Thursday, December 30, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
- Renting a car was one the smartest things we did. Once again, the monorail went down (how do you run your car into one of the monorail pillars? Seriously people). It was so nice not to worry about leaving extra time to get to places and waiting for busses and such.
- Once again, the weather in December was completely unpredictable. We had a few days of wonderful weather, and a few days where it was cool and windy. But, we only had 20 minutes of rain on one day all week, so that was a plus.
- Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe is an event. Plan on at least 90 minutes to wait for your food and to eat. However, hearing your friends yell inappropriate things to the kids doing pony rides is a great memory!
- Doing Space Mountain 5 times in one day is enough to make anyone a little dizzy. And same with Everest.
- I am so glad I didn't take Matthew on his fifth ride of Everest for the day (thank you Cade and Rora!). Someone on the car ahead of them puked- and even though I am a mom and a nurse, I don't do puke.
- Journey into Imagination makes me want to poke my eyes out. And so does Circle of Life. And so does the Norway movie. All of which we did on the same day. Low point
- Watching Lights, Motor, Action from VIP seating is AWESOME! Matthew loved that show, and watching his face as Herbie split in two was priceless.
- The Osbourne Lights are so cool! I never realized it snowed during the show!
- Dinner at 1900 Park Fare was great- we walked in not knowing quite what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised. Matthew still doesn't know what to make of the face characters- but us adults had fun interacting with them.
- Breakfast at 'Ohana was a fail. It was the same food as Whispering Canyon, but not as good. And it just seemed very rushed and uncoordinated.
- Hoop Dee Doo Review is a great show- and the best part is watching Matthew laugh his way through it.
- It was wonderful seeing so many friends on this trip. Spending time with them at WDW during the holiday season was a memory I will always love!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I recently had one of the most amazing experiences I could have ever imagined- a Behind-the-Scenes look of the new Times Square Disney Store! I was able to have this wonderful experience courtesy of the Disney Store President (Jim Fielding) and a contest he had on Twitter. The event was a pre-opening behind-the-scenes look of the new store that included a continental breakfast, remarks by Jim Fielding, and the chance to meet Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid. It was everything, and more, that you would expect.
I had entered the contest on Twitter, never expecting to win. When I got the Direct Message from Jim Fielding, I literally squealed with delight. I was on the phone with my mom, who doesn’t completely understand my Disney obsession. I replied to the DM with my email address, as requested, so his team could be in contact with me.
Very soon after that, I got the first of several emails. I was surprised, although I shouldn’t have been, at the efficiency of the team. The emails contained information about the event, making me even MORE excited. Then, a little bit later that evening, I got a phone call from Mark congratulating me again and discussing a little bit more about the event. I didn’t know who Mark was, but I assumed he was an administrative assistant or someone along those lines. When I got home, I Googled Mark (oh come on- you would do it too….) and my jaw dropped when I realized he is in charge of Experiential Marketing and Guest Experience at The Disney Store. Wow- Disney does this right!
I couldn’t keep the grin off my face that whole evening. I was so excited I was ready to burst- I finally called up my friend Lea, who I knew would understand and share my level of giddiness.
When it dawned on Mike and I that the NYC Marathon would be going on that Sunday morning, we decided not to hassle with trying to get into the city on Sunday, so we booked a hotel room and went into the city on Saturday (that experience will be a whole other blog post!).
We arrived at The Disney Store about 7:20 in the morning. Check-in started at 7:30- luckily we were able to wait in the small lobby of the store, and not outside. It wasn’t the warmest day in NYC. Promptly at 7:30, they opened the doors and let us in. When I told them my name, the person checking me in exclaimed “Hey- you’re the Twitter winner. Congratulations!” I have to admit- that was pretty cool. We got our wristbands and entered in.
We had about a half hour to explore the lower level of the store. We made a bee-line for the special vinyls- we got the Statue of Liberty 3” vinyl, one 9” Taxi vinyl, and one 9”graffiti vinyl.
What stands out the most about the shopping experience was how helpful the Cast Members were- it was like having a personal shopper in the Disney Store. They were getting merchandise for you, escorting you places, carrying bags… Really- could it get any better than that??? We also picked up one of the limited edition prints of Ariel that were created just for this event.
