Here we go with the first Weekend Update of the New Year! What better way to celebrate than taking a look back at the preceding year? Denise Preskitt and SummerInFL both share a retrospective look at their very busy, very Disney 2011. I envy both of these ladies for their fierce determination to document their travels and share them with us.

Sir Clinksalot documented his trip to the Deep South with the Theme Park Review gang. We have more photos of his trip – this week we visit Six Flags Over Georgia.

Have a great weekend!

Here's Denise Preskitt's Year End Review Part Two

Here is the second half to my year - it's hard to choose photos for two updates from a full year, we packed so much in!

The Magic Kingdom cut Flynn Rider from the Tangled meet-and-greet, even though he was tremendously popular.

It was actually a very emotional goodbye with the characters, CM assists and friends, and we took photos and video after the meet-and-greet was over and balloons were lifted in the air:

Our video of the last day:

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I tried my first (and last) real mint julep at Club 33 this year. I like the non-alcoholic version better!

We also have a Club 33 Video Tour from this year:

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Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix performed at the D23 Expo this year:

And the Hensons and Muppets were there to accept the Disney Legends Award on behalf of the late Jim Henson:

I have thousands of Disneyland photos from the trip, but one of my favorite surprises was the Mary Poppins show (I've never seen it) in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle:

We also went off-property (including 4 visits to In and Out Burger). One day we went to the Tim Burton exhibit in L.A., Santa Monica Pier, and I really wanted to see the Venice canals.

40 Years of Magic:

The best part of the 40 Year event was the fireworks:

LEGOLAND opened, and we were there for the press event:

The details in MINILAND include this man on a toilet:

Water skiers:

Chef Todd English had a booth at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic, greeting guests. I highly recommend this event!

The Fort Wilderness Halloween Golf Cart Parade had some stunning entries, including this Alice in Wonderland cart:

The train set in Epcot's Germany Pavilion always joins in whatever Festival is going on. During the Food and Wine Festival, this guy sits in what looks like an outhouse with a bottle:

Halloween at the Magic Kingdom:

Halloween Donald:

We were there for the announcement of Iceploration at Busch Gardens:

And enjoyed a day at Discovery Cove - at a special $59 day rate!

Jaws closed at Universal Studios to make way for the new Harry Potter expansion (that was actually in January, but I took the photos in December!)

I saw Grinchmas for the first time!:

Cinderella Castle:

There are gingerbread displays across property for the holidays, and the Grand Floridian display is likely the best known.

Samantha Brown and Mario Lopez host the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade:

We had a wonderful time at the Bok Tower Gardens for their holiday mansion tour tweet-up. Each room had a different theme, from The Grinch that Stole Christmas to A Christmas Story.

Impressions de France:

New waffle sandwiches at the Magic Kingdom!

Puss in Boots at the Gaylord Palms Resort:

And as part of ICE!

Christmas tree and fountain at the Polynesian Resort:

Timothy Mouse:

Spaceship Earth:

Captain America at Fantasy of Flight's Roar n Soar:

Sea World surprised us in a huge way this year, they do Christmas as well as any other park! There is so much entertainment, including this fantastic ice show:

This was the first time we have seen the Christmas golf cart parade at Fort Wilderness. It's much smaller than other golf cart parades held there, but still fun!

Mater display at the Kona Cafe:

Marlee Matlin is an incredible narrator for the Candlelight Processional:

New Years Eve at Disney's Hollywood Studios:

Video from the Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! Fireworks:

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And from the Polynesian Resort Beach (a day earlier):

And to keep up to date, the new Dumbo was testing in the Magic Kingdom a few days ago! The current Dumbo is closing after Sunday to be moved to the new location.

Video of Dumbo testing:

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After taking 75,000 or so photos last year, it's hard to whittle it down to just about 70 for the 2 updates!

As always, you can read about all of these stories in more detail at Denise's website:

SummerInFL also had quite a year exploring the sights!

With a new year I like to take a look back at the places I've been the previous year. It helps me appreciate the wonderful opportunities that my life presents me with and the photos I enjoyed taking along the way.

So I hope you enjoy my compilation of favorite places, faces and overall locations through out my travels.

Magic Kingdom/Epcot
Lake Buena Vista, FL 01/29/2011

Kapok Gardens
Clearwater, FL 03/12/2011

Strawberry Festival Pig Races
Plant City, FL 03/13/2011

John's Pass
Madeira Beach, FL 04/09/2011

Safety Harbor, FL 04/17/2011

Star Tours Preview
Tampa, FL 05/07/2011

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL 05/07/2011

Magic Kingdom
Lake Buena Vista, FL 05/14/2011

Road Trip - FL, GA, TN

Magic Kingdom 06/19/2011

Kennedy Space Center
Titusville, FL 07/23/2011

Busch Gardens
Tampa, FL 08/14/2011

Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL 08/26/2011

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, FL 09/03/2011

Brooker Creek Nature Preserve
Palm Harbor, FL 10/09/2011

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Lake Buena Vista, FL 10/21/2011

Museum of Fine Art
St. Petersburg, FL 10/30/2011

Upper Tampa Bay Trail
Tampa, FL 11/06/2011

Animal Kingdom
Lake Buena Vista, FL 11/13/2011

Vizcaye Museum
Miami, FL 11/21/2011


Lake Buena Vista, FL 12/12/2011

John Chesnut Park
Palm Harbor, FL 12/27/2011

Big Clinks and Little Clinks visit Six Flags Over Georgia

Long overdue is Sir Clinksalot's visit to Deep South Bash at Six Flags Over Georgia.

The parks entrance area is dominated by Goliath (which was new since my last visit in 2005)

Our friends at Theme Park Review sure know how to put on an amazing event

The parks entrance

The first stop during our morning ERT (Exclusive Ride Time) session was the parks newest coaster "Dare Devil Dive"

It's quite twisty

Next was the parks stand-up coaster, Georgia Scorcher (which is my personal favorite Stand-Up coaster)

And of course, the Georgia Cyclone (seeing a Georgia Theme here?)

One of the best rides, not just at this park, but anywhere, is the classic Mindbender

It may not look like much, but it packs a punch

Monster Mansion is the parks recently re-done dark ride. It's a real treat.

Let's go check out the Monster Picnic

Beware of the Monster Marsh

But just like every story, this one has a happy ending

The park features a really great kids area, and one of the more unique kiddie coasters around.

A little shout out to Sir Clinksalot Jr. who rode his 100th coaster on this trip

Next week, we will continue our look at the park including an amazing back-stage tour.

Might we also suggest that you visit these fine MiceAge/MiceChat attractions for even more Disney and theme park fun:
  • MiceTube - Introducing MiceChat's new channel on YouTube. Kevin Yee and MiceChat Sarah have been uploading entertaining videos weekly, along with many other of your MiceAge and MiceChat favorites.
  • Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
  • Orlando Parkhopper featuring news and photos from Disney World and Orlando area theme parks.
  • In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
  • SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
  • MiceDeals - You won't want to miss out on these great deals for Orlando and Anaheim!
  • Vacationeering - Every Sunday, we feature articles designed to help you create magical family vacation memories!

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Denise Preskitt
SummerInFL Summer's Photo Gallery
Sir Clinksalot

Your Editor - Rixter

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