Now is the time when many, including myself, look back on the closing year and reflect on family, friends, life and the world around us. Today, I’d ask that you please indulge me while I share reflections of my time here on the Magical DIStractions site and reminisce about some of my favorite articles that I have written about “the world” a/k/a Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.
In December, 2014, Magical DIStractions invited me into their fold and welcomed me with open arms. Over this past year, I have formed lasting friendships, received encouragement when I needed it and, of course, found a wonderful group of people who, like me, love all things Disney! To them, I say “Thank you! Thank you for taking me in and allowing me to become part of such an amazing team and fantastic website!” And, to you, the readers, “It is such a joy and pleasure to share our knowledge of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios Parks with you! Without you, the site wouldn’t have grown so very much after going live in May, 2014!”
Magical DIStractions has grown leaps and bounds since Caroline’s dream for the website came to fruition! I have no doubt that it will continue to grow because of the talented team and our fantastic readers! The team has shared hundreds of news and breaking news stories, written numerous detailed resort reviews, shared our tried and true tips and have written articles that give you the scoop on the best places to dine, some of which have received recognition from the restaurants! Before 2015 closes out, the Magical DIStractions site will have published over 1,300 articles for the readers! We work hard to make sure that you get the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. I have no doubt that it will continue to grow because of the dedicated team and you, our readers!
I, along with several of my fellow team members, will be sharing our favorite articles to write in 2015. Today, it is my turn to share. At first, I thought that I would do a Top 10 List but, after looking at the posts that I’ve made, there is simply no way that I can condense my favorites down to just ten. However, I can put them into my Top 5 categories:
1. Breaking News!
As I mentioned above, Magical DIStractions has shared hundreds of breaking news and news articles with the readers. It is always exciting to cover a news story! I type away as fast as I can so that we can let the readers in on the latest and greatest news as soon as we possibly can!
It has been fun to share with you the New and Returning Stars of Harry Potter Join A Celebration of Harry Potter, the news of Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival to Expand in 2016! and Disney Reduces the Price of Memory Maker!
There are times when news stories are a bit sad as we must also fill you in on closures such as my report Shed-ding Tears for Mulch, Sweat n’ Shears and The Canadian Lumberjack Show Gets the Axe! As I say in my Where in Walt Disney World Can I Find? series, Walt Disney World and the surrounding areas are constantly changing. Sometimes, a fan favorite must be closed in order to make way for something new and possibly more exciting.
2. Where in Walt Disney World Can I Find? Series
I love writing this ongoing series but it does has a downfall. Downfall? You see, the first five articles in this series focused solely on food and I always stepped away from the computer hungry. Hungry and far away from all of the deliciousness served in the Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. However, when writing the articles, I would be reminded of our favorites foods, snacks and drinks and I’d make sure that they were on our list of foods to have on our next vacation. It is my hope that this series of articles helps both first timers and frequent travelers find something that they will want to try, see and do on their trip to Walt Disney World.
The first article in the Where in Walt Disney World Can I Find? series was The Drinks & Snacks Parks Edition and it featured an alphabetical list of drinks and snacks that could be found in the Disney Parks. Next up was the Counter Service Parks Edition and my goal for the article was to help readers make their counter service a/k/a quick service dining decisions. Sticking with the Parks and Disney Springs theme, the third article in the series was Table Service Parks Edition which gave details on where to dine on such delicious delights such as Gratin de Macaroni, Lobster and Crab Crepes, Eclair a l’Orange and Irish Coffee. In honor of National Ice Cream Month, the fourth article was the Cool Treats Edition which gave you the scoop on where to find treats to cool you off. The fifth article was food themed as well. Where in the World Can I Find? The Table Service Resorts Edition featured some mouth watering entrees and desserts including Seared Diver Scallops, Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room, Honey Coriander Chicken Wings, Sushi and Tex-Mex.
The latest article that posted was in December, 2015. Where in Walt Disney World Can I Find? A Place to Put My Stuff? gave you the lowdown on where and how to store your things in all four theme parks, in the two water parks, at the miniature golf courses as well as at the golf courses.
3. Helpful Tips
My family has traveled to Walt Disney World over 20 times and have stayed both onsite and off for a total of almost 200 nights. Our trips have included a baby, a toddler, pre-teens, teenagers, adults, seniors and extended family members. Over the years, I’ve learned many “tips” and have shared them with others. In addition to the Where in Walt Disney World Can I Find? A Place to Put My Stuff? article linked above, I have also written other tip-type articles.
One of those articles was Tips on How to Travel “The World” with Seniors. While writing the article, I brought in a guest contributor, my 82 year old mother, Edna. She shared her thoughts and concerns and I addressed them one by one in the article. I also shared pictures of various types of attractions, ride vehicles, etc. so that those who were planning a trip with a Senior would be better prepared for things that might have otherwise not been thought about.
The idea for my Should You Make Requests on Your Disney Resort Reservation article came about while helping a friend decide what category room to book at their Walt Disney World Resort hotel. In the article, I discussed several topics that would help the reader decide whether or not they should make resort reservation requests. I also gave tips and advice on how to do so.
