5/29 Denise’s Corner – Gaston and Wendy, Gaylord Palms, Chef Mickey’s, Legoland Water Park and More

Hi everyone!

Last month, we started a new YouTube show called Mousesteps Weekly. We just recorded and posted our fourth episode! I may eventually change "Denise's Corner" into "Mousesteps Weekly", but that still is undecided.

We have enjoyed putting together the shows, and so far the response has been favorable – thank you! Jeff suggested I post an article each week that goes along with the show, so this is the first attempt at that.

Before I start, I just wanted to mention that the site should be undergoing upgrades in the next couple of months. Mousesteps is now over 5 years old, and along with the upgrades, I am re-thinking what will most be of interest to our readers. Certain things will remain unchanged –  the photo walks, the special event coverage, and some construction coverage – though less than we've done. We've consistently covered resort construction – such as the Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, and Disney's Art of Animation Resort in extreme detail while they were being built – but always seem to be among the last to actually see inside. My desire for that type of resort construction coverage has pretty much waned. We'll still offer coverage, but not on a weekly basis as we've done in the past. The link above is the first update I did showing the construction site of the Bay Lake Tower before it started!

On the other hand, we are planning more movie reviews (and photo walks!), along with eventually better news coverage. And we are partnering with more area parks and resorts in the area! 

On to our weekly report!

We are very grateful to our friends Kelly and June, who had extra dining credits and treated us to several very nice meals at Walt Disney World. We were heading to one at La Hacienda de San Angel when we found out that Wendy and Gaston were in training at Epcot! Gaston is clearly training for Fantasyland, but we aren't sure why Wendy was there (we were told she isn't going to Fantasyland). Wendy was quite chatty with us.

 

Image

Wendy Darling at Epcot

Image

Wendy Darling

Image 

Gaston at Epcot

 

We will talk about La Hacienda on our next show! This time around, we give our thoughts on Chef Mickey's. It had been about 4 years since I'd been, and longer since Jeff had. This is a restaurant I used to go to quite regularly in the mid to late 90's into the early 2000's. The prices went up, and availability way down after that. There was a time when I could call on a Saturday afternoon, and have my choices of times through the evening!

The food choices at Chef Mickey's are solid buffet fare, from the carved turkey to the parmesan mashed potatoes (which have been a favorite of guests since I can remember). Peel and eat shrimp, baked chicken, delicious desserts – no guest will go hungry. The character interaction was lively when we were there, and Goofy did a hilarious dance that we have on video. But … Chef Mickey's also lacks a certain je ne sais quoi for me…something that I can't define, that it had back in the day. I'm not sure if it's me or Chef Mickey's that actually changed. And the price is much higher now – $38.99 plus tax and tip for dinner, and a few dollars more during peak season. Even with our Tables in Wonderland discount card, that is still $80 after tax and tip – much higher than we pay for most meals. We were happy to do it together once! Chef Mickey's is one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

 

Image

Jeff Offers Mickey Cheese

Image

Mickey Up-Close and Personal

Image

Jeff's Dessert Creation

 

We were invited to a preview day (and then the Grand Opening) for LEGOLAND Water Park. This was a very different experience than any other water park I've been to. During the preview day, more than 1300 guests participated in beating a Guiness World Record! 

What is different about the LEGOLAND Water Park? It's a park within a park – not a standalone experience. Guests can't just buy a water park ticket, and all parking is in the regular LEGOLAND parking lot. LEGOLAND wants it to be an add on to a day trip experience (or as part of a two day experience). I never went to the water park when it was run by Cypress Gardens, but apparently it is very similar. And while I was told that LEGOLAND Water Park was small before I went, I thought there was plenty to do. The wave pool is much gentler than Typhoon Lagoon, and we enjoyed adding bricks to our rafts in the lazy river.  The Water Park is a $12 add-on, less for children under 3. LEGOLAND Florida plans to add a hotel in the future, and I think that will help make LEGOLAND Florida an easier 2-day experience for guests.

 

Image

Guests at LEGOLAND Florida Break World Record

Image

LEGOLAND Water Park Build-A-Raft Lazy River

 

Keeping with the water theme, we talk about the new Cypress Springs water park area at Gaylord Palms Resort. While it's not as extensive as LEGOLAND Water Park which we just described, it's extremely impressive for a resort! There are 4 slides attached to an extensive play structure, along with two pools – one family pool, one for adults only. In the family pool area, there is also a large movie screen. We enjoyed the film Puss in Boots one evening during our Dreamworks Experience weekend! I have a photo walk of the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort here.

 

Image

Bucket Dumps Water, Cypress Springs

Image

Cypress Springs Water Park

Image 

Movie Screen at Cypress Springs Water Park

 

And The Magic, The Memories and You! summer edition debuted last Friday. I find it to be the weakest of all the special segments – my favorite is the Christmas version, but I do also like the Tangled portion of the Romance segment (which is still playing). The summer version does have some fun moments, I especially like the bouncing effect with Cinderella Castle.

 

Image

Ariel on Cinderella Castle: The Magic, The Memories and You!

We just received a press release from Busch Gardens Tampa with news about their Summer Nights evenings. If you've not been to Busch Gardens in a while, this is a great time to go! Fireworks have been added to the mix every night, along with extended park hours and special entertainment between June 9th and August 12th, 2012. The adjacent Adventure Island Water Park also is offering special summer entertainment every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 5pm until 9pm! Street performers, stiltwalkers and a steel drum band will keep the energy at a maximum from June 14th to August 11th, 2012.  We are looking forward to checking the new Summer Nights at Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island!

 

Image

Busch Gardens Fireworks

 

That is it for this week – check out our Mousesteps Weekly show on YouTube! And we will be at Disney's Art of Animation Resort this coming week, and will share photos and video!

Denise