Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: Disney (Page 1 of 2)

Pacific Northwest Trip Recap

Clouds over Crescent Lake

Our trip to the Pacific Northwest this summer checked off two more states, one Canadian province, and two more national parks in an unforgettable nature-filled two week trek. We visited Seattle, Vancouver, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, and the Olympic Peninsula.

I would love to take another Alaska cruise, but I think it would have to be on a larger ship. Sure, the Serenade can get into smaller ports that the big ships can’t, but there just wasn’t much going on during the sea days. I would look at ships that were purpose built for Alaska like the Norwegian Bliss that have more indoor areas for people to hang out on sea days.

Serenade of the Seas in Juneau

Cruise Ships in Juneau

I definitely want to explore different ports on my next Alaska cruise and I think I would look for a cruise that visits Glacier Bay. I’ve heard that park rangers get on the ship and talk about the nature. And it would cross off another national park! Ketchikan is another Alaska port I really wish we got to see!

I would definitely plan strategically if I ever cruise out of Vancouver again. I would make sure to pick the earliest check in time and arrive maybe even an hour before that. I might even look at cruises that start in Seward (Anchorage, Alaska) before looking at cruises out of Seattle.

Cruise ships in Sitka Sound

Cruise ships in Sitka Sound

You can call me crazy, but I would fly in/out of Seattle for a Vancouver cruise again. Amtrak is running the Cascades route again so the train is an option to get from Seattle to Vancouver again. Yes, it was two additional border crossings, but Quick Shuttle was easy and comfortable and honestly, you can’t beat the price of Greyhound. Is it my new preferred means of travel, no, but it got the job done!

I would definitely wait until later in the season to really get to explore Washington’s National Parks. I really don’t know if I can count visiting Mt. Rainier if I couldn’t see the mountain! I’ve been told the fog is less common later in the summer so that is when I would plan my return trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

All-in-all, our 2-week Alaska cruise, Olympic National Park trip was another epic vacation! There were many firsts and experiences I can’t believe we got to do! Where will we explore next? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Stormtroopers

Stormtroopers in Rise of the Resistance

Coronado Springs Resort Review

Coronado Blue (33706136420)

For my past several trips to Walt Disney World, I have chosen to stay at Value Resorts to save money. Since this was only a long weekend trip, I decided we could level up and stay at a Moderate Resort. My first choice was Port Orleans Riverside which one of my favorite Disney Resorts. But, due to COVID-19, it was not open yet, but was scheduled to reopen a few weeks after our trip, so we had to switch our original booking to Coronado Springs.

Coronado Springs is an enormous resort with over 2,300 guest rooms set up around a 22-acre lake in the Animal Kingdom area. The resort has three pools and multiple restaurants. The resort is themed to Mexico and the American southwest and is very beautifully landscaped. This is a convention hotel so it also has a convention center and a spa. If there is a convention, Coronado Springs can get very busy. It was pretty empty when we were there for the 50th, though.

Coronado Springs pool view - panoramio There are some amenities that differentiate a moderate resort from the more budget-minded value resorts. Value resorts typically only have a food-court-type restaurant. This is an area where Coronado shines (thanks, in part to the convention center) with four restaurants and three bars. Moderate resorts each have a big theme pool. Coronado Springs’ is called The Dig Site and is themed like a Mayan pyramid with a waterfall running into the pool. The resort also has a playground themed to an archaeological dig. Transportation is a step up in the moderate resorts as well with several bus stops located around the resort as opposed to one main bus stop in the front of the resort at the values. Coronado Springs also has upgraded bathrooms in the rooms complete with a rain shower.

Coronado Springs Resort For the whirlwind trip that we did, we were not able to use most of these amenities (although the rain shower was appreciated). We were in the parks from open until close. I didn’t take a single picture of the resort. We did not make use of the pools or the lounges, although we picked up breakfast from the Mercado (the counter service restaurant) one morning. I enjoyed the breakfasts we had in the parks more, though. The additional bus stops were nice at the end of the day, but in the morning, many of the buses were full by the time they got to our bus stop. Overall, I wish we would have either shelled out more money for a deluxe resort close to the Magic Kingdom or saved and gone back to Pop Century.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Coronado Springs Pinterest Graphic

Wordless Wednesday: Millennium Falcon

Millenium Falcon

One Day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Walking down Hollywood Boulevard

On our third and final day of our whirlwind weekend celebrating Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, we headed to Disney Hollywood Studios. I mentioned in my post last week that Epcot has always been my favorite park. Well, the Studios (or MGM as I still think of it) has always been my least favorite park. But, in the 7 years since my last visit, a lot has been added to the park and my appreciation for it has grown.

This day started much earlier than I had anticipated. Since we were checking out, I called bell services at our resort to have them store our bags while we enjoyed our last day at the parks. I expected this would take at least half an hour. I was shocked when someone was knocking on our door less than 10 minutes later! We loaded all of our things onto a golf cart and he drove us to the front of the resort to catch a bus to the Studios a full hour before the park opened! We were one of the first buses to be allowed into the park that day. We went through security and sat down on the ground in the line for Rise of the Resistance to wait for the park to open.

