You may recall in February I posted this awesome transportation map of Walt Disney World, with an omage to traditional municipal subway or bus route maps. The map is the creation of artist Arthur De Wolf (www.wdwfocus.com/map) and has been updated to include the new Skyliner - a gondola system linking Epcot and Hollywood Studios with a few of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. If you are relying on Walt Disney World transportation to get you from park to park or even within a park, this handy map will be your best friend. The map does show, however, how complicated Disney's transportation system can be. I often hear the argument made by travellers to Orlando that the bus transportation between the Disney hotels and the theme parks is a perk to staying on Disney property. My response to this is - "Your community has an amazing bus system too - do you ever take it to the mall?" The answer by most is no - because they enjoy convenience and non crowded nature of driving. The answer is the same for a Walt Disney World vacation. We prefer to drive our rental car from our Orlando Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home to the parks. We can come and go as we please and we don't have to wait in line to board a crowded bus full of strollers. Yes, you do have to rent a car, but Orlando car rentals are among the cheapest in the country and it gives you the options of visiting Universal Orlando, Sea World or spending a day at the Outlet Malls. Yes - you have to pay parking fees at the park, but guess what - Walt Disney World charges hotel guests daily parking at their hotels too. And the rental rate savings, extra living space and private pool you get from renting our vacation villa rental far outweigh any advantages to staying "on property". If you traditionally have stayed at a Walt Disney World resort and you want to try staying off site, contact us for more information and details.
So you have your Orlando vacation home at Encore Resort at Reunion booked for the holidays and now you are looking for a little fun before embarking on your Walt Disney World vacation during Christmas? Try calling 407-939-6779 and get a few fun holiday messages from Mickey Mouse and the gang. The hotline is set up primarily as a way to purchase tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (press 1 for tickets); however, if you are up for a holiday joke or a little message from Mickey Mouse, press 2 and pick your options. Enjoy!
Attention DIY crafters!! Are you looking for the perfect gift for a Walt Disney World fan? Here's a great craft that can be enjoyed by people of all ages (especially kids). To make these Walt Disney World coasters, all you need are some ceramic tiles, cut out paper of your favorite Disney images (printouts of characters, Disney Park maps, ride concept art, etc), Mod Podge glue and felt. If you want to see how easy it is to create these fun coasters, check out this video. Surprise that special Disney fan in your family and have these coasters available for Christmas morning eggnog. If making this craft gets you thinking that a trip to Walt Disney World is in your future, please contact us to find out if our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home, located just minutes from Walt Disney World and Universal Resort Orlando, is right for you.
We are only 3 weeks until Christmas. For those of you who are heading to Walt Disney World, the time can't tick by fast enough. To help you count down the days to the magic, check out our earlier Encore Resort at Reunion Vacation Home Blog post where you will find a DIY Disney Vacation Countdown Calendar. You can also create a Disney World Days Until Christmas Calendar as well. Enjoy!
We are only a few days from the transformation at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom from Halloween spooktacular to Winter Wonderland Christmas Holiday decorations. If that isn't enough to get you into the holiday spirit, there are some exciting developments happening at Encore Resort at Reunion over the holiday season that are sure to be fun for the whole family. Starting on the morning of Sunday December 23, 2018, Encore Resort will host the Jingle Bell 5K Walk/Run around the resort. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 competitors. The cost is only $10.00 per person and children under 5 are free. Later that day, join Mrs Claus at the clubhouse where you can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and cookies while she entertains your family with Christmas stories, carols, and more. On Monday, December 24, 2018, enjoy Brunch with Santa. For $42.00 per adult and $15 for kids 12 and under, you can get photos with Santa, decorate cookies and enjoy a spectacular brunch, which includes prime rib beef, salmon, eggs benedict, omelette station, french toast, and much more. As bedtime approaches on Christmas eve, excite the kids with an amazing "Elf Tuck-In". Have one of Santa's elves visit your Encore Resort vacation rental home. The elf will read a Christmas story, deliver a present and give you the opportunity for some photos. The experience only costs $55.00 for the first child and $25.00 for each additional child. Then on Christmas Day, after you wake up and all the gifts are opened, retire to our beautiful vacation villa's private backyard spa and pool to enjoy a private swim, or head to the amazing 3 acre water park to enjoy the water slides. Then, when the gang is ready to eat, head to the clubhouse restaurant to pick up your pre-ordered Christmas lunch or dinner for 12. Enjoy a delicious oven roasted ham with all the trimmings and dessert. After all, who wants to cook on Christmas day! Check out the flyers for details.
If you haven't already booked your Orlando vacation home near Disney World for the Christmas holiday, check out our home at 360vacationhome.com. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions or to request a quote.
