Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blog Hop: My Blog

This week for our  Babes in Disneyland Blog Hop assignment we were asked to share why we started our blog and any upcoming plans we have involving Disney and our blogs.  I introduced myself a few months ago for the Magical Blogorail Green, so instead of linking back to that post, I'll just repost and change a few things!

Hey y'all! My name is Beth and I'm a mother of 2 boys living in North Alabama. I'm a full time youth director in the United Methodist Church. I love my God, my family, my friends, my youth, Walt Disney World, and Auburn University, to name a few!

I've been blogging for almost a year. Before that, I followed several "Disney Blogs" religiously but never thought to start one of my own. I even had a twitter account just to follow some of the moms and dads on the Mom's Panel. It wasn't until March of 2010 when I heard about the first Disney's Social Media Mom's Celebration that I started a blog of my own. When I read about this event on other blogs and on twitter, I knew I wanted to attend one day and the only way to "get in" would be to be an active Social Media Mom! I had to get on the bandwagon. I started "A Disney Moms Thoughts" on March 20, 2010 and @adisneymom on twitter in August 2010. I originally started both for selfish reasons- I wanted to attend the Social Media Mom's Celebration. But, after over a year, that's not why I do it anymore. Sure, I would love to attend at some point, but if I don't get to, that's OK. I've "met" some really awesome people and have learned more than I thought I could by reading other blogs. In December, during my most recent trip to WDW, I even used some tips and tricks I picked up from fellow bloggers!

I knew I could maintain a blog solely on Disney, specifically Walt Disney World, because I love it that much! I've been to Walt Disney World 15 times and Disneyland once. Right now I'm in the planning phases of trip # 16 in the fall with my 2 year old and my mom! You can read more about my previous trips here. People often ask me why I keep returning to Walt Disney World. I don't have a specific answer, just a few thoughts.

1. The magic that is present at WDW. If you are reading this, you probably "get it"! I'm able to leave everything behind when I head to Walt Disney World. Unlike other vacations, I'm not reminded day in and day out of what I've left behind in Alabama. Disney does a phenomenal job of transforming you into a world of magic where everything is great. It's no wonder children with life threatening illnesses go to Walt Disney World everyday. It's magical.

2. It's never over. There are always plans for the future with Disney- a new park, a new land, a new ride, a new restaurant, a new resort, a new movie, new characters, a new theme, a new parade... I could go on and on. No matter how many times you go or how often you go, there is always something new to see, eat, do or experience. There is also so much to do at Walt Disney World, I don't think you could ever do it all!

3. You can get a glimpse of the vision Walt had. If all companies, businesses, entrepreneurs, churches, schools, etc. had the dream, vision, drive, and imagination Walt had, this would be a different world. We all can learn so much from a man named Walt Disney.

4. Families can really be families at Walt Disney World. There is something for everyone- all ages, all sizes, all genders. Nobody is left out of the fun. For my family growing up and my family now, when we are at WDW it's all about us. We aren't competing with TV shows, ball practices, video games, cell phones, computers and friends. We are one. We play together, eat together, stay together, shop together, ride together, laugh together and sometimes cry together! We all need to learn how to take a bit of this magic home and spend more quality time together!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter at Port Orleans

I know Easter is over, but I just stumbled upon this tidbit of information at Port Orleans News and wanted to share... and so I would have it archived for when I make it to WDW for Easter!  It's on my Bucket List, so hopefully it'll happen one day.

Check out this list of events that happened at PO last Sunday.  You don't even need to visit the parks on Easter Sunday!  Just stay at the Port Orleans for an entire day of family fun.


The following fun events have been scheduled at Port Orleans for Sunday 24 April 2011:
  • 9am - Candy Scramble
    Meet at French Quarter Field between buildings 4 and 5.
  • 9am–2pm - Jellybean Counting Contest
    Try your luck at the Riverside Marina! The winner will be announced at 4:30pm at the Riverside Pool Party.
  • 9am–10:30am - Autographs with Characters
    Meet your favourite Disney Characters at the French Quarter and Riverside lobbies.
  • 10am–11am - Easter Games on the Green
    Meet at French Quarter Field between buildings 4 and 5 for some Easter fun!
  • 12pm–1pm - Cake Walk at the French Quarter Pool
    Want to win a free cake? All you have to do is meet on the French Quarter Pool deck for some cake walk fun, but get there early before the cakes hop away! (While supplies last)
  • 1pm–2pm - French Quarter Pool Party
    Meet on the main pool deck for a splashing good time. All ages welcome, families encouraged.
  • 2pm–3pm - Cupcake Decorating
    Hop on by Riverside Marina to decorate a cupcake! (While supplies last)
  • 3pm–4pm - Cake Walk at the Riverside Pool
    Want to win a free cake? All you have to do is meet on the Riverside Pool deck for some cake walk fun, but get there early before the cakes hop away! (While supplies last)
  • 4pm–5pm - Riverside Pool Party
    Meet at Ol' Man Island on the main pool deck for a splashing good time. All ages welcome, families encouraged. (While supplies last)

