Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"A Closer Look" - Why I Am Beyond Excited For Toy Story Land's Debut

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Over the last few years, Disney has really taken the time to add new attractions and even an entirely new land (Pandora) to the Walt Disney World experience. However, I think there's one element of Disney's additions that is getting vastly overlooked, Toy Story Land. While the project was officially announced a few years ago, the project really hasn't receive the media attention I trull expected it to. Sure, Disney has released little videos teasing the area as it has been built over time and given us an "inside look" at the expansion, but when you really think about it, we know very little about little details of this project.

Of course, we have some of the "big picture" details about the large scale plan, but at the time being we don't have any menus for counter service locations, the details of potential stores or merchandise, ad we really don't have much of an idea of what to expect from the attractions. With all that being said, I still remain incredibly excited about this project and here's why. 

Toy Story has been a part of my life since the beginning. I know that sounds insane, but you have to realize a few things, and Disney really does too in order for this land to be as successful as it possibly can be. First and foremost, the Toy Story animated film debuted in 1995. Essentially what that means in the big picture of things is that anyone under the age of 22 has never known a world without that iconic animated feature. As many of you may know, I'm 21 years old. Taking that into consideration, I know many people in my age group that have appreciated and watched these movies their entire life. I couldn't even begin to tally the countless hours many of us have spent watching and rewatching this series. Even in 2010 when the most recent film in the series debuted, many of us returned to the theater eager to see the next installment in the story. 

You see, for many of us, Toy Story isn't simply a series but also a piece of our childhood that has grown into one of the most iconic animated films ever developed. As that iconic feature plays out on the largest stage in the theme park realm, Walt Disney World, I can guarantee you that not only I, but many others like me will be there to continue building upon the nostalgia that has arisen over the years. 

Sure, young children will adore this new land and adults will appreciate it's influence in the parks, but a large audience will be those of us reliving those memories of our childhood. Ironically, that's one of the many talents of the Disney organization. The Disney company, no matter if we're talking parks, resorts, or simply films, has a way of taking guests back to their childhood in a way that is truly hard to put into words. This expansion isn't simply adding Intellectual Property to a theme park, but rather a way of connecting with a generation of Disney fans in an entirely new way. To be quite honest with, that's why so many of us keep retuning to the parks. It's not always about the attractions, or even the food (as much as I love the food), but rather because of that very feeling of being a kid again and not having a care in the world for even just a brief minute. Those moments of pure enjoyment create some of the greatest memories of life and that's what the whole Disney experience is all about and the sole reason I am beyond excited for Toy Story Land's debut in the Summer of 2018.               

(Photos: Disney)

If you're like me and want to visit Toy Story Land, do me a huge favor and check out Destinations to Travel for your booking needs (quote request form below). Shannon and her team go above and beyond to make your Disney experience outstanding and we can't thank them enough for the return support they send our way. 

Need a good deal on Disney tickets? Be sure to check out the amazing offer on the tickets we recommend in our previous article - Updated: 2017 Discount Disney World Ticket Buying Tips - What is the Best Option For Your Situation? - from our friends at the Official Ticket Center. Once again, we truly appreciate your support. 

Last but certainly not least, if you want to be the first to know about special Disney discounts and stories like this one, be sure to join this Guide4WDW community! We truly appreciate you being here!  

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Official: Wilderness Explorers Show to Replace Flights of Wonder

by: guide4wdw - Collin

After a bit of speculation (less than a month ago) that Flights of Wonder would be leaving Animal Kingdom, today Disney announced an official end date for the experience that many guests have grown to love over the years. Flights of Wonder, a show debuting a series of real birds replicating their natural (and sometimes unnatural) behaviors before the eyes of guests, will be getting replaced by a show that remains largely nameless featuring Doug and Russel from Pixar's blockbuster animated film "UP."

While we currently know very little about the show, Disney did mention that senior Wilderness Explorer Doug and Russell will be interacting with guests and winged creatures throughout the performance. 

