Review: Golden Arrow Lake Placid

One of my very favorite spots in the entire world is Lake Placid NY. Lake Placid was the town we visited when I was a child on rainy days when we were camping in the Adirondacks near Saranac Lake. Not much to do in the rain at a campground so we would pile into the car and drive to Lake Placid and walk around in the rain, spending sometimes hours inside the book store. Hey, we didn’t have English book stores near our home in Montreal.

As I got older, it became the spot to go with friends to get away from the crazy bar scene in Montreal. It’s no wonder I met my husband on one of those trips, we began dating long distance (he lived in Lake Placid) and eventually got married. We had our wedding in, you guessed it, Lake Placid.

I simply love the atmosphere in this town. It’s always bustling with people, and activities, and has great restaurants! There is a lovely path that takes you all the way around Mirror Lake. It is just under 3 miles and at the other end of the lake, you can see the actual Lake Placid. There is even a boat tour you can take to learn all about the history of the area and the ghost story of The Lady and the Lake. They are replacing the sidewalk in town and one side is complete with a beautiful smooth surface now.

One of the top places to stay is the Golden Arrow Resort. The Golden Arrow sits right on Mirror Lake, aptly named as you can see in this picture.

The resort has regular rooms, family rooms, specialty suites and is pet friendly. Many rooms overlook Mirror Lake and the beautiful lakeside lawn and beach exclusive to the hotel. They have lake toys available on the docks, beach chairs to lounge, and a sectioned-off area to swim safely for the littles. There are fire pits for nighttime fun and a beautiful spot where there is almost weekly a wedding taking place by the lake.

There is a restaurant and bar, Generations which is a great place to cap off the night before retreating to your room.

My favorite room at the Golden Arrow is the Morningside Suite. This is the suite we book every year for our girl’s getaway weekend. This suite suits us perfectly because it has a large table in the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the lake. We like to play games when we aren’t on the beach or wandering around the lake, and this is perfect for that. It also has a kitchenette and 2 bathrooms along with a king bed in one room and 2 queen beds in the other. The other fun thing about this particular suite is that it isn’t even in the hotel. This suite is actually at the back of the Alpine Mall. There is a door into the hotel at the back of the mall, on the right-hand side. Directly across, next to the coffee shop, is the door to the Morningside Suite. This means we can just get onto Main Street by a quick walk through the tiny mall without the need to deal with going through the hotel, hallways, and elevators.

On our most recent trip, we hit up our MUST DO of Big Mountain Deli and the #10 Gothic sandwich. Always a staple of mine. We also enjoy eating and a few adult beverages at The Cottage, The Mirror Lake Inn, Jimmy’s 21, Black Bear Restaurant, The Pickled Pig, Top of the Park, and breakfast at The Breakfast Club is a MUST!

In the morning I pop right outside my door and grab an iced latte to sip on my balcony before a walk around the lake. Perfect morning!

The hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub. Water trikes, kayaks, paddle boards available for use freely down by the beach.

There are of course lots of things to do in Lake Placid with the Olympic sites to visit, Whiteface Mountain even in summer is something to see. Gondola rides, hikes, the Ski Jumping complex (in the summer they jump into water!). The arena where Miracle on Ice happened and an Olympic Museum.

Lake Placid is the perfect weekend getaway!

College Town by the Lake

There is no highway that takes you into the quaint little city of Ithaca, NY. Winding country roads with very few gas stations is more the speed of things. Ithaca sits at the bottom of Cayuga Lake, one of the lakes that makes up the wine-laden Finger Lakes region of New York State. It’s home to Ithaca College and Cornell, both a stone’s throw from the downtown area.

I’ve been to Ithaca twice, both times for my son’s swimming events held at Ithaca College. On my last visit, since he was staying with his team, so I chose to book a room at a downtown hotel and enjoy some of this lovely little town we hadn’t really gotten to see before.

We stayed at Canopy by Hilton Ithaca Downtown. It was right in the small central pedestrian shopping area, Ithaca Commons, with restaurants everywhere. Amazingly though, most of the restaurants were quite small and without reservations, it was not easy to find a place to eat late on a Friday night. Note to self and all of you, make reservations. We did manage to find a table at one of the restaurants I had scoped out.

