Friday, August 17, 2012

D23's Fanniversary

Back in May I had the opportunity to attend D23's Fanniversary Celebration in New York City.

Let me preface this post by saying that living in New York City allows me the opportunity to experience Disney without being in Disney. Even though I'm hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the Magic Kingdom, if I'm feeling the itch I am only a quick wind, a credit card swipe and a subway ride away from Mary Poppins. I know that I'm very lucky in this respect and I try to take advantage of this as much as I can.

So on one particular Disney-missing moment I saw the announcement that the D23 Fanniversary Celebration was coming to New York City. I was elated and I immediately called my husband. Here's how the call went:

Me: D23 is hosting an event in NYC and it is going to be AMAZING! We have to go, we just have to!
Tom: Awesome! Where is it going to take place?
Me: This really cool, tiny, artsy little venue in the village called Cherry Lane Theater. It will be pretty intimate due to the size.
Tom: Great. And what exactly is it?
Me: [cricket, cricket]

Even if it was simply a gathering of Disney fanatics (which it was, in part) I would have been incredibly happy. But in actuality it was so much more than that!

The Cherry Lane theater was exactly what I thought it would be: a small, intimate theater in an location that makes you feel like you are in London, not Manhattan.

Immediately upon arrival for the 8pm show, I started to notice all of the Disney Dooney and Bourke handbags, turkey leg tee shirts, and Mickey Mouse merchandise galore! While we were waiting outside the theater it sounded like a Disney AA meeting. "Hi my name is Rosanne, I'm a Disney fanatic. My drug of choice is Walt Disney World, though I've dabbled in Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line as well. Here's how I lost control..."

We were all given Fanniversary buttons as our "admission ticket" and I was given a nifty D23 pendant for being a member.

The event itself was hosted by Becky Cline, the Director of the Walt Disney Archives and Jeffrey Epstein of D23. We had the pleasure of meeting Jeffrey last year at D23's Magic and Merriment at Walt Disney World and he was just as personable as we remembered.

The show itself was a celebration of all things Disney! Officially it was a trip back through Disney history celebrating 75 years of Disney Anniversaries. We covered cartoons, live action films, theme parks, parades, characters, events, etc. We started right at the beginning of the studios and ended in present day. Obviously I knew the more recent events best, but I enjoyed all the photos, videos of sketches of the older anniversaries most, because they were truly rare and beautiful.

The audience was excited and engaged. I would guess that the most cheering came from a clip of the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Duck Tales (woo woo) theme song.

I left the event satisfied, not quite starved of Disney. (I'm never full no matter how much I get) For an event that was priced at $18 a ticket, I thought this was very reasonably priced.

I know this seems like this post isn't very timely, but the timing of this post is intentional. D23 JUST ANNOUNCED MORE FANNIVERSARIES!  Do you live in Philadelphia, Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas? Then check this out!

Did you attend any of the D23 Fanniversary Celebrations? What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Grand Disney Experience

Welcome to those of you joining me from The Magical Mouse Pad and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

When it comes to choosing a Disney resort hotel there are many varying opinions. Quite often guests have very strong opinions on which resort is the best on property.

With all of the fabulous options, I have often wondered why this is. I recently came to this conclusion: your favorite Disney resort is often the resort where you have had the best Disney memories and the most magical moments. For me the resort that best fits this description is Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

A view of the Grand Floridian from the Magic Kingdom
For many, many years my family stayed at the Grand Floridian in August right before school started. As a kid, I probably would've liked any of the Disney resort hotels. But the Grand Floridian was truly magical for me. Every little girl dreams of being a princess and the Grand Floridian truly makes a kid (and some adults) feel like one.

Princess descends the stairs of the Grand Floridian. (Photo by Dennis Brown - DennisBrown360)
From the moment you arrive at the resort you feel like you are transported to the Victorian era. When you step out of your "coach" you are immediately greeted by a Cast Member. But for many, a visit to the Grand Floridian is all about that breathtaking moment when you walk into the grandest of lobbies.

Grand Floridian Lobby
From the beautiful circular stained glass ceilings to the white paint, the lobby at the Grand Floridian is a sight to behold. Come at the right time of day and you are greeted by music from a live orchestra. Cast Members at the Grand truly aim to please.

The Grand Floridian ceiling (Photo by Dennis Brown - DennisBrown360)
Apart from the lobby and the Cast Members, arguably the best feature of the Grand Floridian is its location. Just one monorail (and boat launch) stop away from the Magic Kingdom and a short monorail ride to Epcot, the Grand Floridian is situated on prime real estate and offers unmatched convenience. One of my favorite memories of the Grand Floridian is riding the monorail in a loop on check in day prior to going to our room.

My husband and I on the monorail on our honeymoon

Most of my memories from the Grand Floridian do not involve anything "deluxe." Some of my favorite memories of the Grand Floridian involve buying rice krispy treats from Gasparilla Grill and Games, midnight swims in the pool and taking photos in the carriage outside the front door. Of course, we do love our meals at Narcoosee's, Citricos, 1900 Park Fare and the Grand Floridian Cafe.

The quiet pool at the Grand Floridian (Photo by Dennis Brown - DennisBrown360)

I love the Grand Floridian with all my heart. I've been there hundreds of times, but it never, ever gets old. I hope that one day I can stay there and celebrate my tenth anniversary with my husband. What is your favorite resort?

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Black this month. We will be back Tuesday, September 11th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ The Disney Chick
2nd Stop ~ Mandas Disney Blog
3rd Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer
4th Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad
Final Stop ~ The Disney Point (You are here!)