Mystic Manor Photo Tour & Review


Mystic Manor is the newest attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland, and one of Disney’s best-ever attractions anywhere in the world. This post takes a look inside Lord Henry Mystic’s manor, with photos, descriptions, and commentary along the way. As Mystic Manor itself is a Magneto-Electric Carriage tour of Lord Henry’s manor, consider this post the tour of the tour.

Since Mystic Manor is still less than a year old and probably hasn’t been experienced by many guests, a warning seems appropriate… WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS PHOTO AND PLOTLINE SPOILERS OF MYSTIC MANOR. If you have not yet experienced Mystic Manor, but plan to in the near future, we highly recommend clicking here to exit now. These photos and details cannot possibly do justice to the actual attraction experience, anyway.

If you only want to read the portion of this post that contains the photo-free and mostly spoiler-free review, click here.

With that said, let’s start the tour. Spoilers start below the jump… (more…)

S.S. Columbia Dining Room Review

The S.S. Columbia Dining Room is located onboard the eponymous ocean-liner in the American Waterfront port of call at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s considered one of the flagship (that’s awful pun #2,573 on this blog, for those keeping score at home!) restaurants at Tokyo DisneySea, along with Magellan’s. Certainly, they’re the two most expensive restaurants in the park. Prior to our first trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, we decided to do a few table service meals at restaurants that were highly regarded, and the S.S. Columbia Dining Room fit the bill.

In terms of theme, the S.S. Columbia Dining Room is styled with an elegant Art Nouveau look. It definitely has strong elements of Art Nouveau, but overall it felt to me less like a luxury ocean-liner (like the Disney Dream cruise ship) and more of a cross between the Grand Floridian and Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom due to the color palette used throughout. (more…)

Top 10 Disneyland Rides at Night

Some attractions at Disneyland are better at night. Actually, just about all of the ones that take place at least partially outdoors are better at night. That’s probably because Disneyland, overall, is better at night. During the evening, Disneyland comes alive with vibrant color from the show lighting, fireworks, and other nighttime entertainment that just seems to give the park a jolt of energy.

Not only that, and maybe it’s just me, but it seems like aspects of the Disneyland experience are “heightened.” The background music is louder, the scents are more fragrant, and Disneyland simultaneously feels more tranquil yet somehow more alive. In short, Disneyland is just flat out better at night.

While I can’t entirely put my finger on why the whole experience is just better at night, there are some specific attractions I can point to as being better at night, along with reasons why they are better at night. Here’s the list of the top 10 Disneyland attractions that are better at night… (more…)

My Top 10 Disney Experiences (So Far)

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Someone recently asked me what my all-time favorite Disney moments had been. Having been going to the Disney theme parks all of my life and having numerous major life milestones occur there, that’s a difficult question to answer. Not only that, but favorite is somewhat of a moving target. Moments that seem significant today may fade with time, while other, seemingly less-memorable experiences can grow over time. Still, I thought it would be a fun topic to take on, and while these are all personal enough to just me that they really won’t help you plan your trips in any way, I thought it would be fun to share my top 10 moments.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to visit the Disney theme parks often (that’s my mom and me next to Minnie Mouse in that above photo, by the way!), and have had some great experiences and made some great memories along the way. There are a lot of experiences that were really amazing that didn’t make it on the list. Things like our first visit to Hong Kong Disneyland (for those who have asked–this trip report is still coming soon!), dining at Club 33, touring the Cinderella Castle Suite, and photographing the sunrises in almost every Disney theme park in the world, among other experiences, all are incredibly fond memories of mine, but all miss the list.

Here’s what did make the top 10… (more…)

Hungry Bear Restaurant Review

Hungry Bear Restaurant is a counter service dining location in Tokyo Disneyland’s Westernland. Despite sharing them sharing a name, this restaurant bears no resemblance to Disneyland’s Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country. Besides maybe the fact that both contain some stray Country Bear Jamboree references (Hungry Bear Restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland is right next to Country Bear Theater; Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland used to be right next to Counter Bear Playhouse).

