Tammie’s Take Thursday: Is the Haunted Mansion too scary for my child?

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Excitement is building, only 73 more days until I return “home” and the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ads keep me singing along to “Grin Grinning Ghosts…”

Which has me reflecting on a question I get asked a lot, “Is Haunted Mansion too scary for my child?” My first response is always, “He/She is your child you know he/she best.”  That said, I am one of “those” mothers who drags her child onto rides crying and screaming, because…

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Truth be told this mom is a bit selfish when it comes to theme parks and rides, I do not want to miss anything.

Your visit to the Haunted Mansion begins through an interactive queue graveyard that will keep everyone (including) adults entertained as they wait to enter the mansion.  Look closely and you wild that the gravestones and crypts pay tribute to the Imagineers involved in creating the Haunted Mansion. The retheming of this area is simply magic, the time passes away quickly and if you are like me, you will wish the lines would slow down so you could play more.  The queue is great area to begin introducing your child to some of the things that they will see inside, far Less scary in the Florida sunlight.

Touring Tips… 

IMG_1955Just before you venture inside, find the tombstone of Madame Leota.  Her tombstone is unique as it contains her portrait, which occasionally comes to life!  If you watch closely enough you will see Leota open her eyes and look around.  This creepy effect is short lived making you question what you just saw. 

 

15180261078_a0981cd44fYou will then be invited inside by a maid/butler and ushered into the parlor where the walls will literally close in and stretch around you.  Does the ceiling go up or does the floor go down? (At Walt Disney World the room stretches, while at Disneyland it is an elevator).

WARNING:  A voice will surround you and truly the first scary moment will come at the end of the narration when the lightning flashes above you and the ceiling is opened. The organ music you hear in the stretching room is Grim Grinning Ghosts slowed down. In fact, it is the only song you hear during the ride and it gets faster as the ride progresses, till it climaxes in the graveyard.

Touring Tips…

maxresdefault (2)Have a few glow sticks for small children to be able to see with (and for you to see them). This part of the attraction is quite dark.

Want to avoid becoming a ghost when the walls open to the ride loading area?  Stand under the painting of the girl with the parasol because it’s where the door to the ride opens.

Hold firmly to your child’s hand when the door opens to the loading area, there is no “line” system and people tend to make a mad dash to the buggy loading area.

DoombuggiesOnce you leave the stretching room to be loaded into the “Doom” buggies.  Note that you will be loaded using a moving walkway.  This can be scary for children to try to get in while the sidewalk is moving beneath them.  Once in your buggy, the bar will lower itself (don’t be like me and keep pulling on it).  The buggy will then take you on a tour through the mansion and then finally through the graveyard.

Touring Tip…

Your buggy may stop during the ride, do not panic the ride is not breaking down.  What is happening is that a guest that needs assistance to get on or off the ride is being helped.  Disney Cast Members must stop the ride to stop the moving sidewalk in the loading area.

Along the way you will meet Madame Leota.  Madame Leota’s face is Leota Toombs, an Imagineer who created designs for many Disney attractions. And the ghost bride, watch the portraits closely and hold your teenage sons closer, she might just be looking for her next groom.

My favorite room is the Dining Room Scene.  Why?  I can remember as a child it featured in the opening clips of the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.  Great memories of watching this show with my sisters. The ballroom dancing ghosts are the result of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. This effect is made by illuminating objects and reflecting onto a pane of glass!

Touring Tip…

When you enter the dining room scene with the dancing ghosts take a close look at the dining table. You should be able to spot a hidden Mickey in the plates.

Right before you enter the graveyard, you die! You fall from an attic window when your doom-buggy turns backward, and you go down to the graveyard scene. Notice from this point on in the ride that the ghosts don’t acknowledge you because you are now one of them. Here I feel the ride takes on a more upbeat tone, ironic since most people fear a graveyard at night.  The music gets faster and LOUDER, there is a party going on in the graveyard and the ghosts become sillier.  Look out for the ghost opera singer and of course the singing quartet.

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As you leave the graveyard, make sure you have not picked up any hitchhiking ghosts (check in the mirror carefully).

1 in front ofNow back to the original question.  Is haunted mansion too scary for my child?  Bottom line is to know your child…

Can they handle dark rides?  Build up to Haunted Mansion by first taking a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight.  If that ride goes well, then ride Pirates of the Caribbean.

Can your child separate reality from pretend?  If they can’t, you will certainly want to skip this one.

The great thins is that if ANYONE (including you) find the queue and the stretching room overwhelming you can ask a Cast Member to show you the exit before entering your doom buggy. There is always a “Too Cool for this Ride” out, do not be afraid to use it when needed.

It is always a good idea to know your ride.  If you go to YouTube and search Haunted Mansion you will find many POV (Point of View) videos.  Watch a few of them so you are prepared when the time comes to comfort your child if need be or to prepare them for what is next.

 

My 5-year-old loved Haunted Mansion his first time, but I also prepared him in advance for the ride.  One of our movie nights leading up to our trip featured the Eddie Murphy/Disney Movie of the same name, Haunted Mansion.

