Category Archives: Walt Disney World

Our One Night Stay at the Polynesian Resort


Love the Poly!

Jill's Cabana Stories and Travels

When we were driven up by Disney’s Magical Express to the Polynesian Resort, we were greeted by cast members that had hula necklaces for us.  They said, “Aloha,” and placed a necklace on our neck.  That immediately put a smile on our face, and was just a preview of the night to come.

We had been at the Polynesian Resort before to eat at both Ohana and Kona Café.  When we had visited the Poly, we just knew that we wanted to stay there one night.  On this vacation, we got our wish.

We walked into the Great Ceremonial House and saw the familiar sight of the grand waterfall in the entrance.  It smelled crisp and fresh, just like we had always remembered.  We checked in, and we able to go to our guest room.

We had a guest room in Samoa.  That proved to be a wonderful location as…

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Universe of Energy

Universe of Energy

Universe of Energy

One of my absolute favorite rides in Walt Disney World is Universe of Energy.  I’m kind of a science geek, so I love this ride (plus it had dinosaurs!!!).  The ride also has Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ellen DeGeneres, so they just make it even better!

The ride deals with energy, how energy is produced, the history of energy production, and future sources of energy.  It really deals with fossil fuels.  It uses a traveling theatre system.

Before the actual ride, you see an eight minute film where Ellen is on an energy-themed Jeopardy show playing against an old rival, Judy Peterson (acted by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Albert Einstein.  She knows nothing about energy.

Guests go and sit down a big theatre area, and Bill Nye takes Ellen and guests back to the Big Bang to explain the origin of fossil fuels.  The vehicles then move, and we get to see the dinosaurs.  Yay!  There’s a prehistoric podcast, and then we see a video about energy resources.

At the end of the show, Ellen wins at Jeopardy! with her new knowledge about energy.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a full video for this attraction under creative commons.  If someone knows about one that I can’t find, please let me know.  I would really appreciate it!

I did find a video showing the dinosaurs in this attraction though.  Enjoy!

Grimm Grinning Ghosts About to Socialize!

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom in Disney World

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom in Disney World

One of my all-time favorite rides at Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion. If you visit Magic Kingdom, you’ll see what looks like a haunted house on the top of a small hill. You’ll find the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square. Yes, the mansion is a little out of place, but it’s great fun. You pass through a set of large gates, and walk into the mansion’s gardens. You pass by a pet cemetery and a carriage led by invisible horses. Once you’re in the mansion, you meet your “Ghost Host.” He greets you with:

Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host, your… ghost host. Kindly step all the way in please and make room for everyone. There’s no turning back now.

Our tour begins here in this gallery where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state.

Stretching Room

Stretching Room

Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination, hmm? And consider this dismaying observation: This chamber has no windows and no doors, which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!

Of course, there’s always my way. (Crashing thunder, scream)


In the stretching room, the portraits get longer. The lights go out, you hear a thunderclap, and you get to see a somewhat frightening image hanging from the ceiling. The room goes black again, followed by a large scream.

You’re then led out of the room down a hall of portraits. The portraits seem to transform into images of creepy things as the lightning flashes. The statues in the hall seem to move to follow you.

Madame Leota

Madame Leota

All this time, you’ve been walking in the attraction. Now, you’ll step into your “Doom Buggy.” Your Ghost Host begins to take you on a tour of the mansion. You pass a conservatory with dead plants with a coffin occupied by someone trying to get out and a black raven with red eyes. The Doom Buggy continues down a corridor of doors, some of which seem to have something pounding on them. Door knockers are moved by unseen hands.

You then enter a room where Madame Leota, a medium inside a crystal ball, calls the spirits of the mansion to come forth. She says:

(Horntoads and lizards, fiddle and strum. Please answer the role by beating a drum!) [unused track]

(Ghost fiends and furies, old friends and new! Blow in a horn, so we’ll know that it’s you!) [unused track]

Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they’re at!

Rap on a table; it’s time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond…

Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween – awaken the spirits with your tambourine!

Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond; let there be music, from regions beyond!

Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell, give us a hint, by ringing a bell!


Graveyard Keeper

Graveyard Keeper

You then pass to the ballroom where the happy spirits have materialized, and there’s a ghostly birthday party. You see all sorts of spirits all over the place, including up on top of a chandelier.

After the ballroom, you enter an attic with a whole bunch of personal items and wedding portraits. You continue on through a window and go down to the graveyard. On the way, you pass the only living resident of the Haunted Mansion:  a scared-silly caretaker.  In the graveyard, ghosts are popping up everywhere.

On an interesting note, one year, we were on the ride and our Doom Buggy broke down right in the middle of the graveyard where a ghost keeps popping up behind a tombstone. We were there for about twenty minutes. Every thirty seconds, a ghostly head would pop up.

Continuing on, you see a ghost tea party and an arm coming out of a crypt. You see two ghosts singing opera and three other ghosts who also join own. Around this point, your Ghost Host catches up to you. You enter a crypt where you find the Hitchhiking Ghosts. A ghost has hitched a ride on your Doom Buggy. It will haunt you until you return!

Your ride finally ends as the Ghost Hostess bids you goodbye. She says:

Hurry back! Hurry back! Be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now! We’ve been dying… to have you…


The Haunted Mansion is a great ride full of surprises. You never know when a ghost is going to pop up at you.

All quotes for this article were taken from: Doom Buggies

Here’s a video ridethrough of the Haunted Mansion:

Disney Wishes from the Poly


The Poly is so fun!

Jill's Cabana Stories and Travels

My favorite place to be to watch Walt Disney World fireworks is on the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. We look forward to this most relaxing way to watch Disney’s Wishes by spending it in a beach chair with a Dole Whip in hand watching this evening fireworks spectacular.

Have you ever been to Walt Disney World and tried to stake out your claim for this evenings fireworks show? We have. We went early and found a spot, only to be later crushed like sardines by hundreds of people all with the same good idea to find a spot near Main Street in front of the castle, and make a quick exit once Wishes is over. That is a great idea, but not for the faint hearted.

On our first visit my husband, who was holding tight unto our daughter, and I were separated trying to make it through the…

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On My Soapbox- “To Disney or Not To Disney”


Jill's Cabana Stories and Travels

I just finished reading a CNN article regarding family travel to Walt Disney World, and reading some of the comments posted. I guess I had to pull my head out of the quicksand to realize that there are such pro /con issues surfacing about a family trip to see the Mouse. I am such a fan and have had such wonderful times with my family there that the memories still bring smiles to my face. However, I decided to cut through my tunnel vision a bit and respond to some of the more negative feelings about Walt Disney World.

Link to CNN article –

1.   Commercialized– Yes Disney is very much commercialized; there is a gift shop at almost all of the ride exits. Did you just get off Pirate of the Caribbean; yep a gift shop is at the exit. Buzz Light-year, again gift shop……

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