4 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Makeup

Some kids grow up loving to play dress-up. Others can’t wait to learn how to do their hair and makeup. If cosmetology is your passion, there are a number of makeover opportunities you can experience in Walt Disney World. One is just for kids, but that’s why you take them along, isn’t it?

Here are four things to do in Walt Disney World if you love makeup.

1. Face painting

The easiest way to get some fun makeup at Walt Disney World is to stop by one of the face painting stations. They’re located throughout the parks (although I’m not sure of the status of the one in Magic Kingdom, since it used to be in Mickey’s Toontown Fair) and Downtown Disney. You can choose from a variety of designs for about $10-$20, and no appointment is needed.

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6 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Costuming

A few days ago, the Disney Parks Blog posted this video, which shows the costumes that cast members will wear in the new Fantasyland expansion, including Storybook Circus.

If you are familiar with Disney Parks terminology, you know that since in-park employees are “on stage,” they are called cast members, and they wear costumes, not uniforms. That means that costumes are everywhere, and consequently, this list of things to do if you love costuming could mean going to see every unique costume in the parks! Since that would take forever, I’m going to highlight just a few attractions and experiences with wow-worthy costuming. Since this list is subjective, be sure to point out in the comments any experiences you think I overlooked.

So, here are six things to do in Walt Disney World if you love costuming.

1. it’s a small world

This Fantasyland attraction is the place to see hundreds of international costumes. There are nearly 300 dolls and animals inside, representing more than 100 nations. If you want to know more about how the costumes were researched and created, you simply must listen to Lou Mongello’s interview with Disney Legend Alice Davis. It’s a fascinating story.

European dolls in it's a small world in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

2. Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage

I simply love the costumes in this show. From the hot pink ballgowns, to the woman disguised as an ice cream sundae during “Be Our Guest,” it’s visually delightful.

Ice cream sundae in Beauty and the Beast--Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

The woman in the ice cream sundae in Beauty and the Beast--Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

3. Finding Nemo—The Musical

As much as I love Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage, it doesn’t win the prize as my favorite musical in Walt Disney World. That honor goes to Finding Nemo—The Musical. Costuming animals is understandably difficult (do you try for realism or just representation?), and in my layperson’s opinion, this musical’s combination of puppetry and costuming is brilliant.

4. Studio Backlot Tour

While what you see on the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios changes periodically, depending on which films the studio is promoting, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see at least some film costumes. When I was there in 2008, I got these photos of costumes from Enchanted. (Sorry for the flash.)

Queen Narissa's hag costume from Enchanted, displayed in 2008 in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney WorldQueen Narissa's ball costume from Enchanted, displayed in 2008 in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

5. Voices of Liberty

This a cappella singing group can be found performing in the American Adventure pavilion in World Showcase in Epcot. I love how their costumes change throughout the year. In the winter, they look ready for some old-fashioned caroling.

Voices of Liberty singing Christmas carols in American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot

In their winter costumes

Voices of Liberty singing group in American Adventure pavilion in Epcot in Walt Disney World

In their spring/summer costumes

6. DiVine

I talked about DiVine in my post on street theater. Her costume allows her to blend perfectly into her environment, until she decides to make her presence known.

DiVine, stilt walker in Disney's Animal Kingdom, crossing the path

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Every day in Walt Disney World could be a costuming-themed day, because there are costumes everywhere you look, but if you to want to spot all the costumes listed in today’s post in one day, you’ll have to visit all four parks. I’d suggest starting in Magic Kingdom and visiting it’s a small world first. Then head to Animal Kingdom, because DiVine is most often found between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. When you get there, ask a cast member when she might make an appearance, and work in seeing Finding Nemo—The Musical either before or after finding her. Then, it’s a toss-up between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot next. It depends on what the Times Guides say. Today, for example, the last showing of Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage is at 5:45 p.m. and the last performance by Voices of Liberty is at 5 p.m. So, in this case, I’d go to Epcot first and then over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Studio Backlot Tour also tends to close early, so you’ll need to check the Times Guide and watch the clock.

