The “First Dos” of 2013

Last week, I was tweeting with a few lovely folks about what NEW things they experienced in the theme parks this year.

I loved the answers.

They ranged from completing marathons, checking out Epcot and Carsland, sampling new restaurants, meeting new Twitter friends and more. As a repeat visitor to Disney Parks, you probably get a similar reaction if you disclose you are planning another trip to a “non-believer”: IS THERE REALLY THAT MUCH NEW STUFF TO DO THERE? Well, based on  the answers in the Twitterverse, we’re all in on the secret that yes, there are limitless things to try if you know where to look.

In two trips to WDW this year, a little over a week of days when you add them together, I experienced quite a few firsts, even as I hit my 16th year visiting the theme parks. (Ahhh!)

Without further delay, I’m sharing the experiences that were “new to me” this year and if I’d ever give them a whirl again.

Pop Century Resort Walt Disney World March 2013

I was not expecting to love Pop Century as much as I did. But it didn’t feel like a value resort at all, even with all the bright colored signs all over the place. I loved how it was just a skip and a jump from the Art of Animation, and how it had its own lake. It was pretty for a value.

Repeatability? No contest. We’re already scheduled to return in a few weeks.

[ tornado watch ]

Tornado Watch Downpour March 2013

Um well, that wasn’t too fun. It was actually absolutely terrifying. I don’t think I ever saw rain start so suddenly, and so hard. I lost a sandal! (You might remember from this.)

Repeatability? I never want to see this happen again.

[ behind the scenes tour ]

Behind the Seed Tour March 2013

Ahh, yes. Behind the Seeds Tour in Epcot. A nice way to spend your time when the park is so utterly packed you can’t anything done. It’s true. I really liked the tour, and our guide was great. Plus it was really affordable for a mostly “behind the scenes” tour.

Repeatability? I would do this again, but maybe every few years.

[ stage 1 studio scavenger hunt ]

Stage 1 Store Hollywood Studios Miss Piggy

Talk about a great cast member experience.  The lovely people working at the Studio 1 Stage Store in Hollywood Studios noticed we were paying extreme attention to all the details in the shop, and handed us a copy of the scavenger hunt. It was absolutely so much fun, and something I had no idea existed! Be sure to ask when you are in town next.

Repeatability: OF COURSE.

[ tune-in lounge ]

Tune-in Lounge Disney Hollywood Studios 2013: The bar is filled with vintage, working television sets.

I had no desire to return to this building after a not-so fun dinner with my little sister when we younger, but James and I headed over to the Tune-In Lounge after hearing raves from trusted pals. We had a lovely meal, great drinks, and the bartenders are just so friendly.

Repeatability: Good life choice. I’ve already gone back on my second trip, and ya know what? I can’t wait to return!

[ restaurant marrakesh in epcot’s morocco pavilion ]

Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco Menu

Once James agreed to the menu, we decided to make a reservation at Marrakesh this year and had such a great time. The food was delicious (the servings were so generous) and the entertainment (ahem, the band not the belly dancer) were a nice addition to the atmosphere.

Repeatability: Still reading a lot of hit or miss reviews on this one, though (my parents didn’t love it) but I do think we would had back. Maybe for lunch.

[ boma – animal kingdom lodge ]

Animal Kingdom Lodge Boma Dessert Plate

After many rave reviews, we finally made this reservation for our last night on property. Boma is everything I thought it would be, and more… way more. Seriously, there is a ton of food to try out and they don’t pressure you to eat fast and get out. Not even close. I mean… look at that dessert plate! I just wish I hadn’t been so tired or full on drinks…

Repeatability? Oh yes yes yes. On an emptier stomach next time.

[ starbucks in the magic kingdom ]

Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom

As James just said: “FINALLY WE CAN GET A DECENT CUP OF COFFEE… in two parks.” Starbucks in MK is a revelation. It looks great on Main Street (seriously, it does) and it was to have an appropriate coffee jolt and not a fake / gross one where I am scampering all over the place looking for caffeine. Thank you, coffee gods.

Repeatability? I think you know the answer.

[ the waffle sandwich ]

Waffle Sandwich in Magic Kingdom

Too many condiments but lovely fresh ingredients. I wanted so badly to love this but I needed less mayo. Because it’s really hard to pick up and then there were is a ton of condiment all over it and it’s sort of ew when it’s hot out and you are starving and just want to gobble it down but you can’t. WHEW.

Repeatability? Look at the ingredients next time, Estelle. Also try the chocolate one.

[ run disney after party ]

Epcot Run Disney After Party

My lovely friend Katherine kicked ass at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and I joined her for celebration at my very first Run Disney after party. What a great treat for all the marathoners. I could have done without the pop music pumping through the World Showcase but other than that, it was a ton of fun. We may have just socialized but with the park so crowded during the day, it was an efficient way to go on attractions and try out the food & wine kiosks. (Maybe I’ll time manage better next time.)

Repeatability? If I had the chance to go again, I would definitely do it!

[ osborne spectacle of lights ] 

Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights 2013

Estelle dream come true over here! I’ve always wanted to see the Osborne lights and kept on missing my chance. So beautiful, loved all the music and eee, it was the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Repeatability? OF COURSE.

Okay, whew. The firsts of 2013. That was fun!

I’d love to hear what new things you did in the parks this year!

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A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

4 thoughts on “The “First Dos” of 2013

  1. I love posts like this, not just because I love lists, but because I feel like I’m always defending myself when I tell people I’m going to WDW again and they roll their eyes and don’t believe me when I say I haven’t done everything there yet! Boma is still on our list of places to try. I hear such great things about it! I’m bummed that the sandwich was too condiment-heavy… it looks amazing. I’ve only had the nutella one (and it did not disappoint!)

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