Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

If you are like our family, you travel with several different electronics. At the Disney Resorts, we have found that there aren't always enough outlets, or they are behind the furniture and hard to reach. My tip is to pack a power strip (or 2 depending on the size of your family or the amount of your electronics) with you. That way you can plug in cell phones, iPods, camera chargers (video and still), handheld video games, computers, etc. It's amazing these days how much we have that requires nightly charging!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday's Memories: The Water Effects Tank

June 18, 1991. It was my 17th birthday and we were at MGM (now Hollywood Studios). We were visiting the "Inside the Magic: Special Effects and Production Tour" and a lady asked if I wanted to be a volunteer. I said yes, not knowing what I was volunteering for. This is what happened next:

I was told to look through the binoculars while someone on the loud speaker told a story... I have no idea what they were saying because I was too busy "acting." The next thing was this:

Apparently my submarine (or whatever I was in) was attacked by the enemy and they started shooting bullets all around me. Luckily, I wasn't hit, nor was my submarine, but it sure did make a big splash!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

an old photo to make me smile

Many, many years ago our family was at MGM (now Disney's Hollywood Studios, but I still call it MGM). Daddy and I were goofing off! This photo makes me smile. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Treats and Desserts at WDW

In my recent Celebrations Magazine there is a great article written by Beci Mahnken from Mouse Fan Travel about the best sweet treats in Disney World... and a few in Disneyland and on the Cruise Lines. Here are her top choices for Sweet Treats:

Fan Favorites:
 Mickey Head Ice Cream Bar
 Funnel Cakes
 Dole Whip
 Cinnamon Roll from the Main Street Bakery
 Beaches & Cream Soda Shop Ice Cream (No Way Jose and the Kitchen Sink)

Hidden Gems:
 Chai Cream from Kidani Village
 Butterfinger Cupcake from Starring Rolls
 Maple Creme Brulee from Le Cellier (or the Chocolate Moose)
 Valrhona Chocolate Cake from California Grill

I'll agree with many of these treats, but will disagree with some and add a few of my own! The Mickey Head Ice Cream Bar is a must- along with the Mickey Head Rice Krispy Treat and Mickey Head Cookies And Cream Sandwich! (Anything Mickey Head is amazing!) The Dole Whip is appreciated by so many, but not my family. We heard so many great reviews about this treat that we all got one on our last trip. I think we all ended up throwing it away. The Cinnamon Rolls, Beaches and Cream and cupcakes from Starring Rolls are definitely on my list for our next trip!

Two other desserts that are high ranking with our family are
1) the Strawberry Shortcake from the Hoop-De-Do Musical Revue Show

2) the Chocolate Covered Apples shaped like Mickey

What are your favorite desserts or treats at WDW? What can't you live without on a visit?

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Magic Your Way"

We've covered the fact that you are going to Disney World and the different things to plan your trip around. We've covered how to get to Disney World and where to stay in Disney World. The next decision you have to make is what type of tickets to buy.

I guess the first thing is that you can combine all of these things: transportation, lodging and tickets if you use the WDW Travel Company. Or you can use a travel agent, AAA or GoGo Vacations. I personally always use WDW Travel. I'm not sure why, but I do. I've never compared prices, but am sure I could save some if I explored other possibilities. Let me know if you have had better luck with other companies or agencies.

"Magic Your Way" base ticket allows everyone in your party admission to one park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom) each day of your visit. You don't have to stay on property to buy/ use base tickets. These are the average entrance tickets to the parks. You can purchase 1-10 days. Unused days will expire after 14 days after the ticket is first used. If you want to visit more than one park in a day you must add the "Park Hopper" option. This will cost $52. You can also add the "Water Park Fun & More" option. This will allow you into the water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Disney Quest (an arcade on steroids), Disney's sports complex, or a round of golf at the Oak Trail golf course. This is also a $52 extra option. You will be able to visit these places between 3-6 times during your vacation depending on the number of days you have on your base ticket. The last option is "No Expiration". For an additional fee (depending on how many days are on your base ticket) you can have unused days good for forever! (I still have 3 unused "no expiration" days from a 10 day park hopper ticket purchased in 2006!)

