Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 55th Anniversary Oscar Martinez!


Oscar Martinez celebrated his 55th anniversary with the Walt Disney Company on December 29.  He started working at Disneyland in 1956 as a busboy at the age of 21.  He climbed his way up the ladder overt he years to becoming a Chef and now is an official Ambassador for Carnation Cafe.

I was very, very fortunate to meet him during our one trip to Disneyland in 2010.  I didn't even know who he was when I met him.  He approached our table and started talking.  After asking some questions, I realized he was important.  I asked for a picture and autograph, then he went inside to bring me a pamphlet for Disney employees.  It was after the trip when I learned just what an icon he is!
image from OC Register 
Oscar was presented with a bronze Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs statue to commemorate his 55 years of service as one of the longest tenured employees with the company.   You can read great articles from the OC Register here and here.

Congratulations to my friend, Oscar!  May you have many, many more magical years at Disneyland!


Seven Dwarfs at MVMCP

We were fortunate to meet all 7 of the dwarfs from Snow White during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in 2010.  We stood in line for almost 45 minutes to meet these guys.  They were in Fantasyland across from Peter Pan where the old Skyway to Tomorrowland was located.  One thing I didn't like was how rushed we were, but we were able to get several photos.  The only bad thing was that the Wishes fireworks were going on while we were meeting the dwarfs, so both of the boys were wanting to watch the fireworks over our heads rather than look at the camera! We did not have a chance to get any autographs- just the picture.  I liked seeing them in their Christmas attire- hats and scarves!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Abu

I love this picture!  We met Abu and Genie at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in December 2010.  They were in Adventureland near the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  We spent time "talking" with them, got our photo and autograph.  The cast member who was assisting these guys was a student at Alabama A&M (which is in Huntsville, AL- 30 minutes from our home) so we spent more time talking to her than the characters!  What I love about this picture is that the characters are in their Holiday scarves!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surviving New Year's Eve at WDW

image from disneydreaming.com
With New Year's Eve fast approaching, I scoured the internet looking for all the events/ activities going on at the Walt Disney World Parks on December 31, 2011.  You can find those details at the end of this post.  Before you get to that information, I'm sharing some thoughts on surviving New Year's Eve at WDW!  I've been able to spend 2 New Year's Eve nights at WDW- one at the Magic Kingdom and 1 at then MGM Studios.  Here are a few tips to help you out:

1- Decide on the park you want to visit on December 31 and plan to stay the whole day at that park!  Arrive early to ensure you get in before they reach capacity.  Do not plan on park hopping, even if you have that option on your ticket.
2- Yes, if you are staying on property you are guaranteed entry into a park- but it may not be your first choice park.  Look back at tip 1- arrive early to get into your park of choice!
3- When you decide on the park where you will spend New Year's Eve, make dining reservations for that park.  If you have reservations at another park and plan on "hopping over" to make your dining plan, you will not be allowed in (even with reservations) if the park is at capacity.
4- Decide what attractions are on your MUST DO list.  Hit these first- even if the line is 90+ minutes (it won't get any shorter!).  If they offer FASTPASS, grab them early!  The parks will be packed on NYE, so hit those on your must do list early.  FASTPASSes can run out later in the day.
5- Don't get discouraged if you don't get to ride, see, do and eat all you want to on New Year's Eve.  With the crowds, it'll be impossible to do it all.  That's the beauty of "next time!"
6- Pack for all types of weather.  Dress in or bring layers and rain gear.  You can always rent a locker (do this early on before they run out) to stash the things you don't need.
7- There will be special events and entertainment throughout the day on NYE.  Get a Times Guide along with a park map when you enter.  Check out http://wdwent.com/ before you get to the parks to see what extra entertainment will be going on!

