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Disney Magic: The Magic Kingdom

WDW Entrance Magic Kingdom

Doesn’t everyone start their day at the Magic Kingdom with a family photo in front of the train station with the Mickey Mouse flower bed??:)It was a cold and cloudy day last Saturday when we made our visit there (which is why everyone was wearing a coat!)  And unfortunately our 8:30 Fastpass was to Splash Mountain – where you can get wet!  But it was still a very fun day…a day to be a kid.

WDW Magic Kingdom TheaterSince my very first visit there, I have loved the gorgeous architecture you find all over the park, and Main Street has to be my favorite area.  Perhaps we should be living in an old Victorian home…hmmm?  The gingerbread trim, the awnings, the columns, the windows…all of it – just evokes a sense of Americana.  Even the flagpoles and lampposts add to that feel.

WDW Main Street Magic KingdomEven…Starbucks??  I had to get a photo of this because when my daughter told me there was a Starbucks in the park I was very surprised.  It just seemed out of character to me, but on a cold day in the park, a hot Starbucks coffee or cocoa is a treat.:)

WDW Starbucks in the Magic KingdomBack to the architecture..the very first time we visited Magic Kingdom in the early 1970’s we ate at the Crystal Palace.  As a lover of light and windows, the Crystal Palace was a beautiful place to me with all those walls full of glass!

WDW Crystal PalaceI guess you know about the forced perspective of the building designs right?  As you go higher in the building the scale is changed.  The second floor is shorter than the first, and the third is shorter than the second..all to give the illusion of taller buildings.  This works especially well with Cinderella’s castle.

WDW Cindrellas CastleWe rode a number of rides last Saturday, but my favorite in that park was the Haunted Mansion.  I always find it to be hilarious – not scary- for some reason.  I also think the ballroom scene with all the ghosts dancing is so pretty.  (Does this sound strange to you? A pretty haunted mansion??)

WDW haunted mansion photo by daryl

I shared with you about our lunch at Wilderness Lodge the other day.  After that lunch we returned to the park, rode some rides, watched a couple of shows, and then went to dinner at Animal Kingdom’s Boma restaurant. After dinner we returned again to the Magic Kingdom…this time after dark.  It is at its most beautiful to me when all the lights come on.

The train station at the entrance again…this time at night

WDW Magic Kingdom EntranceMain Street USA at night

WDW Main Street Magic Kingdom at nightCity Hall

WDW City Hall Magic KingdomThe Crystal Palace again…this time at night

Crytal Palace at nightand Cinderella’s Castle at night.

WDW Cinderellas Castle at night

There are three night time events at the Magic Kingdom that are not to be missed:  #1 – The Main Street Electrical Parade with a perky Tinkerbell leading the way on the first float.:) (You can watch a video of it here.) You really have to scope out a place and sit there for a couple of hours before the parade in order to have a good spot for viewing it.  (Considering how full we were from dinner at Boma, sitting for a couple of hours was fine with us.)

Main Street Electrical

#2 – Celebrate the Magic – an amazing film and music event shown on the exterior walls of Cinderella’s castle following the parade.  This is THE best thing in all of the Magic Kingdom to me.  My daughter and I both cried through parts of it…yes, we are sentimental babies.  If you have grown up with Disney (and your children have grown up with Disney) the memories are forever a part of you.  So seeing film clips and hearing music from so many of those movies, really touches a heart-string.  Please don’t miss it if you go.

And #3 – Wishes Fireworks display – The fireworks show  (right after Celebrate the Magic) above Cinderella’s castle is fabulous…and it is not just fireworks.  You know Disney does not do anything half-way. There is a story and choreographed music for the entire fireworks display.
WDW fireworks at disney world
WDW fireworks at disneyWDW fireworks at disneys cinderella castle
And you can watch the entire fireworks show here:
Now we must bid farewell to the Magic Kingdom and all of Walt Disney World.:( I know this has not been my normal series of posts this week, but I have always loved the architecture and the attention to detail that seems to be everywhere in a Disney park or resort, and I wanted to keep some photos for remembering this fun trip. So thank you for coming along with me as I have shared all of this.  Next week we will be back to regular decorating and ….my finished workroom!:)
I hope you have an amazing weekend.
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Barbara H - March 13, 2015 - 10:07 pm

No apologies needed for these Disney posts. Loved them. So glad you got to have this wonderful time with your family. Thanks for sharing the magic with us!
You are very kind Barbara. With about 15 unsubscribes this week, I felt like I needed to thank all of you that have followed along with the Disney posts this week. I am glad you enjoyed them. So thank you for reading, and thank you for leaving your sweet comment!