The latest trend in travel is multigenerational vacations. Why? - because it makes a lot of sense. In our busy dog eat dog lifestyles, we often have to decide if we have time to to take a vacation or visit with extended family members. Why not combine both? A multigenerational family is a fantastic way for family members to visit with each other, enjoy exciting travel destinations and share the cost of the vacation. The advent of sites such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor and HomeAway have made people feel more comfortable with the idea of renting entire vacation homes. Add to that the fact that the vacation industry has adapted to this idea and many resort communities have popped up offering whole homes for the entire family to stay, while still providing all the resort style amenities people expect on vacation such as water parks, water slides, pools, restaurants, bars and fitness centres.
The Orlando Florida area has become the leader in this style of vacationing. In fact, Kissimmee Florida considers itself the vacation home capital of the world thanks to the number of people who own vacation homes in close proximity to Walt Disney World and rent their holiday villas to guests when they aren't using them. Our vacation home rental is located in a community that offers all of the amenities you would want and expect at a 5 star hotel with the convenience of enjoying your own private pool, theatre room and games room. The best part is that it is located just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World. If you are considering a multigenerational vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida and would like to hear more about our home and our community, please check out our website and the videos, and then contact us for more information.
The management team at The Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home community in Orlando has teamed up with NFL legendary quarterback Dan Marino to promote the resort home community near Disney and highlight the amazing amenities available to villa renters. Even better, I understand Dan isn't just a paid actor, he's an Encore Resort owner as well! Check out this video to see what Dan thinks of the fun. We know you and your family will enjoy the waterpark, water slides, restaurants and poolside service as much as our family does - and it doesn't hurt that our house is only 5 minutes from Walt Disney World. Trust me - once you stay at our Encore Resort holiday villa, you will forget about Windsor Hills or Championsgate - it really is that much better. The secret Dan isn't going to tell you is that if you book directly from one of the owners (like us here at 360vacationhome.com), you get to partake in all the same fun while enjoying a few extra perks and saving some money as well. If you want to learn more, please contact us for some details!
We found this great list of Secrets, Details and Backstories about Magic Kingdom on Reddit (thank you Johnnycc) and knew that all of our Encore Resort Orlando vacation home fans, as well as fans of Reunion Resort and Windsor Hills area, would love this great read.
Walt wanted details in his parks... and the theming of Magic Kingdom is a testament to Walt's vision. Enjoy!
Main Street, USA:
1. The entrance to the park is like a movie theatre. The ticket area is the lobby. The tunnels lined with "coming attraction" posters are the previews. The train station is the curtain. The names on the windows on Main Street are the credits.
2. Explore the Train Station. There are displays about Disney’s history with trains, a train schedule, info about each of the trains on the Walt Disney World Railroad, and works of art that represent the history of railroads in America.
3. On the station stairs you may hear a telegraph. It’s a Morse code version of Walt Disney’s 1955 opening day speech at Disneyland. (possibly also at the Frontierland station)
4. The Magic Kingdom opening day dedication plaque is in the center of Town Square where the flags are located. It is moved around sometimes, but always stays in that area.
5. Don’t miss the statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse on the bench titled “Sharing the Magic.” Roy, of course, is the reason we have Disney World, as he came out of retirement and lead the project to completion after Walt died.
6. A fairly unknown Main Street story is that the Confectionary was originally owned by Thomas McCrum. In reality, he was a dentist who in 1922 paid Walt to make a short film about teeth (“Tommy Tucker’s Tooth”) when Walt had no money and was close to losing his first animation studio. This was one of Walt’s very first movies, and the money he made from it allowed him to pay off his debt, recharged his ambitions, and helped finance his next project, the Alice comedies. It’s very possible that without Dr. McCrum Walt’s career would have ended right there. As for a dentist owning a candy store, Imagineers thought it would be funny… a way for the dentist to make sure he always has customers. Unfortunately, details in the Confectionary to explore this backstory have become almost impossible to find since they removed his name from the sign outside and have taken out most of the older props.
7. A classic Main Street backstory can be found across the street at the Emporium. As seen by a sign on the window in the front of the store, Osh Popham is the owner and operator. The sign reads “Osh Popham – Proprietor.” There is also a date behind it that says the Emporium was established in 1863. Osh Popham is based on a shopkeeper played by Burl Ives in the 1963 Disney film “Summer Magic”. Osh decorated his store with elegance and charm, such as stained glass signs, wood carvings, ornate ceilings, and a beautiful medallion he had commissioned that hangs outside the side door.
8. Osh kept up with the changing times. He had his store’s expansions wired for electricity. Due to the unreliability of the new technology, Osh had custom chandeliers designed to also support gas lights. The electric lamps point downwards and the gas fixtures up.
9. Osh’s business was booming so he decided to expand his shop. He bought a portion of Center Street. His latest expansion debuted in 1901 (as seen by a date above a doorframe) and was called the Emporium Gallery. It was a turn of the century expansion… 1901 in the backstory and 2001 in real life when the Emporium actually expanded
10. On the back wall of the Emporium Gallery there is a large mural displaying Osh’s happy customers and employees enjoying their shopping experience.