The Limited Edition Ariel print
Somehow, with all the time and looking around we did on the first floor, we totally missed that they had pins. Mike was bummed when he found out, because they have some really cool NYC pins. They had some new t-shirts and such that were really cool! People who know me, know that I don’t wear much Disney apparel, but even I couldn’t pass up this cool Cinderella shirt!
I believe they let in about 150 people for the event, and seems that they had about 75 Cast Members on hand to help. We felt totally pampered and special!
At 8:00 we were allowed to go upstairs into the “Imagination Park” section of the store. My first thought upon going upstairs was simply “Wow”. There was a ton of merchandise, but the store had a nice wide-open feel. All above were cute murals of various Disney scenes and characters- there was one scene with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and the Darling children flying above a London skyline that featured Mary Poppins. There was another section of wall that featured Winnie the Pooh floating above a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
They also have three trees located throughout the second floor- each tree has a Hidden Mickey on it somewhere.
Can you find the Hidden Mickeys?
And no, I never did find any of them. Of course, I didn’t really spend the time to look either- there was just so much going on! I was amazed at all the different merchandise in the store - a whole wall for Tangled, an entire alcove devoted to Marvel Superheroes, and sections for Toy Story, Cars (complete with RideMakerz experience), and even Phineas and Ferb.
As we walked around the upstairs, I just went around with my mouth open. We grabbed a little bit of breakfast, and grabbed a spot to listen to Jim Fielding say a few words.
I have followed Jim on Twitter for a while (and if you are a Disney fan and not following him at @disneystoreprez- shame on you!!!) and he is an absolute genuine, down-to-earth person. He spoke about the history of the store and what the expectations of the store are. It was really interesting hearing about the back story of the store, why they wanted that particular Times Square space, and what it takes to keep that store going- there are Cast Members working 24 hours a day! He also surprised me when he noticed me standing there and called me out as the winner of his Twitter contest. And even more surprising, he did this unprompted and without having met me in person yet- he really does value his Twitter experience.
After Jim spoke, we were introduced to Jodi Benson- the voice of Ariel. At this point, Mike just glazed over and became focused on meeting her. His favorite princess has always been Ariel (I think it’s because of the sea-shells), and he was so excited to get a chance to meet her and have his picture taken with her.
Meeting Jodi Benson. Notice where Mike is...
She also signed our print that we bought.
What makes this different than other Disney stores is that it’s interactive- using a touch screen, you can select what you want to see. Well, every day, they pick a child to “Unlock Imagination” in the morning. One of the Cast Members that we met was Suzanne, the general manager. She asked Matthew if he wanted to be the child who “Unlocked Imagination”. Matthew jumped on this chance and was beyond excited to be able to do this. The employees made a big deal of walking the huge key out to him and then making an announcement for everyone to come and watch.
After Matthew unlocked Imagination, he was able to go in and pick what he wanted to see on the screen (the “Squirrel in my Pants” music video).
The Cast Members then gave him his own, smaller, replica key.
My son also experienced the RideMakerz car-building experience. He picked out his own car parts and got to put them together.
He picked out the black Mater (because he looks like we went though a fire- the mind of a 6 year old) and found wheels with his favorite colors.
Putting Mater together
He then put various number decals on him. When he was done making his car, the Cast Member made a big deal about presenting him with the key to his very own car. I don’t think I have ever seen my son with a grin so big!
This was such an unbelievable experience for us all. We were in the store about 2 hours, and barely scratched the surface. The Cast Members are some of the best we have ever met and really represent some of Disney’s best. We came away remembering that Disney is more than just princesses and a castle- it’s something you hold deep inside of you. But I think the whole experience can best be summed up by Matthew’s words as we were leaving- “This was too amazing to be real.”
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
- Crossing two more Disney hotels off my bucket list- I stayed at Old Key West and All-Star Sports for the first time.
- Crossing Biergarten, Paradiso 37, and Olivia's off my Disney restaurant bucket list.