Wordless Wednesday: China

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Extra Magic Hours

Recently, I emailed with a friend about planning a WDW vacation.  In my email, I told her to look at the park hours for each day of their vacation and plan around extra magic hours.
thanks to www.swandolphin.com for the image
Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are exactly what it sounds like- extra hours of magic in the parks offered to resort guests.  If you are staying on Walt Disney World property, you can enjoy EMH.  Each day, one park is open early or stays open late for guests to enjoy extra time in the parks with lower crowds on specific attractions.  During EMH, not all areas and attractions will be open.  You can get a guide for the EMH attractions when you enter the park.  If it's a morning EMH, the park is open 1 hour before regular park opening.  If it's evening EMH it will be open up to three hours after regular park closing.  In the summer months, the water parks may participate in EMH too.

I guess there are two thoughts about EMH: 1) Go to the park offering EMH and 2) Don't go to the park offering EMH!  Some people believe that the EMH parks are busier on those days because everyone staying at the resort goes to that particular park.  I have not found that to be the case when I've visited the parks.  But, if you have park hopper passes, you can hop to the park with morning EMH, hop to another park during the day for lower crowds, then hop to another park with evening EMH!  Play the system, if you like, and take FULL advantage of your park hopper option!


I particularly like the morning EMH because a lot of people sleep in on vacation and aren't willing to get up that early and it tends to be cooler in the mornings.  But, I also like the evening EMH for the same reason!  The sun is down, so it's not as hot.  Towards the end of the evening EMH the park has cleared out quite a bit since people are worn out from the long day at the parks and are ready to hit the sack to prepare for the next day's adventures!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday's Memory: DiVine

A few weeks ago, I was reading my friend's blog, Disney on Wheels, and she posted a photo of DiVine at Animal Kingdom.  This gave me inspiration to do my own post about this amazing "woman!"




If you haven't seen DiVine before you are missing out.  You can find DiVine on the trails between Africa and Asia in Animal Kingdom.  She is usually hanging out along the edge of the pathway and if you aren't looking for her, chances are you'll walk right past her without even knowing it (unless there is a swarm of people staring at her and taking photos!)  She has been a part of Animal Kingdom since it opened and has gained more and more popularity as the years have passed.  I would describe DiVine as a humanized vine that reminds me of a sloth.  She walks on stilts and has stilts on her hands as well, so she "walks" on all four.  She doesn't talk.  She just lurks around the trees blending in quite nicely!  She is very slow moving and graceful.  


We have probably seen her 3 or 4 times during our past trips, but I only took pictures during our most recent trip in 2010.  In the past we have been to far back to get a photo, I couldn't get the right angle, or couldn't get a shot before she went away.  I still want to get a picture of her blending in or walking around.  She is quite the performer!  

On your next trip to Animal Kingdom, be on the lookout for DiVIne as you make your way from Kilimanjaro Safari to Expedition Everest!  She is one of those hidden gems most people miss out on because they are in such a rush to get to the next attraction, event, parade or dining reservation!

 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter to all my Disney Friends!

MATTHEW 28:1-7 (NLT)
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Magical Blogorail: Least Favorite Attraction

Welcome to those of you joining me from Adventures of a Disney Princess and those of you who have just hopped aboard.  I am the 5th stop on our Magical Blogorail.


Our topic this month is our least favorite attraction.  This is actually more difficult than I thought.  I have written a post in the past about my 10 attractions I won't do (or don't care to do again) at WDW, but they are not necessarily my least favorites.  From that list 5 made it due to the nature of the ride: Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Primeval Whirl, Mission: SPACE, Circle Vision 360 Movies and Star Tours all made the list because of the motion aspect.  I get dizzy, nauseous, etc on these attractions, so I avoid them at all cost!  Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show are both great attractions, but I've seen them several times and they just don't make me want to see them over and over or hold my interest like some of the other shows (like Beauty and the Beast Stage Show and Festival of the Lion King).