Katrina - March 13, 2015 - 10:34 pm

I am so glad you and your family had sooo much fun!!! Something tells me you may be going to see the new Cinderella movie this weekend!! Of course nothing will top the fun you had at Disney.
Katrina, it really was a great trip. I don’t know if I can persuade the guys here to go see Cinderella. I really need my Disney daughter here for this! I hope you have a great weekend. Perhaps you can go see the movie. :)

Nana Diana - March 13, 2015 - 10:53 pm

Your trip was magical and you captured it beautifully. This family loves Disney. I was about 10th in line the day it opened in 1971 and have loved it from that day forward. The Crystal Palace has always been one of my favorites. xo Diana
Opening Day!!! Wow, that is really something Diana! I would have loved to have done that. I still remember being at the opening of a new mall near here, and I thought that was fun…but you have that beat by a looooong shot! I want to do Crystal Palace for brunch on our next trip. It just takes making reservations way in advance for that.
Hope your weekend is a good one!

Ruth - March 14, 2015 - 1:44 am

SO FUN. Thanks for taking us along on your Spring Break trip!

Back to reality, huh? Good thing you enjoy such a nice reality! :-)

P.S. – COOL that Diana was one of the first over the threshold! Bet she was the envy of all her classmates!
Well I am so glad it was fun for all of you! Oh yes, back to reality. I think it is VERY cool that Diana was number 10 in line for the grand opening of Disney World! She should have been the envy of all her classmates. :)

Frances in England - March 14, 2015 - 5:51 am

I’ve really enjoyed these posts – and I say that as someone who has never had a yen to go to Disneyworld/land (not because I dislike Disney, just that there is so much else that comes ahead on the list for me). Have to say I also really appreciate the Youtube embeds you do! I’m glad you had a great time :-)
Thanks Frances! You really must make time to get over here and visit Disney World. It is such a magical place!

Donnamae - March 14, 2015 - 9:36 am

Really enjoyed all these posts…and they brought back so many memories. We’ve been to WDW many many times…my in-laws lived an hour away…so there were many magical adventures! And you are right…you get to be a kid again…and everything is magical…the staff makes it so! Disney at night is indescribable…you can feel an energy on the air! We must go back! ;)
How great that you had relatives so close to the parks! Like you, I do love Disney at night! I hope you get to make another trip there soon.

Arlene@Nanaland - March 14, 2015 - 9:59 am

Oh Haunted Mansion is a favorite of mine as well. We spent our honeymoon at Disney World and we took our kiddos once but I would love to visit again!
Good. I am not alone in my love for the Haunted Mansion! :) How fun to spend your honeymoon at WDW!I hope you get to visit the parks again soon, Arlene.

Town and Country House - March 14, 2015 - 10:01 am

Great posts, Kelly! Hard to believe we were there only a week ago, too! I, for one, was thrilled to find that there’s a Starbucks in every park now. Of course, each is completely themed to its location. Looking forward to seeing your workroom next week!
I said that very thing at lunch on Saturday Paula! Time just seems to fly! I imagine there are a good many people who love having Starbucks in the park. A good cup of coffee can’t be beat – especially if you are cold and wet!

Jennifer from VA - March 14, 2015 - 11:14 am

I have been so busy this week, I was reading but not commenting! I have NEVER been to Disney, thanks for taking me with you!!
Oh my goodness Jennifer! You need to make a trip to Orlando to visit all the parks there. It is an amazing place!

Teresa W. - March 14, 2015 - 12:15 pm

I’ve loved all your posts on Disney World and the photo in front of the train station is great! Our family loves going to Disney World too. (Try the Halloween or Christmas parties if you can next time, they’re FUN!!!) If you’ve never read about Walt Disney’s life, I encourage you to, it makes his movies and the whole park concept more interesting than it already is. He had some really rough times in his life, but what a fabulous imagination he had! So glad your family had a wonderful time. Have a fun weekend!
You are too sweet Teresa! The Halloween and Christmas parties sound like they would be a lot of fun! One of my research projects in high school was on the life of Walt Disney, so I know what you mean about the rough times in his life. I am so glad he persevered so that we can reap the benefits of his wonderful imagination. :) Hope your weekend was a good one.