Should you find yourself having to do laundry while on vacation as I have been known to do, you can read more information and tips in The Laundry View Website and High Tech Machines Make Doing Laundry on Vacation Loads Easier! The new laundry facilities are easy to use and the easy to use app allows Guests to watch the progress while they enjoy other resort amenities.
4. Hidden Treasures
Deep within the Parks, Disney Imagineers have placed what I consider to be hidden treasures. While there are many to be found all over Walt Disney World Resort, I’ve written about several that can be found in World Showcase in Epcot.
In January, I wrote Discovering a one of a kind buried treasure at Epcot! which told of the discovery of the ancient terra cotta tomb warriors. Also in January, Pick a Pearl-A Souvenir that’s Easy on the Budget posted and I shared my tips on attempting to pick the prettiest pearl out of the bunch. Discovering Something Old But “New” in Mexico! took you on a tour of several exhibits that you might have otherwise walked right past. One of my October articles was Experience the Mystique, Culture and Style of Morocco a gallery that is just behind the heavy wooden doors in the Morocco Pavilion. The last hidden treasure article that I wrote in 2015, was Stave Church Gallery-An Exhibit Worth Melting For! where Guests step inside the Stave Church Gallery to take in all the sights and sounds of “Creating the World of Frozen,” the Norwegian exhibit that includes clothing, instruments and genuine folk art.
As I mentioned earlier, Disney Imagineers have placed hidden treasures all over Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to those that I wrote about in the articles above, I also wrote What ARE Hidden Mickeys and Where Do I Find Them? which published to the site in March. In the article, I explained, well, what hidden Mickeys are and where you could find them.
5. Restaurant Reviews
Some of the best dishes that I have ever tasted were served in the restaurants at Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream. During my time here at Magical DIStractions, I’ve written several restaurant reviews including Experience the Victorian Charm and Delacacies at Grand Floridian Cafe wherein I declared that the entrees were “simply fantastic!”. Olivia’s Cafe Where Guests Can Savor the Taste of the Florida Keys included pictures of the restaurant, menu and the scrumptuous entrees and desserts. When we want a great pizza and pasta, we head on over to Dinner at Via Napoli Ristoranti – Oh So Delizioso. We are from the South and we often find ourselves craving “home cooked” food so we book a reservation at Crossroads at House of Blues-Funky and Fabulous at the Same Time! where we dine on fare such as fried chicken, steak, cornbread and bread pudding!
It’s not just the table service restaurants that dish up delicious foods! There are several counter service eateries that have become our favorites. My review of Wolfgang Puck Express, Eat, Love, Life (WELL) at Wolfgang Puck Express, posted to the Magical DIStractions site in April, 2015. The menu at Wolfgang Puck Express is quite extensive for a counter service restaurant and everyone in your party is sure to find something to their liking.
During our May/June, 2015 trip, my husband and I dined at The Smokehouse and it has moved way up high on our “must eat there” list of counter service restaurants. The seating for The Smokehouse is located outside of House of Blues and on the “Front Porch,” an expanded area with a stage for live local music held several times a week depending on the season and weather. As I wrote in my article, Crossroads at House of Blues-Funky and Fabulous at the same time!, the decor there is funky cool and it was carried over into this area in the way of art pieces, sculptures and the overall vibe. I wrote a complete review in my article, The Smokehouse in Disney Springs! Mouthwatering Good!
Eating at Walt Disney World can be quite an experience, for example, character dining at It’s A Friendship Day Celebration at The Crystal Palace or a meal at Coral Reef Restaurant-Where Guests Dine with the Fishies! If you are looking for an outstanding dining experience, I would highly recommend booking the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party! (Current prices are listed) I did a full review, complete with food, seating and view pictures in my article Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party: Delicious Desserts & Delightful Memories!
Honorable Mention – Attraction Reviews
Gosh, Honorable Mention makes it sound as if I don’t like to write about the attractions. I do! I really really do! It’s just that I made myself keep to a Top 5 category and then, I couldn’t do it. I had to add in the honorable mention.
We all know that the attractions are what draw most of us into the Parks. Yes, there are the beautiful onsite resorts, the fabulous restaurants and the “hidden treasures” but, let’s face it, the attractions are our main focus. That’s why I had such a hard time lumping my articles into an Honorable Mention category.
In February, Mission: SPACE – Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It! posted to the site. Do you want to fulfill your fantasy or childhood dream of becoming an astronaut? At Epcot, you can make that dream come true! In the article, I explain the difference between the two sides/levels from which to choose and I even included a video that I took while blasting off through space. This is one attraction that is on our “not to be missed” list!
If you are looking for something a little more tame, trek to the other side of Epcot’s Future World and enter The Land Pavilion so that you can take a boat ride on Living with the Land. Living with the Land: Disney Showcases It’s Green Thumb is an article written by me and posted to the site in April, 2015. Living with the Land is a gentle boat ride through Disney’s greenhouse and aquaculture facilities and some of the plants there are world record holders! While it is not considered a thrill ride, Living with the Land is definitely worth your time.
That’s a wrap!
I hope that you have enjoyed my Top 5 list, plus Honorable Mention! 2015 has had it’s ups and downs for most but it is easy to put those worries and cares to rest when we have this awesome website to share with you all! There’s no telling where 2016 will take us! So, sit down, buckle up and hang on because we are headed to Infinity and Beyond!