Reflections of China

Reflections of China

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_098-_Reflections_of_China.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (10.1MB) | EmbedThis week we are in Epcot, and exploring the China pavilion in the World Showcase.  This is a beautiful pavilion, rich in color, detail, and architecture.  Inside is a 360 Circlevision film that is equally rich in Chinese history and story.  Let’s take a trip to the far east and get started with our… Know Before You Go Essential Facts The film is located in the China Pavilion at Epcot There is no height requirement Fastpass + is not available The fright factor is 0 out of 5 Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV Audio Description, Reflective Captioning, Assistive Listening, and Language Translation Devices are available The show is 13 minutes long The film opened October 2, 1982 as Wonders of China.  It was updated and reopened on May 22, 2003 as Reflections of China. I wake, and moonbeams play around my bed, Glittering like hoar-frost to my wandering eyes; Up towards the glorious moon I raised my head, Then lay me down – and thoughts of home arise. This is one of the most well known poems in all of Chinese literature.  So famous, it is often one of the first poems learned by children in China.  The author was Li Bai, who lived from 701 – 762 AD.  Today, he is still considered one of China’s greatest poets.  So, when the Disney Imagineers were looking for the perfect narrator for the film in their new Epcot pavilion, they didn’t have to look far.  Li Bai was brought back to life as the narrator in the original version of this...
O Canada!

O Canada!

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_097-_O_Canada.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (10.4MB) | EmbedLast week we added one of my top 5 rides at Walt Disney World, Soarin’.  It was great to finally share that ride with you.  Since we were in Epcot last week, I thought it would be a good idea to stay there for this week’s episode.  We are getting very close to the start of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival which runs March 1 – May 29 this year.     With that, I want to cover some of the things you can find around the World Showcase as you take in the amazing topiaries and great food. What better place to start than with our neighbors to the North, eh?  The Canada Pavilion is actually very close to the ride building that houses Soarin’, although you will have to walk a little ways to navigate around to the World Showcase pavilion.  We will get to that more in just a minute, but first let’s get started with our… Know Before You Go Essential Facts The film is located in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot There is no height requirement Fastpass + is not available The fright factor is 0 out of 5 Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV Audio Description, Reflective Captioning, Assistive Listening, and Language Translation Devices are available The show is 14 minutes long The film opened on October 1, 1982.  The film was updated and reopened on September 1, 2007. Ah, yes the great white north is always white, right?  Well, not according to Martin Short, or the 360 Degree Circle Vision film...
Soarin’

Soarin’

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_096-_Soarin.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (12.7MB) | EmbedToday’s ride is one I have been waiting for 2 years to cover.  It is one of my family’s favorite rides, and one you have heard me talk about a good deal on the WDW Ride Guide already.  Believe it or not though, we have yet to focus a whole episode on Soarin’! The real reason for the long build up to this ride is that I was waiting for a chance to experience the new version which opened in 2016.  Now, if you have been following closely, you know my last trip to WDW was in January of last year.  You also know, from last week’s episode that Soarin’ didn’t reopen until June of last year.  So, how did I ride the new version?  Well, if you have been paying really, really close attention you also know the ride was updated in Disney’s California Adventure park and I was out there in October.  In fact, I even listed Soarin’ at DCA as #5 in our list of Top 5 Rides Disneyland Does Better. Don’t worry though, Soarin’ at Epcot is still one of my absolute favorite rides and one I am super excited to share with you today! Speaking of which, let’s get this episode started with some… Know Before You Go Essential Facts The ride is located in The Land Pavilion at Epcot You must be 40” tall to ride Fastpass + is available and recommended The fright factor is 2 out of 5 Guests must transfer from a wheelchair/ECV Video captioning is available Children under age 7...
2 Year Anniversary Special

