In the Shadow of the Mouse

Secrets of a theme park obsessed local who lives next door to Mickey, with annual passes to every Central Florida park

Videos show all the Frozen Summer fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Recently, I blogged about my day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios enjoying all the Frozen Summer activities. After all, who can resist playing in the snow in Florida, seeing Anna and Elsa, and singing “Let It Go” for the five hundred and thirty-fourth time?

If you haven’t made it over to the park to see it all for yourself, perhaps these videos will whet your appetite and inspire you to run over to the Studios. Just about everything, other than the ice skating, is included with your admission ticket, so it’s a nice little enhancement to a park that already has fun rides and shows like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Muppets 3-D, and the ever-popular Toy Story Mania.

Below, you’ll find a full overview of Frozen Summer, which runs through September 1:

This is an event that you’ll want to tough out until the end. As you saw in the video above, it’s capped with an impressive fireworks display. If you’re hearty enough to arrive at park opening and stay until close, you’ll begin your day with a cute welcome from Olaf, as seen in the video below:

The two big shows are the Frozen Sing-Along and Anna and Elsa’s royal welcome, which combines a mini parade with a cute little stage show. You can see it in the video below:

Frozen Summer is a great way for Disney to integrate one of its hottest (coldest?) properties into its parks. Anna and Elsa already to meet and greets at the Magic Kingdom, but that park is always the most popular, and it also has the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so it doesn’t really need any other draws. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the perfect spot to act as the center of the Frozen action. In the video below, Creative Director Reed Jones talks about the event:

If you plan to make it out to Frozen Summer, you still have a while. Just hit the park by September 1 and you can witness snow in Florida, make your own snowman, and enjoy winter fun in the summer season.

Dear past me: Guess what, you’re going to live next door to Disney someday

Tonight’s HypeOrlando Blogapalooza challenge is to write a note to my past self back when I was 18 years old. That’s a few decades back now, but in pondering the topic, I’m happy to say that I don’t think my younger self would think her future is too shabby. So here goes:

b34Dear 18-Year-Old Me:

Guess what? You’re going to live next door to Walt Disney World someday. I know how much you loved all those Disney movies and Disney Golden books and watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” on TV. Sadly, you’re not going to make it to Disney World until you’re in your 20s, but I promise you’ll make up for lost time. How would it sound to never have to dig your car out of the snow again? To never shiver in the 30 degrees below wind chill of a typical Chicago winter? And, best of all, to go to Disney any time you choose? Imagine getting a notion to pop over to the Magic Kingdom and hop on Space Mountain or catch the parade. Go ahead and do it. And you know how they just opened that brand new park called EPCOT Center? Well, by the time you turn into old and crotchety me, Walt Disney World will have four…count ‘em, four…theme parks, not to mention a couple of water parks as icing on the cake.

You know how you keep saying you’re going to be a writer and a psychologist, too? Well, I’m happy to tell you that you’re one of those rare people who really will become what you said you wanted to be when you grow up. Yes, you’re going to work your butt off in school for that doctorate, but don’t slack off. I promise that it will be worth all the effort. Counseling is one of those rare fields where you really can make a positive impact in someone’s life. Yes, I know it’s an awful lot of school, but someday you’ll be me and all that prep work will be in the past and you’ll be doing something you love.

And as for writing, you know how you’re currently doing it with that Smith Corona Selectric that you think is so cool and state of the art because it was a correction cartridge. Well, just wait until you catch up to me and see how I’m writing this letter to you. I’m typing on a handy dandy device perched on my lap. Not only can I write with it, but I can publish my thoughts instantly and have them accessible to literally almost everyone in the world (whether they actually want to read them is another question). Really, though, you’ll do well as a writer, even though you’ll shift from your magazine and newspaper work to something called the Internet. What is it? Well, imagine having a treasure trove of all the world’s knowledge at your fingertips and the ability to communicate with people around the globe just by tapping a few keys. Then imagine using that technology mainly for looking at funny pictures of cats and you pretty much have the right idea.