Flights of Wonder will be coming to an end at the end of the month, December 31st, to make modifications for the upcoming shows debut. At this point in time, there is no definitive opening date for the replacement experience, but it will arrive in the parks in Spring of 2017.

In my own opinion, I've always loved the Flights of Wonder show, and while we overlooked it for years, it had become a small part of any day at Animal Kingdom. With that being said, it does appear as if this new opportunity may pull elements from the previous show and continue to build upon that entertainment concept. Hopefully this will be the update this show really needed. Of course, that is simply my opinion, so be sure to tell us what you think down in the comments on your favorite social media platform!

Animal Kingdom has changed drastically over the last few years and I wouldn't be surprised to see even more changes on the horizon. However, I think it's a move in the right direction. Pandora is vastly impressive, the new nightlife across the park is highly entertaining, and while the nighttime spectacle event Rivers of Light isn't quite what many hoped for, it still exceeds expectations in a way that only Disney can truly accomplish.  

As always, we appreciate you being here and if you're looking to visit any of these places in the new year, we recommend Destinations to Travel (quote request form below) for all your booking needs. To be quite honest with you they're the only group we personally use and recommend. Shannon and her team do help us out along the way but they truly have a way of making you apart of their family in the booking process and it makes all the difference.                   

Friday, December 8, 2017

Our Top 5 Holiday Themed Resorts At Walt Disney World for the Christmas Season


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Wherever you are, whether it be Walt Disney World or somewhere throughout the country or even quite possibly around the world, Christmas has largely become the "universal holiday." We all celebrate it in different ways and often for different reasons, but one element of the season always remains true, the fellowship it creates for friends and family without fail. Walt Disney World is perhaps one of the greatest places on earth to experience the magic of the Christmas season, but there's a few things you'll want to check out beyond the parks if you or someone you know will be at Walt Disney World this holiday season. So, today we're taking a closer look at our Top 5 Themed Lobbies at Walt Disney World and a few details you wont want to overlook. 

The Grand Floridian
As always, the Grand Floridian certainly lives up to its name and creates a grand experience for guests each and every holiday season. Of course, the atmosphere isn't always one that is a favorite of all guests due to it's quite over the top feel that a select few can find "stuffy." However, around the holiday season, the Grand Floridian transforms into a wonderful winter wonderland. From the piano playing in the lobby, to the band that plays throughout the day, the Christmas music that rings out coupled with some of the most beautiful decorations on property sets the mood for an incredible experience. Beyond the somewhat subtle decor scattered throughout the resort, an enormous Christmas tree is found in the heart of the lobby itself coupled with one of the largest gingerbread houses you've likely ever seen. 

As an added bonus, head over to the gingerbread house and you'll find a little store inside of the massive display serving up treats for guests of all ages. All in all, the resort creates one of the most elaborate Christmas displays you've ever seen and will likely act as a step back in time to a simpler Christmas experience of years past when the hustle and bustle of the holidays wasn't quite as overwhelming as it has become today. It's a place that you can sit back and relax while enjoying the simple pleasures of the experience and just enjoy a few minutes of pure holiday tradition.         

Wilderness Lodge
Moving a short ways up the road (less than half a mile), the Wilderness Lodge unveils a spectacle of holiday cheer that has been a favorite of mine for many years. As you enter the lobby, one of the largest and most elaborate Christmas trees captures your glance from the very first moment. The tree, towering in the center of the mutli-floored atrium, is one of the very largest on property, but beyond the tree the atmosphere lends itself to being warm and welcoming. The lobby features a classic fireplace decorated for the season, a gift wrap station, and an impressive display of holiday gifts. More than anything, the Wilderness Lodge has a way of taking you "home" to the fireside retreat many of us dream about. It's the perfect setting for the holiday and one that encompasses and creates lasting memories for guests of all ages. This resort simply captures a vision of mine of children and parents waking up on Christmas morning at the ideal place and the most picturesque setting imaginable. It truly is something you have to experience to believe, but there's just a warm, welcoming, and wonderful feel to the place that encompasses the spirit of Christmas.   