This version of Hungry Bear Restaurant specializes in curry. And by specializes, I mean that’s the only thing on the menu. There are a couple of curry restaurants in Tokyo Disney Resort, including our beloved Casbah Food Court, and if these restaurants are any indication, curry is relatively popular in Japan. In fact, Hungry Bear Restaurant is so popular that it hungered for an expansion a couple of years ago and consumed Mile Long Bar in the process.

Terrible puns aside, Hungry Bear Restaurant is absolutely huge, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. Each room in the restaurant looks and feels different, and is very well detailed. It can be very busy in Hungry Bear Restaurant during the prime dining hours, but it never feels like a loud mess hall due to how the restaurant is divided up. Some booths are even located in jail cells! (more…)

IllumiNations Post Show: A World Showcase Stroll

Okay, so this isn’t really a post about the post-show to IllumiNations, but as I was listening to the “Evening at Epcot” music, I started thinking about how there are few experiences we enjoy more at Walt Disney World than strolling around World Showcase at night. In particular, we really like wandering around World Showcase after IllumiNations, when the park is closing and the crowds have cleared out.

World Showcase’s countries are inherently romantic, and there’s something special about being there late listening to the peaceful background music, walking hand-in-hand with someone you love through those beautiful environments, while few other guests are around. This is by far our number one World Showcase experience.

That may seem crazy since it’s not something you’ll find on a park map and isn’t really a “thing” at all, anyone who has ever done this probably understands. For us, Walt Disney World is about the little moments during which we enjoy the place and the presence of one another, and walking through World Showcase after IllumiNations is typically one of those little moments for us.

Since the restaurants in World Showcase make dining reservations until park closing and it takes some guests over an hour after park closing to finish their meals, you have some time to linger and slowly make your way out of the park. In fact, the best way to enjoy this tranquil walk through World Showcase at the end of the night is to make an 8:55 p.m. Advance Dining Reservation for a restaurant deep in World Showcase. By the time you’re done with your meal, you’re pretty much guaranteed one of these enjoyable walks out. Our top recommendation for this is Tokyo Dining, where you can enjoy a great view of IllumiNations, too, and is basically in the “middle” World Showcase, allowing you to see the most countries possible on your way out.

We understand that this late night stroll is not going to be possible for everyone for various reasons. Fortunately, while World Showcase is light on actual rides, it’s a great place to just experience, and actually has quite a lot to offer. This post definitely isn’t meant to be a definitive guide to Epcot’s World Showcase. Since we already have a Guide to Epcot Attractions, we’ll instead focus on some of the little things that many guests miss that we like most about World Showcase and random tips for having your own excellent evening in Epcot.

Let’s start out in Mexico and make a stop in each World Showcase country as we embark on our own (virtual) evening in Epcot. Hopefully you can apply some of these tips to your own World Showcase visit. Oh, and this post is best read while playing that “Evening at Epcot” music in the background… (more…)

Cars Land Tips & Tricks

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure has solidified its place as one of the most popular theme park lands at Disneyland Resort, with guests rushing to Radiator Springs Racers, and waiting hours in line for it other times of the day. While Cars Land is a big draw for this one attraction, there is a lot to see and do in Cars Land.

From saving time in line for Radiator Springs Racers to slowing down and enjoying the details of Cars Land, this post covers some of our tips and tricks for Cars Land.

With that said, let’s get rolling. (Okay, sorry for that awful pun…but it’s pretty consistent with the generally corny writing style of this blog, so are you really that surprised?) (more…)

10 First-Time Tips for Disney Cruise Line

These first-time Disney Cruise Line tips are designed to help you with things you might not know about Disney Cruise Line and are based on our first sailing on the Disney Magic. Many of these we learned while planning for our first cruise, but other things we learned while on board the cruise, and made note of things we thought contradicted advice we had heard elsewhere.

If you’re a Castaway Club member or a seasoned Disney Cruise Line veteran, some of these may seem obvious. However, based on our conversations with our guests aboard the Disney Magic, things aren’t always quite as obvious as they might seem.

Fortunately, setting sail on the Disney Cruise Line is a far less complicated experience than visiting one of the theme parks, so there’s not a ton you need to know to “do it right.” These 10 tips should at the very least set you on the right course!

Let’s take a look at the tips…

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