11. As you are walking down Main Street, just as you pass the Uptown Jewelry Store on the right side down Center Street. You will hear the sounds of tap dancing along with the voice of an instructor, and the sound of someone singing coming from open second story windows named “Singing Lessons” and “School of Dance”.
12. Find Lady and the Tramp’s paw prints in front of the stairs at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.
13. On the left side of Main Street there is a door next to the Fashion and Apparel store. It reads “Open Since ’71 – Magic Kingdom Casting Agency – ‘It Takes People to Make the Dream a Reality’ – Walter Elias Disney – Founder and Director Emeritus.” This is a tribute to all the cast members at Walt Disney World. ’71 is obviously a reference to Magic Kingdom’s opening year.
14. Another reference to Magic Kingdom’s opening year can be found on the Main Street Fire Station: “Engine Co. 71.”
15. The windows on Main Street are legendary. They’re the highest honor one can receive in the company. Here’s a few and where to find them: Center Street – Painting & Sculpture – Herbert Ryman, Blaine Gibson, Mary Blair. Mary Blair designed It’s a Small World and painted the giant mural in the Grand Concourse at the Contemporary Resort. Blaine Gibson created the Partner’s Statue and the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion. Herb Ryman drew the first ever illustration of Disneyland with Walt; Broggie’s Buggies – Roger Broggie, Wheelwright (on the corner of the Fire Station and the Emporium). Broggie oversaw the development of Audio-Animatronics, the Monorail, the PeopleMover, and the Omnimover system. ; Big Top Theatrical – Claude Coats, Marc Davis, Bill Justice (above the Main Street Athletic Club). Claude Coats was an Imagineer who designed sets for attractions like Haunted Mansion and Pirates. Marc Davis was one of Walt’s “Nine Old Men” and designed characters and scenes for the Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, the Adventureland Tiki Statues, Carousel of Progress, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Country Bears. Bill Justice programmed audio-animatronics for classic attractions.; Walter E. Disney – Graduate School of Design & Master Planning – Instructors, Marvin Davis, - Headmaster, Richard Irvine – Dean of Design, John Hench (above the Plaza Restaurant). These Imagineers are some of the most important in the history of the company. Richard Irvine helped construct Disneyland and was the master planner for Disney World after Walt died. John Hench was a legendary Imagineer who helped master plan Walt Disney World and Disneyland as well. He designed Tomorrowland, Space Mountain, Spaceship Earth, as well as contributed to the designs of Main Street, Cinderella Castle, EPCOT Center, Adventureland, and Carousel of Progress. Marvin Davis arranged the layout of Disneyland with Walt, drew the blueprint for Disney World, helped design the Polynesian, as well as the exterior of the Haunted Mansion and some Main Street buildings.; The Camelot Core—Road Show Installations—Tony Baxter (above Casey’s Corner). Tony Baxter is a legendary Imagineer who designed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Journey into Imagination; “If We Can Dream It – We Can Do It!” – Roy O. Disney – Dreamers & Doers Development Co. (above the Main Street Confectionery).; Buena Vista Magic Lantern Slides – Treat Your Friends To Our Special Tricks - Yale Gracey (above the Confectionery). Yale Gracey was the master of special effects and lightning, more famously seen in the Haunted Mansion.; General Joe’s Building Permits Licensed in Florida Gen. Joe Potter, Raconteur (above the Confectionary). Joe Potter was tapped by Walt to oversee the initial construction of Disney World, including transforming the Florida swamps into underground utilities and other initial infrastructure.; The Big Wheel Co. – Horseless Carriages – Bob Gurr (above Main Street Fashion and Appeal). Imagineer Bob Gurr designed ride vehicles including the Monorail and coined the term “Omnimover.”; Hollywood Publishing Co. Manuscripts and Melodramas – F.X. Atencio, Al Bertino, Marty Sklar (above the Confectionery facing the Emporium). “X” Atencio helped write the script for Pirates of the Caribbean, and wrote the lyrics for “Yo Ho (A Pirates Life for Me)” and “Grim Grinning Ghosts”. Bertino helped create the Country Bear Jamboree (and is also honored in the show with Big Al being created in his image). The legendary Marty Sklar worked on every Disney park since the beginning until his death in 2017. He wrote dialogue for many attractions and was the head of Imagineering.; You Show 'em – Morgan Evans DTS – Above Crystal Arts (above Crystal Arts). Morgan “Bill” Evans was a legendary Imagineer horticulturalist who was in charge of landscaping designs for Walt Disney World including Magic Kingdom, The Polynesian, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom.; Walt Disney World Railroad Office – Keeping Dreams on Track – Walter E. Disney, Chief Engineer (above the Train Station before entering Magic Kingdom).
16. Seven Summits Expeditions – Frank G. Wells, President (above Crystal Arts). This is a special one. Frank Wells was the president of the Disney Company in the 80s. He loved mountain climbing and his life’s goal was to clime all the highest mountains on all the continents. He came close, getting six of the seven, but he died in a helicopter accident. His window honors his seven summits expedition and is the highest window on all of Main Street.
