Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Holidays at Disney

by Meghann on November 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from Elsa’s Frozen Castle in the Magic Kingdom!

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I’m telling you, Walt Disney World knows how to do the holidays right.

The holiday season is my favorite time to visit Walt Disney World (minus the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – that week is crowded hell and permanently on my Disney blackout list). You can check-out my previous Holidays-at-Disney posts here: 2009 (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Since there are so many Holiday festivities to see during November and December at WDW (gingerbread houses! parades! lights! oh my!), it’s always best to go into the day with a plan. Especially when you only have 10 hours to play with and are willing to accept up front you’re not going to see it all. My mom and I started planning our day a week prior, by booking a breakfast reservation at Boma and fast passes for Animal Kingdom on our MyDisney app.

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I don’t know what it is, but nothing makes me more excited for an upcoming trip to Disney than using the MyDisney to reserve everything ahead of time.

We had a plan: breakfast at Boma, rides at Animal Kingdom, gingerbread houses at Magic Kingdom resorts, Magic Kingdom for the castle lighting, and then finally the Osborne Family Lights at Hollywood Studios.  I was hoping we could catch Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom, but I was sad to discover the parade was discontinued. Boo.

I met my parents at Boma just before ten. Boma is located in Animal Kingdom Lodge and serves a pretty delicious breakfast buffet. The spread is you typical breakfast eats, with some African influences and flair. I packed my plate and fueled up for the day.

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From Boma we headed to Animal Kingdom.

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Out of all the parks, I’m least familiar with Animal Kingdom. I’ve ridden Expedition Everest hundreds of times, but that’s the only part of the park I know well.

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For instance, we had time to kill before our next Fast Pass so we hopped on a train and ended up at “Conservation Station” – a portion of the park I didn’t even know existed. It’s basically an interactive hands-on area where kids can learn about endangered animals, the rain forest, and can pet snakes.

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Scaley.

There was also a viewing area where we could watch a live monkey surgery. The monkey was experiencing stomach pain when they found an obstruction in his intestines. The doc was in the process of removing a hairball from the monkey’s stomach when we walked up.

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Talk about fascinating. I’m not sure it’s totally appropriate for all the younger kids (it was pretty gruesome), but still very fascinating to see. I guess it’s not any worse than what you would see on the Discovery channel? An Animal Kingdom regular was telling us she’s been to this portion of the park countless times and this was the first time she’d ever seen a live surgery happening.  Apparently we just lucked out.

We took the train back to the main portion of the park and used our Safari fast passes.

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I’m pretty sure the last time I rode the Kilimanjaro Safari was the year Animal Kingdom opened. I forgot how great of an adventure it is. The landscaping, the animals, the vehicle… I really felt like I was on a safari.

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We had fast passes to Finding Nemo (another Animal Kingdom show I’ve never seen before), but decided to skip it and head to the Magic Kingdom area resorts to check out the gingerbread houses. A handful of Walt Disney World resorts build gingerbread houses during the holiday season and one of the grandest (and my favorite) is at the Grand Floridian.

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This year’s gingerbread house is made of:

  • 1,050 lbs of honey
  • 140 pints of egg whites
  • 600 lbs of powdered sugar
  • 700 lbs of chocolate
  • 800 lbs of flour
  • 33 lbs of spices
  • A little bit of magic and pixie dust

 

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I purchased a delicious gingerbread shingle to nibble on. It was light, fluffy and a great snack.

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We took the monorail to see the Frozen themed gingerbread house at the Contemporary. I know a lot of folks are over Frozen Mania, but how cute is this display?

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Next stop – Magic Kingdom!

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We killed time at the park and waited for the main event – the Frozen themed castle lighting. Traditionally Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother have been the star of the show for the seasonal castle lighting ceremony, but this year Elsa and her friends have taken over the honor.

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Again, I know some fans are over “Frozen Mania,” but I think the Magic Kingdom really nailed it with this show. It’s cute, light hearted and Elsa’s actual “freezing” of the castle really plays up the magic of the Magic Kingdom. Whether you’re a Frozen fan or not, I think it’s a great show and worth checking out.

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Our last stop of the night took us to Hollywood Studios.

 

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For The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

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After a full 10 hours exploring, we were done. Such a fun day of Holiday exploring. I’d love to return to Epcot for a Candlelight Processional in December, but I’ll just have to play it by ear.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

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