Camp Disney 2012

Filed under: Orlando Theme Parks,Walt Disney World |

One of the perks about doing what we do, renting vacation homes …just in case anyone forgot 😉 , is that from time to time we get invited to events and to explore more about the world about us in Central Florida. One of the highlights is always a chance to learn more about Walt Disney World and yesterday, we were invited to the inaugural “Camp Disney”.

Camp Disney was always going to be a special day and it was crammed with so much to do… here was our schedule:

8:00am-9:00am Breakfast at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
9:00am-9:30am Disney’s Hollywood Studios
9:45am-10:15am Walk Fantasia Gardens
10:30am–11:30am Epcot
11:45am-1:30pm Lunch at Disney Quest
1:40pm-1:50pm Drive by Typhoon Lagoon
2:00pm-2:10pm Drive by Wide World Of Sports complex
2:20pm – 3:15pm Blizzard Beach/Winter Summerland
3:30pm–5:00pm Experience Animal Kingdom Park
5:15pm–5:45pm Oak Trail
6:00pm–7:20pm Dinner at Ft. Wilderness
7:45pm–9:15pm Magic Kingdom Park
9:30pm Return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Crazy eh?

The answer is “Yes”… all four major Disney theme parks, 2 water parks, 2 golf courses, Disney Quest and Fort Wilderness all in one day!

The day started bright and early at the “Sci-Fi Dine In Theater” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where we were served a delicious breakfast while listening to “Parker Hopper” (picture below left) give us our instructions for the day. The “Sci-Fi” is a neat restaurant with a throw back to the 50’s and 60’s as servers bring your food to vintage “convertible” vehicle style tables while a sci-fi or monster flicks on the big screen in front of you. It was a cool way to start the day!

After breakfast it was time to explore and our first port of call was Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. This area, if you’ve not been, is a self-guided tour through the exhibits of photographs, audio interviews and memorabilia that tell the story of Walt Disney—the man whose life accomplishments still intrigue and inspire people the world over. The area has several models of various aspects of the Walt Disney theme parks but perhaps the most interesting at the moment is the one featuring the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom – picture below.

From there it was time for a stroll past the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster to our tour bus and our first ride of the day that saw us visit Disney’s Fantasia Gardens miniature golf course. In all the time I’ve lived here, I’d never actually been to it before although I’d driven by many many times!

There are two distinct courses to play, one being the Fantasia Gardens course featuring the music from Fantasia and the other the Fantasia Fairways course that resembles a more normal golf course with undulating greens, sand traps and water hazards….all played with the putter!

Epcot was next on our list and it was here we got a “Fastpass” to Soarin’ – the fabulous ride where you get the sensation of flight as you journey across the natural and man made wonders of California. We also got chance to become secret agents as we helped Agent P, from Phineas and Ferb, conquer a series of challenges … a great one for the kids!

We didn’t stay too long at Epcot as our day was packed and we had now reached lunchtime…so it was off to DisneyQuest via Typhoon Lagoon. Typhoon Lagoon is one of the two Disney water parks and according to Disney legend, it was created by an epic storm. Our visit was short but we got to learn more about the 56 acre park surrounding a mountain that is full of waterways, rivers, rapids and slides. Of course, the most famous icon is the ill fated shrimp boat named Miss Tilly, that found herself swept up by the twisting tides of the fierce typhoon and came to rest on the peak of Mount Mayday. It’s a great place to cool off on a hot day!

We then arrived at DisneyQuest… hard to believe this has been open since 1998….and I think that was probably the last time I visited it! This is the place for some high tech fun but first on the agenda was the buffet lunch. Suitably refreshed from a lovely turkey sandwich we then headed off to check out some of the things to do. Attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Virtual Jungle Cruise, the Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam, the Animation Academy and CyberSpace Mountain where you have the chance to design your own roller coaster and make it as scary as you want!

Other great games you can play are Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster as well as some of the more traditional arcade style games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Space Invaders and Super Mario Bros. DisneyQuest is a lot of fun and it’s the ideal place to go when the Florida weather decides to turn nasty. Check it out next time you’re in town and don’t leave it 14 years as I did!