17. There’s a couple Main Street windows that reference the process of finding and buying the land for Disney’s Florida project: Pseudonym Real Estate Dev. Co. – Roy Davis President (Center Street to the right). Roy Davis was Roy Disney’s fake name – or pseudonym – when visiting Florida in secret to look for locations for their new park; M.T. Lott Co. Real Estate (above Crystal Arts). M.T. Lotts was one of Walt’s dummy corporations used to buy Florida land in secret so people wouldn’t know Walt was buying and jack up the prices. Walt’s sense of humor was obvious with the name of this one.
1. Imagineers designed the transition from Main Street to Adventureland to be anchored by the Crystal Palace. While on Main Street, it is Victorian turn-of-the-century themed (stained glass, intricate detailing, and well-manicured plantings). When transitioning to Adventureland, it becomes 19th century British-rule-in-Africa themed (stripped green awnings, pane windows and an overgrown and dense landscaping).
2. Check out the jewels and charms embedded in the pavement around Aladdin’s Flying Carpets and the Adventureland Bazar.
3. You can find one of the smallest Hidden Mickey on property here, it is on one of the medallions in the ground.
4. Explore the details of the Adventureland Bazar, including little things like crossed swords on the wall and the appropriately themed ceilings for each different themed store.
5. In Pirates of the Caribbean FP+ queue there is a dungeon cell window where you can see two skeletons playing chess below. Legend has it they’re forever stuck in a stalemate.
6. The Jungle Cruise queue has many funny little details to look out for, including: Help Wanted on the Amazon River Base, Daredevil Trips over Schweitzer Falls, Missing Persons, and Missing Boats, Free Kittens sign, Mess Hall menu, Live Cargo Holding Area, Employee of the Month, Spider in the box, Gorilla cage
7. Keep your ears open for Albert Awol, the Voice of the Jungle. This is the radio show that Skippers listen to on their trips. There are many funny jokes, puns, and examples of Skipper incompetence to be heard.
8. For Adventurer’s Club fans, a tag for Pamelia Perkins, who was the club’s president, can be found inside a wire cage at the start of the queue.
9. Some of the crates around the ride have funny warnings and notices. There are also tributes to Imagineers such as the Evans Exotic Plant Exporters (tribute to Bill Evans who landscaped the Jungle Cruise and Adventureland).
10. The backstory of Skipper’s Canteen, the restaurant based on the Jungle Cruise is that it’s owned by Alberta Falls, granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls. He established the Jungle Navigation Company, and created the Jungle Cruise. Dr. Falls was a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, or S.E.A., and this secret group used to hang out at the Adventurer’s Club. There is a picture of Alberta and Albert in the waiting room.
11. Once inside, look up to the second floor to see three office doors each honoring an Imagineer with a connection to the Jungle Cruise: Bill Evans, who was in charge of landscaping. Marc Davis, who created many of the attraction’s famous scenes like the Elephants bath the rhino attack. Harper Goff, the art director of the ride who worked with Walt to create the original concept of the attraction.
12. The main dining room is the Crew Mess Hall. Notice the Backside of Water crate, a reference to the classic joke from the Jungle Cruise.
13. There are also Christmas decorations on a shelf in the Mess Hall, a reference to the Jingle Cruise overlay during the holidays.
14. Check out the library while going from the Mess Hall into the other rooms. In addition to a few books by Dr. Albert Falls. there are many great titles such as: Songs of the Tiki Bird by Prof Boag, a reference to is Wally Boag, a Disney Legend who voices Jose in the Enchanted Tiki Room; native Orange Birds of the Southeastern United States by Dr. Sid Truss.; Pirates of the Caribbean by Coats, a reference to Imagineer Claude Coats who helped design Pirates; The Illustrated Guide to Radio Broadcasting was composed by the Skipper behind the Voice of the Jungle you hear in the Jungle Cruise queue, Albert AWOL; Boat Evacuation Procedures by Cap. Size.; FUZNEWI PDMWH CHF JD U written by Albert the Monkey; Friends for Dinner by T. Sam (the legendary Trader Sam of course); The Overwhelming Dodo Population by Dr. Francis X. Tinct; Crooning Flowers by Sherman and Sherman, a reference to the Sherman Brothers who wrote the “Tiki Room” song (“…and the flowers croon”); Meeting Royalty by Marty Sklar (legendary Imagineer who worked on every Disney park); True Adventures by WED (Walter Elias Disney)
15. The library also has The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. But look at the angle of it. S.E.A. members would pull the book to open a secret passageway to get to the secret meeting room. Notice the book has been pulled, and you can see that the secret passageway has been opened.
16. Dr. Falls used to hold meetings in the S.E.A. Secret Meeting Room. You can examine Dr. Fall’s collection of butterflies, ancient artifacts, and a painting of Dr. Falls on the Jungle Cruise.