2 Year Anniversary Special

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_095-_2_Year_Anniversary_Special.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (14.1MB) | Embed2016 saw a lot of new experiences come to Walt Disney World, and 2017 will bring even more!  You know, this time last year I was on my latest Walt Disney World vacation, and I brought you along for a ride worth taking that day.  That day was so much fun and I’m so glad I got to share a piece of our trip with you.  Well, I haven’t been back to Walt Disney World since then, and already a lot has changed.  If you haven’t been to the parks in a year or more, there is a lot of new magic awaiting us all.  Today, we will look at what 2016 added to the Disney portfolio, as well as look ahead at what 2017 promises. 2016 In the year 2016, Frozen lived Ever After, Star Wars launched more and more at Hollywood Studios, and shopping and eating sprang to new life at Disney Springs.  Let’s soar around Walt Disney World to see what all awakened this past year. This is the ride guide so I think we have to start with the rides!  Frozen Ever After opened on June 21, 2016 in Epcot.  This ride took the place of Maelstrom, much to the chagrin of some Disney nostalgics.  However, the 2 hour lines that followed Frozen’s opening proved Disney rightly removed a dud, and replaced it with a stud!  Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed Maelstrom, but the Disney public votes with their feet, and the traffic had all but died at the Norway pavilion.  Frozen Ever After...
Rider Roundtable: Dream Cruising with Kids Part Two

Rider Roundtable: Dream Cruising with Kids Part Two

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_094-_Rider_Roundtable-Dream_Cruising_with_Kids_Part_2.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (14.4MB) | EmbedHello fellow riders and welcome back to the WDW Ride Guide! I hope you have been doing well since last week.  I also hope you are ready for another dose of Disney!  Whether you are merely dreaming about your next Disney vacation, or counting down the days to the magic, we are here to help make your Disney experience the best it can be. Last week we sat down to the Rider Roundtable and welcomed my brother-in-law Caleb, and sister-in-law Lacey to the podcast.  They shared with us the exceptional service they encountered on their first Disney cruise.  If you have anyone with food allergies in your group and you missed last week, be sure to go back and check it out.  We also talked about some of the fun to be found for little ones aboard the Disney Dream. Well, this week we are going to talk about what you can expect when you get off the ship.  I’m talking about ports of call!  On our 3-night Bahamian cruise we had two ports, Nassau and Castaway Cay.  As you will hear on the podcast, these are two very different ports, and we had very different experiences.  Today we sit down to the Rider Roundtable to discuss what you need to know before setting sail.  Caleb, Lacey, and Rachel have some good thoughts on what they would do differently for their next cruise....
Rider Roundtable: Dream Cruising with Kids Part One

Rider Roundtable: Dream Cruising with Kids Part One

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_093-_Rider_Roundtable-Dream_Cruising_with_Kids.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (16.5MB) | EmbedHello fellow riders and welcome back to the WDW Ride Guide!  I’m your host Ben Crain.  We are back and ready to help you plan the most magical Disney vacation possible, or just have a little Disney fun until you can get back to the parks. We have been off for a couple of weeks to enjoy time with family over the holidays and it feels good to be back!  During our time off I roped some of my family into sitting down to the roundtable to talk Disney.  It has been a long time since we sat down around the rider roundtable so let me remind you of how it works. Instead of covering one ride at Walt Disney World, we go around the table to talk about a recent Disney vacation.  Every trip is different, and each time we go we learn something new.  I love sharing the lessons, tips, memories, and fun that we have on each trip.  What better way to get a more well rounded perspective than to hear from others that experience the magic.  So, each rider roundtable features a set of guests telling you about Disney in their own words. Today, those guests include my wife’s brother Caleb and his wife Lacey.  I’m very eager to share their thoughts with you as they are newbies to the Disney magic.  This past October we recruited them to take a cruise aboard the Disney Dream.  They brought along their two little ones, our adorable niece and nephew, and we all had a great time.  ...
Rider Responses December 2016

Rider Responses December 2016

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_092-_Rider_Respnses_December_2016.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (34.8MB) | EmbedToday is all about you the listener!  I have been asking for your questions, comments, and feedback since our last Rider Responses episode. You have provided some great encouragement, advice, and questions.  Before we get started, let me say a sincere thank you.  Just by listening and downloading the podcast you encourage me to keep the WDW Ride Guide going.  For those of you that have sent in feedback, it helps more than you know!  I want this podcast to a resource for you, me, and everyone that loves Disney!  The more rider responses we receive the more I know what direction to take the podcast in.  Thank you for making today’s episode possible and for helping me know what you want to hear next. We don’t have any essential facts today, so let’s jump right into the rider responses! Our first rider response today comes all the way from Florida!  Let’s see what’s going on in the Sunshine State. Hello Ben!    Earlier this year I discovered your wonderful podcast, and have been enjoying catching up on the episodes so much. It always makes me smile hearing how excited you are to share what you know about these attractions, and helps me when I am feeling particularly far from the parks (which happens more than you think it may for a native central Floridian). I hope you are having fun on your vacation and enjoy Disneyland!     Whenever I have a Disney parks itch that needs scratching I gather some friends or family and go resort hopping. My question...
Top 5 Ride Hacks

