Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My experience with Disney's DAS card

Disney recently changed its policy regarding disabled guests and how they could access rides (for the official policy from Disney, see here). We just got back from a trip to WDW with my parents where I experienced these changes first hand. And let me say, I am NOT impressed. The changes do not help those who need it- in fact, the policy is confusing and not handled well.

This was my parent's fourth trip to WDW with us, and for her previous three trips, she had a GAC (Guest Access Card) that allowed her to enter an attraction through an alternate entrance- usually the fastpass line. My mom has arthritis in her back, hips, left knee, and feet. She had a total right knee replacement in February of 2012. Thanks to her knee replacement, she is now able to walk without pain- although she is quite slow. However, she can't do stairs (she doesn't trust the strength of her knee on stairs), and she is unable to stand in lines well.

On our first day at WDW, we went to Hollywood Studios. We stopped at Guest Relations with her GAC from a previous trip, and explained her limitations to them. They told her she didn't qualify for a DAS (Disability Access Service) card because she could use a courtesy wheelchair (that is supposed to available at every attraction) in the queues. I explained again that she was unable to do stairs, and how would a wheelchair help her in queues with stairs? I was told again that she could use a wheelchair that was available at the attraction. I felt that the Cast Member at Guest Relations wasn't truly listening to what I was saying, but simply repeating the stock line of "use the courtesy wheelchair." Maybe it's because I'm a blonde, but I don't understand how I am suppose to push my mom up and down stairs in a wheelchair. So, we left Guest Relations and just went into the park.

We had FastPasses for Toy Story Mania, so we decided to just talk to the Cast Members at the attraction and tell them her limitation. We explained to the first Cast Member who looked at our FastPasses, and they said to simply tell the next Cast Member. We then told the Cast Member who took our FastPasses, and without delay, they sent us up the ramp to the handicap loading area. They were all very nice and polite about the situation.

The next day, we went to the Magic Kingdom, and knowing that two of my mom's favorite rides have stairs (Tomorrowland Speedway and Splash Mountain), we asked again at Guest Relations about a DAS card. For the second day in a row, I was told to put her in a wheelchair for stairs. Again, I tried to explain that I didn't see how that would work, and was told to use a wheelchair. By this point, I was getting rather frustrated that Guest Relations wasn't listening and was simply saying the same thing over and over. So once again, we figured we would just see how it went at the rides.

The first ride she did was Splash Mountain. The Cast Member at the entrance was great. He escorted her and Matthew (the only ones riding) to a second Cast Member, who took them through the exit and onto the ride. They both said the experience was a very good one. Later in the ay, we went to Tomorrowland Speedway. Now, she not only can't do stairs, but she also needs extra time getting in and out of the car. We explained this to the Cast Member at the entrance to the attraction, and the first thing he asked us was "Does she have a DAS pass for that? She should have one." I explained to him that she had been denied one, and he looked at me like I had three heads. But, he immediately took her in through the alternate entrance and was extremely polite and nice. He explained that she would enter and exit this way, and that she could have as much time as she needed getting in and out of the car. I thought it was very interesting that the Cast Members at the rides were expecting at DAS card while we had been told repeatedly that she didn't need one.

Our fourth day we went to Animal Kingdom, and mom was still proud of the fact that she was walking around, but she was definitely getting slower and the crazy hot and humid days were starting to take their toll on her. We obtained FastPasses for the Safari (again, doing what Disney suggested to minimize her time in lines) and went to the line at our return time. For whatever reason, the FastPass return line was over 30 minutes and not moving. Mom knew at this point that standing in one place wasn't going to happen at this point and had finally ok'd sitting in a wheelchair. There was a Cast Member walking through the line telling us it would be a few minutes before the line started moving. We told her that my mom couldn't stand in one place for long and the Cast Member told us "The line will start moving again before too much longer." Well, that's great, but for the time being, my mom was still standing and definitely wilting. Again, we told the Cast Member "She can't stand for long- is there anything that can be done for her?" The Cast Member repeated her statement that "The line will move soon." It's my understanding- based on what I had been told repeatedly at Guest Relations- that she should have been offered a courtesy wheelchair. This didn't happen.

All in all, I ended up going to Guest Relations five times over seven days in the parks. Every time, I walked out more and more frustrated. I felt that I was NOT being listened to. In fact, two of the times I went with complaints about how we were treated by Cast Members, nothing was written down. Guest Relations simply said "Sorry, that shouldn't have happened" and sent us on our way. There seems to be a huge disconnect with what guests are being told at Guest Relations and what is actually happening at the rides. The new DAS system is NOT helping those who need help. Yes, I agree that Disney needed to do something about the abuse that was happening with the GAC, but this new system is not the answer. It is penalizing people who actually need help, and guests are not being listened to. I came away completely frustrated and upset over this- not the way you want to feel after a Disney vacation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yes, I am addicted to Disney

Hi. My name is Jennifer and I'm addicted to Disney.

