Last week we asked… You and Dave Koch answered. The best thing about solo travel is: doin your own thing .
Now let’s see what we will find this week!
Moana – the 250 million dollar musical which tells the tale of a fearless adventurer journeying to save her people. Featuring Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Ron Clements and John Musker as the direction team, and the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda. With her home release this week, and Wrestlemania XXXIII this weekend, what else could we think about?
Maui – The Rock – What can I say. One of my favorite WWE wrestlers as one of the most awesome supporting heroes in a Disney movie. He brings it in the charisma department, laying the SmackDown on Tamatoa (One of the worst things about Moana). He entertains with his Tattoos, and with his Chameleon-like abilities. Maui is the Man (ok Demigod).
HeiHei the Chicken – Gosh this rooster is funny. I am sure at one time Pua was going to have as big a role, on the raft, and in Moana’s quest, but somehow they gave all the good parts to HeiHei. I’m sure many people do not like the rooster that much, I think he is exactly what this movie needed, some comic relief, and a fun character to care about.
You’re Welcome! – I really like this song. Wow, it is fun. I find myself replying in Maui’s version all the time “You’re Welcome!”. It is by far the best song in the movie (yeah yeah I know I have been told. “How Far I’ll Go” is better but I disagree). Between the catchy jingle, the gateway to rap, and the introduction to the best supporting actor in an animated movie, this song has it all.
Amanda, what say you?
With the exception of the annoying “I’m Shiny” song, Moana has one of my favorite soundtracks of any movie. I am a Lin-Manuel Miranda fan so maybe it isn’t surprising that I love the music so much. From “How Far I’ll Go” to “You’re Welcome!” I have these songs stuck in my head.
Another Disney movie with a strong female lead. Moana is a headstrong, independent female character and exactly the type of role model I want for my daughter and my nieces. I love Princess-type movies that aren’t about “getting the man.” Moana isn’t out to impress anyone except by fulfilling her own destiny and it’s great to see her grow into a great leader.
As much as I love the character of Moana, it is The Rock who really steals the show. Maui is such a fun character. A prankster demigod who has, arguably, the catchiest tune of the movie. Watching the relationship between Maui and Moana grow throughout the movie is truly touching. I love how Maui’s tattoos help tell the story in such a clever use of animation within an animated movie.
Special Guest Julie Patton how about you?
It is a great story of bravery and family! I love that Moana relies on her wits and the ocean to save her village and that there is no storyline whatsoever of her finding a prince to marry. What a positive message!
The animation is stunning! This movie has the best representations of hair and water of any computer animated movie I’ve ever seen.
The soundtrack! The songs are singable and stick in your head in a good way. “You’re Welcome” and “Where You Are” are going in my permanent playlists.
Julie has been a Disney fan since she was very young and watched “The Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday evening with her family. She first visited Disneyland in 1978 and Walt Disney World in 1983 and has been back now more times than she can count. She has been known to sing Disney songs very loudly while doing chores, and the Moana soundtrack helped get her through a recent marathon.
Last week we asked… You and Holly Adams answered. The most important thing to pack are those extra comfy shoes. .
Now let’s see what we will find this week!
While many people continue to harbor the misconception that Disney World is only for families with children, Disney can be a great vacation for a solo traveler. With dining options ranging from counter service, communal, food festivals, to bars and lounges, it is easy to have a meal by yourself without worrying about feeling awkward. There are several events which target adult fans of Disney such as race weekends, D23 Events such as Fanniversary or sip and stroll, or Food and Wine Festival with all sorts of courses and events that would be perfect for a solo traveler.
Single Rider Lines – Want to take another spin on Test Track? Need to face the Yeti again? Aerosmith wants you to rock and roll? It’s all good with single rider lines. As a solo traveler, there are multiple options for a single rider and many other attractions that will look for that one more passenger. Way too often, they are looking for that ‘odd’ rider to fill a journey on Star Tours or that last body for dino bait.
Go at your own pace. I found that as a solo traveler, I would tour hardcore from rope drop to lunch time, and then take my break, and go slow the rest of the day. As a single rider, you can maximize your time, and just do those things that are calling out to you. No need for groupthink on this trip!
You get to choose the must dos. Way too often we over book our vacations… Touring plans, ADRs, Fast Passes. Want to blow off a day and do the monorail loop dining plan… you can do it. Want to meet some friends in world showcase, and not see Rivers of Light… why not? Sometimes it’s fun to be free!
Amanda, what say you?
Amanda here: Most of my solo travel experiences have been during race weekends where I have had roommates and running friends for companionship although I have traveled alone on a few occasions.