Next on our list was a visit to Animal Kingdom an a chance to take in the Festival of the Lion King show, a  30-minute Broadway musical-stage show based on The Lion King movie. The show is performed in an indoor, air-conditioned theater-in-the-round style set up at the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and can pack in a lot of people! Shows currently run pretty much every hour but I have to say, I ended up feeling a little cheated. As teh show builds up to a cresendo, I’m expecting a lion cub or a lion to appear. Nope. It doesn’t happen. Tip to Disney: Bring in a lion. You can do it… even if it’s a caged one that rises from the center of the floor… or walked in on a leash! Go on…you can do it!

After the show, we briefly walked past the RainForest Cafe on our way back to our tour bus. If you’ve not been, the cafe is a  jungle-themed restaurant, with simulated weather patterns and animated animals which really does cater to animal lovers looking for tasty pasta, poultry and vegetarian selections. It’s a fun place to dine!

Our bus then departed and we made a quick drive by the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is a place I’m very familiar with having reported on various sporting events such as the Disney Marathons, the US Men’s National Soccer team training and the Disney Soccer Classic already this year.

The Wide World of Sports is also the home to the Atlanta Braves Spring Training and they play at Champion Stadium which has more than 9,500 seats. It’s a world class facility and when you add the other eight venues that comprise the complex, that cover over 32 sports types, you start to understand how this part of Central Florida is home to more than 200 amateur and professional events each year.

With the drive by done, we then headed to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park. This park opened on April 1, 1995 and it was no joke as it has become one of the most visited water parks in the world. The legend goes that a freak snow storm blanketed Florida in white and a ski resort sprang up with slalom courses, toboggan slides and iceberg walkways. When the weather shifted back to hot, the whole resort started to melt…so what to do? The answer came as an enterprising alligator saw an opportunity and clad in a scarf and a hat, the gator slid down the ski jump shouting “Yahooo!” all the way! With a big splash, he landed in a pool of melted snow below the mountain, and the slushy, slippery slopes became an exhilarating water park like no other in the world… and that’s why the “Ice-Gator” remains the park’s mascot today!

The water park has something for everyone. You can chill waterside on the beach or you can enjoy some of the most exhilarating rides in and out of water anywhere in the world. From the relaxing Cross County Creek where you leisurely float around the water park to Summit Plummet, one of the tallest and fastest body slides in the country, that stands 120 feet high and speeds riders down the 12 story drop down Mount Gushmore at speeds of 50-50 mph!

Unfortunately, time was pressing us and although I really wanted to stay a bit longer to get more great photos (I was last back on the bus… sorry folks!) we had to move on and head over to Disney’s Oak Trail golf course. For those not familar, Oak Trail is located adjacent to Disney’s Palm and Magnolia golf courses – the scene of a PGA event for the last 42 years … the longest running PGA Tour event in Central Florida.

Oak Trail is a 9 hole walking course, so no golf carts are available or allowed. It’s a great course for a leisurely day and also serves well as a place for young golfers looking to develop their skills. The green fees are $38 for those aged 18+ while those aged 17 and under can play for just $20.

The afternoon had flown by and now it was time to head over to Fort Wilderness and time for…dinner! Dinner was served at the scene of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Dinner Show … the all-you-care-to-eat Disney Character dance party that also features live entertainment on a seasonal basis. It was a chance to get some good food down us… ribs, burgers, chicken etc before seizing a photo op with Russell and Man’s Best Friend from the movie “Up.”

Feeling suitably refreshed we then climbed aboard the buses for our final destination… Magic Kingdom. And unfortunately for us, that’s where our day finished as my sidekick… my wife, started to feel unwell. So we got to miss out on our final experience and the chance to ride Dumbo and explore what’s going on at the New Fantasyland…. as well as take in the fireworks. It had been a great day though and the good news is… it gives us a reason to go back!

In closing, just want to say a huge “Thank You” to our Disney hosts who made the day fun and who entertained us along the way. We enjoyed collecting our Disney pins..although we missed the final one! … and we enjoyed learning more about the great things happening at Walt Disney World. Yes, it was tiring… but we’re ready to do it all again!

More photos appear at:



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