That leaves us with three attractions remaining on my list of 10 attractions I won't do at WDW: Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, Journey into Imagination, and Stitches Great Escape.  I'll strike Journey into Imagination from  my least favorite list just because my son enjoyed it and I still have hope deep inside that they'll change it back to the original ride of the 80s!  As for Sounds Dangerous and Stitches Great Escape it's a toss up.  At least Stitches Great Escape features a Disney Character!  I don't enjoy that attraction, but it does have a tie to a movie that many Disney fans enjoy.  Bonus points for Stitch.


That leaves one attraction left: Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey.  While I do like Drew Carey and I love Whose Line Is It Anyway?, I still don't enjoy that attraction.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I even "did it."  So, that's it.  My least favorite attraction is Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey.


What's your least favorite?!


Thank you for joining us this month. We will be back May 20th with an all new theme, though feel free to keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories.  If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way to the Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their Disney blogs, as well as all our previous blogorail loops.



Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

Final Stop ~ A Disney Mom’s Thoughts

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog Hop: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

This week, our blog hop hosted by Lisa at Babes In Disneyland gave us a great topic: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  I've thought about this topic for a while now and decided to focus on all four of the parks at Walt Disney World to answer the question!  So, here goes.

Magic Kingdom
The Good: Main Street USA.  I could spend all day walking up and down Main Street, shopping, reading signs, taking pictures, people watching, interacting with characters and cast members and watching the parades and shows.  This is my favorite place on all of the WDW property!

The Bad: The Enchanted Tiki Room- Under New Management.  I hate to call an original Disney idea bad, but I just don't enjoy this attraction.  Honestly, I don't remember the original one.  Maybe if they brought it back and took away Iago and Zazu, it would be better?!?  I didn't include this in my "Things I won't do at WDW" post because I will do it just because it's an original!

The Ugly:  When Deb got sick during the marathon as we approached the castle.  I didn't actually see her get sick, so I'm not quite sure how "ugly" it was, but I can only imagine!  This is now what I think of each time I approach the castle!

Epcot

The Good: World Showcase.  Period.  I love walking around WS taking it all in.  Listening to the music, eating the food, watching the people, admiring the architecture are all part of what makes this area so "good!"

The Bad: Beverly.  If you haven't been to Club Cool in Future World, you're missing out on the badness!  Beverly is a Coke product from Itlay that is just bad!

The Ugly: Again, my "ugly" at Epcot is marathon & half marathon related!  Both of these races ended at Epcot. At mile 13.1 and 26.2 I was an ugly mess!!  Being injured for both races made for very ugly finishes!  I think of this each time I'm in the Epcot parking lot now.


Disney's Hollywood Studios/ MGM

The Good: One Man's Dream.  This attraction gives me chills!  It's so good to have a museum, for lack of a better word, all about this amazing man.

The Bad: ABC Soap Weekend.  I know this is now extinct, but my mom and I happened to be at then MGM in 2006 for Soap Weekend.  It was crazy seeing old(er) women walking around in "Luke and Laura" t-shirts standing in line for autographs of soap opera stars.

The Ugly: The feeling I get when I ride Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster back to back.  I've never had to go to the restroom due to sickness, but I have had to spend quite a bit of time sitting on a wall to ease my mind and stomach!  That's an ugly feeling!


Animal Kingdom

The Good: Conservation Fund. The initiative that Disney has towards Conservation is wonderful.  I didn't really experience this at WDW until AK was started.  Each trip we make a donation to the fund and receive a button for our support. 

The Bad: Tarzan Rocks.  This was a show in the now Finding Nemo, the musical stage that ran from 1999-2006.  I only saw it once and swore I wouldn't see it again.  We called it "Tarzan Sucks" instead.  In my opinion, it was a bad show.

The Ugly:  I've had a hard time finding something ugly at Animal Kingdom.  The best I can come up with is the way I look after riding Kali River Rapids!  And no, there are no photos!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Height Restrictions

Before you travel to WDW with children you need to know 2 things.
1. How tall are all of your children?
2. What are the height restrictions on the attractions at WDW?

If you know these two things before you leave for your vacation, you can avoid many tears before they start!  Don't talk about your favorite attractions if there is any chance your children may be too short to ride.  You are only setting them up for disappointment.

WDWinfo has a great app on their web site where you can insert your child's height and it will show you which attractions they are too short to ride.