But first, the parking situation. Hotels in downtown Ithaca do not have parking. The hotel did have a little 15-minute drop-off, and pick-up area by the front door with a few spots to drop off your luggage. We missed it so brought our luggage from the garage. There are several public garages that were easy enough to get in and out of. We parked in the Seneca Street Garage just 1 block away. Some hotels had designated floors to park on and some sort of agreement with the garage, but Canopy did not.

We walked across the street from our hotel to Mahogany Grill for dinner and it was lovely. A small cozy upscale Italian restaurant. They had some interesting drink choices and the meal and service were fantastic. I dared to try gnocchi. I grew up with parents from Italy who made gnocchi regularly, and it’s hard to find a suitable substitute for my father’s gnocchi. These were good. Very good. Not my father’s good. But pretty good. Delectable desserts as well. We enjoyed our meal and ran into another swim family. It was early March and very cold so we didn’t linger in the shops, but returned to the hotel and stopped for a nightcap at the bar. It was busy for a hotel bar, nice atmosphere that night.

Rooms at Canopy by Hilton are average size and very comfortable. The sink is open to the entry hallway and then a sliding door encloses the toilet and shower. Even though the room is somewhat compact, there was ample storage. We opted for 2 queen beds because when I booked I wasn’t sure about the team situation and if our son would be staying with us.

The hotel has a large lobby area, small meeting room, full bar, and restaurant which appeared to have good food albeit a small menu.

Saturday afternoon after a morning of swim preliminaries, we had a hearty lunch at Ithaca Ale House. Also right across the street from our hotel. We sat at the bar and it was crowded with people waiting for seats even though this seemed to be the biggest place in town. We luckily found 2 seats available at the bar when we walked in so didn’t have to wait.

Saturday night, the boys wanted pasta to carb load before finals in the morning so we took them to Pasta Vitto. You guessed it, it was right across the street as well, right across from Ithaca Ale House. My impression was this was more of a fast-food-type pasta place, but we ended up eating here with another couple and all the boys from our team, just 5 of them, and it was quite good. A real sit-down Italian restaurant, albeit much more casual than most. Kudos to this restaurant for accomodating a large group of 9 of us on the fly and then adding 2 more. It was packed and people kept coming in and being turned away. We arrived just in time, and snagged the last 3 tables.

Guilderville Boys Varsity Swim Team representing Section 2 at NYSPHSAA Championships

Canopy offered an a la carte breakfast which we ate both mornings. You could do a room package that included breakfast or just pay.

We enjoyed our short but sweet stay in downtown Ithaca and hope to do it again someday soon when the weather is better and we can wander around a bit more and take a drive to the lake and visit some wineries. We do love the Finger Lakes wine region.

Quench Your Thirst Disney Style

We’ve gone through the food options on a Disney Cruise, and now you are thirsty! Let’s go over all the options for quenching your thirst and maybe a little imbibing.

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Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Soda and water, ice tea, etc.. is included on DCL which is a #DisneyDifference. Note that is is only included on the pool deck from the beverage dispensers, at Cabanas, and in the restaurants. If you order soda at a bar or from room service, you will be charged for it.

 

Alcohol and Beverages 

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A swim up bar!

Disney Cruise Line has several options when it comes to beverage packages, but they do not offer an unlimited package like most cruise lines.

Disney Cruise Line offers a Drink of the Day for significantly less than regular cocktails, it’s usually a fruity concoction.

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Drink of the Day ready for the sail away party.

Their Wine Package comes in Classic or Premier and either 3,4,5, 7 bottle/night options. Purchasing in advance saves you about 25% and does not include gratuity.

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Disney Cruise Line offers Beer Packages as well. Either a Domestic or Imported 6 pack package (6 for the price of 5! when purchased in advance).

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If you prefer draft beers, there is an option to purchase a 22 oz mug and then get refills for the price of a 16oz for the duration of the cruise. If the mug is too cumbersome to carry around, there is a token option and you can turn in the token at the end of the cruise for your take-home mug.

Pop up Carts will be located throughout the ship as well and sometimes specialty pop up carts serving some interesting concoctions.

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They juice fresh tomatoes/lemons, etc to make bloody Marys on at-sea days!

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Pineapple drinks! Fresh-squeezed cantaloupe juice was free!

Night Clubs, Bars, etc…

Disney Cruise Line has a number of bars, specialty, and adult entertainment areas. When ordering soda at a bar, you will be charged.  Usually, they will have some nuts or munchies included, evenings there may be a little buffet of snacks. Some offer menus with appetizers that can be ordered. Those will be at an additional cost.