The Boardwalk 
Over at the Boardwalk, head to the lobby of the resort for a Christmas wonderland encompassed in a quaint atmosphere that captures an entirely different holiday experience. The scale of the Christmas trees is brought back down to a somewhat "ordinary" size but there's certainly nothing ordinary about the picturesque setting. The somewhat smaller and simpler lobby sets the stage for a casual area, with a very low crowd level, that you can walk through and glance at the ornaments adorning the many trees. In writing it sounds so simple, but as you stand there taking it all in, it's a simple aspect of Christmas that welcomes the festivities in a way that captures the heart of guests time and time again. Oh, and before I forget, don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for the potential of a special visit from some of the most iconic Disney characters, even possibly the one that started it all!    

The Contemporary
As one of the most iconic resorts on Disney property and one that has been there from nearly the beginning, The Contemporary displays subtle touches of holiday joy that aren't quite as elaborate as some, but still well worth visiting. This years main display features a large castle complete with Cinderella. The display takes on subtle hints of the iconic styling of Mary Blair and rivals the look of her elaborate work put into the It's A Small World attraction. The overall display is incredibly well done and one that also features a small area to pick up treats to carry with you or enjoy as you wander through the resort. Take a quick step outside, if you're visiting at night, and catch a unique view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in the distance. Nothing quite rivals seeing the pyrotechnic displays from the Magic Kingdom, but this unique viewing opportunity is something that is certainly memorable to try at least once!     

Fort Wilderness
Last, but certainly not least, Fort Wilderness offers an ever changing display of Christmas decorations that changes as often as the guests come and go on their holiday vacations. The campground unveils an incredibly diverse variety of Christmas decor and you never quite know what to expect. Grab a meal at one of the amazing dining offerings on the property, and then walk (or even rent a golf cart to ride around in) around the property and take in the holiday decor set up and maintained by the guests themselves. 

If you're looking to check out the campground or grab a meal at Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, Trail's End, or even Mickey's Backyard Barbecue, the simplest way to get there (other than staying there) is to catch a boat from the Magic Kingdom. The ride over is quite impressive all on it's own, but the simple journey across the water to take in the holiday festivities has grown to become a holiday tradition for many and one that I hope to experience first hand in the future. You see, even I haven't seen and done everything on Disney property, but I wouldn't have it any other way. There's always something new and different to explore, but what I can appreciate more than just about anything is the classic nature of the Christmas season at Walt Disney World.              

If you're a local or just visiting for the holiday season we hope this short article will help you create new experiences of your very own but also create memories that will truly outweigh any image or decorations you'll ever witness. Beyond that, we wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Disney to Alter "Magical Extras" Voucher Delivery Beginning In The New Year


by: guide4wdw - Collin

If you've ever booked a vacation at a Walt Disney World Resort, you've likely received a variety of special little gifts in the mail regarding your vacation. For years the company has sent out a somewhat "promotional" packet of additional discounts for select locations on property, Miniature Golf vouchers, and free entry into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex coupled with your stay. 

Fortunately, none of those special booking bonuses will be disappearing in the new year, but they will begin arriving in a new way. Starting January 1st, 2018 your Magical Extras and vouchers will arrive in the form of an informational insert/card in your MagicBand delivery box. 

The new card will feature a personalized name, party size, travel dates, and even a reservation number for your designated group. Just as before, the card will need to be shown in order to receive it's benefits.

Personally, I see this as a pretty good option for not only the guests but also the Disney company themselves. If you're already going to send out the information to guests why not create the greatest display you can for them when they open their long awaited MagicBand delivery. Maybe I'm one of the few but we typically use at least one of the discounted offers throughout our Walt Disney World stay and have used the miniature golf vouchers time and time again over at Fantasia Gardens. I know miniature golf is simple, but some of the greatest experiences at Disney stem from the simplest of experiences.

Disney creates these memorable experiences better than anyone else in the entertainment realm. Receiving that MagicBand package is becoming synonymous with the thought that your long awaited Disney vacation is finally getting close. 