All Ears offers a great list of height restrictions and intense attractions for little ones.

Disney's Magical Beginnings offers a great print out for you to keep with you in the parks as a reminder of height restrictions.  They also have additional information on traveling with little ones!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Sunday Worship

In 2003 Walt Disney World stopped holding worship services each week at the Contemporary Resort.  They do still hold services on Easter and Christmas.  If you are going to be traveling to WDW this Easter, you may want to worship on property!  Sunday Easter services will be held on April 24 at the Fantasia Ballroom, located at Contemporary Resort.  Here are the scheduled services:
  • Catholic Mass: 8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
  • Protestant Service: 9:00 a.m.
Guests may not park at the Contemporary to attend Easter Services. Guests staying at a monorail resort should use the monorail or watercraft to travel to the Contemporary. Guests staying at other Disney resorts and at off-site accommodations should use Disney transportation to the Magic Kingdom; a shuttle bus will take them to the Contemporary. Monorail resorts – Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian – will have parking restrictions in effect.


If you want to worship in a tradtional church/ sanctuary, here is a list of churches in the area listed alphabetically backwards by denomination so my denomination of choice will be listed first! :)  Contact the church to confirm worship times.
  • United Methodist
    St. Luke's United Methodist Church
    4851 South Apopka-Vineland
    Orlando, FL 32819
    Phone: 407-876-4991
    http://www.st.lukes.org/
  • Unitarian Universalist
    First Unitarian Church of Orlando (welcoming)
    1901 E. Robinson Street
    Orlando, FL
    Phone: 407-898-3621
    http://orlandouu.org/ 
  • Presbyterian
    Korean First Presbyterian Church
    140 Lake Rose Drive
    Orlando, FL
    Phone: 407-295-1199
  • Pentecostal
    India Pentecostal Church
    11414 S Apopka-Vineland Road
    Orlando, FL 32836
    Phone: 407-239-1653
    http://ipcorlando.org/
  • Interdenominational
    Christ Community Church
    5425 S Apopka Vineland Road
    Orlando, FL 32819
    Phone: 407-909-9495
    http://orlandoccc.org/
  • Greek Orthodox
    Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
    1217 Trinity Woods Lane
    Maitland, FL 32751-3159
    Phone: 407-331-4687
    http://www.htgocorlando.org/

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rapunzel's hair

I wish I had the guts to do this to my hair.  It'd be so much easier...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday's Favorites: Adventureland Entrance

Adventureland is not my favorite land in the Magic Kingdom, but these photos are some of my favorites!  During our first family trip to Walt Disney World in 2006 JAG, age 5 1/2,  jumped on the wall and said, "Take my picture here!"  As I got the camera ready, this is what I got from him!

Fast forward to our last trip in 2010.  Again, as we approached Adventureland, JAG, now age 10, got on the same wall and said, "Take my picture."  I laughed inside because I remembered the picture above from 2006.  When I got the camera out, this is what I got this time!
Afte I took the picture,  I asked if he remembered the picture from 2006 and he didn't.  Dad didn't even remember it!  I did!! :)  It's funny how some things never change, no matter how old they get!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Walt vs Sparky

image from rivals.com
Interesting story today on Rivals.com about Arizona State's new uniforms/ helmets for the football team.  I have seen "Sparky" the sun devil mascot for Arizona State for years, but had never heard the story behind it.   Here is a blurb from the article on the website:
"The only major casualty of the redesign: The cartoon Sun Devil himself, Sparky, who was originally incarnated in the late-'40s by alum Bert Anthony, a former Disney artist who allegedly (and probably apocryphally) modeled the Devil's features after his old boss as retribution for being fired. At any rate, the same grinning cartoon Sparky has personified Arizona State athletics for more than six decades, and has lent his quirky brand of satanic mischief to ASU helmets since 1980. The live, costumed mascot itself isn't going anywhere, but on the uniforms? He's nowhere to be found."
 Do you see a resemblance between Sparky and Walt?

Thursday's Thought: Appreciate the small things

Raise your hand if you've ever been to Walt Disney World.  Ok, ok.  If you're reading this, chances are you've been.  Why would you care to read about "A Disney Moms Thoughts" if you've never been to Walt Disney World?  Maybe if you are planning your first trip?  Possibly.  

