Muppet*Vision 3D In Disney’s Hollywood Studios

IMG_7188The Mature MouseTM has been a fan of The Muppets since their original television show, which aired from 1976 to 1981. The show’s humor appealed to kids and adults, alike. I never missed an episode and was such a dedicated fan that I often thought of them as real “people.” There was one evening I caught myself trying to read the “lips” of the characters because I had the sound turned off to take a phone call.

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and the other puppeteers breathed life into each of the unique creatures in the Muppet realm. Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear are some of my favorite Muppets. Whacka, Whacka! And, of course, there is the Swedish Chef. Being Swedish, I knew this character was a satirical stereotype, but was not the least bit offended. I saw the Swedish Chef as homage to all things Scandinavian.

Muppet*Vision 3D was created by Jim Henson and added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1991. This was among the last projects Henson worked on before his death. The Disney Corporation officially welcomed The Muppets in 2004. There were plans to add attractions, restaurants, and shops themed around these creatures. However, nothing ever came of those plans.IMG_7191

under mat

Muppet*Vision 3D features the same characters as the original television show and the feature movies, as well as the same chaos and disaster. The Mature MouseTM makes it a point to enjoy this attraction during my visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I strongly recommend taking a moment to explore the cue. The Imagineers put a lot of time and effort into the theming of this area. Always look under the mat for the key.

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Whether or not Muppet*Vision 3D, or even the Muppet characters, will have a place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after the extensive refurbishment is unknown at the time of the writing of this post. I am sure the popularity, or lack thereof, of The Muppets, a new show on ABC, which is owned by Disney, will have an impact on the future of the Muppets at Walt Disney World.

Please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great additions to your vacation gear and attire.IMG_1655

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

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Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 2.07.17 PMDisney’s Hollywood Studios is in the early stages of a major refurbishment, which will result in additional lands in a larger park. Many of the attractions are closed, or have been slated to shut down, and we are still not sure what will remain of the current DHS. Rumor and speculation point to Star Wars Land taking over most of the left side of the park, replacing much, if not all, of the Echo Lake area.

During my last visit to Walt Disney World, The Mature MouseTM had the opportunity to grab a bite at the Backlot Express. This quick-service restaurant may not be around much longer at DHS, so The Mature MouseTM wanted to write a review of his unique experience at this quick and casual restaurant.IMG_7175

The menu at the Backlot Express is the usual American cuisine found in most Disney quick-service resturants: hamburger and cheeseburger, turkey club, hot dog, etc. I had the 8-piece chicken breast nuggets, with French fries. The chicken was moist, and the fries were crisp. The star attraction of the meal was an incredible Olaf cupcake. It was a huge, moist carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, topped with a white chocolate Olaf.

IMG_7172The restaurant is themed as a functioning studio workshop. There is an organized chaos in the storage of props and equipment, with background music featuring theme songs from old TV shows. The restaurant is very clean, but the Imagineers have included faux dirt, dust, and wear on exposed piping. This restaurant experience is well themed for the current, and previous, iteration of Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Whether it will last the next restructuring of this park is yet to be seen.IMG_7177IMG_7178

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Please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great additions to your vacation gear and attire.IMG_2098

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Parking Fees Increase at Disney World

The Mature Mouse™ is often asked if he prefers staying at a Disney Resort, or offsite in the nearby Orlando area. Although an offsite hotel or motel may offer a less expensive, per-night cost, there are other expenses to consider. By staying off property you may be required to pay for numerous extras, such as car rentals and daily parking fees.

 

Walt Disney World just raised their parking fees for all their theme parks. According to WDWinfo.com, you can expect to pay the following:

$20.00 – Car/Taxi/Shuttle/Limousine/Motorcycle

$18.00 – Camper/Trailer

$21.00 – Bus/Tractor Trailer

 

There is also the value you place on convenience to consider when making your resort decision. Disney transportation will take you directly to and from the pScreen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.09.57 PMarks. Yes, you do need to wait with others for the bus, boat, or monorail to pick you up. However, for me, that is a minor inconvenience to parking in one of the numerous parking lots outside the theme parks, not to mention fighting the traffic. It is much easier to return to your resort for an afternoon break if you are staying onsite and using Disney transportation. Although there are shuttles from some of the offsite hotels and motels, most of them do not make regular trips to the Disney Parks.