Where are your favorite costumes in Walt Disney World?

7 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Animation

I’m a child of the 1980s, so I was the perfect age to experience the Disney Renaissance, which started with The Little Mermaid in 1989. I have vivid memories of when that film came out in theaters. I desperately wanted to see it, but my family tended to rent movies rather than go to the cinema, so I had a long wait to see it. In the meantime, my mom got a different Little Mermaid movie from the library, one in which Ariel does, in fact, turn into sea foam. I was not pleased. Thankfully, by the time Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991, we started seeing the latest Disney movies in the theater.

So, I have a lifelong love of Disney animated features, but I admit I don’t know that much about the art form of animation. For those of you who do, there are a variety of experiences in Walt Disney World where you can indulge that fascination. Here are seven things to do in Walt Disney World if you love animation.

1. The Magic of Disney Animation

If you love animation, you obviously have to spend some time at this attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, although I have to say it’s not as cool as it used to be, when you could actually watch real animators at work on Disney animated features. Still, you see a cute show, and you can visit the Animation Academy and take a brief class on animation from a Disney animator. OK, it’s mostly kids who take the class, but adults are welcome too. There are also a variety of animation-related games and displays, as well as character meet-and-greets.

Princess and the Frog display (2009) in The Magic of Disney Animation in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

Princess and the Frog display (2009) in The Magic of Disney Animation

2. Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

While you’re in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for The Magic of Disney Animation, don’t miss going into Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. There you can learn more about how Walt revolutionized the art form of animation and see his animation camera stand, the table on which he animated “Steamboat Willie” and “Plane Crazy.”

3. The Art of Disney

To see or even purchase Disney animation cels, head to The Art of Disney in Downtown Disney. You’ll probably also want to visit the Art of Disney stores in Epcot and Magic Kingdom (at Main Street Cinema), but the store in Downtown Disney is the largest.

4. Mickey’s PhilharMagic

As I’ve mentioned before, if you also grew up during the Disney Renaissance, you’ll appreciate the selection of movies that are featured in Mickey’s PhilharMagic. As an animation fan, you’ll enjoy seeing scenes from these 2D films reimagined in 3D.

5. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

If you liked seeing your favorite animated films go from 2D to 3D, just wait until you feel like you’re actually in them! The first phase of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will open in May, and the marquee is already up. As I mentioned in my post on lions, you can get a preview of the Lion King rooms in this post from the Disney Parks blog. I can’t wait to stay there!

6. Turtle Talk with Crush

Turtle Talk with Crush in The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in Epcot in Walt Disney WorldTurtle Talk with Crush is a live animated show, and that simply fascinates me! It’s amazing how an animated character can interact with the kids and adults in the audience. While some parts of the show are repeated, as a whole it’s different every time! (Next time you go, get your kid to ask Crush how many kids he has, and then get another one to ask him to name them. Hilarity will ensue.) This attraction is a great example of how far animation technology has come.

7. The Seas with Nemo & Friends

The Seas with Nemo & Friends in Epcot in Walt Disney WorldAnother innovative use of animation is found in the same pavilion as Turtle Talk. On The Seas with Nemo & Friends, animated fish mingle with real ones in the Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium. It’s a cool effect, although I have to admit my favorite part of this attraction is the queue—it’s so well themed!

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If you plan your animation-themed day in Disney World for this May or later, you can actually begin your day the night before by staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Even if you don’t stay there, once it’s open you will be able to go over and check it out; you just won’t be able to see the guest rooms. None of the attractions on today’s list should involve overly long queues, so you could do the three parks (Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot) in any order. Unless one of the parks has Extra Magic Hours to consider, I would probably start at Epcot and do The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. (You might also consider stopping in Epcot’s Art of Disney store.) Then I’d go over to the International Gateway and take the boat over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’d take a leisurely tour of The Magic of Disney Animation and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Next, I’d go over to Downtown Disney and wander through The Art of Disney. From there, I’d take a bus over to Magic Kingdom and see Mickey’s PhilharMagic and the Art of Disney store on Main Street, U.S.A.