I know that you’re going to go through some hard times between then and now. I can’t say anything to save you from them because they’re all part of your development and what turns you into me someday. All I can say is, there’s going to be a happy ending. You’re going to get to do work that you love and visit not only Walt Disney World, but also other theme parks that don’t even exist yet in your 18-year-old world (hint: keep an eye out for something called Harry Potter).

I know that the year 2000 feels like it’s a million miles away, but believe me, it will come in the blink of an eye. Then, before you know it, the new millennium will be over a decade old.This Five for Fighting Song sums it up very nicely:

Technology is going to go into crazy fast-forward mode, so be prepared (psssst…Apple….it’s gonna be huge). And next time you’re scraping the ice off your car window with a credit card and praying that the engine turns over in the Arctic tundra temperatures, just remember…someday, single digit temperatures will be a foreign concept as you shiver any time the mercury dips below 70 degrees. I know you think I’m crazy now, but just you wait….


2014 Barb

b33As a quick addendum to today’s post, my regular readers know that I recently did a couple of posts on Gay Days, which just wrapped up last weekend. I got some colorful comments, including one from a reader named Joel who mentioned the t-shirt he wore to the Magic Kingdom. I invited him to send me a photo so I could post it. You can see it at the right. While I’m usually not offended by the shirts I see on Gay Days, I have to admit it’s an interesting twist on the usual sea of quips and double entendres. Thanks for sending it along, Joel!

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse. Email comments and story ideas to

Quick Disney media event check-in: I rock my Disney side

I promised to issue full reports on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train event at Walt Disney World this week, so here’s  quick installment from the first night (if you missed my previous article, you can find it here). The festivities kicked off with a Rock Your Disney Side party at Epcot, followed by Illuminations viewing. The party was packed with delicious food, wine, margaritas, and other drinks, and some great entertainment. However, I have to admit that the Disney characters were a big highlight of the night.

There were many traditional favorites on hand, like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who dressed up in their formal wear to celebration the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios:


Goofy was there to promote Blizzard Beach:


There were lots of characters from the Festival of Fantasy parade on hand, but the “Sleeping Beauty” contingent is my favorite:


Several Cast Members from Festival of the Lion King also paid a visit:


There were even living statues in the entryway:


But perhaps the best surprise was having Anna and Elsa sneak up on me as I was grabbing a photo with Olaf. I didn’t even know they were coming, and suddenly there they were!


Disney definitely knows how to throw a party, and I consider myself very lucky to attend. Here’s one last photo to show how my night ended with a perfect view of Illuminations:


Stay turned to “In the Shadow of the Mouse” for continued coverage, and follow me via @themeparkwriter on Twitter for live updates as we progress toward the dedication ceremony for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on Friday.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

Join me this week for a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train review from Walt Disney World

stickyWhen the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens at the Magic Kingdom, it will mark the completion of the New Fantasyland expansion. The area already has attractions like a Little Mermaid ride in Eric’s castle, Enchanted Tales With Belle, and the impressive Beast’s castle, which houses the Be Our Guest Restaurant. While Snow White’s Scary Adventure is history, the new ride will bring part her story back to the Magic Kingdom.

Although it’s a family coaster, meaning the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be suitable for everyone from Junior up to Grandma, it will still have a unique feature: trains that sway on the track. So what’s it like to ride this new attraction? I can’t tell you yet, but watch for my full report this weekend. I’m lucky enough to be attending a special media event that includes a preview of the brand-new coaster. I’ve got my “ticket to ride,” as you can see in the photo accompanying this article.

I’ll experience the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for the first time ever on Thursday. I’ll have a video to share shortly thereafter, but in the meantime, enjoy these five videos that were recently posted in the Disney Parks Blog to whet everyone’s appetite for the new ride.