The Mature Mouse™ enjoys being in the Disney bubble during his Walt Disney Vacations. What about you? Do you prefer to stay onsite or off? Please leave your comments below.IMG_2098

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. Are you a Mature Mouse™?

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip, and will assist you in choosing the right resort for your stay at Walt Disney World. I started planning my recent trip by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.

Welcome to Disney Springs!

Downtown Disney is now officially Disney Springs. Here is an overview from Two Girls and a Mouse Tale. They discuss the changes already in place, and the construction still under way.

Elly and Caroline's Magical Disney Moments

It’s official, Disney held a renaming christening party today for Disney Springs, the shopping and dining district formerly known as Downtown Disney!

9/29/15: Lunchtime crowd gathers at DTD for the name changing ceremony. 9/29/15: Lunchtime crowd gathers at DTD for the name changing ceremony.

New signage has gone up at WDW for Disney Springs. They no longer say Downtown Disney. New signage went up at WDW last week for Disney Springs. They no longer say ‘Downtown Disney’.

Major construction continues at a fast pace from one end of Disney Springs to the other, and on all the roadways in-between!

Some concept art of what Disney Springs will look like in Spring 2016:

Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.  Opened today.

Mickey at the grand opening of M 9/29/15: Mickey at the grand opening of Morimoto Asia today.

Disney Springs Town Center (opening in 2016). Disney Springs Town Center (opening in 2016).

Marketplace, West Side Marketplace, West Side

The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island). The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island).

Disney Springs logo Official Disney Springs logo

Video of the backstory of Disney Springs:  Disney Springs 2016  

What DTD will look like in Spring 2016. What DTD will look like as Disney Springs in Spring 2016 (lake view).

We’re less than a…

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Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The Mature Mouse™ hopes to convince more middle-aged travelers to see the enjoyment and value of a Walt Disney World vacation. One of the key ingredients in any type of vacation is your home base, the resort you decide to call home during your trip. I recommend staying on Disney property at one of their numerous resorts, priced to fit any budget, and themed to fit your style and comfort. A resort should be more than just a place to sleep, and your time at Walt Disney World should not be spent roaming the parks from open to close. I must confess that The Mature Mouse™ did not follow his own advice during my last trip. I choose a resort based on budget and simply as a place to crash after each exhausting day. However, I did make sure that I chose a resort that offered certain perks and amenities that I would enjoy.

IMG_7795It has been a little over a month since The Mature Mouse™ returned from my trip to Walt Disney World. I have briefly mentioned Disney’s Pop Century Resort in past posts. I have included links to those pages below. However, I realized that I have not dedicated an entire post to a review of this value resort.

Previous references to Disney’s Pop Century Resort:

IMG_7793As I stated earlier, I chose the Pop Century for this trip for two specific reasons. As a value resort, this Disney motel fit into my budget for this trip. And, the theme of this resort reflects the first 50 years of my life.

Did you notice that I referred to this Disney Resort as a motel? Although extremely large in area and capacity, Pop Century is built like motel; you enter your room from the outside of the building, not from interior corridors. Except for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, all the other value resorts are constructed this way.
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The balconies are decorated with images representing the pop culture of a specific decade. These images are of the two buildings in the section representing the 1960s. At the center of these two buildings is the Hippy Dippy Pool.

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My travel agent booked me a preferred room, meaning it was closer to registration, central pool, food court, and park busses. This convenience cost a few more dollars a night. IMG_7312My room could use some updating. The beds were comfortable, but not exceptional, tiles and grout are worn, as are the rugs.IMG_7775
However, rugs and wallpaper feature hidden Mickeys.
IMG_7790Disney’s Pop Century features an exceptional food court, one of the best on property. There are hot and cold dishes, most made to order, as well as assorted snack choices. There is plenty of room to dine in the food court area, and you can always bring your meals outside to the pool areas, or back to the room. There is also a gift shop on site, offering many of the items one would find in the parks.IMG_1838 This would also be the place to pick up items bought in the parks and shipped back to your room.

