Disney Everywhere I Go – Summer Vacation Style in Montreal

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Breaking news! I traveled somewhere other than the Walt Disney Resort. It’s true! And while it would’ve been awesome to take a week-long trip to Disney this past August, I expanded my horizons and made a trip up north – specifically to New Hampshire, Canada and Vermont. While it ended up being a welcome and refreshing change, I still was able to enjoy some Disney-like elements specifically while visiting Montreal.

On our second day exploring the city, we happened upon the Barbie Expo. It is the largest permanent display of Barbies in the world, and it did not disappoint. It is free and open to the public and so freakin’ cool! Even my husband enjoyed it – going into it he wasn’t exactly sure he would. It was like It’s a Small World, only with Barbies – lots and lots of Barbies, and you walk around at your own leisure rather than riding in a boat. So many of the outfits on the Barbies gave off the Disney Princess vibe as well.

 

That same day we visited La Ronde, which is a theme park located on a small island adjacent to the city. On this island, a World’s Fair-like event took place called Expo ’67 which ran for 6 months with 62 nations contributing. The whole history behind Expo ’67 has always been fascinating to us here at Second Star Sisters, simply because we love anything retro and theme park related. The cool thing about La Ronde is that many of the original attractions still exist and operate today. Unfortunately, the spiral was down that day and a many of the original attractions you have to have a child with you under 12 (everyone spoke French or we would have recruited someone so we could ride). BUT we vow to come back one day with a child so we can ride them, because they looked so cool and cute!

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Choo Choo Train

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Carousel Le Galopant

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Spiral

 

 

The good news is we were able to ride the one attraction that I REALLY wanted to go on – the “minirail“. It was originally 3 different tracks for the Expo and the one located at La Ronde is the only one that still exists today. Now it may seem really simple, but it was just so cool and relaxing! They also did not make you disembark (there were 2 different stations), so we stayed on and did 2 full loops. We could have seriously ridden the minirail all day and been content – we feel the same about the TTA/People Mover in Disney World.

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There was a section that gave tribute to Expo 67 as well. It had many historical pictures and information, not to mention it was beautifully situated on the water. It was a very peaceful area that we took time to really take a look around. The area pays tribute to La Pitoune (log flume) which was loved by many visitors for over 49 years. It was one of the original attractions at Expo 67 and it was cool to see part of it still set up.

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Right next door to La Ronde sits the Biosphere which is a museum that focuses on the environment. Unfortunately we were not able to fit it into our trip, but it’s definitely on the list for next time. It’s Montreal’s own Spaceship Earth which I absolutely loved seeing the outside of!

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The next day on our adventure we hit up Olympic Park – or shall I say Parc Olympique? It was the home of the 1976 Summer Olympic games and it still feels like 1976 when wandering around the property. There’s a whole futuristic-retro vibe which instantly transported me back to Epcot and gave me the Disney fix to keep me fully engaged (I kid, well only sort of). There’s so much to do at Parc Olympique. We decided to take an official tour of the premises as well as ride the cable car to the observatory up top. We had a great time and will definitely be returning here as well to do the Biodome (imagine the Living with the Land ride that you can actually walk through and MUCH bigger!).

 

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As you can see I most likely will be returning to Montreal to revisit some favorites and take on some things we didn’t get to do on this trip. At least I know once I do come back, they’ll just be enough “Disney Everywhere I Go” to psych me up!

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EPCOT’s 35th Birthday – Here we come!

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This Sunday, one of our favorite parks – EPCOT – is turning the ripe age of 35 and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be there for it. Per usual, it will be a whirlwind weekend trip with most of our time spent at the birthday park as well as doing some classics in other parks.

On Saturday evening, we will be attending one of our favorite podcast’s events – RetroWDW Presents: Looking Back at Tomorrow. What’s really cool is it is taking place in the Living Seas Salon that we got a sneak peek of back in June on our UnDISCOVERed Future World Tour. Little did we know then we’d actually be attending an event there rather soon. We are huge original EPCOT Center fans and we can’t wait to be stuck in a room with other like-minded individuals!

We are also planning on catching the ceremony at 10:01 am on Sunday (EPCOT’s actual birthday) at the fountain as well as checking out some merchandise that will only be sold that day. They will be handing out special park guides to commemorate the day as well.

In just over 24 hours Emily will be arriving back at Port Orleans Riverside with Mama Darling and Molly will be arriving in just over 48 hours. But who’s counting? Wait…we always are!

 

 

Beyond Neverland : Relaxing in the Tiki Room?