Kathy - March 14, 2015 - 5:28 pm

Oh, Kelly, what fun!!! (We have been at the beach on my son’s spring break so I am just catching up on all of your Disney posts. It is just not the same looking at your blog on my phone so I save the posts for when I return.) I guess this was your last spring break before retiring. Just think….spring break whenever you want! I love, love, love Disney! It was our spring break destination for many years…so it was delightful to see it on your blog. I have to share a little something with you about Walt Disney. The mother of one of my dear friends dated Walt Disney for a while when they were young…but stopped because she thought he was a little boring. (I know!) I think I am going to go put on the soundtrack from Lion King. We used to always play it on the way to Disney. I am glad you got to spend the time with your family in such a magical place.
How fun to be at the BEACH Kathy! I have been thinking about being at the beach a lot in the last few days. (Must be the warm weather bringing it on.) Our Disney trip was only for a weekend. Spring break is still a few weeks away for us, and yes, spring break all the time sounds pretty good to me!! How funny that your friend’s mom thought Walt Disney was boring…goodness! Love the music from The Lion King!!!

Maddie - March 15, 2015 - 10:59 am

I am so glad that you had a good time because our family loves Disneyland, and we live about 20 miles away so the kids go all the time. Most kids in our neighborhood get a Disney pass for their birthdays so from the time they were little one mom or another takes them on school holidays. Now that my grand niece is in high school, her friends go a couple of times a month on Friday and Saturday night and it is such a blessing because we don’t have to worry about what they are doing. They all want to get jobs there as I did when I was in high school. Even some of the ladies at my gym (my contemporaries who first went when it opened in 1955) buy passes because it is such a nice place to walk with their Minnie Mouse ears. I know others would think we are crazy, but it is fun to watch families have such a good time and interact with the characters.
You all are SOOOOOOO lucky! I think you are as hooked on Disney as our family is. :) You would certainly not be thought of as crazy at Disney World. Walking with your Minnie ears is the norm around there. :)

Terri - March 17, 2015 - 10:27 am

ahhhhh “Disney” magic… every one of your pics brought back so many wonderful memories… we never tire of Disney World… and yes to this day… Magic Kingdom is still my fav!!!! AND… so excited to finally know someone who “gets” THE BALLROOM SCENE at the Haunted Mansion….. I love that !!! Main Street is just beautiful… I love to just stroll and enjoy the gardens … amazing landscaping!!!
Gosh, Terri, I am so glad the post brought back all your happy memories! Another ballroom scene fan! Yay! It IS beautiful, isn’t it?! We all need a dose of Disney now and then…no matter what our age. :)

Debra - March 19, 2015 - 11:16 am

Oh, Disney! You are so lucky to have so many wonderful vacations with your family, especially as old as your kids are now. I am giggling at the family picture in front of the train station…Of course you needed that picture! Thanks Kelly for sharing your family fun with all your blog followers.
Quit your giggling girl! :) Everyone has their picture in front of the train station…no matter what their age, right?? :) (There was quite a bit of eye rolling from my kids with this one!)

Disney Magic: Epcot

International Gateway at Epcot


There is a really nice fringe benefit when you are staying in one of the hotels near the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World.  You see, there is a rather unused back entrance at Epcot for the guests at those hotels.  It is called the International Gateway. Every time we have been there, we just walk right up, get our bags quickly checked, and then go right on into the park with no waiting whatsoever. So early on Sunday morning we took the leisurely walk from the Yacht Club to Epcot’s back door.

You can see how few people were there.

(Three of those folks are part of my family.:))

1 walkway to Epcot

When I was a child, the first things I noticed as we rode the monorail over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom were the topiaries sculpted to look like animals and Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. I wanted my dad to get out the hedge clippers when we got home and turn our front yard boxwoods into Mary Poppins.:)(It didn’t happen.)  Even as an adult, I am still blown away by the gardens at Disney.  So when our son told me that his birthday weekend at Walt Disney World would be during the opening weekend for Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, I was thrilled!  Those topiaries I remember from my childhood days at Magic Kingdom? Well they don’t hold a candle to the ones at Epcot for the festival!

Just take a look…

1  Epcot World Showcase PavilionThe Frozen display at the World Showcase Pavilion

(Yes, those are topiaries!:))

Epcot is set up with two distinct areas bordering a lake…Future World and World Showcase, and World Showcase is set up as pavilions representing different countries.  Each country has buildings full of shops, some restaurants, and some attractions for you to see (rides or films.)

If you enter the park through the International Gateway you come into World Showcase between Great Britain and France.  I am going to take you on a tour around that area first, but I am backtracking just a little and starting with Canada.  Oh, and I want you to enjoy the flowers and the architecture in each of these “countries,” so you will see buildings and other things as we go.  Got all that?:) Alright, let’s start with Canada.

Epcot Canada Complete with a waterfall.:)Epcot Canada waterfall

 Loved these hanging baskets with their red geraniums.