IMG_7794Disney transportation busses are dedicated to Pop Century, meaning that they will not stop at multiple resorts traveling to and from the parks. However, Pop Century busses traveling to and from Animal Kingdom will also stop at Disney’s Blizzard Beach. As with all the other Disney resorts, there are well-marked waiting areas for the busses. However, the lines are not covered, which can be brutal on those hot and humid Florida days, or during one of the daily downpours.

IMG_7160Guests staying at Pop Century can cross Hourglass Lake, via Generation Gap Bridge, to visit Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Although it is in the value category, the cost per night at this resort is higher than the other value resorts. You are allowed to eat at the AoA food court, which is also exceptional, as well as use the pools. Knowing that Pop and Art are sister resorts affords you some flexibility in transportation. One could take a park bus to the Art of Animation and walk across the bridge to POP very easily. Although, if you are like me, you will usually return from the parks exhausted and not want a longer walk to your room.

IMG_7158 IMG_7159Overall, The Mature Mouse™ recommends Disney’s Pop Century in the value resort category. Although adults can appreciate the theming of the resort, it is geared more toward families with kids. I can only speak from my experience; the rooms could use some updating. However, the resort worked for me as a place to crash after a long day in the parks. I am in the process of planning a student trip to Walt Disney World for next April and this is the resort I have chosen for our stay.

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Follow this link to the unofficial fan site of Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

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A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip, and will assist you in choosing the right resort for your stay at Walt Disney World. I started planning my recent trip by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking

IMG_7405Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

Tale of Two Parades in Disney’s Magic Kingdom

The Mature MouseTM had the pleasure of experiencing both Magic Kingdom parades during my recent Walt Disney World trip. Comparing them is the same as likening apples to oranges, both are fruit, but that is where the similarities end. The Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade are each unique in design and presentation.

In full disclosure, I should mention that I watched both parades on the same day. I should also note that I was able to see the Main Street Electrical Parade twice on that day due to extra magic hours. This might lead you to believe that I favor the Main Street Electrical Parade. So let’s begin our discussion of these two parades with that experience.

IMG_7619The MSEP runs approximately 20 minutes and is offered at different times depending on sunset and park closing. The parade begins in Town Square and travels up Main Street, around the Hub and into Liberty Square, and out of the park through Frontierland.

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Tinker Bell
The floats are covered in colored lights, which are the major draw for this nighttime parade, and feature live and/or animatronic characters. The live characters are difficult to see because of the way the lights are used on the float. So as not to distract from the images the lights create, the characters are not lit well. The animatronic characters are covered in lights, which extend the story being told.

Regardless of the float, the underlining music is the same for the entire parade. It is a repetitive tune that tends to drone on after the first view floats, and became even more annoying during the second viewing of the parade. It is obvious that some of the animatronics have been recently updated; they use the same 3D effects for facial animation found on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Tangled
The Festival of Fantasy Parade is the newest of the Magic Kingdom parades. It runs about 15 minutes and begins in Frontierland, around 3 o’clock each afternoon, and continues through the Hub and down Main Street to Town Square.

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Brave
The floats are huge and many are in constant motion, featuring classic and new Disney characters, including the fire-breathing dragon from Sleeping Beauty. The music and sound effects are different for each float. The bottom line, The Mature MouseTM prefers the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Here is a short video of the dragon. Unfortunately, I did not capture it breathing fire.

Each of the following videos features the same Disney character as presented in each parade. Which do you prefer, the Main Street Electrical Parade, or The Festival of Fantasy Parade? I would enjoy reading your comments about these two parades.

For more information on these parades, visit the World of Walt blog for their list of six things you need to know about Disney parades.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next bookingIMG_1869

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?