First, here’s one on the design:

Next, here’s a visit to the construction site. It sure looks a lot different now, with the ride just about ready to roll:

Here’s an early ride-through rendering:

Now take a peek inside at the dwarfs and mine:

Finally, here’s a CGI ride to get you excited for the real thing:

Watch for a full report on my Disney adventures, which start on Wednesday. In addition to riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I’ll also be trying out MyMagic+ and learning about all the good stuff coming up at the Disney parks.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

FastPass+ must dos at the four Disney parks: Grab these attractions

Now that FastPass+ is a thing, what rides should you grab when your booking window opens? As an annual pass holder, I’m at a disadvantage as I can only make ride and attraction reservations 30 days out. However, if you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can do it a full 60 days before you check in, as the Walt Disney World website explains. Either way, here are my suggestions for the FastPass+ ressies to grab at each of the four parks:

b7Magic Kingdom

Two words: Elsa and Anna. If you don’t want a multi-hour wait to meet everyone’s favorite princesses, this is the FastPass+ reservation to snap up as soon as it becomes available. Otherwise you’ll wait two hours, three hours, or possibly even more, depending on the crowd level. The second best option is a viewing spot for the Festival of Fantasy parade. Yes, you could go for a major ride like one of the mountains, but both Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain have interactive queue lines that give you something to do while you’re waiting, and most of the Space Mountain wait is indoors, in air conditioning. Waiting in those lines is preferable to standing out in the sun for an hour or more to stake out a good parade spot.


Soarin’ is the main attraction here, although Test Track can get some pretty wicked wait times in the summer. Still, Test Track has a single riders line if your family is willing to be split up in separate cars. I’d rather get a Soarin’ FastPass and do Test Track as a single.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Mania or Fantasmic. Toy Story Mania has obnoxious lines during the peak season, and Fantasmic attracts huge crowds that become something of a mob scene. Granted, the Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster are also popular, but their wait time rarely approaches Toy Story Mania. Better yet, Rock n Roller Coaster has a single riders line, so use the heck out of that if others in your party are amendable to the idea.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

b6Kilimanjaro Safaris or Kali River Rapids in the summer. The safari is the signature ride here; you can usually get on with little to no wait if you rush to it early in the morning. Otherwise, just grab a FastPass and rush over to Expedition Everest instead. Yes, Expedition Everest offers FastPasses, too, but it has a single riders line, so that’s a wiser option if you don’t want to waste your precious FastPass allotment. However, if you’re visiting in the dead of summer, opt for Kali River Rapids instead. The line gets very long as people seek a good soaking to cool down in the vicious Florida heat.

Those are my personal suggestions. Sure, there are many, many other options, so work your FastPass+ selections around your own family’s tastes. Yes, it might be hard to plan something as detailed as your ride and show preferences that far in advance, but there’s also a big plus side. Once you make your reservation, you know for sure that you’ll be able to do the things that matter the most to you, even if the park is packed to capacity.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

MyMagic+ gets better on April 28: Park hop and make more FastPass+ reservations

temp31FastPass+ is the next generation of Disney’s venerable FastPass system, which savvy mouse fans have used for years to slash their wait times. With MyMagic+ and Magic Bands, guests have been able to book their FastPasses for rides. shows, parades, and even character greetings before they even reach Walt Disney World. Why wait three hours to meet Anna and Elsa or waste an hour staking out a spot for the Festival of Fantasy parade (pictured at right) when you can make a handy dandy reservation?

Only problem is, in the old days of FastPass, you could keep getting more all day. Once you hit the time frame for one, you could get another as long as there were still times available. Not so with FastPass+, which capped you at three and forced you to get them all for a single park. That kept you from the freedom of park hopping if you preferred to split your day between multiple parks.

Today company chairman Tom Staggs announced on the Disney Parks Blog that, starting on April 28, the three FastPass limitation will disappear like the Cheshire cat. You have to start out with just three FastPasses, but once you use them, you’re free to get another…and another…and another…until you don’t want any more or until they’re all handed out for the day, whichever happens first.

As an annual pass holder, I love the fact that FastPass+ is now pretty much in line with the old system. In fact, it’s even better because you can grab three rides or attractions in advance without worrying that you’ll get to the parks, hoping for an early time on Soarin’ or Toy Story Mania, only to get caught behind a tour guide getting FastPasses for his group of 200 via one of the old machines.

