Saturday, November 29, 2014

Disney's Asian Resort, What Could Have Been

     In the planning of Walt Disney World, many concepts were researched and developed, only to find that they didn't fit into the reality of Walt Disney World. These elements that never quite made it are one of my favorite things to talk about.
     In the 1960's, Disney Imagineers were throwing around ideas for resort themes, since this complete vacation Kingdom was going to now include themed resort hotels! Imaginations flew, and the onslaught of ideas was weened down to just a few that stuck. One of the ideas that stuck, and that was viewed as a pillar of the future of Walt Disney World was the Asian Resort. This Resort was to be built across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Contemporary, and was to have a similar build to the Polynesian.
    The architecture was to be Thai and Chinese, with deep reds and intricate art and decor placed on the inside. The resort was intended to be a more upscale and elegant stay than that of the other resorts of the time.
     Construction began, and Disney's Asian Resort was scheduled to open in 1974. However, it was never finished, for the following two key reasons. One, the land on which it was built didn't support the structure. Construction teams would place building supports into the ground, and they would simply sink into the Florida muck. Second, the oil crisis of 1973 lost Disney much of its income of the time, and made construction much more expensive.
     The resort was one of several resorts that was never built, although construction began. The street "Floridian Way", now behind Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, was once called "Asian Way", and was built as an access road to the construction site of the Asian Resort. The Grand Floridian opened in 1988, essentially replacing the idea of the Asian, and probably preventing it from ever being built. But, it's fun to imagine!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Best Places to Watch "Wishes" Fireworks Show Outside the Magic Kingdom

     The Magic Kingdom's night-time spectacular, Wishes, is a must-see. It is a perfect way to end your day at the Magic Kingdom, and I believe it is completely necessary to get the full experience of the Magic Kingdom. The music of your favorite Disney movies plays along with Jiminy Cricket to tell a wonderful story that will leave you inspired and wanting to hug everyone. Many don't know, however, that you don't need to be inside the Magic Kingdom to see and experience the show! Now, I always suggest that your first time with the show ought to be in the Park. Wishes is an inclusive experience that draws in parts of the park which will surprise you and make you feel encompassed in the magic. However, viewing from outside the park is a different, more relaxing, and sometimes cheaper way to see the show (as it doesn't require a park ticket!). Here are my favorite ways to see it:

  • The Marina at Grand Floridian: Outside the Gasparilla Grill, between two Resort Buildings, is a seating area on the Marina. The two buildings act as a frame to Cinderella Castle. At night, the music is piped in, and this is one of my favorite spots to watch Wishes. The romance of the marina will grab you, and after the show you can just sit and talk with loved ones.
  • The Beach at the Polynesian: While this is a tough one to come by right now because the construction at the Polynesian, the beach at this Beautiful Resort makes a dark and quiet place to watch the fireworks. The music is piped in to some places, but it is also just a good place to watch the show without the music, and appreciate it in a more raw form. 
  • California Grill: sits atop Disney's Contemporary Resort, and is a prime location for viewing the Kingdom from above. You can sit at a window, eat your dinner, and watch the fireworks show from above. Now this will be a bit more crowded than the previous two options, but will include music and the enthusiasm of the crowd around you. I suggest the sushi!
  • Seven Seas Lagoon Cruises: Several boat cruises embark from the Grand Floridian and Contemporary Resorts each night. There is a Pirate Cruise, private cruises upon the Grand One Yacht, and several other options. These packages can include meals, and the music is piped into the boats. This can be a unique and special experience for couples, groups, or families. Plus, after the show, you get to experience a beautiful and memorable boat trip back to your dock rather than a mad exodus. 
     What are your favorite places to watch the show outside the Kingdom?