One of my favorite solo trip experiences involved a magical day at Animal Kingdom where I literally rode Expedition Everest five times in a row. I got there at rope drop and kept riding until there was a line. It was super fun and not something I would ask anyone else to endure. The ability to do whatever you feel like doing is a major advantage to solo travel.
Most Disney trips are non-stop action with a focus on getting as much done as possible. When you’re alone, you can take the time to stop and smell the roses. I had a fantastic day at Epcot during Flower and Garden Festival (I was in Orlando for a work conference and was able to sneak away for one day). I’m not a great photographer but I brought a DSLR camera and spent the day taking photos of the flowers. There is NO way my kids would have tolerated that. Having the ability to Slow Down and enjoy the details is a real luxury.
I am a natural born extrovert who could make a new best friend in line at the grocery store (much to my children’s horror) so one of my favorite things about solo travel is the ability to meet people and talk to them. I love talking to cast members and fellow travelers. Disney attracts a diverse group of people and it’s fun to hear everyone’s stories. Plus, as someone involved in the Disney fan community, it’s rare for me to be at the World without knowing someone else there. When you’re with a group, it’s harder to keep the flexibility necessary to meet up with others. When you’re by yourself, it’s easy.
Special Guest David Koch of the Mickey Dudes Podcast: How about you:
Stopping to smell the roses in the World Showcase.
I like to wander the pavilions of the World Showcase and really appreciate the intricate architecture of all the buildings. I then like to take a slow look in all the shops, experience some of the cuisine and have a nice drink associated with that pavilion. I also like to take time and experience all the character greetings and entertainment offerings of each pavilion: be it a band or an acrobat.
Not having to worry about anyone else. I’ve lost track of how many times I have been to Walt Disney World. I have experienced a vast majority of the magic. When I am with other people in Disney, my main concern is to help others experience the magic. When I’m alone I don’t have to worry about other’s enjoyment. I can just take it for what it is and not have to worry about being a manager of the world.
It’s a good time to socialize.
Believe it or not, the trips where I come solo, I am the most social. This blog, for example, is for Disney fans, by Disney fans. Chances are if you are reading this, you are a member of some type of community of Disney Park fans. Through social media, I have made lots of friends in the Disney community. Every time I am here I meet up other travelers or locals. With travelers, they are usually with their family. So as to not impede on family time I might meet them for just a little while to experience a few attractions or to get a bite to eat. Locals have met me in the parks after work for a few hours almost every time I came. I have even used meetup.com and a well know Disney Parks fan forum to attend a monorail bar crawls of mostly locals looking to meet like minded people. I find that I am more social when I travel solo. When others are in my travel party, I tend to stay with them and am unable to meet up with others. When I’m solo I just see where the wind takes me. In my experiences, a simple tweet or Facebook post saying I will be in WDW with dates has always yielded somebody to hang out with for a time.
Dave Koch @FigmentsReality is a relatively new fan of Disney Parks, only visiting for the first time 7 years ago. You can say he has made up for lost time holding an AP for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. He is the cohost of The Mickey Dudes podcast, (https://themickeydudespodcast.podbean.com/) where a group of guys discuss all things Disney. His spirit animal is Figment and he collects pictures of himself with different Disney characters: having over 150 of them.
Last week we asked… You answered. The most anticipated part of Beauty and the Beast 2017 – is Emma Watson. Thanks again Jessica!
Now let’s see what we will find this week!
Packing … it is one of the last things you do before your vacation, and it is one of the things you fret about as you sit on the plane. “Did I remember my park tickets?” “I sure hope I remembered underwear!” “Do I have my 5 luckiest Hawaiian shirts (or 10?)? “ Here are a couple of reminders of things to bring that may not be at the top of your packing list – but just as important in our opinions.
Body Glide- Chafing … It’s bad for you. It’s bad for your vacation. Avoid it at all costs. Between the heat, humidity, and water rides, bad things can happen. Prepare and prevent Chafing at all costs. Runners use a product called Body Glide to prevent those issues, and I strongly suggest it to avoid discomfort and the pain from preventing a great trip.
Comfy Shoes – Last trip we went on we walked over 15 miles a day. On days I wore less appropriate shoes, I knew it at the end of the day. On the days I wore good supportive shoes, I knew it too. As a scout I learned – be prepared (like Scar taught the hyenas) I urge you to be prepared too, to be on your feet all day!