Storm Troopers

Stormtroopers in Rise of the Resistance

I am very glad we chose Rise for our first attraction of the day. I have seen the original Star Wars trilogy but I am in no way a Star Wars fan. Even still, I think this ride is one of the best on Disney property! The ride itself is fun. It tells the story very well and the cast members were just phenomenal! I do know that it would have really freaked me out as a kid, so if you are traveling with an anxious child who doesn’t like to be yelled at, you may want to consider doing rider swap for this one. Sorry if that is a little vague, but I don’t want to give away the premise of the ride if you haven’t done it yet. Just trust me when I say it was great!

We got off the ride as the park was officially opening for the day and we headed to Ronto Roasters for breakfast. I had pre-ordered on the app so we just had to walk to the counter and pick it up. The downside of the over-the-top theming in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is that the signage is nearly non-existent. As a first-time visitor to this part of the park, even with the app open, we passed Ronto several times before we found it! This was a big problem when Animal Kingdom first opened and they ended up having to disrupt the theming for clear signage and I think this may end up being necessary at Galaxy’s Edge.

Slinky Dog Dash

From there we headed to Toy Stoy Land, the other new area of the park since my last visit. Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies so I loved the theming in this part of the park. Slinky Dog Dash is a fun addition to the park!

I was very excited to ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but it didn’t live up to the other new attractions, in my opinion. Runaway Railway uses the same Trackless ride system that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot uses. While it is exciting to finally have a Mickey and Minnie attraction in the parks, the animation is not the Mickey and Minnie from my childhood. They are based on the 2013 animation style. The train cars that you ride in seat four and so I was seated next to people I don’t know. When the ride gets to the Daisy dancing scene, our bare legs touched and that was kind of weird. Overall, it was a fun attraction and if you have kids that are used to this more modern animation, they will love it. I just wasn’t rushing back out to do it again.

Inside Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater RestaurantFor lunch, we ate at the Sci-Fi Drive-in Theater Restaurant (left). Sci-Fi is located on Commissary Lane, not far from Galaxy’s Edge. The theming of the restaurant is an old Drive-In. Diners sit in booths that look like cars from the 50’s and enjoy their dinner while watching trailers for ridiculous sci-fi movies and commercials for the concession stand. We ate here once when I was a kid and I really enjoyed it so I wanted to bring Chris. While the food is good, expect burgers and fries, you choose Sci-Fi for the theming.

Sunset BoulevardThis day we waited in the longest lines of the weekend, but with the Studios being such a small park, we still ended up riding everything we wanted multiple times. We did Rise of the Resistance twice, Slinky Dog twice, Midway Mania twice, and Smuggler’s run twice. I even finally got to ride Rock n Rollercoaster (I could never justify the wait last trip), but it didn’t live up to Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Storyland.

Overall, this day greatly improved my opinion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hopefully, I will be able to get back down there and check out Animal Kingdom again (I still haven’t seen Pandora-The World of Avatar) and maybe come up with a new ranking of the parks. Be sure to check back next week as I review our stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Hollywood Studios Pin

Hollywood Studios Pin

Wordless Wednesday: Epcot at Night

Spaceship Earth at Night

One Day in Epcot

Figment Fab 50 Statue

Epcot has always been my favorite park in Walt Disney World and on typical trips, it is the first park that I visit. I’ve always loved the Edutainment aspect of the park and it makes me sad that they are slowly fading it away in favor of more Disney characters. Figment has always been one of my favorite characters and I loved discovering his Fab 50 statue (above)!

Unlike the Magic Kingdom, a lot has changed at Epcot since our last visit to the parks. In 2014, we knew Maelstrom was closing and were able to get a final ride through before the transition to Frozen happened. Soarin’ Around the World was also new to us as the original closed in 2016. And the big attraction of the day was Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure officially debuting the day before.

Rattatouille Sign

After a long day at Magic Kingdom celebrating the 50th Anniversary, we got up early and got in the virtual queue for Remy’s (above). Even though I signed in right at 7:00, we were in boarding group 64 (if I remember correctly) with an estimated boarding time at 3:00. Being its second day officially open, it broke down a few times during the day. I think it was closer to 5:00 before we were able to enter the actual queue. This was my first time ever using Disney’s virtual queue system and I was surprised by how long the actual line was once our group was called. We probably waited almost an hour before getting to board our mouse vehicles. Overall, I really enjoyed the attraction. I liked it a lot better than Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios which uses the same trackless ride system. I probably wouldn’t wait that long to ride it again, though. I tend to draw the line at a 45-minute wait.

This was by far our longest wait of the day. Just like on the 50th, wait times were much lower than I expected. We probably ended up riding Soarin’ five times, Gran Fiest Tour four times, Living with the Land three times, Test Track three times, and Spaceship Earth three times. The only other attraction with a long wait was Frozen Ever After which I don’t know that I will ever need to ride again.