Better yet, you can park hop under the new system. Let’s say I want to grab three rides at the Magic Kingdom, then pop over to one of the other parks. As long as there are still times left for Soarin’ or Kilimanjaro Safari or the Tower of Terror, I can head over to Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios and extend my fun.

The only potential downside to the new system is that if you get one of your first three FastPasses for a late attraction, you probably won’t have much of a selection when its time to get your fourth. For example, if you book reserved viewing for the Festival of Fantasy parade, you’re tied up until 3 p.m. If your kids (or you) really, really want to see Anna and Elsa and the only available time is 5 p.m., you’re in the same boat.

As a local, I’m not too worried about those limitations, since I don’t have to fit everything into a compressed time period. If you’re a tourist, it will take a little planning, but you’re much better off having access to the additional FastPasses. Grab the first ones for early times if you can so you have the most possible freedom for the rest of your day.

Staggs says more MyMagic+ enhancements are coming, so stay tuned for future ways in which that cute little MagicBand can give you a smoother Walt Disney World experience.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

Disney World trip springs man out of jail: Freed after 25 years

temp4We all have our own reasons for visiting Walt Disney World: to create family memories with the kids or grandkids, relive childhood experiences, escape reality, or just plain have fun. However, for a New York, his Disney trip turned out to be his “get out of jail free” card after an incorrect murder conviction that caused him to be wrongfully locked up for nearly 25 years.

Jonathan Fleming was accused of a shooting in Brooklyn, even though he insisted he was in Orlando at Walt Disney World with his family when the murder happened. An eyewitness gave testimony that he pulled the trigger, even though his family members insisted  he was in Orlando with them at the time of the 1990 crime. He was convicted and locked away in the slammer, where he stayed for almost quarter of a century. The supposedly eye witness later recanted, but Fleming was still stuck behind bars.

Now evidence in the form of a Disney hotel receipt proves he was telling the truth all along. He paid the hotel bill just four hours before the murder, proving there was no way he could have gotten back to Brooklyn in time to pull the trigger. Ironically, the receipt could have proved his point 25 years earlier, but it was never given to the defense.

Fleming reportedly plans to go back to school and earn a degree that will help him free other wrongly convicted prisoners like himself. It appears there might be a need for that sort of assistance, as two other wrongfully convicted prisoners were recently freed, and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is looking into dozens of other cases via its Conviction Review Unit.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

Four reasons why locals hate tourists at Walt Disney World

I love tourists. Really, I do. They’re the reason I don’t pay any state income tax, and they keep our local economy afloat. If it weren’t for the millions of visitors who flock to Orlando every year, I wouldn’t get to enjoy so many theme parks and attractions all within mere miles of each other. I was once a tourist myself, and I wouldn’t have discovered the paradise that is Florida and made the leap to living here if I hadn’t been a vacationer first.

But I have to confess, I hate tourists, too, and so do my fellow locals, whether they admit it or not (locals’ secret: they’re calling you a “touron” behind your back). It’s not because moving to the Sunshine State immediately turns you into an old grouch. It happens when you face one too many of these four bad behaviors every time you visit Walt Disney World or one of the other theme parks. Here’s what tourists do that raises the locals’ ire:

1) Stop in the middle of a pathway (extra points if you do this with your entire ten-member family standing abreast of each other). I love it when tourists are traipsing along a primrose pathway in the Magic Kingdom or one of the other parks, and then they suddenly stop dead without warning. In a dense, wall-to-wall people filled park, that’s a great way to start a domino chain reaction of bodies bashing into each other. But the tourons are blissfully unaware that they’re created a hazard as they puzzle over their park map or get into a lengthy discussion about whether to do Space Mountain or the Country Bear Jamboree next. Talk as long as you want, but do it out of the way of those of us who actually use the walkways to walk.

east62) Wear giant hats in the shows. Yes, I get it. Mickey ears are lots of fun. Heck, I have more than a few pairs myself that I like to wear to the parks. But some of the hats and ears are quite large or tall, and they become a visual obstruction if you refuse to take them off from the moment you fork over your cash till you board the plane to fly home.