17. Going back through the library, there is a display of fezzes from members of the SEA. Some of these were worn by characters of the Adventurer’s Club.
18. The animals on the roof peaks of the Enchanted Tiki Room look like Asian water buffalos, but they can also be seen in Frontierland where from a distance they resemble longhorn steer. The Imagineers wanted to keep the proper theming for each land, so they made sure the animals would properly themed. A water buffalo would be found in more exotic locations, and the steer found in frontier areas.
1. The buildings in Frontierland are designed with historic accuracy in mind. This town takes you through the 1800s. To figure out the exact year that various buildings were modeled after, just look at the years seen above the door. Town Hall is structurally consistent with buildings from 1867. Pecos Bills is styled after saloons from 1878. Grizzly Hall, where Country Bear Jamboree can be seen, is from 1898.
2. You can also see civilization starting to creep through Frontierland. The first couple structures of the land are made of wood and logs. But starting with the Trading Post, buildings start to get more permanent and are built with stones and bricks.
3. Buildings in Frontierland have a raised sidewalk in front of them. This is a historically accurate feature that would be consistent with buildings in the Old West, which would have had dirty and dusty streets. The raised wooden sidewalks were designed to keep boots and skirts clean and away from the dirt of the roads.
4. The Getaway Stagecoach Line is the DVC kiosk in Frontierland. Like every great advertisement, a poster for the Stagecoach Line promises a marvelous trip with all the comfort and convenience one could ask for when traveling through the West. However, like every responsible consumer it is best to read the increasingly small fine print…
5. The light fixtures of the land are themed like old fashion lanterns.
6. Next to Town Hall there is a building that is labeled Chinese Laundry. There was a big Chinese presence in the Old West, and Chinese laundries were a common site.
7. Country Bear Jamboree has claw marks from past visitors on the floor of the waiting room.
8. A crate under a wagon near Country Bears Jamboree says "Davis Tobacco," a tribute to Imagineer Marc Davis who worked on creating the attraction.
9. Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café is Frontierland’s quick service, and the backstory is that it was founded by Pecos Bill himself, as explained by the framed story on the wall where you enter. Bill is a popular character from the Old West folklore. His inn became a destination for other popular characters from Frontier times, and each patron left a little gift for Bill representing some of their “tall tales”. This includes Paul Bunyan’s axe, Annie Oakley’s gun and cards with bullet holes shot through them, Davy Crockett's gear, and poker cards from “Wild Bill” Hickok (the cards are not his infamous “Dead Man’s Hand” because it would have been impossible for Hickok to leave that as a gift).
10. The backstory of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is that the town of Tumbleweed discovered gold in the Big Thunder Mountain and became a thriving mining town. Barnabas T. Bullion established the Big Thunder Mining Company to find the gold. But the mountain was protective of its gold and cursed anyone who tried to take it. There were cave-ins, equipment failings, and flash floods that wiped out the town, destroying the mining company. Now the railroad travels through the abandoned mine shafts and ghost town of Tumbleweed.
11. In the queue for Big Thunder Mountain you can notice a portrait of the founder of the mine, Barabus T. Bullion. The actual man in the portrait is Tony Baxter, legendary Imagineer who designed Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.
12. In the Big Thunder queue you can also find a patent for an automatic train break on the wall dating back to 1877. The patent is attributed to T. Baxter… or Tony Baxter.
13. Near the exit of Big Thunder Mountain you can find a crate that has the pun “Lytum and Hyde Explosives Company.” You can also see these crates with dynamite in them in rafters in the queue.
14. A tribute to the never built Frontierland attraction, Western River Expedition, can be seen in the same area of the queue. It’s a crate of “Western River Explosives.”
15. In Splash Mountain’s loading area, look up and see a Brer Rabbit weather vane.
16. After exiting Splash Mountain go into the Briar Patch gift shop. Look up in the shop to see Brer Rabbit’s home.
17. The backstory of Splash Mountain can be found on the front page of a newspaper called Rabbit Tales, hanging on the wall in the Frontierland station for the Walt Disney World Railroad. The front-page headline reads “Guests Plunge 52 Feet, Wind Up in Briar Patch.” The article is very elaborative and explains how Splash Mountain came to be.
18. Walk along the bridge going from Liberty Square to Frontierland. When nearing Tom Sawyer’s Island look to the left and you’ll see a little waterfall. This is supposed to represent the start of the Mississippi River and is nicknamed the Little Mississippi. Just as the real Mississippi separates the West from the East, the little one represents the Western-themed Frontierland to the more Eastern-themed Liberty Square.
1. When walking through the entrance of Liberty Square from the hub, you will see a lamp post surrounded by crates of tea, an obvious reference to the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
2. There is a piece of fencing that separates the stroller parking that represents a hitching post for horses, which would have been a common site in Colonial times.
3. The Liberty Tree is a live oak tree more than 135 years old. There are 13 lanterns that hang from it to represent the 13 original colonies.