In the rare case that you choose to do any of the following, your Magical Extras card will be waiting for you during the check in process: 
  • If you pre-engae with the My Disney Experience 10 days or less before your arrival date. 
  • If you book within 5 days of your arrival. (which I do not recommend trying) 
  • If you choose not to pre-engage with My Disney Experience or if you opt out of MagicBands altogether.
  • Or if you are staying at the Swan and Dolphin resorts, Four Seasons, or Disney Springs resort area hotels.

All things considered, I see this as a bit more convenient for everyone. It's not a huge change by any means, but something you may want to be aware of as you open your MagicBand packages. If you can't find it right away, check the area where the luggage tags are stored and you'll likely find the Magical Extras Card grouped there as well. Hopefully this helps you all out in some way, and I hope you have a great rest of the day!           

If you have yet to book a Disney vacation or looking for a place to start, be sure to check out our friends at Destinations to Travel (quote request form below). They just launched an entirely new guest loyalty program that rewards you with a unique surprise gift during your vacation simply for booking consecutive visits through them. Additionally, they're the reason we have this information to share here today and we can't thank them enough for that and the continued support Shannon and her team show us from day to day.     

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Three Vastly Underrated Walt Disney World Resorts You May Want to Consider for Your Next Vacation - A Few Thoughts

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Today, there are so many resorts on Disney property that it can be, and often is, quite difficult to narrow down the options and select the best resort accommodations for your unique situation. Don't get me wrong, nearly every resort on Disney property will rival just about any hotel chain across the nation, but I truly believe that a few Disney hotels are vastly underrated and largely overlooked by typical Walt Disney World guests.

Old Key West
The accommodations at Old Key West are some of the very best on property for the money in my opinion. As perhaps the most budget friendly deluxe tier resorts on property, Old Key West offers deluxe studios, one, two, and three bedroom villas that are some of the largest on property. In regard to the villas, they are the largest resort rooms on property for their designated one, two, and three bedroom tiers. 

Personally, I can only speak directly to the two bedroom villas because they are the only accommodations I've personally experienced at this property. However, I will say that the rooms truly are huge. The living room and dining area can easily fit 8+ guests without a problem, the villa featured it's own private balcony and dining area for four, and the views of the golf course were outstanding. As a result, this is one of my top picks for a semi-budget friendly resort for larger groups. In regards to a strictly price to square footage ratio, it is only truly rivaled by Saratoga Springs (below) when referring to the villas. 

One of the greatest strengths of the location is it's proximity and boat transportation to Disney Springs. With all of the updates that have occurred at Disney Springs and the new restaurants and shops that have debuted, the benefit of easy transportation via a 15 (or so) minute pontoon boat ride could be a huge factor for many guests staying at the resort. 

Old Key West was originally designed as a Disney Vacation Club Resort, and was even called the Disney Vacation Club Resort up until 1996 when it was renamed. As a result, a stay here is like entering a community and many guests (of which many are DVC members) decorate their balconies for the holidays and treat the resort as a bit of a beach vacation (partially due to the theming) surrounded by the joys of Walt Disney World.

For the price, especially when booking large groups, this is sincerely hard to beat for the money. The pool isn't ideal, being that it is fairly small, but with the growing nature of Disney Springs I wouldn't be surprised if this resort grows exponentially in popularity in the foreseeable future.                  

Saratoga Springs
Of the resorts on this list, I would have to say that this is my favorite. Honestly, I may even put it in my top 3 resorts on Disney property. Again, I have only stayed in a two bedroom villa, but the experience helped develop one of our best vacations in many years. 