Epcot Canada hanging basketsCanada’s topiary was this cute one of the animals from Bambi.

Epcot Canada BambiThe next region we came to was Great Britain.  It was by far my favorite with its English tea garden complete with tea cups!

Epcot England areaEpcot English tea gardenEpcot England tea garden

Now just look at those amazing topiaries designed to look like characters straight out of Peter Pan.Epcot England Peter PanThere was the evil Captain Hook…Epcot England Capt Hookand Peter Pan himself – up on the roof.Epcot England Capt Hook and Peter Pan

Now we will travel into my daughter’s favorite area – the French Pavilion.  Here is a view of it from the water.

Epcot view of France

And now some of the charming architecture (with wonderful places to dine there.)

Epcot FranceThe topiaries for this region were of characters from Beauty and the Beast.:)

Epcot France Beauty and the BeastEpcot France Beauty and the Beast charactersMoving on around the circle of countries in World Showcase, you pass through Morocco and Japan and then enter the American Adventure.  I did not photograph much from those, but I did get a shot of the cute topiary in the American area.  If you are a fan of Toy Story, you will love this one.:)

Epcot America Toy Story Woody

Another great thing about the Flower and Garden Festival is that there are great food carts set up in all the different countries. (There is a very good barbecue cart behind Woody up there.) You can purchase snack size servings of many different things to try out.  In fact, you can graze your way all the way around the World Showcase area. (Check out all the food cart menus here.)  Grazing is precisely what our sons did, but because my husband is not much of a “snacker,” he and our daughter and I opted for a sit-down lunch in the next country… Italy.

Epcot Italy

There are two dining choices in that region, the casual Via Napoli Pizzeria and the more formal one – Tutto Italia. We chose the more formal one since my husband had previously eaten at the pizzeria.

Epcot Tutto Italiasource

Epcot Tutto Italia dining roomThey brought us an assortment of breads with fresh olives and olive oil before our meal. yum.. Then we tried three different entrees between us, and I believe my daughter’s ravioli was the best.

Epcot Tutto Italia lunch entreesFor dessert we shared an order of tiramisu and this fabulously rich chocolate gelato.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Epcot Tutto Italia choclate gelatoItaly had two topiaries:

Miss Piggy

(Do you suppose that one was chosen for all the food that is consumed there??)

Epcot Italy Miss Piggy

and Lady and the Tramp.

Epcot Italy Lady and the TrampAfter that heavy meal we needed to walk some of it off.  So we headed on around to Germany.

Epcot Germany PavilionEpcot Germany model trainSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs were standing around in that country.

Epcot Germany Snow WhiteAnd the characters from The Lion King were between Germany and the China pavilion.

Epcot Lion King topiaryThe last country we toured was Norway.

Epcot NorwayEpcot Norway buildingsAnd then it was time to walk over to Future World.

Epcot Future World

Here are just a few of the gardens from there.

Epcot Mission Space Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear outside Mission Space
Epcot Cars by Test Track
Cars near Test Track

11 Epcot Truck by Test Track
Epcot Farmer Mickey and Minnie

Farmer Mickey and Minnie between Future World and World Showcase

And that completes our tour of Epcot. All those flowers made me wish that spring would hurry and arrive for good so that I could get busy in our yard, (but I am sure there won’t be any Disney topiaries popping up in our flower beds!) Weren’t they amazing?! Which one was your favorite?

We’d love to know.:)

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Debra - March 12, 2015 - 8:24 am

I wonder why Belle was the only character without a face?
That IS a good question! I have no idea.

Linda - March 12, 2015 - 8:42 am

Loved them all, thanks for the tour. It does make me want to get my flowers planted also.
Doesn’t it though? All those geraniums were very tempting to me!!

Arlene@Nanaland - March 12, 2015 - 8:44 am

What a fun getaway Kelly! It has been so dreary here that I want to run away to some place magical!!
I’m sorry you have had such dreary weather. Epcot had gorgeous blue skies when we were there on Sunday. You need to be there Arlene!

Donnamae - March 12, 2015 - 9:11 am

Thanks so much for the tour! It’s been about ten years since we’ve visited…my favorite pavilion was Germany. We usually had beer and a sausage…delicious….then would walk over to France for dessert! It was sort of a tradition…my reward if you will, for keeping up with three young boys in Future World! The gardens are beautiful…and I love all the topiaries…there aren’t any in my future either! ;)
If you haven’t been there in 10 years, it is time for you to go back Donnamae! Germany seemed to be the most popular of all of the pavilions when we were there. Yum to the idea of France for dessert! That little French bakery has moved into a larger building, and they have a ton of delicious items.