"Magic Your Way" also lets you customize your vacation if everyone in your party is on the same package and ticket plan. There are different packages within "Magic Your Way":
1. Magic Your Way This package is available to anyone staying at a Disney resort and buying park tickets. You also have unlimited use of WDW Transportation, Extra Magic Hours and the Magical Express transportation service from the Orlando airport. (There may be more perks... check with Disney!)

2. Magic Your Way Plus Dining You get everything mentioned in the Magic Your Way description and a dining plan that includes one quick service meal, a snack, and one meal at a table-service restaurant per person, per night of your vacation.

3. Magic Your Way Plus Quick Service Dining You get the Magic Your Way perks, plus 2 quick service meals, 2 snacks and a refillable mug for each person in your party each day of your stay. Quick Service Dining Plan prices: Adults $31.99 per person per night; children 3-9 $9.99 per person per night

4. Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining Again, you get the Magic Your Way package plus 3 meals a day that can be used at any eatery that participates in the Dining Plan. These can be quick service or table service meals. I believe it also comes with 2 snacks. Deluxe Dining Plan prices: Adults $71.99 per person per night; children 3-9 $20.99 per person per night

5. Magic Your Way Plus Premium Magic Your Way package plus 3 meals a day at any restaurant plus unlimited access to certain recreation opportunities, admission to La Nouba, admission to a children's activity, unlimited admission to theme park tours, preferred viewing for fireworks and shows, a portrait session with photopass photographers and admission to all magical gatherings experiences (if you have more than 8 in your party). Check with Disney for the price!

6. Magic Your Way Plus Platinum The only difference between the Premium and Platinum Package is that this one, Platinum, features a stay at a deluxe Disney resort, plus spa treatments, a fireworks cruise, room service, preferred seating at Fantasmic and opportunities for high end dining at Victoria and Albert's.

Applicable taxes are included in all the packages. Gratuity is typically not included.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where's Mickey?

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney

Now that C-man is 18 months old, he is learning new things everyday. We watch at least 1 episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every morning while he drinks his morning milk. He can properly identify Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck. He knows Pluto is a dog, but hasn't caught on that his name is Pluto! This accomplishment has made me very excited about our upcoming trip in December! I have prepared myself that he will probably be scared to death of the actual characters, so I started thinking of the other ways he can experience the Fab 5... and I'm not getting too far.

Now that Toontown Fair has been closed for the Fantasyland Expansion, there aren't many ways to experience Mickey and his friends. Here's what I've come up with... help me if you have other suggestions:

~Town Square Exposition Hall at MK shows old Mickey cartoons.
~Mickey's Philharmagic at MK
~The Magic of Disney Animation at DHS, kinda. I guess if you choose to draw a character, you can make it one of the 5.
~Playhouse Disney at DHS. This is what I'm most looking forward to!

Besides 2 attractions at MK and 2 at DHS, I am at a loss. I can't believe there isn't any ride/ attraction at any of the 4 parks that is centered around Mickey Mouse and his friends (besides the above.) Remember, I'm not counting character dining or meet and greets. I'm pretty sure C-man will be scared! Camp Minnie Mickey and the Epcot Character Spot are great for connecting with the Fab 5, but still it's not an attraction in my eyes. I'll restate what I started with:

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney

Thursday's Thoughts, Running

Well, as many of you know, I like to run. I wouldn't classify myself as a runner though. I have "run" the WDW Marathon (2003) and WDW half marathon (2008) and several 5Ks in Alabama. I enjoy running, but have a tendency to injure myself when I train for long runs and participate in long runs/ races. I had stress fractures in both shins when I "ran" the full marathon. So technically, I didn't run 26.2 miles. I walked 10 miles and alternated running/ walking for the last 16.2 miles. I ran 8 of the 13.1 miles in the half marathon when I pulled my i.t. band. I stretched and ran/ walked the remaining 5.1 miles. When I returned home and went to the doc, he found stress fractures in my left foot... past ones that had calcified and I never knew I had and current ones from the race.