If you could own an animation cel from any Disney animated feature or short, which one would you choose?

6 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love 3-D Movies

3-D movies are all the rage right now, with recent 3-D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. In the next couple years, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and The Little Mermaid will also be finding their way back to the big screen in 3-D versions. While 3-D movies are still relatively new to the neighborhood cinema, 3-D movies have been thriving in Walt Disney World for decades.

Here are six things to do in Walt Disney World if you love 3-D movies.

1. Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Marquee of Mickey's PhilharMagic in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney WorldThis 3-D film is found in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. It begins with a trip to the orchestra (hence you’re wearing “opera glasses,” not 3-D glasses), but some shenanigans by Donald Duck lead to traveling through scenes from classic Disney films. Little ones might find this attraction a little scary, not because of the content, but because of the feeling of things flying at them, including actual water and wind effects. If your kids are skittish, you might have them try it without the glasses the first time.

2. Captain EO starring Michael Jackson

Entrance to Captain EO film in Epcot, Walt Disney WorldI’ve already admitted (in my post on astronauts) that this Epcot attraction doesn’t really do it for me, but if your love for 3-D is accompanied by a nostalgia for the 1980s and Michael Jackson, you will thoroughly enjoy it. Like in Mickey’s PhilharMagic, expect to experience some 4-D theater effects.

3. Muppet*Vision 3-D

This has to be my favorite 3-D movie in Walt Disney World. It’s been playing since 1991, but the only part of it that feels dated is at the end, when you see the parkgoers’ 1990s hairstyles and outfits, plus an old-style Mickey balloon. More than just a movie, this attraction also has a live performer and several Audio-Animatronics in the theater to create a more immersive experience.

4. It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Speaking of immersive, that’s practically the definition of It’s Tough to be a Bug! If you don’t like bugs, darkness, or being unexpectedly poked in the back, steer clear of this attraction! As I mentioned in my post on Halloween, this attraction terrifies all of my nieces and nephews, so you might want to hold off until the kids are in elementary school. Many older kids love it though!

5. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

This reimagined version of Star Tours is more than just a movie; it’s a motion simulator plus a 3-D movie. Before your trip, you don a pair of “flight glasses,” and then it’s off to destinations unknown. The randomized ride sequence has 54 possible combinations, so this is the only 3-D movie on the list that will likely be different every time you ride it!

6. Toy Story Mania!

Entrance to Toy Story Mania in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney WorldThis attraction is not so much a 3-D movie but a series of 3-D carnival games. If you like 3-D movies but wish they were more interactive, this is the attraction for you. The possibility of improving your score will likely make you want to ride multiple times, so I suggest getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios before opening, heading straight to Toy Story Mania!, getting a FASTPASS, and then immediately getting into the standby queue, so you’re guaranteed at least two rides that day.

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The best part about the 3-D movie attractions is that they tend to have large capacities, so you don’t usually have to wait longer than the length of one show. Since Toy Story Mania! is actually a ride rather than a show, and a very popular ride at that, you’ll want to make that your first stop on your 3-D movie day. Next, ride Star Tours, and then head to Muppet*Vision 3-D. That completes your list for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so next take a bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for It’s Tough to be a Bug! After that, head over to Epcot for Captain EO. Wrap up your day in Magic Kingdom with Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Which of these 3-D movies/experiences is your favorite?