4. n a building near the Hall of Presidents in an upper window there are two lanterns, representing the famous “One if by land, two if by sea.”
5. Walk around the corner of the same building and you will see that there is a rifle displayed in an upper window. In Revolutionary times, this would be used as a symbol that the men were home, armed and ready to answer the call if needed.
6. The shutters in Liberty Square sag because at the time of the Revolutionary War, colonists melted down hinges sold to them by the British to make shots for their weapons. Leather hinges were used in their place, resulting in the sagging shutters
7. There is a brown streak in the Liberty Square walkway. In traditional Revolutionary times no indoor plumbing existed, so people would take their waste and dump it from their windows into the streets outside. The brown pavement represents the sewage in the streets of early America.
8. The Christmas Shoppe is actually three separate shops owned by three different colonial families, a German family, a woodcarver's family, and a musician's family. You can notice little differences as you pass through each of the three rooms.
9. The Haunted Mansion’s queue is loaded with great tributes in the gravestones: “Here Lies Good Old Fred – A Great Big Rock Fell Off His Head.” Fred Joerger was an Imagineer who designed many of the classic rock and mountain formations of Disney World, such as Big Thunder Mountain and the Canadian Rockies.; “In Memory of Grandpa Marc.” Marc Davis was an Imagineer who created the story and many of the characters for the Haunted Mansion.; “Master Gracey Laid to Rest.” Imagineer Yale Gracey was the master of special effects, including the famous Pepper’s Ghost seen frequently in the Haunted Mansion. Cast members will often place a red rose on the tomb to show respect; “First Lady – Our Haunting Harriet.” This tombstone honors the first female Imagineer Harriet Burns; “At Peaceful Rest Lies Brother Claude.” Claude Coats was responsible for designing The Haunted Mansion set and also contributed to the storyline; “Farewell Mister Frees – Your Voice Will Carry.” Paul Frees was a voice actor who performed as the Ghost Host; “A Train Made a Stain of Uncle Blaine.” Blaine Gibson was an Imagineering sculptor who sculpted the singing busts of the Mansion and the Partners Statue; “Requiescat Francies Xavier.” X (for Xavier) Atencio was an Imagineer who wrote the lyrics for Grim Grinning Ghosts.
10. In the queue you can see footsteps of the mansion’s caretaker and footsteps of his dog in the cement near the gate. There is also a doggy door in the gate.
11. Did you know there is a murder mystery in the Haunted Queue? Check out the five busts in the middle. This thing has great details, here’s a quick breakdown of it: Uncle Jacob was rich. You can see his treasure as part of his bust. Uncle Jacob was killed for his wealth, as indicated by his epitaph. But who killed him?; Uncle Jacob’s epitaph says he swallowed poison. Bertie, another bust, has a bottle of poison on his plaque. Bernie also has a serpent draped on his shoulder, so he was able to get poisonous snake venom to kill Jacob; Aunt Florence (Jacob’s wife) wants revenge, so she shoots Bertie (notice the gun on her plaque). But who killed Florence? The epitaph on her bust says she was found face down in canary seeds. Check out the Twins busts who have a dead bird on their plaque. Now check between the busts of the twins to discover a bag full of bird seeds. So the twins killed Florence. Now who killed the twins? Check their epitaph. They died with “identical bumps on identical heads.” Check out Cousin Maude’s plaque on her bust and notice the hammer on it. She killed the twins with identical bumps on each of their heads; But how did Maude die? Her epitaph says she never awoke and her dreams went up in smoke. This is maybe the best little detail of the whole thing. How did she go “up in smoke”? Check behind her head and notice the matches that Maude was using to keep her hair in place. Apparently they caught fire one night while she was sleeping! Bravo, Imagineers.
12. The Pipe Organ in the queue has the name “Ravenscroft.” This is a tribute to Thurl Ravenscroft who sings “Grim Grinning Ghosts”.
13. Make sure you spot the infamous wedding ring in the cement. It’s near the Captain’s crypt closer to the entrance. The backstory is that the original “ring” was actually a leftover piece of metal support in the cement. But guests created the legend that it belonged to the bride in the Mansion who threw it out a window. The area was paved over and passionate Haunted Mansion fans got upset that the “ring” was gone. Imagineers heard their pleas and when the ride was updated with an interactive queue in 2011, the ring was brought back and made to look like an actual wedding ring.
14. Check out Madame Leota’s headstone near the entrance. She might just open her eyes and move her head around.
15. While walking into the stretching room, don’t miss the portrait of Master Gracey. Take a minute to notice him aging in the picture.
16. In the post-queue area there are a couple crypts with spooky puns of the dearly departed.
17. A tribute to Mr. Toad, the beloved Fantasyland attraction replaced by Winnie the Pooh, is in the Pet Cemetery after exiting the attraction. Mr. Toad’s gravestone is near the top of the cemetery. There is a rumor that the epitaph on the tomb says “Mr. Toad –Sad But True – Not As Marketable – As Winnie the Pooh.” Imagineers still a little bitter about it.