I became pregnant with C-man in May 2008. I really haven't run any since then. Last week, my husband signed me up for a 5K in our hometown... I guess it's time to start running again! I got out my running shoes, running clothes, sports bra, Ipod arm band, running playlist, bottle of water and hit the road. I programmed the "Map My Run" app on my phone to record my distance and pace. I ended up going 1.5 miles at a 12 minute mile pace. Not too shabby, I don't guess!

So, all this "running" made me reminisce about the marathon and half marathon in WDW. I started looking at the old trail maps and thinking about all the trails in the DIsney World Resort. I found a fabulous web site for Disney Running. It has great maps of routes at the different resorts, info on races at WDW and DL and a forum to ask questions and build relationships.

After reading this web site and thinking of my own running experiences, I thought I would post a list of things to consider when running in Disney World.
1. Orlando can be very warm or hot most of the year. It's also very humid. It is best to run early in the morning and have plenty of water to drink! If you aren't a morning runner, like me, try taking a break from the parks in the afternoon for a run. The rest of your party can swim or take naps!
2. Remember you are on vacation and you will do plenty of walking while you are in the parks. Don't push yourself too hard on your runs because you will log many miles walking during the day.
3. Don't wear your running shoes into the park. Bring a different pair for parks. This will help your running shoes care for your feet better!
4. Remember to run like you drive- stay to the right of the path. Other runners can pass you coming in the opposite direction. Pay attention to other runners, walkers, bikers and vacationers. You are sharing these paths with others! Also be cautious in parking lots. Drivers aren't always looking for joggers!
5. If you wear earphones, try wearing just one. That way you can hear other people, kids, cars and bikes that may be approaching. It can help avoid injuries!
6. Don't run on the golf courses at WDW. They are for golfers only.
7. Don't be so focused on you run and logging your miles that you forget to appreciate all WDW has to offer! Just as the resorts and parks have wonderful things to admire, so do the trails, paths and sidewalks!

Hopefully these Thursday's thoughts will help you if you plan to run on your next trip to Walt Disney World!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy Anniversary! On July 17, 1955 Disneyland Park opened in California!! Here is a fabulous article from the Disney blog remembering the past 55 years!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

hat's off to you!

This summer has been hectic to say the least. This has been my schedule since the first of June:
June 6-9= youth week at church each night 5-10.
June 12-19= New York City and Washington DC with 6 senior high youth
June 20-26= home/ work
June 27-July 2= Nashville, TN with the junior high youth mission trip
July 3-10= home/ work
July 11-17= San Antonio, TX with the senior high youth mission trip

When I have been home I've had so much to do to catch up from being gone or preparing to leave again, I haven't had time to collect any thoughts for this blog. I apologize... not that anyone reads it! ha!

So tonight I'm going to reflect once again on one of my favorite trips to the world. In December of 2001 my family went to WDW with Lisa and Heath. This was the trip the squished penny collecting was born, we rode the monorail with Dan and enjoyed making life long memories in all the parks!

While at WDW, it's so easy to get sucked into the "I must buy everything that has anything to do with Disney" syndrome. Buying the crazy hats is one of those things. I agree, you must own a pair of Mickey Ears... but all the other "themed" hats end up in the closet, collecting dust, until the next trip to the world. Nobody ever wears the huge Goofy hat out in public in their hometown. So, while you are in WDW, if you don't want to purchase your favorite crazy hat, just put it on and take a photo!! It's a "free" souvenir and you won't end up with a $15-$20 hat in your closet to collect dust!