The pools at this resort are outstanding. Featuring two main pools, guests are encompassed by slides and fountains designed for all ages while being just steps away from a pretty outstanding counter service location, The Artist's Palette. Beyond dining and recreation, the resort rooms are also quite large, and only slightly smaller than Old Key West when considering the villas. The theming, in my opinion is a bit more classy and has a slight "Grand Floridian-Esque" vibe to it that is welcoming but not off-putting. Additionally, this is the closest resort to Disney Springs and also offers boat transportation to that developing area that takes no longer than 10 (or so) minutes. If you're a golfer, as mentioned in our last article, this is the resort to stay at. The clubhouse for the Lake Buena Vista course is located on the property and only a few steps away from the main pool.   
(Tree House Villas at Saratoga Springs - Photo: Disney)

Saratoga Springs has a fairly elaborate history that precedes the resort itself. In the early 70's, Disney created The Buena Vista Land Company to develop the space that is now the Saratoga Springs Resort. A that time, the company had an elaborate plan to create homes and apartment style complexes to invite businesses and guests to purchase a piece of the magic as a vacation property. Additionally, the space was at one point intended to house cast members. Unfortunately, Disney overlooked a legal part aspect of the plan which forced them to reevaluate their original goals due to voting rights regarding the "citizens" who would potentially own the buildings. 

As a result, Disney developed this space, under the watchful eye of Michael Eisner, into the Disney Institute in the mid 90's. The institute program, which developed over time, welcomed guests to the property and taught them in different realms of Disney's elaborate business philosophies including animation, television, and many other avenues Disney has helped grow over time. In the end, the Disney institute moved away from the concept of a single physical location and the buildings were repurposed and added to in order to develop Saratoga Springs.

You see, this resort doesn't only have elaborate history, but also an ideal location and some of the best accommodations on property.                 

The Swan And Dolphin Resorts
While these two resorts aren't technically "Disney" properties, by all intesive purposes of this article, they really are. Disney allows Swan and Dolphin guests to book in the same window as onsite guests for fastpass+ selections, they use Disney transportation that drop off at the exact same locations as Disney resorts, and even have legitimate Disney merchandise in their gift shops. Personally, I see that as a huge part of the Disney experience. While you won't find any Disney theming out by the pool or even really in the resort rooms themselves, the location features a character meal called Garden Grove (which isn't all that popular) and even offers guest a short walk to Epcot and Disney's Boardwalk Resort. 

(Photo: Loren Javier

Perhaps the greatest element of The Swan and Dolphin resorts are their proximity to the parks. As some of the oldest resorts on property (recently upgraded and overhauled), these Starwood properties (under the Marriott International umbrella) secured a section of prime real estate directly backing up to Epcot and just a short boat ride away from Hollywood Studios. 

As mentioned, transportation is a huge factor to this resort being vastly underrated. Just like the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club, the Swan and Dolphin utilize the same boat transportation to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Additionally, while utilizing Disney busses, your route to many parks features the identical route as the aforementioned resorts.

While all of that is great, the price is really the selling factor on this particular accommodation for us. On average you'll pay up to 20-30% less to book either of these two resorts when compared to Disney's own deluxe tier resorts. Additionally, if anyone in your family is a teacher, nurse, or AAA member you qualify for a deep discount if they will be traveling with you. 

However, there is one unfortunate factor to all of these excellent offerings and it is that the resort features paid parking and requires payment of a resort fee each night of your stay. Typically, all things included, it will add about $30 per night to the rate listed on their website or on other booking platforms. Occasionally, if you call the resort directly they will wave the fee, but it is a far from foolproof solution. Either way, this is an excellent resort that I've spent many vacations staying in with one of the best pool setups in all of Walt Disney World.                   

As always, if you're looking to evaluate the costs, gather more details, or simply need a friend in the booking process, I highly recommend Destinations to Travel. I don't recommend them necessarily because they compensate us for any bookings made (which we certainly appreciate) through our quote request form below or banners you see on the site, but because it's who we use and trust to better your vacation experience. Plus, it costs you nothing extra in the booking process and, as mentioned, truly does help us out along the way.  

Additionally, you may want to look into our Updated: 2017 Discount Disney World Ticket Buying Tips - What is the Best Option For Your Situation?. We just updated the list with a new ticket offer that can score you a free parkhopper upgrade!

We truly appreciate the support each and every one of you show us on a near daily basis. It's incredible to see, but even better to be apart of as we continually grow this Guide4WDW Community! Thanks for being here!   

