As a Neurotic Disney Canadian Mom, I constantly strive to find Disneyesque experiences for me and my family. Whenever we go to a city with a Disney store I always insist we visit. Before entering, I close my eyes and let the Disney music from inside the store fill my mind. When I open my eyes and enter the store I let myself imagine I am in the Emporium. Yes, it may be smaller, but in my mind I am walking the aisles of my favorite Walt Disney World store. To me, the Disney store is my own private portal to WDW.
This last weekend I was amazed to find another portal. My NDD10 was competing in a large Dance Competition in Blue Mountain Resort, near Collingwood Ontario. I had not visited the area since my own childhood and was anxious to see the area. The competition and our hotel were situated in the “Village” which is the touristy area at the bottom of the main ski runs. The temperature for the weekend was in the mid 20s Celsius. (which is in the 70s Fahrenheit) but the ski hill was still open due to the fabulous base of snow.
The Village is made up of meandering cobblestone streets that wind around and are filled with boutiques and cafe-style restaurants. The shops range in variety from sports/ski shops to candy and clothing. There is also a “paint your own pottery” shop and a kitschy pet shop. These narrow streets surround a small man-made lake and are for pedestrians only. Visitors must park in one of the parking lots around the exterior of the village. (Sound familiar?)
We arrived late in the evening on our first night there, and I was unable to explore my surroundings. The next morning we were able to wander around the Village before NDD needed to get ready for her first dance. We headed out into the cobblestone streets and I was instantly transfixed. I knew I had been here before…but when? That was when NDD said in a quiet voice “Mom, it’s like we’re in Downtown Disney!” I was frozen as my own portal into the “Disney Village Marketplace” (as I still call it) opened up. The meandering Streets around the lake with stores, eateries, and boutiques were my own Canadian version of Disney. Even the music piped into the Streets had a Disney feel. Yes, this village opened up to a picturesque ski hill, but it still contained that magical feel of being totally removed from the real world that WDW does so well.
The only other difference to the feel of the Village is that the hotels are above the shops and restaurants in 3 story condo units. Our hotel room was a one bedroom suite complete with fireplace and kitchen and had a breathtaking view of the hill and the village Streets. Imagine if you could actually book a hotel room right in Downtown Disney. You could be right above one of your favorite shops (hello, Lego Store!) We spent the free time of our weekend exploring the shops, and wandering around the lake. We didn’t want to leave!
Thankfully, NDD’s dance competition was in the Conference Center attached to the Village, so we were able to go back to “my portal” many times over the weekend. NDD danced beautifully and achieved some fabulous marks from the judges, and we are anxious to go back to Blue Mountain. Living in Canada means that I can’t go back to WDW as often as some of my Neurotic Disney friends, but I am always happy to find new “portals” that allow me to feel like I’m there.
Contributed by: Marybeth Caliciuri (NDM#6) Marybeth is the DDL Scrapbooking Blogger.