6 Things to Do in Walt Disney World If You Love Cinema

Oscar season has just begun, and although I’m sad that there’s no Disney-Pixar feature to root for this year, it’s a great time to be a cinephile. Now, when it comes to loving movies and Walt Disney World, there’s a bit of challenge. In the past, when Disney’s Hollywood Studios was actually a working studio, it was a great place for movie lovers to visit, especially if they couldn’t make a trip out to California. Now, while it’s still great to have a park devoted to cinema and Hollywood, it’s a little sad to go on the Studio Backlot Tour and know that nothing’s really happening there anymore. Still, I have hope for new and exciting things will eventually come back to the Studios; we just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, here are six things to do in Walt Disney World if you love cinema.

1. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ll start off with the obvious place that I’ve already mentioned: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), a park “dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic” (from Michael Eisner’s dedication speech in 1989). While it’s not what it used to be, it’s still wonderful to wander around, finding film references everywhere.

Crate addressed to Scarlett O'Hara seen at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

I’m cheating a little by counting a whole park as one item on this list, but this list would be way too long if I tried to mention everything cinema-related in DHS. Of course, you’ll want to experience The Great Movie Ride and the Studio Backlot Tour. After the Backlot Tour, talk your time enjoying The American Film Institute Showcase, which I mentioned in my post on villains. If you’re an animation fan, visit The Magic of Disney Animation and don’t miss Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream.

For cinema-themed dining in DHS, try Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, which, as I mentioned in my post on cars, recreates the drive-in movie experience. You sit at car-like tables and enjoy ’50s and ’60s sci-fi and monster movies while you eat.

2. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Woody figure at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Walt Disney WorldIf you love movies, it’s clear which resort is for you: All-Star Movies! If your cinematic tastes tend toward classic Hollywood, there’s not much for you here, except for the celebrities’ wall of fame. However, if you like 1960s live action like Love Bug or Disney’s animated features, or you happened to be growing up when Mighty Ducks was popular, you’ll love this hotel. Have fun posing with the giant characters and props!

3. Outdoor Movies at the Hotels

All of the hotels in Walt Disney World regularly show movies outdoors, usually in the pool or beach area. The only one I’ve actually experienced is at Fort Wilderness, where Chip and Dale host a campfire and sing-along and then screen a movie afterwards, and it was a lot of fun. You can go see the movies at any resort; you don’t have to be staying there. A schedule is available at Build a Better Mouse Trip, so you can decide which flick you want to see.

4. Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney WorldOK, I know Planet Hollywood isn’t unique to Disney, but it is a place where you can see movie props and memorabilia. The restaurant is located at Downtown Disney West Side, so there’s no theme park admission required to eat there. It’s easy to combine a meal there with a trip to…

5. The Art of Disney

If you love animation and would like to see (and possibly purchase!) Disney animation cels, The Art of Disney in Downtown Disney is the destination for you. There are also Art of Disney stores in Epcot and Magic Kingdom (at Main Street Cinema), but the store in Downtown Disney is the largest. I love wandering around in there, although I’ve never bought anything.

Portrait of Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean at The Art of Disney Store, Walt Disney World

I did stare at this for a while, though, and snap a photo so I can keep it for always. Drool...

Another destination in Downtown Disney to consider is…

6. AMC Downtown Disney 24

If a can’t-miss new release is coming out while you’re in Disney World, you can catch it at the AMC in Downtown Disney. Last year they added Fork & Screen service, which has an extensive menu and seat-side service, as well as fancy seats. I’ve never done it, but the guys on DIS Unplugged seemed quite impressed with it (scroll down to the June 23, 2011 show).

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To have a cinema-themed day in Walt Disney World, you’ll want to spend most of your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. To extend the theming 24/7, you’ll want to stay at All-Star Movies as well. I’d suggest starting the day in DHS and taking as long as you’d like to explore and enjoy the atmosphere, especially on Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. Have lunch at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, and then head to Downtown Disney in the afternoon. Enjoy The Art of Disney, and then have an early dinner at Planet Hollywood. Then, head to the resort of your choice for an outdoor movie. When that’s done, you can come back to Downtown Disney and catch a late flick at AMC.

Enjoy your magical journey into the movies!