It’s hard to see a show or parade when the family in front of you is all decked out in Oswald ears, and too many of them act like you just asked them to shoot a kitten when you ask them to temporarily take them off. Yes, I really prefer to stare at your souvenir for the next 20 minutes rather than enjoying the performance.

Notice the nice, civil parade crowd in the photo. No one has a hat towering at the height of the Empire State Building, nor are they committing Tourist Sin #3…

3) Take photos and video with your iPad. This is fine for the occasional snapshot, but there’s always a few families who don’t seem to know about cell phone cameras or normal cameras that don’t block the view of the poor saps seated behind them. Or maybe they just really, really need some attention and figure the best way to get it is to hold their giant glowing screen over their head in the darkness for half an hour while they record the entire Hall of Presidents presentation, which they’ll never watch again once they get home.

4) Drive in the center lane at 20 miles an hour. When I was a tourist myself, I stayed on Disney property and used the internal transportation system. If I went to Universal, I took a shuttle. However, there are plenty of tourists who bring their own cars or get rentals, then create a hazard as they desperately navigate the unfamiliar terrain while wondering why their GPS just told them to turn left into a retention pond. They don’t know where or which way they’ll need to turn, so they get in the middle lane and limp along at the pace of a turtle with three broken legs. I always give them bonus points if they suddenly spot their turn-off and immediately cut off the driver in the left or right lane, despite there being no one else behind that car.

I could make this “five reasons” and go into obnoxious cell phone behavior here, but that one’s just too obvious. Instead I’ll share a video that shows how you can turn your annoyance into amusement. Have some fun with the idiots who think that everyone within a one mile radius needs to know about how their rampant toe nail fungus is affecting their trip around the world at Epcot. The video was shot at Disneyland, but it would work just as well in Florida:

Maybe I’ll give it a try someday.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

Fastpass+ and MyMagic+ at Disney World: Great planning tool or spontaneity killer?

Once upon a time, everyone was equal when you visited Walt Disney World. You decided what ride you wanted to do, got in line, and waited. Maybe the wait was just a few minutes or maybe, if it was summer or a holiday, you cooled your heels for an hour or more.

Then, in 1999, Disney introduced a little game changer known as Fastpass. This little slip of paper acted as a magic ticket to get you to the front of the line…well, almost. You used your park ticket to get a free Fastpass for the major attraction of your choice. It gave you a one-hour window during which you returned to that ride. At that time, you entered a special line that was much shorter than the standby wait.

Fastpass had its limits. For example, you couldn’t get a another Fastpass until you used the first one, with exceptions on very crowded days with very long waits. Also, Fastpasses for the best rides ran out very quickly, so you were relegated to the standby line if you didn’t get to the park early and grab one as soon as you dashed into the park. Still, it was a good system if you knew how to work it. Heck, in the old days all the locals knew that you couldn’t use a Fastpass early, but you could use it any time you wanted after the start time, regardless of the end time printed on your return window.

tempAlas, those days are gone for good, as paper Fastpasses are a thing of the past. Now you’ve got Magic Bands that work via RFID, and you make MyMagic+ reservations instead of getting those old-school paper slips. This Disney Parks Blog just officially announced that MyMagic+ is available to day guests after an initial roll-out to onsite hotel guests, followed by annual passholders. That means that you make your ride reservations online in what some see as a great planning tool, while others are mourning the death of spontaneity in your Disney day.

So what do I, as an annual passholder, think about MyMagic+? Back when I was a tourist traveling from Chicago, I often booked all-inclusive package deals that came with a precursor to what’s now known as the Disney Dining Plan. My aim was always to maximize my value for the dollar, which meant eating at the priciest restaurants. The foodie in me loved it, but it was something of a pain to plan my trip around restaurant reservations. Sure, I could have moved things around during my trip, but that would have meant giving up wildly popular places like Cinderella’s Royal Table and the steakhouse in Canada. It was either be a compulsive planner and stay locked into those plans or give up some of the best places as the cost of spontaneity.