Garden, Home and Party - March 12, 2015 - 11:45 am

I’ve always heard Epcot was wonderful but to visit during the garden show, that would be the best. The topiaries reminded me so much of the items in our annual rose parade. I volunteered one year to help decorate the USC and UT (Texas) floats since my son went to USC and my daughter-in-law went to UT. It was fascinating to see what goes into creating detailed characters and such. I loved each of the areas you shared from your trip. The English Tea Garden was my favorite from what I could see. Yes, my mouth was watering at the pictures and descriptions of food! :-)
How fun to help with the Rose Parade! I know I would love seeing how creative they are with that. :) The English Tea Garden was just beautiful..and one that I feel could be recreated at home. The snapdragons in it were amazing!

Sue - March 12, 2015 - 12:05 pm

I am so enjoying your Disney posts Kelly. We have taken our grandchildren {and their parents} a few times. Our most recent trip was in December for me to see the Christmas decorations. Our trips are heavy on rides:-) so I look forward to a leisurely stroll through the worlds at Epcot some day. It looks like the time to go is during the flower festival. Your pictures are just beautiful.
Thanks for sharing one of my favorite places.
Oh Sue! I have always wanted to see the parks and resorts decorated for Christmas. I know I would love that!! Lucky lucky you! My daughter says the crowds are tremendous at that time, so I am not sure I would enjoy that. Glad I could help you stroll around Epcot today. :)

Ruth - March 12, 2015 - 12:26 pm

While at Epcot, be sure to try the famous orange slushy!!! It’s an alcoholic slushy that is so popular, it has it’s own fan page online. I was searching for a recipe, and came across a Disney-sponsored page with all of the drink recipes from WDW. Might have food recipes, too, but I was looking for that particular drink recipe.
I didn’t know about that drink Ruth. Darn it! But I did try a pineapple ice cream though. :) We’d love to know what page your drink recipes are on. Can you share?

Given below is a link to the webpage with all the drinks. For the orange slush recipe, navigate to the section on EPCOT, and within that, to the section on the France exhibit. It’s near the bottom, under “Featured at the Drink Stand.” It’s called the Gran Marnier & Grey Goose Orange Slush:

My husband went to WDW for a conference late last spring (I couldn’t accompany him :( ), and he called me from the slushy line, which he said stretched on and on, everyone abuzz about this cult favorite. So many people have inquired about purchasing a slush machine that WDW, always alert for a retail opportunity, offers them for sale!
Thanks Ruth!

L J - March 12, 2015 - 4:55 pm

I agree with another reader–seems Epcot visit during garden festival would be a fantastic idea. I too marvel at WDW topiaries (how’d they do that?)but they won’t appear here in my garden–I really like red geraniums and have about 5 pots filled with them–can’t have too many–and here where I live it’s relatively easy to keep them alive all year–from one year to the next.
Favorite? my vote goes to non-topiary hanging baskets of red geraniums.
cheers–have a terrific weekend.
I loved those hanging baskets,and I even lifted up the white flowering plant below the geraniums to see what they were planted in. All of them were in peat pots. (Just in case you would like to know. :) ) I am jealous that you already have so many geraniums AND you can keep them alive year round!

Nana Diana - March 12, 2015 - 6:59 pm

I love your Epcot pictures. When we go I never seem to take time to take photos like this. Yours are perfect. Your daughter’s favorite is also my own….France!
Beautiful post- xo Diana
Thank you Diana. I wish I had gotten more photos when we were in the Magic Kingdom, but we were pretty much going from one ride to the nextand never really stopped for photos.

Megan - March 12, 2015 - 7:32 pm

Hi Kelly,
We were lucky enough to stay at the Yacht Club as well a few years ago, and took advantage of the back entrance. What a wonderful hotel! I loved seeing all of the topiaries and gardens in your pictures – so beautiful!!
Thanks for sharing your trip!
We enjoyed Yacht Club too Megan. Glad you are enjoying all the posts on our Disney trip. Isn’t that back entrance to Epcot just wonderful? (Although you have to really hustle if you want to get to Soarin first.)

Kim @ Vintage Pretties - March 13, 2015 - 7:31 am

We love, love love Disney, especially Epcot! A trip to Disney is so nice this time of year, when it seems like winter won’t end. It would be wonderful to see the garden show — I love your photos. We stayed at the Boardwalk Inn (just wonderful!) and also took advantage of the “back door” to Epcot.
I think everyone who has endured this winter’s storms deserves an early spring vacation to Disney! The Boardwalk is a great hotel, and I love that whole area around it. Glad you had the fun of staying there Kim!