In the Haunted Mansion, you come face to face with nine hundred and ninety-nine happy haunts. The Mansion is full to the brim with eerie details, creepy ghosts, and sight gags. It is the perfect balance of spooky and funny, just make sure that you don’t become number one thousand.

Touring Tip…

Want to see and experience the Haunted Mansion at it’s finest hour?  Come and visit during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

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#(almost)wordlesswednesday: Disney Weenies

It’s #(almost)wordlesswednesday, that means linking up with Focused on the Magic to share my #DisneySide through pictures and a few words, since nothing for me is ever wordless with me!

This week we are focusing in on Disney Weenies and the first image that came to my mind was this guy (aka #monsterchild)…

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I am really hoping that he will grow out of this, but in all honesty that is not what a Disney Weenie is.

A Weenie is what Walt Disney and his Imagineers called the iconic structures or focal points in each of the Disney parks and lands. They are big enough to be seen from a distance and interesting enough to draw you closer for a better look.

Here is a look at some of at my favorite Disney Weenies from each park…

Tower of Terror in Disney Hollywood Studios

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It is really not the Weenie that makes this my favorite in Disney Hollywood Studios but what is inside these walls….

Everest in Animal Kingdom

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This is probably one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken.  I really can’t say that I get much credit other than capturing the beauty of a December rope drop morning in Animal Kingdom.

Italy Pavilion in Epcot

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Each time I visit Epcot’s Italy I am reminded of the experience of actually being in St. Mark’s Square in Venice and all the wonderful memories of our trip to Italy.  

Tangled Tower in Magic Kingdom

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One of my favorite Disney movies and certainly the most beautiful theme park bathroom areas.

What are some of your favorite Disney Weenies?  Make sure you check out my Instagram (Mylifeinears) and my Facebook Travel page to see my favorites from Walt Disney World.

#(almost)WordlessWednesday: T-H-A-N-K-S

It’s Wednesday so that means linking up with Focused on the Magic to share some of our #disneyside vacation photos on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop…which makes me so excited since I have a whole new album to share!

The theme this week is Thanks + Giving and is loosely based on a word game  where someone picks a word that’s related to Thanksgiving. Then, going around the table each person says what they are thankful for using the letters in the word chosen.

Looking at my pictures,  I decided to share from a new experience that I encountered in the Magic Kingdom…the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  I had never had the opportunity to see this parade and during this past trip I made it a priority to view and I am so THANKFUL I did.  It is simply BEAUTIFUL!

So, here’s my Disney spin on the game in pictures from the Festival of Fantasy parade…

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T-Tiana (& Prince Naveen)

HHero (Prince Phillip)

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NNeverland’s Lost Boys

KKilts & Kuteness with Brave

SSnow White

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Wishing you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving!

-Tammie

 

 

 

 

#thefoodandwineitcallsme

I am feeling a little down this morning, but a whole lot better than my mental state yesterday over the carelessness of another passenger on my flight.  Right now I should just about be ready to start the 2017 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon…“wine over” 

I am going off to have a great day checking off experiences from my bucket list and let the #thefood&wineitcallsme.

Today’s bucket list

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The bulk of my day (and evening) will be spent in Epcot at one of my favorite events, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.  I am on a mission to visit each of the 35 marketplace booths and sample something from the menu over the course of the next few days.  I came close last year…I love the chance to bring out my inner foodie and be adventourous in my eating.

Remember that I am taking you along on this “working vacation” will full out social media blitz.  Content will be different on each site to make it fresh, so you will want to follow me on…

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Don’t forget, I am giving everyone*  following along and interacting, a chance to win a up to a $200 Disney Vacation Credit as well as a few daily giveaways as a thank you for being a part of my “working vacation.”  For complete rules and details…

 Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho Contest Rules & Details

I will also be doing a give away today, head over to my Facebook business page for complete details…

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I can’t wait to get the day started, so I will C U Real Soon and remember that life is always better in ears.

 

Tammie’s Take Thursday: Why I Love Fall at Walt Disney World

I know Fall doesn’t officially start until September 21st,  but with the kids headed back to school and football starting up my mind just goes there.  Fall at Walt Disney World is one of my favorite times of the year  to be “Home”  as the crowd levels and temperatures begin to “FALL” from the peak summer months making a visit much more enjoyable. Here are some of the other reasons I love Fall at Walt Disney World…

As I write this blog entry, Fall decorations are going up. There is something inviting in the Fall tones of browns and oranges.  The parks are brought to life with fall leaves (yes in Florida), pumpkins, scarecrows and the spook-tacular decour needed for one of my favorite celebrations…

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP).  If you have never been to the party, you need to.  It is a special event ticket held on select nights at the Magic Kingdom Park.  It offers family friendly trick or treating, character meet and greets, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Holiday parade and a special Happy HalloWishes fireworks display, plus it’s a great way to bring out your inner child as everyone is encouraged to wear costumes and participate in the fun.  Wanting a more “adult” adventure then check out…

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival held during the fall months.  During this entertainment packed event guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from more than 30 locations from around the World in addition to separately ticketed events like food & wine pairings, specialty dinners, culinary demonstrations from award winning chefs and food seminars.  Also, you can rock to some of your favorite 70s-80s-90s musical talents with the Eat to the Beat Concert Series…

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For those interested in running Disney, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend happens in the fall…why absolute favorite race weekend of the runDisney series.  There is a distance for everyone, including the popular kids races!