Now that’s true of rides, too. At the moment, you’re limited to choosing three per day, although that’s going to change. Also, they must all be in the same park on any given day, but that’s going to change, too. The addition of parking hopping will be a big improvement because on of the best parts about having four parks at Disney World is the ability to hop freely between them, provided you have a park hopper ticket. Is the Magic Kingdom getting too crowded? Pop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Are you still full of energy when Animal Kingdom closes? Head over to Epcot and stick around for Illuminations. When I was a tourist, I doubt I ever spent a whole day in just one park.

Now, your Fastpass+ reservations will tie you down to an extent. For example, let’s say Magic Kingdom is getting packed like sardines, and you’d really like to hop the monorail to Epcot, but you’re holding a 3 p.m. Fastpass for reserved viewing of the Festival of Fantasy parade. You have to stick around or lose it. Sure, you can try to switch that ressie to one for Soarin’ or Test Track, but there probably won’t be anything left late in the day during the busy season. In the meantime, you get an extra stessor when your booking window opens, much as those who seek to have breakfast with Cinderella start dialing the moment the reservation line opens on the appointed day to share a coveted spot.

Fastpass+ also means a lot of last minute changing around if the weather doesn’t cooperate. For example, you can make your ride reservations months in advance for the Magic Kingdom, only to discover that it’s going to storm all day when you finally arrive in Florida. A park like Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios has more to do indoors, but good look with last minute changes to your MyMagic+ plans.

Yes, those are all downsides. but MyMagic+ has some upsides, too. As long as you’re diligent with your planning, you can virtually guarantee that your family will get to experience the things that are most important to them, and you’ll slash some of the worst wait times. For example, Elsa and Anna regularly have multi-hour lines, so it’s a Godsend for parents with little kids to be able to book their greeting via Fastpass+. For me as a local, I can grab a Fastpass+ reservation for Kilimanjaro safari and enjoy a few single rider line rides on Expedition Everest, pop on the safari truck, then head home after a fun morning in the park with minimal waits, even in the peak season.

I’ll probably go to the parks more often in the peak season, since I’ll know ahead of time that I’ll get to ride my favorites, rather than hoping that I don’t get stuck at a Fastpass machine behind a Brazilian tour guide glomming a hundred Fastpasses. Instead, I’ll stroll into Epcot in the middle of July, knowing that I’ll get a ride on Soarin’, then grab a coffee and bail when the heat and crowd overwhelms me.

MyMagic+ is still a work in progress, so it remains to be seen how it will all work out. I have my brand-new Magic Band, but my dog, Bolt, turned it into a chew toy, so I’m going to need a replacement before I even get a chance to use it. There’s a long summer ahead, so I’ll be sure to report on what this opinionated local thinks about the new system and whether the shorter waits are worth the spontaneity cost.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse.

Festival of Fantasy creators share their thoughts on new Magic Kingdom parade

bg3I had a chance to attend a media viewing of the new Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom. Wow! As I shared in one of my previous In the Shadow of the Mouse posts, I was blown away by this fine example of Disney showmanship. I have a full video of the parade in that post, but view that only as a small sample of what awaits you if you see it in person. There’s no way a computer screen can even begin to compare.

I also had an opportunity to talk to some of the parade’s creators. I think you’ll enjoy hearing their thoughts now that something they’re be working on for the past two years has finally come to fruition. You’ll learn what it’s like for those creators to watch guests witnessing the parade for the first time and sharing in their excitement.

First, here’s Kris Bunnell, Producer, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment. I previously talked to Kris at a media fashion show that showcased some of the costumes and floats before the parade’s debut. It was great fun to hear her thoughts now that the whole parade has been officially unveiled:


Next is Creative Director Steve Davidson, who talks about what it’s like to nurture a project for two years and see it finally make its debut in front of an appreciative crowd:


Last is Sayre Wiseman, Show Productions Director at Walt Disney Imagineering, who talks about all the little details that make this parade such a stunner:


It’s always a pleasure to talk to the creative minds at Disney who bring shows, parades, and attractions to life. Hopefully you’ll enjoy watching the interviews as much as I did when I filmed them.

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for more tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I literally write my blog  In the Shadow of the Mouse. Email comments and story ideas to