Becky in 'Bama - March 13, 2015 - 2:27 pm

Follow up to your March 10 post: my husband and I last went to Disney 7 years ago…and stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. We were there the week between C’mas and New Year. Thinking we’d have magical weather, imagine our dismay to have 40 degree temps most days with a stiff north wind. Thankfully I took a jacket, but my husband made it through with only a sweatshirt. COLD sitting in the shade at the large stadium where we watched the crazy stunt cars. Sitting on those metal bleachers at 40 degrees I thought my bottom would freeze to the seat. LOL. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and the Wilderness Lodge was super-amazing. The day before we departed, all the Christmas decorations went ‘poof’ over night. How DO they do that? Love Disney and marvel at their tireless work.
Florida is not always warm and sunny,is it Becky? We had a chilly day Saturday, but it certainly wasn’t 40 degrees. I would have been miserable in that.
Amazing how they can take all the decorations down soooo fast! (But taking down does seem to be MUCH faster than putting them up!)

Jane C. - March 13, 2015 - 4:21 pm

How beautiful! Even though WDW & all its properties are practically in my backyard (about 40 miles away) we rarely get to go. Some day, when I win the lottery, I want to go and pull out all the stops! A few years ago, we did get to go at the holidays and took the launch from Disney World to the Grand Floridian to see the life size gingerbread house in their atrium. So gorgeous! After being to other area theme parks, no one does it better than Disney. They really have cornered the market on hospitality.

If you ever get to the beaches in the area, let me know. I just got back from our beautiful Playalinda beach a few minutes ago!
You are THAT close, and you rarely go Jane?? Man. I am glad you got to see the gingerbread house at Christmas. I hope I get to do that one year (and see all their holiday decorations in the park.) I will let you know if we get to the beaches near you, and I will check out Playalinda.

Debra - March 19, 2015 - 8:59 am

Oh Epcot! It looked wonderful and that food too! Ugh! I won’t dare share this post with my third daughter. Epcot is a bit of a sore subject at our home, (more like an tease). Years ago my sister and I took the two youngest, (of my four children) to Disney World. It was June and we were only there for four days/3 nights. Well, trying to cram as much as we could in, we did not make it to Epcot. I have not heard the end of it from my daughter. She wanted to go to Epcot the third night and I chose to take the kids back to Magic Kingdom for more rides and the evening parade. There is so much there and besides having our room at the Caribbean, with the pool to utilize. Have been to both Disneyland and Disney World, twice. It was years ago, when they were small. America’s treasures. Your daughter is so lucky to be there. The fact that you live close enough, being in the south, makes it a little more convenient. Lucky family!
Yes, your daughter is right. Epcot needs to be seen! I do understand wanting to see more rides and parades at the Magic Kingdom though. Our daughter is certainly lucky to be there – although she had a small fender bender there a week or so ago. She does NOT like the traffic. But with that many people traveling there, it is to be expected.

Disney Magic: Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney Wilderness Lodge waterfallThere are many things to enjoy at Walt Disney World…the rides, the shows, the atmosphere.  One of the main reasons our oldest child goes to Disney is to enjoy… the food!   You are probably thinking…What??  That counter service stuff in the parks?? That’s just ordinary fast food! And you might be right about some of it, but not all of it is ordinary.  Some of the park food is tasty – especially at Epcot.

Disney Wilderness Lodge exteriorWhere our family really likes to go for the food is the resorts. So on Saturday, after we made sure there was no way to get into Be Our Guest for lunch, we hopped on one of the Disney buses and made our way from the Magic Kingdom over to Wilderness Lodge.

Disney Wilderness Lodge lobbyI had never been in it before, so this was a fun little excursion for me. The lodge is designed to look like a National Park lodge in the Northwest at the turn of the century.

Disney Wilderness Lodge lobby seatingIt reminded me of the Ahwahnee, a lodge we visited in Yosemite National Park a few years ago.

Disney Wilderness Lodge totem poleSaturday was cloudy and cool in Orlando, so I was glad to see that fire burning in the fireplace.:)

Disney Wilderness Lodge lobby fireplaceNeedless to say, that huge lobby with the towering logs and overscale furniture was quite impressive!

Water was even flowing in the interior!

Disney wilderness lodge interior riverOne of the highest rated restaurants in all of Walt Disney World is Artist Point there in Wilderness Lodge.