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Preludes is the snack bar outside the theater on each ship and snacks, popcorn, drinks are available at an additional cost. Servers also will be inside the theatre.

Cove Cafe is located by the 18+ area and specialty coffees are available at an additional charge. Note that pastries are available free of charge at Cove Cafe, so go ahead and pick out a pastry to go with your cappuccino!

Disney Cruise Line offers Mixology seminars. These should be pre-booked and do sell out. They also have an additional charge. But they are a lot of fun and you do get to drink your concoctions.

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There are a few other options, like the Frozone with smoothies and other ice cream treats available at an additional cost. The children’s clubs will serve dinner to kids if they want to stay and eat there. The teen club Vibe has a smoothie bar that is included when they open it at select times.

As you can see, there is plenty of fun beverages for the adults on a Disney Cruise and not just in the adult-only areas, but throughout the ship. Get adventurous and try something new, take a Mixology Class, drink out of a pineapple!

Let’s cruise!

Food on Disney Cruise Line

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One of the best aspects of a cruise is the food. Disney Cruise Line is a notch above the rest when it comes to food and they know how to make a dining experience special and employee the BEST servers that will help take that dining experience to the next level.

Let’s go through the options for filling your belly on a Disney Cruise.

Main Dining Rooms

There are three main dining rooms on the Disney ships, they vary by ship, but each one has 3 main dining rooms with 2 seatings. Usually, the times are 5:45pm and then 8:15pm. Each ship has Animator’s Palette, although they are a bit different on each ship. The other restaurants vary by ship, but each will have two other themed dining rooms.

Disney operates a Rotational Dining experience onboard all Disney ships. Each night of your cruise, you and your personal wait staff will “rotate” to one of the 3 distinctly themed restaurants onboard the ship, ensuring you enjoy a delicious meal catered to your liking in a unique setting nightly. And since your servers travel with you each night, they get to know you quickly and will take fabulous care of you. This is definitely a #DisneyDifference. Servers know just how to make you feel special and entertain the adults and the kids.

There are 2 dinner seatings each night of your cruise. Although specific times vary based on itinerary, dinner is served at approximately 5:45 PM (Main Seating) and 8:15 PM (Second Seating). Once onboard the ship, check the dining tickets that can be found in your stateroom for assigned seating time, restaurant schedule and table number.

One of the main dining rooms is usually open for breakfast and lunch if you don’t want to buffet or poolside options. This is open seating so you can sit anywhere and come in anytime during the opening hours.

ProTip: Order as many entrees or appetizers as you want. Can’t decide or don’t think one portion will be enough, go ahead and order two.

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My son had 3 entrees nightly. The first night he finished his dish and wanted more so from then on, our servers would bring out a second and 3rd dish without us asking once he was close to finishing the first.  He would pick something from the menu and then our server would bring him the basic chicken or steak and salmon dishes off the “offered every night” menu. 

Buffet and Pool Deck

Cabanas is Disney’s buffet restaurant located on the pool deck. Breakfast and Lunch are buffets and offer an incredible selection. Cabanas is also open for dinner, but the interesting thing is it has table service at dinner, it’s not a buffet.

The pool deck also offers fast food options, there is a pizza window and burgers, chicken fingers, etc…window that are open most of the day and late into the night.

Specialty Restaurants

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Palo is one of Disney’s specialty restaurants available on each ship and is adult-exclusive. Palo is Northern Italian themed and is available at an upcharge, currently $40 per person for brunch or dinner. This does need to be booked in advance and is popular and can be difficult to get into. See more about Palo here.

Remy is another adult-exclusive French gourmet dining experience aboard the Disney Dream and Fantasy. Brunch and Dinner are available to be booked in advance, again, it is popular and reservations can be hard to come by. Why yes, that is gold leaf on the chocolate dessert!

 

Eye Scream Treats is the ice cream shop available on all the ships on the pool deck. Self-serve soft serve is available here. 

Room Service

Another #DisneyDifference is room service is available at no additional charge on all Disney Cruise Line ships. While room service is free, be sure to tip your servers.

ProTip: Mickey Bars are available at no charge from the main dining rooms and room service. All the Mickey Bars you can eat! 

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You certainly won’t go hungry on a Disney Cruise. Let’s get you on one soon!