Extra Room – I always find myself squeezing items in my luggage last minute – or even worse sitting on my suitcase to make sure I can close my suitcase after all my trinkets are packed…. Then it is the hope that the scale isn’t that working that day at baggage check in. Don’t be like me – save some room and weight, because you will always bring home more than you take.
Amanda, what say you?
The first thing I pack is carry-on sized sunscreen in my purse. My children and I are super fair-skinned so it doesn’t take long in the Florida sunshine to get a lobster-style sunburn. I like to make sure that as soon as we are outside in Florida, I have readily accessible sunscreen. If our room isn’t ready and everyone wants to start going, I have enough sunscreen to protect us.
One of the best things about staying at Disney is the amazingly well-theme swimming pools. I make sure to pack 2 bathing suits per person. The humidity in Florida means that the suits don’t dry quickly and I hate putting on a wet bathing suit. If I’m flying, I always make sure there is one bathing suit per person in a carry on bag as we often use arrival day to explore the resort pool instead of going to the parks.
My family will certainly laugh at me for this one but I always pack gummy fibers when we go on vacation. After several days of eating junk food with nary a vegetable in sight, there is a risk of everyone getting a tummy ache. Giving each person some daily gummy fibers prevents stomach issues during the trip. Trust me.
Special Guest Holly Adams … How about you?
First and foremost, BODY GLIDE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. I found out about this product on the Disboards, and I will never go without it. Rub it around your (ahem) groin area and where your bra hits (or at your underarms, gents) to prevent chaffing, and all over your feet to prevent blisters. It also works great to prevent ingrown hairs when you shave your bikini line, ladies. This stuff saves lives.
Ponchos. I like to buy those disposable 10 packs of ponchos, for about $5 at Walmart. They are light and compact, and you can just toss them in the end. They work great to protect a stroller from getting wet. However, there are a lot of proponents of buying the Disney ponchos in the park. They run about $10 for adults and $9 for kids, so for a family of 4 that’s about $40. However, they are a higher quality and Disney will replace ripped ponchos for free. Plus, it’s a nice souvenir!
Be sure to pack an extra pair of shoes! Squelching around in wet ones is no fun. Make sure they are comfortable, broken in, and have good arch support. You’ll be walking 5+ miles per day, it’s important to have something that will keep your feet happy. A good pair of blister-guard, moisture wicking socks will also help.
Holly only has three trips to the World under her belt – but she’s an expert planner and obsessive researcher. She is currently plotting how to get back to Disney World before the end of 2017 with zero money in the bank.
Last week we asked… You answered. The most anticipated thing about upcoming Pandora is The Bioluminescence… Great Pick Helen!!
Now let’s see what we will find this week!
Remember 1991? No probably not… Some of you may not have been born yet 🙂 Beauty and the Beast? The first animated picture to be nominated for Best Picture at the Acadamy Awards is back. This time as a ?live-action? hybrid movie. Again the cast is AMAZING, starring Emma Watson and Luke Evans, with a who’s who in backup roles. Menken, Ashman, and Rice are back as well in the music department. This looks to be a blockbuster in the making, not to mention a mashup of nerds everywhere (Hermoine, Obi-Wan, Magneto, Olaf, & P.L Travers)
“Be Our Guest” – There are many things l love about the original. There is something about this Cabaret style number that just makes me smile. From the debonair of Lumiere to the charm of Cogsworth’s little dance, this is complete entertainment. It has been replayed and recreated again in Mickey’s Philharmagic. Not to mention I am a huge Moulin Rouge! fan and cannot wait to hear Ewan Mc Gregor’s version, suggesting to “Try the Grey Stuff 🙂 ” I hope this is just as delicious.
That the staff has the same spirit that was in the animated movie. Yes, I know there are new characters… GREAT. I am just hoping that all of the Castle Servants retain the charm and character of the animated feature. I am a bit concerned seeing the first trailer and have not seen one since, but I sure am hoping to see something special.
That the male leads hold up to the Emma Watson Standard. Let’s face it, Belle Rocks. She is quite the Disney Princess. I am hoping that the men in her life (Gaston& Prince/Beast) can come close to what I am hoping will be another amazing performance by Hermione. I know, I know, the prince had no role in the last movie, and the part he did have, was a letdown. This time I am hoping for more.
Amanda, what say you?
Emma Watson. Need I say more? Hermione is my favorite Harry Potter character and Emma Watson did an amazing job of bringing her to life. Plus she’s an advocate for women’s rights. How could I not love her?!? I think she looks magical as Belle in the trailers and I couldn’t have chosen a better Belle.
I love the score from the original Beauty and the Beast and I’m certain that the updated score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice will be just as lovely. I can’t wait to hear new versions of old favorites and I’m hopeful that the new songs will be equally appealing.
