JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Disney 2015 – New things to see and do!

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Caroling season has been keeping us super busy, but I wanted to stay up late and write a blog post highlighting our 2015 trip to Disney World!  We got in our 9-day trip the week before Thanksgiving week, and despite having to work several hours a day on Olde Towne Carolers administrative tasks, we did get to experience some great new stuff on this trip.


And isn’t that one of the great things about repeated trips to Disney?  There’s always something new to experience!


I have some general trip photos at the bottom of this post, but I first wanted to talk about a few of the new things going on at Disney this year…



Many folks know that Downtown Disney has now officially transitioned to “Disney Springs,” as Disney World continues its overhaul of this dining and shopping area. The middle section that was once Pleasure Island finally has a lot more places to visit.  We still enjoyed Raglan Road and Fulton’s Crab House (the first for drinks and music, the second for tasty seafood meals), but we also had great experiences at The Boathouse and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.  Twice at the Boathouse, we caught some great live music (unfortunately performed to small crowds), and the Hangar Bar is … well.. just super cool!  They went all out with the theming on this bar.  No detail was spared – even the menu.




Speaking of bars, another FANTASTIC new addition is Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Village Resort.  Hidden behind an unassuming door is a clever little bar decked out in full Polynesian grandeur with a cast of CMs that have a whole routine based upon what drinks people order.  Some drinks summon the wrath of the Tiki goddess up on the wall, some bring the storms through… let’s just say you have to experience it in person to really appreciate it.  And I might have found a new fave drink at Disney – at the level of the Lapu Lapu and the Grand Marnier slushie.  It was the Polynesian Pearl – plus, I got to keep the pearl shaped “glass” it came in.

Plus, while at the Poly, we got to see some of the new renovations made to the resort lobby area and grounds.

Here’s a few photos from Trader Sam’s and the Poly…




The Epcot Food and Wine Festival was extended this year, so it was still going on during the first two days of our trip.  I had experienced the F&W Festival five years ago on a girls-only trip, but was excited for Milos to try it, too.  On our second day, we decided to just graze around World Showcase for lunch, stopping at a bunch of the kiosks.  We both loved the filet at Canada, and the scallops and spinach at Scotland.  The Australian shrimp was also excellent.


Here are some delicious highlights!



We also enjoyed a wonderful meal at Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian.  This place is definitely a special treat, but we wanted to give it a try!  It had been years since I’d gone, and Milos had never been.  We did enjoy it, but thought some of our meals at several of the Signature restaurants were just as good.  It’s still worth a visit on a special occasion, though.  Just don’t forget to make reservations far in advance, and remember there is a dress code.




It had been 21 years since my last visit to Universal Studios, so needless to say, a visit was long overdue.  Plus, we BOTH wanted to finally see all the Harry Potter stuff.  In summary – Diagon Alley is one of the coolest theme park creations I’ve ever been in!  Universal is definitely giving Disney a run for their money with this one.  (Hopefully Disney will be stepping up their game with the new Star Wars land in the works.)  “Escape from Gringot’s” was my absolute favorite ride at Universal.  And as a long time Simpson’s fan, I really enjoyed walking past Moe’s Tavern, seeing Duffman, and snapping a pic of Lard Lad.  Plus, the Rockit Roller coaster was awesomely intense – you get to choose your music soundtrack that plays during the ride, and then you have the option to purchase your ride video afterwards.  Watching it was hilarious!  We probably should have made the purchase.


Here are some photos from our Universal day:



And finally, here are some general photo highlights from our whole trip!  I’m hoping to get a chance to write a trip report for the Disboards this year.  Stay posted – I’ll let you know if I get the chance!



Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

One thought on “Disney 2015 – New things to see and do!

  1. Sounds like you had a great trip to WDW. I’ll have to make a visit to Trader Sam’s on my upcoming trip. Hope you will post a trip report on the DIS.

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