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Inside the Magic – Tower of Terror

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

Another one of my favorites! This attraction opened its doors on July 22, 1994.

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The story

The plot of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror follows the tragic night of Oct. 31, 1939, when lightning struck the building. Five people were aboard an elevator as the building was struck, causing the elevator to free-fall. The hotel was closed after these tragic events and now guests are permitted to visit the obviously haunted hotel.

The History

The Tower of Terror is basically a drop ride with an incredible themed story around it. As for the drops, it drops 130, or 13 stories down. The first smaller drop in darkness is about 8 stories, then back to the top for the 13 story plunge doubled. The speed of the drop is about 39 MPH, and the drop itself only lasts for around 2 ½ seconds, although it seems longer!

Early on Mel Brooks was involved and it started out as “Castle Young Frankenstein” which would have featured a Bavarian village with winding streets to the castle with a drawbridge.  The idea later changed to “Mel Brooks’ Hollywood Horror Hotel”. Mel Brooks eventually left the project and Disney Imagineers had some ideas of their own and brought in the idea to have a moving elevator off its track and moving down hallways. Imagineers decided on Spanish-Renaissance/Riverside Mission Inn architecture because it would fit in on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. Disney also felt the attraction needed a movie reference and settled on the Twilight Zone theme making it an eerie and thrilling attraction.  

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The attraction uses an Autonomous Guided Vehicle. A self controlling, self contained ride vehicle, that can move without track. Although the 5th Dimension floor has guideways for traction, the vehicle itself runs on its own wheels along the floor. The AGV guides itself into the ride shaft to ascend to the boiler room (load) level, it slots into a larger elevator the VVC, or Vertical Vehicle Conveyance. This is a normal elevator car complete with cables and wheels. It is this that lifts the AGV up through the corridor scene, and to the 5th Dimension level. As the AGV transfers horizontally, the VVC returns to the basement level to receive the next AGV. The AGV then will get into another VVC for the drop portion of the attraction. 

An informative video on how the Tower of Terror works.

Fun Facts

  • Our Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
  • The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  • The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.
  • The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  • The building has 27,000 roof tiles.
  • The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.
  • The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.
  • The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  • The clip of film in which Rod Serling introduces the attraction was taken from a “Twilight Zone” episode called “It’s a Good Life.”
  • The young girl who disappears in the elevator carries a Mickey Mouse doll.
  • The attraction’s “Fifth Dimension” scene was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
  • The drop is 13-stories.
  • The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  • Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.

Step into the elevator

 

Inside the Magic – Expedition Everest

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.IMG_1761

Expedition Everest is one of my favorite atractions in all of Disney World! 

The adventure begins in Asia at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,  join the Expedition Everest team and embark on a trek through Anandapur. The trail leads visitors to the village of Serka Zong, which means “fortress of the chasm.” The Royal Anandapur Tea Company shipped its tea by train from Serka Zong through the Forbidden Mountain pass. The railroad was closed after several mysterious accidents, rumored to be from the hand of a Yeti. Today, the village of Serka Zong is thriving again thanks to the efforts of local entrepreneurs. The Himalayan Escapes, Tours and Expeditions company has partially refurbished the railway and now offers transportation for adventurers to the base camp at Mt. Everest.

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Imagineers traveled to Nepal and surrounding areas to research local culture, architecture, food, and the legend of the Yeti. This massive feat was accomplished by building the ride track and the mountain completely independent of the other. The track and mountain never touch and were both built with superstructures that do not dependent on each other. When the attraction opened, the Yeti was the biggest, most advanced audio-animatronics figure to ever be created. He stands a whopping 25 ft tall and has the potential to move his entire body an astounding 5 ft horizontally in a few seconds flat. The figure was constructed to sit atop a 46 ft tall independent concrete base meant to hold its weight while allowing the beast to swoop down on passing train vehicles, terrifying riders and confirming the legends’ truth. Of couse, he hasn’t worked as he was meant to since that firt year, 2006. No explanation has ever been given as to why and stobe lights and fans to make his fur move have been put in place as a Plan B. 

The queue for the ride is pretty incredible itself, try to take in as much detail as you can. The statutes featured outside, the flags hanging, the clothing in the cases, even the currency in the photos is all spot on with the Indian culture that exists at the base of the real Everest.

Building a Thrill Ride

Intestesting documentary on the building of Expedition Everest.