One of the most delightful parts of the original film is the household staff. Looking at the cast list, I expect them to steal the show again. How can you go wrong with Emma Thompson – one of my favorite actresses – as Mrs. Potts? Add Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as Lumière and Cogsworth and I have high expectations.
Special Guest Jessica Awotona, How about you?
Emma Watson. I loved her in Harry Potter and I think her casting as Belle was perfect. She’s not only physically like Belle but in real life, she’s a feminist and smart. I think Belle is both of those things as well. I have liked her in the previews that I’ve seen so far and I’m interested to see her singing. Nothing will compare to Paige O’Hara but I want to see how she’s made the character her own. I was eight years old when the animated feature was released in theaters and grew up with Belle as my favorite princess. I loved that she was smart and loved books and even better, she was a brunette!
Experiencing a familiar story in a new way with my daughter. My daughter is four years old and just getting to the age where she’ll sit through an entire movie in the theater. We’ve watched the animated movie a few times and she knows all of the songs by heart so it will be fun to watch the story with fresh eyes.
The magic and the beauty (no pun intended) of the story. The animated movie of Beauty and the Beast was so pretty. The ballroom scene is iconic for its visuals and I am so excited to see what the new movie has in store. Computer animation has come so far in the last 20+ years, they could make anything their imaginations wanted!
Jessica Awotona (@jesscutler) made her first trip to Walt Disney World at the age of 7 and has been a Disney nerd ever since. She even started running to have an excuse to go to Disney even more! She lives in Acworth, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) with her husband, daughter, and three rescue dogs.
Animal Kingdom…. The home of Camp Minnie Mickey – oops – no!? The amazing home of the Beastly Kingdom!!?? nope. Well, we get the land of Pandora. Finally, after months of anticipation, it opens with 2 new attractions, 2 dining locations, shops, and floating mountains. (Well the mountains are cool).
There are a couple of cool new ideas here in Pandora. I am mostly looking to see the unique terrain, the floating mountains, and how it all is put together. Just the idea of the bioluminescence, and how that will be used has me looking forward to seeing this at night.
Of the 2 attractions, I am most interested in the Navi River Journey. While the Banshee attraction sounds cool, I’m really not getting the attraction car concept, (it just looks uncomfortable) and I am looking forward to something special as you cruise the rivers. Just like Sinbad in Tokyo Disney Sea, I am expecting just as big things coming from this water adventure.
Pongu Pongu will serve drinks in a spot said to be “as eclectic as its Expat owner.” To me, this calls out to the great amusement drinking establishments – Trader Sams or The Adventurer’s Club. If we get that, it will be a tough ticket to get into, and too many sights to see in one visit.
Amanda, what say you?
Amanda here: I’m pretty skeptical about Pandora, mostly because I haven’t even seen the movie and I’m not sure it belongs at Disney. On the other hand, I’m always happy for more attractions and I’m hoping that the theming is amazing.
I love thrill rides so I’m hoping that Flight of Passage lives up to the hype. The idea of having a bird’s eye view of Pandora seems incredible. Some of the pre-release press describes this as being similar to Soarin’ which is a favorite of mine!
Jock Lindsey’s is one of my favorite bars…anywhere. Another well-themed bar inside a theme park? I’m there! If Pongu Pongu follows the model of Jock Lindsey’s and/or Trader Sam’s, it’ll definitely be on my list of places to visit.
More stuff to do at Animal Kingdom….. While Animal Kingdom has a few things that I love – Expedition Everest, Safari, great shows – it has always felt like a half-day park to me. As my kids are getting older and ready for longer days of touring, I’m really looking forward to a new land to explore. I have faith that, even if Avatar isn’t the concept I would have chosen, the Disney Imagineers will make something really unique and special here.
Special Guest Helen Dunn, How about you?
It’s new! I haven’t seen the movie so all I knew before watching the preview clip with Joe Rhode was that the people were blue. The video looks like it will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it all.
Avatar: Flight of Passage. I have no idea what a banshee is but I was totally obsessed with the book series the Dragon Riders of Pern when I was a kid and this looks like I’m going to get to fly on a dragon and I am totally in for that!
Bioluminescent forest. One of my favorite things in any of the parks is watching how they transform from day to night and this sounds like it will be like that times a million.
Helen (@hmonkeyruns) has been vacationing at WDW since 1978 and has been on nearly every ride in every park at least once. New goal: riding Aladdin’s Magic carpets and TriceraTop Spin to make it EVERY ride in every park.