Gusteau's Sign in Remy's Rattatouille Adventure

This was also my first time at Food and Wine Festival in Epcot and it was the first weekend day where all of the booths were open. I was told it is best to avoid weekends at Food and Wine if possible because the park fills up with locals, but we were only there for the weekend, so we had to make the best of it. It was definitely crowded but we started with lunch at the booths before it got too busy. Everything we tried was good, but none of it lived up to dinner the night before at Skipper Canteen.

As much as I was ready to crash before the fireworks, we made a point to stay to see Harmonious. Harmonious combines a typical fireworks show with fountains and lights combined with music from popular Disney music. Unlike Illuminations, which was the epitome of Epcot nighttime spectaculars in my mind, Harmonious is hard to appreciate if you don’t have a good view of the lagoon. Where Illuminations told a moving story that fit into the theme of World Showcase, Harmonious just kind of stings a bunch of fun Disney songs together. From what I was able to see, it was a fun show and I will probably watch it the next time I’m in Epcot, but I wouldn’t park hop from another park to see it as I had done with Illuminations.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week to read about our time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Epcot Pin

Wordless Wednesday: Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle's 50th Anniversary Makeover

50 Years of Walt Disney World

The view down Main Street on October 1

I remember walking down Main Street USA in 1996 toward the infamous Castle Cake that marked Walt Disney World’s 25th-anniversary celebration. As an eight-year-old girl, I thought it was awesome, and looking at pictures of that pink monstrosity still brings a smile to my face. Fast forward to 2011, Magic Kingdom was celebrating 40 years and I was very involved in the Disney online community at the time as a co-host of the Generation Mouse podcast. Some of my co-hosts were heading down to the celebration, but I was planning a wedding while doing my student teaching and a Disney trip just wasn’t in the cards. But, I promised myself I would be there for the 50th! I marked Friday, October 1, 2021 down on my calendar as a date to remember.

We booked this trip 500 days out, as early as Disney lets you book because I knew it was going to be a popular weekend. We booked flights using the last of our Spirit credit and of course, they canceled it and put us on a less-desirable flight that had us land in Orlando at Midnight on Friday. I heard people online talking about getting to the Magic Kingdom by 5 am and I knew with arriving so late, something was going to have to give. My plan was the get to the park for the early resort guest hours at seven, but traffic was insane so we got there right as it opened to everyone at eight with the bus driver taking us the back way to the park.

Waffle from Sleepy Hollow

Waffle with Nutella from Sleepy Hollow

We walked through the turnstile and just hit a wall of people (top). There was a cast member standing outside the Emporium explaining to people that the store is on a virtual queue and at park open it was already full for the day. This was our first time in the parks since 2014, I wasn’t going to waste my time standing in line all day for merchandise. We headed to Liberty Square to pick up our breakfast from Sleepy Hollow that I had ordered in advance on the app. I was really glad that I had ordered in advance because the line went a ways back from the ordering window, almost back to the castle.

Selfie in front of the castle

Exhausted Selfie in front of the Castle

We finished our breakfast and headed to Tomorrowland for our first ride of the day, bracing ourselves for the long lines that were predicted. The line for Space Mountain wasn’t bad, in fact, after riding once, we got back in line and did it again. I think in total, we rode Space Mountain 5 times, Splash Mountain 4 times, and Big Thunder twice with plenty of other rides in between. The longest wait of the day was for Jungle Cruise in the afternoon. It was listed as a 40-minute wait, but I think we waited close to 60. On one of our runs through Space Mountain, one of the cast members yelled “You should be happier! It was supposed to be busy today!” My travel agent even texted me at one point asking if the wait times on the app were correct because she couldn’t believe it.

Besides merchandise, the quick-service food was also insanely busy on the 50th. We had pre-ordered our lunch from Pecos Bills in the morning and when we got there to check-in, we were told it may be another hour before we could get our food. Luckily, I was able to cancel that and we walked over to Columbia Harbor House and got our food almost immediately.

Watching the sunset from the Tommorowland

Watching the Sunset from The TTA/Peoplemover

We had a really hard time getting a dining reservation for any restaurant in the park that day even with my travel agent getting on the phone bright and early on the day we were able to book. I kept checking the app every day, though, and the night before I managed to get us a reservation at Skipper Canteen. The downside of this reservation is it was at the same time as the fireworks. We weighed the options and with the busy day and very little sleep, we opted for the sit-down meal and I cannot tell you how glad I am that we made that choice! The theming in Skipper Canteen is so much fun as it goes along with The Jungle Cruise, but the food was amazing! Being able to wind down at the end of a busy day in the Magic Kingdom with a glass of wine was a great bonus!

Overall, it was a wonderful, exhausting day, in my favorite place. Main Street was a zoo the whole day so we just avoided it and enjoyed the shockingly short lines for the popular attractions. We got back to Coronado Springs late and did it all again the next day at Epcot! Check back next week to read about that!

Thanks for stopping by! If you are thinking of planning a trip to Disney, reach out to my friend and travel agent Allison at Adventures Away Vacations. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Magic Kingdom Pinterest Graphic WDW Pin

Wordless Wednesday: Yacht Club Landscape

Disney's Yacht Club

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