Fun Facts

  • The Forbidden Mountain’s rocky peaks and distinctive face are based upon the actual northwest face of Mount Everest.
  • More than 2,000 handcrafted items of wood, stone, and metal supplied by artisans in Asia are featured in the attraction.
  • At 199 feet, Expedition Everest is the tallest mountain at any Disney park.
  • The steam rising from the train after it pulls into the loading area actually comes from steam vents underneath the train station! These create the effect of an actual steam powered engine but the steam isn’t water-based to prevent rusting.
  • Expedition Everest reaches a top speed of 50 mph!
  • Notice the many hairbands thrown on the mountain when you stop at the broken track! It’s a weird tradition to throw hairbands here.

 

Climb aboard, let’s go to the base of Mt. Everest!

Inside the Magic – Peter Pan’s Flight

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

The attraction is inspired by Walt Disney’s 1953 animated classic, Peter Pan, which in turn was based on J.M. Barrie’s play and book of the same name about a 12-year old boy who refuses to grow up.

images (1)Board your pirate galleon and follow Peter Pan as he beckons you to join him on the flight of a lifetime. Wave goodbye to Nana and join the Darling children on a gentle cruise over London, where Big Ben and Tower Bridge light up the night sky.

Descend into Never Land between glowing volcanoes and sparkling waterfalls. As you swoop into Pirate’s Cove, there’s danger ahead!

Can Peter Pan defeat the dastardly Captain Hook and return his young companions safely to London? Or will someone meet an untimely end… in the jaws of a ticking crocodile?

Set Sail Across the Sky

Peter Pan’s Flight was one of the original rides at Disneyland to open with the park in 1955. Magic Kingdom’s version opened two days after the park’s grand opening.

Imagineers Bill Justice and Bill Martin worked on the Magic Kingdom attraction. Peter Pan’s Flight opened with features that the Disneyland version didn’t have yet.  This included the newest Audio-Animatronics and even had the Indians, Lost Boys and Pirates, oh my! It was similar to Disneyland’s ride, but with some upgraded effects.

Peter Pan’s Flight Fun Facts

  • You are only 17 feet off the ground while flying through Peter Pan’s Flight. The tiny-sized models below give you the effect of flying high in the sky!
  • Magic Kingdom’s version of Peter Pan’s Flight now has an interactive queue and travels inside Wendy, John and Michael’s bedrooms.
  • Look for a hidden word in the nursery scene’s blocks. You might see “Disney” spelled out.
  • Disneyland’s pirate ships stop at the platform to load, but Magic Kingdom’s ships are on an Omnimover system so they move continuously.
  • They use tiny styrofoam balls and blow air on them to make the volcano in Never Land seem like its bubbling.
  • The lights that you see in the city below are simply fluorescent dots on the floor, with black lights shining on them.

Let’s fly! 

 

 

Inside the Magic – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was one of the first Disney rides to utilize computer-aided design. The attraction first opened at Disneyland in 1979, and the Magic Kingdom’s larger version opened in 1980.IMG_3222_original

The Story Behind the Mountain

Once a working mine during America’s Gold Rush, there was gold found deep within Big Thunder Mountain in Red Rock Canyon. Almost overnight, the town of Tumbleweed became a thriving mining town. Barnabas T. Bullion established the Big Thunder Mining Company to go after the gold. Barnabas was born into a powerful East Coast family, so naturally, he thought it was his very right to claim the gold inside the mountain.

Big Thunder Mountain was protective of its gold and would curse anyone who dared try to take it. Miners would hear ghostly sounds, strange events occurred, including cave-ins and equipment failure. On a stormy night, a flash flood completely wiped out the town, destroying the mining company. Rumors has it Professor Cumulus Isobar, a rainmaker, brought the flood to Tumbleweed. If you look carefully, you might spot a mysterious machine with Cumulus’ name on it during your ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad travels through an empty ghost mine and rushes riders through the canyons, caverns, abandoned mine shaft and the ghost town of Tumbleweed! Barnabas, however, is still trying to dig and find gold inside Big Thunder Mountain, despite the warnings and curses from the mountain. Spooky!