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One of the things we rarely have time to do on “normal” trips to Disney is tour the resort hotels extensively. After our ride on the Highway in the Sky we decided to transfer monorails to the resort loop and ride on over to one of our favorite hotels on property – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. There’s something about departing the monorail at the Polynesian and smelling the scent when you walk into the hotel lobby that brings back so many memories. We don’t know what it is, but we hope it never goes away.

 

They recently refurbished the lobby, and while it’s not quite as good as it used to be, it still captures the essence of being whisked away to the Hawaiian Islands.

 

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Old Lobby

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New Lobby

It is also interesting to note that the time was around 3:15pm and people were already lined up for ‘dinner’ at ‘Ohana that begins at 3:30pm. After making our way downstairs and out towards the pool and beach, we looped around and came back in through a side door that just happened to be right by Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar – a somewhat new establishment at the Poly that opened in 2015, which is based on Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. We knew they only take guests on a first-come first-served basis and the opening time was just 15 minutes away, so we figured why not try it? We placed  our name on a wait list and shortly after opening we were buzzed and were told to select a seat.

At first glance Trader Sam’s really looks like the famous Enchanted Tiki Room located in the Magic Kingdom. It’s a dark room with lots of wood accents and a thatched ceiling, and “windows” provide a view of a tropical landscape.The cozy bar has a limited capacity of 51, and the name of the bar and many of its details are related to the Jungle Cruise. We wish they would give tours of the room outside of operating hours, because there are hundreds of details to examine. The menu offers some Polynesian themed appetizers and the cocktail menu has drinks such as Polynesian Pearl, Shrunken Zombie Head, and Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum, many of which are served in souvenir glasses. While we enjoyed drinks that did not come in souvenir glasses, some people that we met had the Nautilus, and the souvenir glass was pretty impressive!

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Another reason this bar is so unique is the cast members. The bartenders and servers are really friendly and wacky, and when certain drinks are ordered it sets off a chain reaction of events that happen. Here’s a video of some of the antics…

 

It was really cool to kick back in our comfy chairs and relax for as long as we wanted. Even though the bar was tiny, there was no pressure to leave. The AC was very nice considering the heat index was over 100 that day as well. What we enjoy most about our “Beyond Neverland” trips is that we don’t have to plan or stick to a schedule. We just happened to walk by Trader Sam’s right before it opened and decided, why not, let’s check it out! We also met some locals who were doing the same thing as us….riding the resort loop and checking out the different resorts and not going to the parks. We definitely recommend Trader Sam’s, and if you don’t want to have a long wait, then be sure to get there before it opens at 4pm.

The Top Ten Things We Love (And Will Miss) About Captain EO

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Emily and our friend Erin Electronaut getting pumped to see Captain EO.

 

Almost 30 years ago, the power of music, dance, and imagination came together to create an amazing out of this world adventure. Captain EO resided in Epcot’s Magic Eye Theater from 1986-1996, then returned in 2010 as a tribute after Michael Jackson’s death. Disney has announced that December 6th will be the final voyage of Captain EO. The show has received mixed reviews, but being as nostalgic as we are about the Disney of our childhood, Captain EO has always been a favorite. Here are our top ten things we have loved (and will miss) about Captain EO.

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Molly’s First Trip to Walt Disney World

In the ’80s, my mother and grandfather took me on a day trip to the Magic Kingdom when I was five years old. Emily was only a few months old, so she stayed home with my grandmother. I don’t remember a whole lot about the trip, but I have snippets in my mind, helped out by a few pictures that we still have of that trip. When we left it was dark out, and the 2 hour drive seemed to drag on forever! The one vivid memory I had is that it was very crowded. Back in those days, we didn’t have fast passes, so we waited in line for an hour to ride Dumbo.

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Me and my grandpa on Dumbo. We are in the pink one on the right.

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You can see his face and my little head peeking out behind him.

Here are some pictures taken from the Skyway:

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Emily’s Early Disney Memories…

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The iconic Cinderella Castle during one of our first visits in the ’80s.

Growing up in the ’80s, we were fortunate enough to have grandparents that lived close to Disney…roughly a 2 hour drive away. We would visit Florida multiple times a year, and always for at least 2 weeks in the summer. Sometimes our parents would take us to Disney World for 3 whole days….and those 3 days were easily the highlight of our summer. We would get up VERY early when it was still dark out (probably about 5 am) and drive what seemed like forever until we passed under those magical gates where we could leave reality behind. There was a Disney World channel that we could turn on the radio that would pump us up even more. The first site of a monorail made everything real. We were really there! Continue reading