Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Feel the Force Premium Package

You all know that Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places on the planet.  One of the things they are famous for is coming up with a really unique thing (or TEN) that is season-specific, making me want to come back almost on a monthly basis.  Where’s my money tree?  I did go to the Rock Your Disney Side 24 Hour event in May as well as Star Wars Weekends.  

Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars Weekends

Yet there are also several other things they’ve come up with since then for the summer that I’d really love to go see including Harambe Nights held on Saturday nights in Animal Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios villains party coming up on August 23, and now Frozen summer fun also at Hollywood Studios, just to name a few.

The Frozen summer events particularly caught my attention because it seems as though they’ve created these using the same model they used for Star Wars Weekends.  They have a Frozen opening show, a Frozen parade followed by a show on the stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey hat, Frozen sing-along shows throughout the day, a Frozen ending show at night capped off with Frozen fireworks, and there’s even a merchandise area in the same soundstage as the Star Wars merchandise for Star Wars Weekends.  Not only that, but there’s ICE SKATING in there, too!  For $10, you can ice skate for 30 minutes.  That is, if you can get in!  Really, the set up of all of these events is identical to Star Wars Weekends.  They have even brought back the Premium Package, which includes reserved viewing for the parade, guaranteed seating for one of the sing-alongs, and reserved viewing and dessert party for the fireworks.

Since I took advantage of the Feel the Force Premium Package during Star Wars Weekends, I thought now would be a good time to tell you about it since they are doing something similar right now.  Advance reservations were required, and I booked it the day it was announced.  It sold out very quickly.  Instructions told us to check in near Bill and Min’s Dockside Diner at 10:30 for the first part of the package, which was reserved parade viewing. 

Feel the Force check in

Feel the Force check in

I had read the previous weekend’s reviews and knew to arrive much earlier.  As I was walking towards the check in around 10 am I saw, just as I knew I would, people already camped out waiting for the parade but there were still several decent spots left.  The reason I knew to get there so early is because, even though there was plenty of reserved viewing, the area was very deep, meaning there was plenty of room to stack people but not very much room right at the ropes.  They also had a reserved area just for kids.  They let the people who had an even more inclusive VIP package in first, so by the time the rest of us were let in, there was no front row space left. 

Feel the Force Wristband

Feel the Force Wristband

Being short, I took up residence behind the kids.  I figured I had a better chance of seeing over the littles than I did the bigs. 

Highlights from the parade

Highlights from the parade

It was ok.  Mickey ice cream bars and strawberry bars were available as part of the package as were bottles of soda and water. 

Snacks for the parade viewing were included with the package.

Snacks for the parade viewing were included with the package.

Honestly, I would have had a much better view of the parade had I staked out my spot on the street at the same time I arrived at the package check in. 

The second part of the package was the Symphony in the Sky fireworks and dessert party. 

No seats were available for the dessert party, just tables for standing.

No seats were available for the dessert party, just tables for standing.

I was really excited for this because, hello!  Darth Vader cupcakes!  Seriously, though, the Magic Kingdom has done a Wishes dessert party for years, and I’ve always wanted to go.  Unfortunately my family does not share my enthusiasm for copious amounts of expensive desserts prior to watching fireworks obstructed by the roof of the building in which the party is held.  My family wasn’t with me this time so it was all mine!  I arrived a little after 8 to check in, and we were allowed in right around 8:30.  They had LOTS of desserts!  LOTS!  And plenty of each. 

This is just a sampling of what they had.  I somehow missed getting a pic of the Darth Vader cupcake tray.

This is just a sampling of what they had. I somehow missed getting a pic of the Darth Vader cupcake tray.

It was quite hot and humid so the icing melted off the cupcakes a wee bit, but they were all headed for my belly anyway so I was ok with that. 

The Darth Vader cupcake at the bottom is on its side because the icing fell off.

The Darth Vader cupcake at the bottom is on its side because the icing fell off.

It just meant my pictures weren’t going to be as good.  Also available were 2 different adult beverage options.  Now, one might think you could get your money’s worth on the alcohol alone, and I’m sure some did.  However, I learned really quickly that fruity adult bevs and lots of super sweet desserts don’t really mix very well.  So, I just had a few sips of each one. 

2 different adult beverage options

2 different adult beverage options

Shocker!  I stuck to water and Diet Coke instead.  Not long after I decided I was done with the goodies, it was time for the closing show to start.  The reserved viewing area had great views of the stage and show. 

We had great views of the stage!

We had great views of the stage!

The fireworks set to Star Wars music were what I was there to see and were the real reason I had paid the premium price for the Premium Package.  As soon as the fireworks started, I realized right away that the fireworks view was not good, not good at all!  Remember that stage that we had such a great view of?  Yeah, it pretty much blocked a lot of the fireworks. 

Not so great view of the fireworks

Not so great view of the fireworks

So for me, this killed the Premium Package.

In short, if I had one day for the individual elements, I would go the free (with admission) route and stake out my parade and fireworks viewing spots.  You are likely going to get better viewing with about the same amount of time waiting and standing so why not?  Just buy your ice cream, sodas and cupcakes, and you’ll come out way ahead, even if you throw in an adult beverage (or 3).  If I had multiple days, I might spring for the premium package just for the experience, but not for the views. 

The Frozen version of this has gone up $5 per adult but there’s the added element of the sing-along show.  From what I understand, Frozen Premium Package holders get seating in the first 4 rows, which is a really nice added feature.  Also, since there isn’t the even more inclusive VIP package for this event, it stands to reason that prime viewing along the ropes would be easier to get for package holders than it was for Star Wars Weekends.  The viewing for the Frozen fireworks is still going to stink, though. 