Anyway, for new park goers and old we sometimes have to remember to slow down.  Disney does a FABULOUS job of making every part of your vacation memorable.  They don't just create rides for us, they design attractions with back stories and plots.  They don't just build buildings, they create back stories and have hidden secrets in the names of the buildings.  They don't just paint murals, they hide hidden mickey's in the artwork.  The details at Disney are impeccable.  You can find them everywhere you look, as long as you aren't rushing from ride to ride attraction to attraction, park to park or to your next dining reservation!

Below are some photos I snapped in a 10 minute walk from the Train Station to the end of Main Street by Casey's Corner.  Amazing what you can find when you slow down, soak it all in and don't rush from one thing to another!  I would love to plan a trip to WDW where I didn't ride the attractions, but instead walked around and looked at all the hidden gems along the way.  (And ate at the fabulous restaurants!)
a "janitor" using water to paint a Mickey!
cast members playing jump rope with park guests
Dapper Dan's (?) singing Christmas Carols to the guests!
The Mayor of Main Street and his entourage!
Balloons on Main Street!
The piano player at Casey's Corner.
My favorite- the Window on Main Street, facing the Castle, dedicated to Walt himself!
For more fabulous details of Walt Disney World check out The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World!  I read this book in about 2 days with a highlighter in hand!  I had pages marked, sectioned highlighted and notes in the margins after I was finished.  This book highlights the best secrets of Walt Disney World!


There is a great article at Mousekingdom Blog about this book.  I definitely think it's a must read for Disney freaks like myself!! :)

Blog Hop Thursday- non disney park photos


Thanks to Lisa from Babes in Disneyland for hosting the Blog Hop again!  I so look forward to Thursdays so I can connect with new Disney fans and catch up with old ones!  I also look forward to someone "telling"me what to blog about!!  Sometimes having an assignment makes it easier.

Welcome to everyone who is new to my blog!  My name is Beth and I've been blogging about Disney (particularly WDW) for over a year now.  I have had a love for Disney for as long as I can remember!  I went to Walt Disney World for the first time as a child in 1983 and have returned an additional 14 times with our next trip in September.  We made it to Disneyland last May for the first time.  What an experience to see the Main Street that Walt once walked!

This week we were asked to post Disney photos that were not park related.  I had a bunch to choose from but had used them in other areas of my blog (or they weren't on this computer), so I've been looking for new ones to use!  Hope you enjoy a little bit of Disney from A Disney Mom's Thoughts! :)


These were from our California trip last spring.  While at a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game, we saw Mickey!  We also stopped at the Disney Soda Fountain in Hollywood for a milkshake and cupcake one afternoon!!


At our house, Cman can't get enough of Toy Story.  The first shot was on Christmas day.  He got Toy Story 3 from Santa and he and Woody sat down on the big pillows to watch it together.  Buzz joined us in January for Cman's 2nd birthday.  So now Cman, Woody and Buzz all sit together to watch the movies!  The second shot is a typical pretty day at our house, "Riding Buzz."  We do this a lot.  On this one particular day Cman was wearing his Woody shirt while riding Buzz.  I thought it was funny so the camera came out with us!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: What will you celebrate?

Attraction Photo Opportunities

One thing our family enjoys at the parks is the photo opportunities on several of the attractions!  All of the parks at Walt Disney World and Disneyland have attractions that take your picture while you are enjoying the ride.  When you exit the ride, you can see your photo on a monitor and if you want to purchase it, you need to remember the number on your "proof" from the monitor.  You can share that number with a cast member and they will offer you a photo package.  The photos begin around $12.  You can visit this web site for additional details about ride photos at Walt Disney World.

These are the attractions you can have your photo taken on at WDW and Disneyland:

Magic Kingdom: Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain

Epcot:  Test Track and Spaceship Earth (this one takes your photo, but you don't have the option to purchase- just have your camera ready!)

Animal Kingdom:  DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

Disneyland, California:  Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain

California Adventure: Tower or Terror, California Screamin'

While you can buy the photo packages or add the photo to your PhotoPass card (on select attractions) there is another option.  As soon as you exit the attraction, have your camera ready, with the flash turned off!  Snap a photo of the monitor to have your "on ride" memories saved.  I have done this several times and have never had a cast member tell me not to do it.  Do you think I'm breaking the rules??  

Here are a few of our families "on ride" memories!
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom at WDW
Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at Disneyland 

Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom at WDW

Splash Mountain in Critter Country at Disneyland 
California Screamin' in Paradise Pier at California Adventure
Tower of Terror in Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California Adventure
Spaceship Earth in Future World at Epcot
Test Track in Future World at Epcot