus Pole in the living room.”

 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night filled with sweet dreams of Disney.

 

Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share?  Drop by and share your photos on Facebook at Mouze Kateerz.  Take a virtual Disney vacation twice a day in photographs.  Or shoot me an email of your favorite Disney location at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.