Sunday, December 3, 2017

4 Unconventional Ways to Enjoy Disney That You May Have Never Considered

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Oftentimes, when the topic of a Disney vacation pops into the minds of potential guests to any of the parks around the world, a few things come to mind. Many think of the crowds, others think about the food, and many think about riding attractions time and time again, but many completely overlook a few of the more unconventional ways to tour the Disney parks and properties around the world. So, today we've come up with a list of 5 Unconventional Ways to Enjoy Disney That You May Have Overlooked. We'll start out with one of my favorites, exploring the history. 

Explore the History
Believe it or not, the history of Walt Disney World and many of the Disney parks vastly exceeds what you may witness without taking a second look at many areas of the park. Disney Imagineering has woven an elaborate story into each and every part of the Disney experience. From the hidden gems of the windows of Main Street detailing legendary cast of the company from years past, to the little painstakingly detailed processes they have created to bring authenticity to this all encompassing realm of fantasy we call Walt Disney World. 

Taking a moment or even a day out of your vacation to step away from many of the attractions to seek out and find just a portion of the elaborate story can truly make all the difference in appreciating and reaching a higher level of enjoyment out of the overall experience. Personally, I'd do some research before you head to the park and go in search of the hidden gems you may have overlooked in the past. If you enjoy little details, hit the history tab at the top of our desktop site for a closer look at the many backstories which have developed at Walt Disney World over the years. 

Of course, this mindset and travel plan may not work for everyone, but it's certainly something you may want to consider if you or someone you know enjoy history or want to fully round out your Disney experience not only at Walt Disney World, but also at Disneyland and the many other resort locations around the world.

Try a Golf Trip
I understand that not everyone is a golfer, but to be quite honest with you I wasn't until a few years ago either. I'm still terrible at the game, but I enjoy it now more than I ever have. However, what many guests may not realize is that Disney World features some incredibly top tier golf courses that have been featured on both the PGA and LPGA tour. If you're completely new to the game, they even offer a short course called Oak Trail which is the perfect length for young or inexperienced players really looking to just enjoy the experience without frustrations. The courses are, simply put, beautiful. The facilities are incredible and the clubhouse at both the Palm and Magnolia courses (which share a clubhouse) are truly world class facilities. 

Beyond the building, the full scale course layouts are quite difficult and while they do not feature large elevation changes the length of the courses can be a bit daunting at times. Multiple sets of tees ease the "pain" of the distance element, but tight fairways coupled with deep bunkers can make for an interesting yet enjoyable day on the course. 

Again, not everyone is going to be a golfer or have a desire to play the game, but I bring up this point for an additional reason as well. Disney isn't just about the parks in many regards. It is a multi-faceted experience where everyone can find something they enjoy no matter what you enjoy doing the most. You can golf, but you can also fish, snorkel, scuba dive, meet Imagineers, shop, ride horses, and eat at some of the nation's best dining locations without ever leaving property. To be quite honest with you, that barely even scratches the surface of all the potential opportunities. 

Spend a Day Exclusively at the Resort
At some point in every Disney vacation, there comes a moment that you want to escape the crowds, there's really no better way to do that (in my opinion) than to plan a day exploring your resort or many of the other resorts on property. In many cases the concept is entirely free to participate in, and there's enough resorts on property that you'll likely never run out of places to explore. From dining locations in the form of both table service and counter service, and even a few character meals spread in the mix, to casual lounges and dessert locations, there are so many options that even the most experienced Disney guests will find something new to try time and time again, 

As a personal suggestion, I would highly recommend heading to the pool at your resort for a few hours after a table or counter service breakfast and then heading off to another resort in the early afternoon to explore and take a few things in from a new perspective. As the night slowly closes in, enjoy a nice meal at Ohana, Whispering Canyon, or one of the many other excellent resort dining offerings (reservations highly recommended) before stepping outside to take in the Florida sunset, or a view of the fireworks off in the distance. All things considered, you can have a vastly memorable day without even stepping foot in the parks. 