Have you experienced either Premium Package?  What were your thoughts?

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Weekly Recap

Happy Sunday!  It’s a rainy one here in Memphis!  So I’m spending today catching up on things inside, such as housework, cooking for the week, and watching some things I’ve recorded on DVR.  I also plan to get an inside workout in today, T25.  What are y’all up to today?  Anything fun?

In case you missed it, here are this week’s stories from the blog:

  • I shared with you my recap of the Navy 10 Nautical Miler in my Navy 10 Nautical Miler Race Report.

    I was thrilled to earn my anchor!

    I was thrilled to earn my anchor!

  • I recapped my latest trip to Walt Disney World and the Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event with How to Survive 24 Hours in the Magic Kingdom.

    Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event at Magic Kingdom

    Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event at Magic Kingdom

  • I shared my experience at a benefit held at Whole Foods and presented by Blackberry Farm in Whole Foods Market Salud Blackberry Farm Dinner.

    Me with the chefs

    Me with the chefs

  • I shared some of my thoughts regarding the success of Frozen and announced my Coppertone Clearlysheer giveaway winner in Random Ramblings About Frozen.

    Disney's Frozen

    Disney’s Frozen

  • And finally, if you are a follower of my Facebook page, I gave you a hint of my next giveaway, which starts tomorrow, so be watching the blog for that.

I hope you all have a great week!

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Random Ramblings About Frozen

I’m pretty sure most people would agree that the Walt Disney Company employs some pretty creative geniuses.  If they don’t have all the ones they want, they just buy the company they work for (i.e. Marvel and Lucas Films).  Being a life-long Disney fan, I’m often excited by the new things they come up with, but I’m rarely surprised.  I’ve come to expect cutting edge technology, engaging (even if not always original) storylines, loveable characters, and top-notch marketing to draw me in.  But I have to say that I think Frozen takes it to a whole ‘nother level!

Disney's Frozen

Disney’s Frozen

Of course there’s beauty and artistry above and beyond what we’ve seen before.  The costumes are just gorgeous!  Of course the music is beautiful and catchy so that we’ll sing the songs around our houses and won’t be able to get them out of our heads.  There are so many versions of “Let It Go” out there that I don’t even try to keep up with them.  Of course it’s star-studded.   And with any new Disney film, there comes merchandise.  This time, it is a doozy!  They can’t keep it on the shelves, even now, coming up on 7 months after the release of the film!  Even I spent 2+ hours in the Disney Store one Saturday morning securing the elusive Elsa dress for my niece.

I spent more than 2 hours at the Disney Store to get this dress for my niece.  Aunt of the year, right here!

I spent more than 2 hours at the Disney Store to get this dress for my niece. Aunt of the year, right here!

Then there are the characters.  Wait times to visit with Elsa and Anna have been as high as 3 hours!

Wait times can be as high as 3 hours to see these 2 in the park.

Wait times can be as high as 3 hours to see these 2 in the park.

However, none of this is really all that surprising to me.

So if it’s not all of this, what is it that makes it truly genius, in my opinion?  It’s that little snowman Olaf!

Olaf

Olaf

Here’s the thing.  It’s a movie, released just in time for winter, about a perpetual winter.  So of course it was going to be appropriate for the holiday season.  However, it’s not particularly Christmas or holiday themed, so it had staying power throughout the winter.  Then just as winter was wrapping up, the DVD came out, carrying it through the spring.  Still not too surprising because most blockbusters get that second surge as the movie is released on DVD.  Here’s where Olaf comes in and does what no other movie has done before (that I know of).  Olaf is a snowman who loves summer!

Olaf loves summer!

Olaf loves summer!

He is all about it!  So now Olaf is taking it past the DVD surge, giving the movie yet even more longevity, and taking Frozen into pop culture phenomenon territory.  Also, what the creators did with this character never even occurred to me while I was watching the movie.  Sure, I thought it was cute that a snowman loved summer.  I just didn’t realize that we, the consumers, were being set up for more Frozen saturation 2 seasons into the future.  This just hit me this week, the first week of summer, and now Olaf and Frozen are popping up in full force everywhere again.  Since the hype never really died down, it seems as though it’s actually gaining strength with this 3rd push.  Do I think this is an accident?  Absolutely not!  I think it’s pure genius!

I can just imagine the planning sessions the creative minds of Frozen had in the early stages of development.  One person pops up and says, “I’m not so sure about this guys.  It’s a winter movie and no one’s going to care about it in the summer.”  See, another thing Disney does very well is they create stories that they can use any time, in all of their platforms.  Parks, merchandise, dining, attractions, even Disney Cruise Line and their luxury destination travel arm, Adventures by Disney, get in on the action.  Another guy or gal chimes in with, “What if we take this little snowman here and make him have a love affair with summer?”  The room is silenced as everyone looks around at each other.  Finally, someone says, “How would we do that?”  Yet another person drops in with, “Let’s put this little song and dance number in about summer.”  There ya go!  Problem solved!  I bet they are all on a beach somewhere, smoking cigars, grinning and high-fiving each other, sitting on their Olaf beach towels.  What will they think of next?

I bet this is what the Frozen creative team is doing right about now.

I bet this is what the Frozen creative team is doing right about now.

 

Congratulations to Katie Hughes, for winning my Coppertone Clearlysheer giveaway.  Now, just think of all the fun you’ll have, in summer!

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