18.Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion-themed gift shop, has a backstory. It was the home of Madame Leota, the famous ghost of the Mansion, during her earthly years. Many of her belongings are still located in the shop, including potions and a portrait of someone assumed to be Leota back in her “corruptible, mortal state.” Leota’s face appears within the shop’s mirror, looking out at us from her world beyond.
1. Ever wonder why Fantasyland has a medieval fair theme? When Disneyland first opened many of the Fantasyland attraction façades weren’t finished, so banners and decorative tents were used to cover up the unfinished parts. The theme stuck and was even carried over to Florida.
2. Continuing with the medieval theme, check out the pink pillars around it’s a small world. They are designed to look like lances.
3. Behind the castle is a fountain with a statue of Cinderella. Lower your head when facing the statue and the crown from the backdrop now sits perfectly on her head. Imagineers did this so children would be the first to see Cinderella was a princess.
4. Find the eight hidden Pascals along the brook in the gardens across from the Tangled restrooms.
5. Maximus’s hoof print can be found in the ground by the Tangled area.
6. No mirrors in the Rapunzel men’s bathroom. Hanging up instead are frying pans!
7. There is actually a Hidden Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in New Fantasyland. It is formed by three pebbles in the middle of the walkway across from the "Enchanted Tales with Belle" sign and in front of the main walkway to Be Our Guest.
8. When eating in the Ballroom at Be Our Guest, notice the gentle snowfall that can be seen in the back windows.
9. At Be Our Guest there are two rows of suits of armor in the hall used for lunchtime quick-service ordering. Listen closely and you might hear them talk to each other. They might snore, talk to each other, or complain that their armor is itchy.
10. You can’t miss the fountain of Gaston in front of his tavern. But how did it get there? Check out the dedication plaque at the bottom of the statue to see who generously gifted this “tribute” to the village.
11. In Gaston’s Tavern there is a dart board and a scoreboard. Gaston wins a lot, but he might not be that good actually… at least according to the darts sticking out of the wall.
12. Check out all the antlers in the Tavern. He really does use them in all of his decorating! Gaston even keeps the keys to his tavern hanging on one of the antlers displayed next to his portrait above the fireplace.
13. When inside Bonjour! Village Gifts, ever wonder who that is in the portrait in the back of the store? It is Magic Kingdom’s Vice President Phil Holmes. Notice the 40 year ring on his hand representing his 40 years with the company and a Magic Kingdom map on the table. One of the first roles Phil had at the Magic Kingdom was on the Haunted Mansion. Look incredibly closely at the bookshelf behind him to see a sample of the famous wallpaper from the Mansion and a partial picture of the Mansion’s entrance sign. Also behind him on the shelf is a gold statue of Donald Duck, awarded to cast members for 40 years of service. There are also peanuts on the table, a representation of Dumbo’s Storybook Circus that was part of the New Fantasyland expansion.
14. The open book on the shelf in the back of the store is the story of Beauty and the Beast in French.
15. At the DVC sign-up area there is a sign that says “H. Goff – Cartography.” This is a reference to legendary Imagineer Harper Goff was involved in the set design for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the attraction that used to be in this area.
16. The giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is found on the weather vane at the Cartography Shop across from the Little Mermaid ride.
17. In the queue for the Little Mermaid ride when going through the rock formations where the wooden beam is broken, right before entering the cave, check across the water to the carvings of the stones. There is a carving of the Nautilus, the submarine used in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
18. Imagineers bottled up some of the water from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea before it was closed and stored it at their headquarters for 18 years. When the Little Mermaid attraction opened, the bottled water was poured into Ariel’s waters, returning a piece of the past to New Fantasyland
19. One of the most unique and hardest to find Hidden Mickeys can be found at the exit of the Little Mermaid ride. It is a Hidden Steamboat Willie. Look to the right after exiting the attraction and it is carved into the landscape, composing three or four different rocks. It’s brilliantly hidden. The easiest place to start looking is the wheel to the left (maybe try checking to see if you can spot the spokes on the circular rock), then you can see his nose, face, hat and hand, follow it down and you see his shorts with the buttons and his leg and foot is on the rock in front.
20. There is another 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea tribute in the queue for the Winnie the Pooh ride. Duck into Pooh’s house in the queue and look above the doorway to see the Nautilus submarine carved into the wood.
21. The Winnie the Pooh ride replaced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which was incredibly popular with Disney fanatics and Imagineers alike. There is a tribute at the Haunted Mansion pet cemetery, but another tribute was added to the second scene of Pooh ride, where you can see a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed for the property to Owl.
22. Vultures that were part of the classic dark ride Snow White’s Scary Adventure can be found overlooking the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.