Journey Outside of Walt Disney World
When I started writing this article, I intentionally went with just Disney in the title rather than Walt Disney World. Simply put, if you've done Disney hundreds of times, try something a bit different while sticking with the Disney brand and legendary service the company is largely known for. Journey on Disney Cruise Line to the Caribbean, Alaska, or one of many other destinations. Explore the world with Adventures by Disney which oftentimes take the fear and unknown out of traveling to an entirely new location. Just as mentioned above, there really is a Disney experience for everybody in some way shape or form across their elaborate travel lineup. Try something new, and you never know what may turn a seemingly simple experience into a true memory of a lifetime and a new favorite travel destination.    

So, what would you add to our list? As always, we truly appreciate you following along with us and continually sharing these articles with friends. Your support truly helps us grow and build this dream into a reality. If you're looking for Disney tickets, don't forget that the Official Ticket Center is offering free upgrades from base tickets to park hoppers for a limited time for 2 and 3 day tickets! Plus they're continuing to offer a 5th ticketed day free with the purchase of 4 days! As always, we are affiliated with the ticket center (and receive support from them) and we truly appreciate any purchases made through the following link. 


Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Departed Disney" - Merlin At The Magic Kingdom and The Sword in the Stone!


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Today, I'm taking things back to the sites roots and sharing a little bit of overlooked Disney history. Personally, these are the articles I enjoy sharing more than just about anything simply because I truly believe that learning about Disney's past helps us appreciate the current and future aspects of the parks and resorts all that much more. So, today's look back in time at a departed aspect of the Disney World experience brings us to a short "stage show" that slowly slipped away. 

As many of you may know, or may have even experienced for yourself first hand in the past, Fantasyland features a tribute Sword in the Stone display for guests to test their "strength" or potential to become the king if you are able to draw the sword. However, at one point the experience went beyond the simple interactive exhibit we have today and featured a short little show with Merlin himself as the host. 

Today, you can still pull the sword from the stone, but the experience and build up isn't quite as elaborate or entertaining as the aforementioned show. In the early iteration and stage show sequence performance, Merlin took to the area around the sword in the stone in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. As the short performance began, Merlin would welcome guests and explain his search for an interim leader while the King was off exploring another land. However, the proper leader would have to be able to pull the sword from the stone. 

Largely for humors sake, guests were invited to attempt to pull the sword from it's fixed position, but eventually one particular guest (typically a young child) would be "chosen" and the sword would magically rise from the stone as they pulled with all their might. Of course, this was simply a recreation of the classic film, but provided a certain level of joy for guests of all ages and provided many memories for quite some time not only at Walt Disney World but at Disney Parks around the world. Sadly, all of the shows have come and gone away across all of the Disney parks, but those memories will certainly last forever.

If you've never checked out the Sword in the Stone at Walt Disney World, which still exists despite the end of the show in 2006, I highly recommend heading over to capture a picture or even just to catch a glimpse of the sword and anvil glimmering in the sun behind the castle. You never know who may be able to surprise you and pull the sword out of the stone (at least a little bit, because it only comes partially out due to obvious safety concerns). 

If you haven't already, be sure to joint the Guide4WDW Community for more articles and Disney information like this! Also, if you're looking for Disney Parks tickets or surrounding Orlando attractions, be sure to check out our fiends over at the Official Ticket Center to help support the site, but first see what ticket types we recommend in our 2017 Discount Disney World Ticket Buying TipsWe truly appreciate it! 

Don't forget to take a look at our other recent articles if you haven't already.

On a somewhat unrelated note, if anyone else watched the Wonderful World of Disney tonight, you may have seen the military family that received a trip to Walt Disney World in appreciation for their service to Toys For Tots. Their story was essentially that while the dad of the family spent time in the Marine Corps they struggle financially and Toys For Tots helped them make Christmas a reality. Today, they work with the organization to make that same Christmas dream come true for other families by volunteering their time and efforts. Disney took the time to recognize the family in a big way tonight. To me, that is the definition of true Disney Magic in practice!   

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night! When you take a few minutes out of your day to spend it here with us, it truly is the greatest indescribable feeling and one that I truly appreciate. Time is an incredibly valuable resource and you spending that time here with us continually blows my mind. Thank You!        

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