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Big Thunder Fun Facts:

  • As you whiz past the Gold Dust Saloon in the town of Tumbleweed, you can spot the “Wildest Party in the West” happening on the second floor.
  • The setting of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was inspired by Monument Valley in Arizona.
  • A miner in his pajamas can be seen relaxing in a bathtub.
  • The attraction’s top speed is 36 miles per hour and has a 40-inch height requirement.
  • There are 3 lifts (two indoor and one outdoor) on the roller coaster.
  • The trains from Disneyland’s version were used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!”

Climb aboard the Wildest Ride in the West…

Your rip-roaring adventure proves that some legends are true. You’re sure to have a real blast!

Inside the Magic – Pirates of the Caribbean

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

Today let’s take on another classic, Pirates of the Caribbean.

A Pirate’s Life for You

Board a weathered barge for a treacherous voyage to the 17th century, when rowdy rogues and ruthless rapscallions ransacked Caribbean seaport towns. Sing along as pirates serenade you with their anthem, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”

Sail past haunted Dead Man’s Cove. Navigate cannon fire between a Caribbean fort and a striking 12-gun galleon. Behold boisterous buccaneers drunk on the spoils of plunderin’ as flames engulf a seaside town.

Be sure to keep a spry eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow, from The Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

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Magic Kingdom’s Pirate’s of the Caribbean attraction in Adventureland opened on December 15, 1973. This classic Disney ride first opened at Disneyland on March 18, 1967. It’s a boat ride, but when the idea first came about (sometime in the 1950s), the attraction was going to be a walkthrough wax museum!

Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt Disney himself actually oversaw and worked on before his death in December of 1966. Unfortunately, Walt passed away three months before the boat ride was finished, so he never saw the final product.

The ride inspired the popular film series and has even been revamped to include many of the films’ characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa.

Pirates Fun Facts:

  • During the ride’s battle scene between the pirate ship and town’s fortress, you’ll hear cannon balls whizzing over your head and dropping in the water. The illusion is created by moving cannons, flashes of light, and blast from beneath the waves!
  • Another memorable scene from the ride is the town in flames! This effect is actually just created by a bunch of different cloths, fans and lights.
  • There are over 120 Audio-Animatronics on the ride. This is a mixture of both human and animal animatronics.
  • The film characters added to the ride are all voiced by their original actors. Some of the ride’s original Audio-Animatronics are voiced by Paul Frees; you might recognize him as being the “Ghost Host” from the Haunted Mansion!
  • In 2012, mermaids were added to the grotto scene in Magic Kingdom. You can see the mermaid skeleton onshore, but it’s harder to catch the one swimming port side in the water!

Let’s take a ride…

Ye beware, mateys: Dead men tell no tales!

Inside the Magic – Haunted Mansion

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

Climb aboard a gloomy Doom Buggy for a grave journey through a labyrinth of haunted chambers. This is always my family’s MUST DO first ride at Magic Kingdom.

The Haunted Mansion at Disney World opened at Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, with the park. The Haunted Mansion is the perfect balance of spooky and silly, making it a favorite attraction.

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Before you climb into your Doom Buggy, you have to brave the Stretching Room, which uses distraction to make you think you are in an elevator. At Magic Kingdom, it actually does not move. In some of the other parks around the world it does go up or down a level.

The Story Behind the Mansion

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Master George Gracey of Winsocket, Rhode Island, was the owner of the mansion. He received the deed under the grimmest of circumstances when his mother murdered his father. In an attempt to connect with his father, even in death, Gracey turned to the spirit world. Master Gracey met Madame Leota, the seer, in New Orleans and persuaded her to return to his mansion, where she performed séances. Master Gracey grew demoralized and, well… “There’s always my way!” That gentleman hanging from the rafters is Master Gracey. And he’s also Imagineer Yale Gracey. This brilliant human being invented many of the tricks on display at the Haunted Mansion, most famously Madame Leota’s floating head-in-a-jar. As a way to pay tribute to him, they named the character after him.

Leota Toombs isn’t just a character. She was a very real Disney Imagineer who worked on the attraction. She received the honor of voicing her character, whose physical appearance resembles the face in the ball.

Hidden Mickey

The ballroom scene of the Haunted Mansion is full of amazing detail including the waltzing duos, dueling ghosts high above, and a birthday celebration. This is my absolute favorite scene of the ride, I always hope for a breakdown so I can take it all in. If you look down at the dining table, you can spot a trio of plates that have been arranged to form a hidden Mickey!

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Let’s climb aboard a Doom Buggy…

Happy haunting!