23. Look at the pavement of Storybook Circus. There are peanuts embedded in the ground near Dumbo.
1. The current backstory of Tomorrowland is that it is a functional city. Near the entrance you’ll find advertisements for the Tomorrowland hotel and some of the special events taking place in the city. One of them is advertising that Leonard Burnedstar is in town and conducting the Martin Pops Orchestra. He’s performing an “Outer Space Concerto in Ursa Minor.” The puns are so stupid but classic Disney!
2. You can see the Contemporary Resort from Tomorrowland, but from no other land in Magic Kingdom. Imagineers didn’t want the lands’ themes ruined by non-themed outside factors. Since the Contemporary was built to resemble a futuristic structure, it could blend in with Tomorrowland.
3. You’ve probably seen the giant black ball in Tomorrowland. That is a kugel ball and it weighs over 13,000 pounds. It’s a granite ball supported by a thin layer of water. It’s a perfect sphere and placed on a base that has the exact same curvature as the ball. Despite its weight, with this exact configuration, the magic of physics takes over and makes it possible for anyone to be move it.
4. Near the load area for the TTA, there is an intergalactic phone booth. Step inside and pick up the phone to hear some calls from across the galaxy.
5. You can also read the local newspaper, “The Tomorrowland Times” being sold near Astro Orbiters.
6. Space Mountain’s backstory is that it is space travel for tourists. In the queue there is a sign that reads "Welcome Space Travelers - STARPORT SEVEN-FIVE - Your Gateway to the Galaxy." The “SEVEN-FIVE” is a reference to 1975, the year Space Mountain opened.
7. After exiting the ride you’ll pass a baggage claim area for missing luggage from space travelers.
8. While on the moving sidewalk after the ride there is a scene for the Tomorrowland Station MK 1 – Command Center, keeping with the story of Space Mountain being one of many stations for space travel. After that there are scenes with television monitors advertising other various exotic places you can travel to, including Mercury Peak and the Coral Moons of Pisces 7.
9. At the Carousel of Progress check out the poster in the front that’s an advertisement for the attraction from the 1964 NY World's Fair. This is where Walt first debuted the attraction. The little sign on the bottom of the poster provides more details.
10. While on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, listen for the line "Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow, please contact Mr. Johnson in the control tower to confirm your flight to the moon." Mr. Tom Morrow is obviously a play on “Tomorrow”. Mr. Johnson starred in a past attraction Mission to Mars. This line also pays tribute to another past Tomorrowland attraction Flight to the Moon.
11. Also on the TTA you’ll also see a futuristic beauty salon, keeping with the story that Tomorrowland is a functioning city.
12. Finally, and this isn’t even a secret detail but it’s worth mentioning, while on the TTA don’t forget to check out the model of Walt’s vision of Progress City, the original concept model for EPCOT.
Encore Resort Homes released a good promotional video for their vacation home sales division. There are some nice drone aerial shots of the Encore Club at Reunion water park, clubhouse and community. The Encore Resort at Reunion is, without a doubt, Orlando's best vacation home rental resort community near Walt Disney World. The homes are new and well appointed and the community amenities are comparable to the area's best kid friendly hotels. While you may not be in the market to purchase one of these Orlando vacation villas near Walt Disney World, you may consider renting one directly from one of the owners. If you are a group of 12 or less, we have a great 6 bedroom holiday home for you. Check out our website and contact us for more details.
It's time to think about Halloween already - for those of you who are huge Halloween and Disney fans. This party tends to sell out (especially for the dates near October 31) and I didn't want anybody missing out on buying a ticket. Today is the first day that tickets are available online for this awesome Walt Disney World experience. Visitors to Magic Kingdom between August 17 - October 31 are in for a treat. When we blogged about this event in 2017, our family had never attended one of these special ticket events. After attending this year's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, we were quick to order our tickets today for this year's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Don’t miss your chance to collect candies, sweets and frightfully delightful treats—all while the park hosts grim grinning ghosts, eerie entertainment and Disney characters that go bump in the night. If you are a fan of character photos, you will not be disappointed. Many rare characters make their way out during this event and most of the characters will be in full Halloween attire. And since the tone of this event is “not-so-scary,” that means children of every age can enjoy the fun! Day-of prices start at $85 per adult and $80 per child (ages 3-9), plus tax, but you will save $10 if you order online at least one day in advance (except October 31). The party takes place on the following dates:
The parties are held in Magic Kingdom after the park closes from 7 p.m. to midnight (but historically guests can arrive at 4:00 p.m.). If you are a guest at our Orlando Vacation Villa at the Encore Club Resort at Reunion, this is a great opportunity to sleep in and spend the day at the resort's 3 acre multi waterslide water park, or just hang out in our private courtyard pool and spa. After your relaxing day at the pool, get ready for a fun night out including an amazing Halloween themed parade and fireworks at the end of the night. Contact us today to book our Orlando vacation home and enjoy Halloween the Disney way!
Our whole family will be contributing to this Blog. We write about our experiences and news related to Walt Disney World as well as post our Encore Resort Blog and Reunion Resort Blog