Top 5 Ride Hacks

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_091-_Top_5_Ride_Hacks.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (28.0MB) | EmbedIf you have been following for a while, you know we spend most of our time exploring Walt Disney World one ride at a time.  Sometimes though, we like to talk strategy from an overall planning perspective. What’s the best way to enjoy as many of your favorite rides as possible?  Well, today we are going to help answer that question! I say we, because today we are joined by my good friend Tim Miller.  Tim has been a Top 5 co-host multiple times now, and I love getting to sit down and talk Disney with him.  Tim just returned from Walt Disney World a little over a week ago, and I know he is very excited to share some of the strategies he employed on his most recent trip.  Today’s blog outlines our Top 5 Ride Hacks.  Be sure and listen to the podcast for all the details of these 5 time saving strategies!     You’ve heard of swimming upstream, but today we are going to talk about Riding Upstream.  #5 on our list is… 5. Ride Upstream  Find a schedule that works for your family Early: Rope Drop till early evening Late: Sleep in and stay till closing Midday Break: Arrive early, take a break, stay out late Peak times of day = long lines Pick the least crowded park to visit Check touringplans.com Avoid early Extra Magic Hours Riding in the rain Be prepared with ponchos, small umbrellas, covers for strollers, etc.     If you want to be like Aladdin and keep one jump ahead...
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/Episode_090-_Carousel_of_Progress.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (14.4MB) | EmbedThe past couple of weeks we have looked at the strengths of both Walt Disney World and Disneyland when it comes to the same or similar ride.  Those episodes got me thinking a lot about Walt Disney and the unbelievable progress made from opening day at Disneyland until now.  You know, Walt loved progress.  Had he lived longer, it would be fascinating to see how his touch would have shaped Walt Disney World.  Sadly, we didn’t get to see his unique dream come to life exactly as it was in his mind.  However, there have been countless others that have taken up his dream and carried it through with their own unique talents and abilities. With that said, the rides and shows that Walt helped directly develop are that much more special as time goes on.  That was one of the main reasons I was so excited about my first trip to Disneyland.  The original park is the only one where you can physically walk where Walt walked.  You can catch glimpses of the man behind the mouse throughout his park.  The second story apartment of the Firehouse on Main Street still displays the light used to signify Walt was staying in the park that night.  You can actually see the park bench where Walt sat and watched his girls play, dreaming up the idea for Disneyland.  That same building houses an early model for Disneyland and a tribute to one of Walt’s heroes, Abraham Lincoln.  These and many others are wonderful reminders of the man behind the magic. Still,...
Top 5 Rides Walt Disney World Does Better

Top 5 Rides Walt Disney World Does Better

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_89-_Top_5_Rides_Disney_World_Does_Better.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (16.3MB) | EmbedI have had a great time this month sharing my perspective since returning from my first visit to Disneyland.  Last week we counted down the Top 5 Rides Disneyland Does Better!  This week we are turning the tables and looking at the rides Walt Disney World does better. One thing I have found very interesting in comparing the rides within the two destinations, are the timelines.  If you didn’t notice last week, I hope you will pay attention today to when each ride was built in each park.  You might quickly jump to the assumption that the second ride in the sequence would be the better ride.  However, that is not always the case.  Yes, sometimes Disney takes the opportunity to improve upon the original, but on other occasions budget and time require the follow-up version of a ride be scaled down. I feel it’s important to give each ride a chance at each of the parks.  As our lists last week and this week will show, your favorite ride in California may be even better in Florida, or vice versa.  Or better yet, there may be a ride you haven’t cared for in your home park, but discover is more enjoyable on the other coast.  With that said, let’s jump right into our Top 5 Rides Walt Disney World Does Better! 5. Dumbo the Flying Elephant The original classic spinner, Dumbo has been often duplicated.  It proved so popular at Disneyland it has been added to five more Disney parks including the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the actual...

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