Unfortunately, they do not serve lunch, but I did wander inside to get a photo of it for you.:)

Disney Wilderness Lodge Artists Point restaurantWe chose to dine at Whispering Canyon Cafe instead. It is a fun spot to enjoy what I call “cowboy food.”

(Just don’t ask for ketchup…They will bring you 12 bottles…truly.:()


I didn’t get good photos of everyone’s meal because we were hungry and ready to dig in, but I did get a shot of our daughter’s pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries…

Disney Wilderness Lodge barbequeAnd my barbecued rib plate.  It was very meaty!

Disney Wilderness Lodge ribs

After lunch, we took the bus back to the Magic Kingdom, watched a couple of shows, and rode a few more rides.  Then it was time for another meal.:)

Disney Animal Kingdom lodge

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Because this trip was to celebrate our son’s birthday, we had made reservations at Boma, one of the best restaurants in WDW.  To get there, we caught a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney Animal Kingdom lodge animalsAnd yes, there are really animals on the grounds around the lodge!

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby ceilingI had also never visited this lodge before, so this was another treat for me! Animal Kingdom lodge was designed to include elements of African architecture, and it houses one of the largest collections of African art in the United States.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge seatingBoma is an interesting restaurant designed to look like an African market.

Boma dining

The African inspired food is served buffet style (all you can eat) from multiple stations – a few carving stations with meats that have been cooked over an open fire, a vegetable station with a variety of African (and American) vegetables, a soup station (with some unusual flavored soups), a salad bar, a station with a choice of breads, and…

Disney Boma buffettwo dessert stations.:)

Everyone raves about the zebra domes, but they had a tiny coffee flavored tart in a chocolate shell that I could have eaten 20 of!

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Boma dessert buffetThis was my dessert plate.  The zebra domes are at the top, followed by a guava something.  I am not sure what that next fruit dessert was, but it resembled an apple cobbler in flavor. Then you see those luscious coffee flavored tarts and finally 2 key lime cheesecake bites.  (They were very rich!) And yes, I ate it all (even though I am not supposed to be eating any chocolate right now.:()  Sorry, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Disney Boma dessert plateOur sons really loved all the African foods – especially the soups.  My husband loved the beef and mashed potatoes, and my daughter and I both thought the desserts were the best. Something for everyone, right? Have any of you dined at Boma? It was all tasty and a unique experience, but I think I enjoyed the food at Fulton’s Crab House from our recent Disney trip more. Probably because I am more of a riverboat girl than an African safari girl.:)

Would you believe I am still not finished sharing our Disney trip with you?  We’ve looked at the Yacht Club, the Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge so far.  Next time, we have some gorgeous gorgeous gardens to see!

I hope you will be back.:)

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L J - March 10, 2015 - 6:59 pm

Keep ‘em coming, Kelly. It’s like a visit to WDW without leaving home. :-))
Too funny! There are more coming. :) Glad I could take you along.

Garden, Home and Party - March 10, 2015 - 7:08 pm

I really must get to Disney World. Due to real estate constraints, our Disneyland in Anaheim doesn’t offer the scope of what you’ve shared. There are some really great restaurants on “Downtown Disney” which is outside of the gates of both theme parks [Disneyland and California Adventure].
Those desserts looked delicious and I would have cleaned my plate as well!
I’m still thinking about the incredible bathroom in that Yacht Club.
I love this tour, thanks for sharing.
Yes, you must Karen! And bring your grandkids. At least your Disney has claim to being the first. :) I am glad to know I am not alone in the clean my dessert plate club. (That gelato was oh my goodness delicious!)

Jackie M. - March 10, 2015 - 7:26 pm

I’m loving all of your Disney posts — one of our favorite places to visit! Boma is one of our must-dos on every trip — I am dying for some Zebra Domes now — lol! We’ve never ventured over to Wilderness Lodge, though — now I am putting it on our next-time list. :)
I’m so glad you are enjoying the posts Jackie. Boma certainly has a wide variety of foods from which to choose. Those zebra domes were very good, but I will still prefer the coffee tarts over them. Definitely make a visit over to Wilderness Lodge next time. It is a short bus ride from the Magic Kingdom.

Pinky at Designs by Pinky - March 10, 2015 - 7:54 pm

I have wanted to go to the Wilderness Lodge for YEARS!!! Hopefully one day I will get there. I love African art! The food sounds great too. Thanks so much for taking us along on this journey with you!
I had wanted to go for years, too, Pinky. Since we could not get reservations there, I knew it was going to have to be a visit for lunch…not a bad time to check it out. :) I hope you get to visit it on your next trip.