Park Hours and Events 12/31/11:

Magic Kingdom- 8am-2am
  • "Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it!" parade and street party (11:00, 12:30 & 5:30)
  • "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade"(12:00 & 3:30)
  • "SpectroMagic" parade of lights and music (7:00 & 10:30)
  • "Holiday Wishes" Fireworks (8:30)
  • "Fantasy in the Sky" Fireworks (11:51)
Epcot- 8:00-1:00
  • "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" (7:00 &11:42)
Disney's Hollywood Studios- 8:00-12:00
  • "Fantasmic!" (6:30 & 8:00)
  • "Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" band performance back to back with a DJ at Mickey's Sorcerer Hat. (DJ starting at 6:30) ("Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 & 11:00)
  • "Lights, Camera, Happy New Year" fireworks show with "Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" (11:55)
For more detailed info on the hours, parades, fireworks and details of this holiday week, please visit Your First Visit!

Pocahontas

Even though I don't like Pocahontas (don't shoot me, please!) I still stood in line to meet her!  Cman was not interested, so I had to go solo.  We met her at Rafiki's Planet Watch in September of 2011.  I got the photo and autograph at the same time.  


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meeting Handy Manny at DL



When we visited Disneyland in 2010, I only saw one character that was "new" for me: Handy Manny! We were at Disney's California Adventure walking down the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area.  He was standing by himself without anyone around, so I jumped at the chance to meet him, get a photo and an autograph!!  It's been a long time since I've seen a character at WDW without a line!

Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Calendar Cover


While this picture is  a tad cluttered and ideally I would love for me and Cman to be the only ones on Main Street, I still love it!  Just me and my baby boy walking "right down the middle of Main Street USA!" This would be the cover of my 2012 WDW calendar!


Focused on the Magic

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas~ Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade

Thanks to abc.go.com for the image
Don't forget to watch the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade today! It will be at 12:00pm Eastern/ 11:00am Central.  You can see who and what to expect on ABC's web site (linked above).

If you are like me, I'll be at church at 11:00 today, so I'll have my DVR set to record this event!  And yes, I told my pastor I was upset that he was making me choose between Jesus and Mickey at 11:00 on Christmas morning! ;)

I always look forward to this parade and am able to live vicariously through the show!  If you have been keeping up with my blog this week, you know I've been counting down my top 6 Christmas things at WDW.  When I watch the Christmas Day Parade, I'm always able to catch glimpses of my favorite Christmas things at WDW.  I'm sure this year will be no exception.  Tune in, or set your DVR!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top 6 Things I LOVE about Christmas at WDW: #1

Number 1: Candlelight Processional


The number one thing on my list is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.  I love hearing the story of Jesus Christ's birth.  That is what Christmas is all about.  While I do love the "secular" part of Christmas, the presents, decorations, lights, Santas, wreaths and trees, we wouldn't have any of that without a birth to celebrate.  I'm so happy that my favorite place, Walt Disney World, has a special place to share this life changing story with those who will listen.  Christmas carols and hymns are my favorite songs and hearing them sung by a massive choir sends chill bumps up my spine and brings a tear (or two or three) to my eye!  

Here is a blurb from the WDW web site

"Candlelight Processional is a special holiday event held nightly at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot theme park as part of Holidays Around The World. The event retells the stirring story of Christmas with a special celebrity narrator † accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.

Candlelight Processional is a terrific way to get in the Christmas spirit and to share the magic of the season with your family and friends. The event has become an essential family tradition for many Guests — once you experience it, you will be inspired to share it every year with the ones you love."



For unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government 
Shall be upon His shoulder 
And his name shall be called 
Wonderful 
Counselor 
The Mighty God 
The Everlasting Father 
The Prince of Peace.

~George Frideric Handel





Focused on the Magic

Friday, December 23, 2011

Destination Disney: Z



 The last of the Alphabet... kinda sad!  I've looked forward to these posts for the last 26 weeks.  I'm excited about what 2012 will bring with Heidi's Destination Disney Meme!  Thanks, once again, for hosting this hop!
JAG and C-man with Zurg

photo from baynews9.com
Zazu from the Enchanted Tiki Room

photo from amazon.com
Zero to Hero

Zip a dee doo dah!!



Magical Blogorail Green: A Disney Resolution



Welcome to those of you joining me from Adventures of a Disney Princess and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.


According to Wikipedia, a "New Year resolution" is a commitment that an individual makes to one or more lasting personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit.  So, in thinking about a New Year Resolution: Disney Style, I've come up with several things.  Maybe they are more along the lines of "to do" rather than resolutions, but oh well!  Or are "to dos" resolutions?!