And no Fall season should ever go without a few seasonal inspired treats…

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How about a pumpkin spice waffle sundae? I should really dedicate a complete article to the delicious and amazing treats available only during the fall season from candy corn ice cream, skull apples and pumpkin cupcakes to Jack Skellington caramel apples and Ghost Marshmallows.

I know you will “Fall” in love with Walt Disney World in the Fall like I have.  It’s never too late to plan a trip for this Fall…I know just the right Disney Vacation Planner who can help you experience the Fall Magic.  Contact Me Today and lets get planning…

For More Exciting Fall Information Check out the Disney Parks Blog.

#(almost)Wordless Wednesday: My Favorite View

#(almost)WordlessWednesday is going to be a day early as we are off for a mini vacation back East for the next week. This week’s topic from Focused on the Magic is “My Favorite View.”  Looking through my pictures my favorite view is necessarily a specific location but is a thing…

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FIREWORKS! Even better if the fireworks have the castle in view or enjoyed with a dessert or a glass of bubbly wine!

After all when you see Disney fireworks, you know that Wishes do come true!

Friday Fives: 5 Ways to Get Around Walt Disney World

From the moment you step off the plane at Orlando International Airport,  Walt Disney World has your transportation covered. There is no need to rent a car to cover the 45 miles of property. Here are 5 ways to get you where you want to be and most are accessible to guests with disabilities or need who need special assistance…

1 MON1. Monorail-One of the most recognized icons at Walt Disney World is the Monorail, make sure you take a ride…but “Please stand clear of the doors. Por Favor Manténgase Alejado de las Puertas.”  The WDW monorail system has 2 loops…Epcot and Magic Kingdom both can be accessed at the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC).  The Magic Kingdom monorail loop connects the Magic Kingdom to the “monorail” resorts… the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian. There is also an Express monorail that runs directly to the Magic Kingdom.  At the TTC you can transfer to the Epcot loop which will take you directly to Epcot.  The monorail starts running around 7 am until an hour after the parks close.

Tip:  If traveling to the Magic Kingdom from the TTC, walk over to the Polynesian Resort and hop on the monorail this will save you time and avoid the crowds waiting to take the ferry across to the Magic Kingdom or waiting for the Express monorail to Magic Kingdom. 

2. Bus-You can reach all theme parks, water parks and resort hotels by bus. Buses start running 45 minutes prior to park opening and 2 hours after park closing.  While this being the most accessible form of transportation it is also the most crowded, avoid the  bus immediately after posted park closing times and evening shows.  Disney has recently installed wait time boards at each bus top and are fairly accurate to give an idea when the next bus will arrive.  No matter the resort you stay at, there will be bus issues from time to time depending on traffic conditions, so be patient and kind to your bus driver.

Tip:  Give yourself ample time to get where you are going, I always allot at least 60 minutes to get to my destination. Avoid crowded buses by waiting until the next bus arrives, it should not be too long or be prepared to stand.

3. Boat/Ferry-Not my favorite or most efficient choice for travel but it will get you where you are going.  From the TTC to Magic Kingdom you can take the ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon.  From each of the monorail resorts (the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian plus the Wilderness Lodge) you can take a water taxi across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom and back again.  There is also a boat from the World Showcase Plaza to Germany and Morocco. Epcot, Epcot Resorts (Boardwalk, Beach/Yacht Club, Swan Dolphin) and Disney Hollywood Studios are connected via the Friendship Launch located directly outside the International Gateway of Epcot.  Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter as well as Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West are connected to Disney Springs via boat.

Tip:  While not the fastest transportation option, it can be the most relaxing and peaceful.  Take the either the ferry or one of the water taxis during the Happily Ever After show in the Magic Kingdom for a breathtaking view of the fireworks.

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4. Feet-A few resorts are accessible via the old-fashioned method of walking.  Guests at the Contemporary Resort can easily walk to the Magic Kingdom.  If you are staying at one of the Epcot Resorts (Boardwalk, Beach/Yacht Club, or Swan/Dolphin) both Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios are within walking distance and you will find your feet are faster than other modes of transportation.  Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are just a minute walk apart along the River.

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Even after a long day at Disney Hollywood Studios, my boys were able to muster enough strength to have a light saber battle while walking back to the Boardwalk.

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5. Uber/Taxis/Mears Shuttle-If you want to cut your time in half and don’t mind spending a little money Guest Services at your resort can call for a taxi or shuttle.  Save even more time (and a few dollars) by booking yourself an Uber ride.

All modes of Disney transportation are efficient to get you where you need to be, but take time.  Best of all, except for #5 free to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.  So, sit back and let Disney do the “driving.”

Getting around is easy, if you are familiar with transportation from your resort.  As part of my complimentary planning services when you book your Walt Disney World Vacation I will provide you with all the information you need to get to your destination the most efficient and fast way possible.