- Going to breakfast at a public restaurant in my pajamas.
- I will never look at potato dumplings the same again.
- All weekend, I was part of a group of "those" people. And being "those" people in the stretching room of the Haunted Mansion- awesome is not a strong enough word.
- As much as I love Whispering Canyon Cafe, the service at there was an epic failure. (OK, so this is a low-light, but the service was SO bad it really stands out)
- Seeing the Witch from Snow White, the 7 dwarves, and Cinderella's coach at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
- I was a little underwhelmed with the Food and Wine Festival. The lines at the booths were always so long you couldn't really get any food.
- Running in a 5K at WDW through a relatively empty Magic Kingdom.
- Getting to meet and talk to Steve Barrett (AKA the Hidden Mickey Guy).
- Going three days on just 9 hours of sleep.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
- I was in corral 18- that was a long walk from the starting line.
- The way the course wound around the city, mile 4 was right back at the start line. It was very depressing waiting in the corral to start and seeing the leaders pass us... 18 minutes in, they were through 4 miles.
- Running through Philadelphia, you encounter many smells. Some good, many sewer-like.
- Why do people stand as a spectator of a RUNNING race and smoke a cigarette or cigar?
- It would've been nice if someone had gone through the course on race morning and removed the dead animals from the road- I had a really close encounter with a dead raccoon.
- ING runs a very organized race.
- I was very glad we stayed the night before in Philly. It was nice not having to drive downtown and mess with crowds in the early morning, and it was great to be able to have Mike drive me home.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
refreshing treasure unwrapped
chocolate lips licked
There are also poems that remind me of friends and times shared at Disney World
early a.m. sounds
over coffee and pastry
main street crescendo
Every person with a love of Disney, be it Disney World, Disneyland, or Walt Disney himself, will find something in this book that speaks to them. Also, even when the poem doesn't speak to you, because let's face it- they don't all hit home, it's still fun trying to figure out what part of Disney Brad was using as his muse. To sum it up, this book is a must-own for any true Disney fan.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
- Seeing my husband's family and Matthew getting to know his cousins. They quickly became the best of friends.
- Watching the changing landscape as we drove from Portland, Or. to Anaheim, Ca. We saw desert, mountains, cliffs, etc. It was quite impressive.
- Spending time with my grandmother, who I hadn't seen in 20 years and who had never met Matthew or Mike. I also got to see aunts and cousins I hadn't seen in many, many years.
- Our weekend in San Francisco: Thanks to Matthew we now refer to it as Fisherman's Barf, and we also biked across the (cold and windy) Golden Gate Bridge.
- Exploring Disneyland and California Adventure- and being lucky enough to see World of Color twice!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Lately, I have been thinking about friends quite a bit. And as I was thinking, it dawned on me that friends can be divided into three categories- Real, Virtual, and Imaginary. Of course, you're probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. Let me explain--
Real friends- These are people that are a friend through and through. They stick by you when the times are bad, they don't expect you to act perfect, they make sure you're OK when you aren't yourself. Real friends are a true find- when you find one (or many) you need to keep them.
Virtual friends- This is my term for the people that you meet online, that you haven't met in person. Many of us have lots of virtual friends- we know them online, and we may know a lot about them- but chances are, we wouldn't recognize them if they were behind us in a supermarket line.
Imaginary friends- These are people that can be either Real or Virtual friends, but what makes them imaginary is that they disappear. They may disappear from your life after a few days, or a few years. But, when things get tough or change, they don't stick around. You always won't know a friend is Imaginary- sometimes you think they're Real until they're gone.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have learned a lot about friends. I learned that, sometimes, when you meet Virtual friends, they instantly can become Real friends. And, I learned the hard way, that people you think are Real friends, are actually only Imaginary.
I was recently with a group of people who started out as Virtual friends- but what was amazing to me was how quickly we all became Real friends. And I miss each and everyone of them everyday. (And yes, I do think Virtual friends can be Real friends without ever meeting in person...)
Real friends are hard to find- and when you do find a Real friend, make sure that you are a Real friend to them, and that you keep them in your life in whatever way works for you.