Town and Country House - March 10, 2015 - 9:08 pm

Great post, Kelly! We love Artist’s Point–it is really beautiful at night. I’ve never been to AK Lodge, so I will have to add that to our list. I’m impressed with how much you fit into one weekend! It makes me want to go back already. :)
My husband and son have dined at Artist Point, and they are going to have to take me the next time we are there. :) We really try to pack a lot in when we go…which was quite exhausting when you consider it was the weekend we lost an hour with the change to Daylight Savings time. :(

Louvina - March 10, 2015 - 9:37 pm

My, my! My daughter has been holding out on me! She has been to these resorts, I’m sure but I haven’t!! So the next time she asks me where I want to go for Mother’s Day or my birthday, I will be ready to rattle this list off and she will wonder how I know about all of these!! Every place is so wonderful!! It would be hard to decide!! She took me to Bonnet Creek Resort when she was having a conference and I had never heard of that!! WDW is certainly a big, BIG World and to think we can enjoy all this and never have to leave the USA!! Or for me just stay in FLA!! Bring on more pictures!! This is FUN!
Whoa…she HAS been holding out on you Louvina. Shame on her! I hope she has taken you to some of the nicer dining spots in Epcot…such wonderful food there!

Ruth - March 10, 2015 - 10:23 pm

This IS fun!!! I’m so enjoying the vicarious vacation! And you’re hitting all the hotels that we haven’t visited. Had no idea they’d be so large and over-the-top in their decor. My guide books didn’t give them enough credit, because I can see from your photos that it’s worth a visit to WDW just to take a complete tour of all the hotels — nevermind the rides and shows! Wishing y’all a GREAT rest of your trip. Thanks for the “Calgon, take me away!”…
They are HUGE, and so are just the lobbies. You know Disney pays attention to all the details. A hotel tour is a very fun thing to do at Disney World. We have stayed at the Polynesian and the Boardwalk in the past. We have visited the Grand Floridian but not stayed there. For architecture and interior design lovers, you can’t beat all their resorts.

Donnamae - March 10, 2015 - 10:59 pm

I’ve never had a meal at WDW I didn’t love! Those desserts look scrumptious! ;)
I agree. I used to love the Crystal Palace, but my children all tell me that I would not like it now. I can’t imagine it not being good, and one day I am going to persuade them to give it a try with me.

cindy hattersley - March 11, 2015 - 11:20 am

This looks like so much fun! Disney World is so much better than Disneyland! Wish it were closer!!
Just catch a flight to Florida, and you can enjoy it too Cindy!

Ellen Martin - March 11, 2015 - 2:26 pm

Have loved your Disney posts, including the food reviews. My family ate at Boma a couple of years ago, and loved it!! We were with our daughter’s family and had a meal plan, which made the evening meal there very affordable.

What fun that your daughter is having the opportunity to intern at Disney, and that your son flew in to join you for a birthday celebration!
It was a very fun weekend for sure! Glad you have also enjoyed Boma. It is always fun for everyone to taste and compare all the different foods.

Susan - March 12, 2015 - 8:34 am

Thanks for sharing your fun vacation! The Wilderness Lodge is also reminiscent of the Yellowstone Lodge.

Too bad you couldn’t eat at Artist Point. My husband and I went for our 20th anniversary in December. Artist Point was my favorite restaurant on that trip service and food-wise. The Smoky Portobello Mushroom Soup still sends me into reverie; they graciously provided me with the recipe. I also discovered black lava salt which topped the butter for the bread. (World Market sells it.)

We have also dined at California Grill 3 times; the food is always good, service is OK; always very busy.

We have never eaten at Boma but did enjoy the other one (Jika?) a few years ago.
I hope to get to dine at Artist Point on our next trip. What a great place to celebrate your anniversary! That soup sounds delicious, and I will have to look for the black lava salt the next time we are in World Market. Thanks for the suggestion. Our daughter dined with her boyfriend at Jiko on Sunday night. She had a lamb dish that she said was absolutely delicious.

Debra - March 19, 2015 - 9:05 am

Catching up on all your Disney posts. The Wilderness Lodge would be the ticket for me. How fun. Disney World is just amazing, isn’t it? That food looked wonderful Kelly. Thank goodness Disney involves a lot of walking. It helps to work off the calories consumed! :)
You do walk off a lot of it, but not all – considering how much we ate! I loved seeing Wilderness Lodge, but I do think I like the beachy ones better – especially if you go in the spring and summer. If we made a winter trip though, I think Wilderness Lodge would be my choice then. The Polynesian is also wonderful, but they were doing a ton of construction on it when we were there, so we avoided it.

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