1) Revamp Blog 
I've wanted to do this for a while, but didn't know where to start.  I've slowly taught myself how to make some of the changes I want to make- thanks to several of my blogorail friends, youtube videos and google searches!  Hopefully in 2012 I'll have my blog looking the way I want it to- without having to hire someone to do the changes for me!


2) Learn to use my DSLR camera before my trip(s) to WDW
I'm learning.  I have several books on my Christmas list that will help me learn how to shoot in manual mode rather than auto all the time.  Again, I've learned from my blogorail buddies who are photographers, found some pretty detailed blogs and web sites with tutorials and found some youtube videos to help with shooting in manual mode.  I've also found some accessories I need want that will help perfect my skills- a new tripod, a wireless shutter remote, and lens filters.  Once I get the "stuff" I need want, and read my books, and search the internet, I'll be all ready to take the perfect shots while I'm in WDW next year.  Then, those pictures will be used to help me with Resolution #1!!


3) Have a Magical Experience with my husband at WDW
My husband and I are taking our first vacation together, sans kids, in almost five years!  Guess where we are going?! ;)  Yes, Walt Disney World.  We will be going for a week this year and we have a rough plan and dining reservations made.  All of our table service restaurants will be new experiences for each of us.  My goal, or resolution, for this trip is to slow down and enjoy!  I want to have a magical experience with my husband at WDW, not necessarily with Walt Disney World.  I hope that makes sense!  


4) Continue to make Disney Magic with my son
I try to bring the Disney Magic home as often as I can.  My son will be three in January and he is so much fun to be around!  This past year we have had a celebration at home for a new princess, a birthday party for Mickey Mouse, we made Hunny Bee cookies to celebrate the new Winnie the Pooh movie, we've watched more Disney movies and cartoons than I can even count, we've searched for hidden Mickey's and we have played with "my guys."  My last Disney Resolution is to continue this fun with my son and make new Disney memories with him- without having to go to the parks!


Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Walt Disney World: Not Just For Kids.


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


1st Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic

Top 6 Things I LOVE about Christmas at WDW: #2

Number 2: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party


WOW!  Have you been to this event? It's fabulous.  I wrote about it here for a Magical Blogorail Christmas at WDW post, so I won't write about it again.  But I will share some pictures from our experience!

Gotta love seeing the light up balloon showing where the hot chocolate and cookies were located!




The parade, "Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade" was spectacular!  I wish I had taken better pictures, but I did the best I could with where I was in the crowd!  Santa ended the parade with his reindeer and all the characters were present.  Goofy's float smelled like delicious candy- my favorite float.  The gingerbread men and toy soldiers were my favorite characters- probably because you can only see them at Christmas!

Another favorite is seeing the characters dressed up in their Christmas and winter finest.  We didn't meet many characters that night because we were rushing around so much.  If I went without kids, I would spend more time with characters, especially the "rare" ones!


Here is the brochure for the party in 2010.  If you have the chance to participate in this party, I would highly suggest it!  It's one of my best Disney memories!



Focused on the Magic


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from WDW

Did you see this video on the Disney Parks Blog today?  I've watched it several times now and I cry each time I see it!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Top 6 Things I LOVE about Christmas at WDW: #3

Number 3: Decorations
I love Christmas!  I love everything about it and when I can be at Walt Disney World with all the decorations, I'm in heaven!  Everything is decorated- the resorts, the buildings, the gardens and even the attractions.  It seems like everywhere you turn there are lights, bows, ornaments, wreaths, plants and trees to help ring in the season.  Enjoy a few shots of my favorite decorations at Walt Disney World in 2010.

Tree at the Polynesian Resort

Building decorations at Germany in Epcot

Town Square, Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Train Station Entrance 

Light Posts on Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom

Wooden Soldier, Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom

Outside Disney's Hollywood Studios

Decorated Rosemary "tree" on Living with the Land at Epcot

Cinderella's Castle with lights in the Magic Kingdom

Even a menorah at the Contemporary Resort for Chanukah  
While we don't have a tree dedicated to Disney at our house, we do have many touches of Disney in our Christmas decorations!  You can see some of our treasures here!


Focused on the Magic