There- I said it. I mean, we all know it's true, but now I've admitted it out loud.

So what exactly does being addicted to Disney mean? It's simple, Disney is my drug. I have to have it. Seeing the Castle as you walk down Main Street. Walking in and seeing SpaceShip Earth.

Driving under the arch. These are all like hits of a drug to me. They make me smile. They make me happy.

If I go too long between Disney trips, I almost start to twitch. I get cranky. I need my happy place. I need my Disney. I need my drug.

If there is a Disney show on TV, even if it's 10 years old, I feel compelled to watch it. I don't care that I've seen it 25 times and recite almost every line- I will watch it again. And I will point out everything that has changed in that time. Because that's what Disney addicts do.

Now my Disney addiction isn't just because I like to see the various sites at Disney. There are so many strong memories tied to everything at Disney. Hours spent at La Cava del Tequila... Rock 'N Roller Coaster... Soarin'... Flying Fish... Each one of these is an awesome experience by itself, but add in cherished memories with friends and family, and they become even more special.
I've spent hours in this wonderful place with friends

My dad and Matthew at Tusker House breakfast

I no longer go to Disney just to experience the rides and attractions. I go to experience Disney itself and everything that means to me. This is how I know I am addicted to Disney.

(and no... I don't want help quitting my addiction!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Yes, they raised the prices...

It was announced on Friday that Disney would be raising the costs of tickets at Walt Disney World effective yesterday. These increases were across the board, and include Annual Passes and the Premier Passes. Since the announcement, there has been LOTS of discussion about how people feel about the price increase. Well, here is my two cents on the topic- and please realize this is simple MY opinion on the topic.

I am amazed at people who appear to be shocked by the fact that Disney increased ticket prices. I don't understand this. Every year, if not twice a year, Disney raises their ticket prices. Yes, the increases are more than the cost of inflation increases, but come on- this doesn't shock you does it? If you really expect Disney to keep the cost of tickets the same every year, then I want to live in whatever Fantasyland you live in.

Disney is a business. The purpose of a business is to make money. Yes Disney also talks about dreams and memories and magic, but they do this to encourage you to visit and spend your money. The marketing team at Disney is one of the best in the world. They come up with taglines and jingles and promotions that make you want to visit The Happiest Place on Earth over and over and over. And let's be honest, people are going to keep doing that no matter how much Disney charges for a ticket.

Disney is also trying to keep up with places like Universal, and also their own overseas parks. This requires money. And I know, Disney probably has plenty of money to accomplish all of this without raising ticket prices, but they have to answer to stock holders who want to see a profit being turned and increased year after year.

Does this mean I like that Disney raises ticket prices? Not at all... But it isn't going to change the fact that I have an Annual Pass, and will be renewing my AP in August when it expires. I won't be renewing as a Premium Annual Pass, but that's due more to the fact that they have cut back the benefits with that pass. I also hate the fact that they charge as much for a child AP as they do an adult AP, but again, it's not going to stop me from going.

For the first time, Disney separated out the cost of a ticket to Magic Kingdom, making it more expensive than a day at the other three parks. I think this stinks, but it makes sense. They have been pushing experiencing New Fantasyland and Storybook Circus- every ad or commercial makes sure to mention these new areas. But I think it's simpler than that- my thought is when most people go to WDW for a single day, they will head to the Magic Kingdom. It's what people think of when they think of Disney World- I mean, how many times have you heard someone refer to the Magic Kingdom as Disney World? It's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me, but that's a huge perception out there.

My Precious (aka my Annual Pass)
In fact, because of my AP, I end up going to Disney more often, even from Pennsylvania, than I would without it. Over the course of several years, the way my family and I visit Disney has changed, but that's a whole different topic. I love Disney and what it means to me. Yes, it's a business, but it's also a place that is near and dear to my heart. Disney has turned their business into transporting you to a different place when you are there. And can you really say that an additional $35 a year is going to stop you from going to your happy place? I can't... I'll gladly give Disney my money- year after year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Will I or Won't I???

It's that time of year again- the application process for the Disney Mom's Panel is about to begin. I have applied the last several years, and last year's experience left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth (see my post here).

I have tried to avoid a lot of conversation or information about the process this year. But I'll be honest, there is a part of me that wonders about applying again. There is also a part of me that says I don't need the stress and the hassle of the process- I have enough going on in life right now.

The question is- will I or won't I apply? I don't know... Well, actually, that's not true. I think I do know what my answer is to that question. But it's MY answer and MY decision. I am the one that needs to be happy with what I decide. I will not be sharing my decision with anyone. If I do decide to apply, I don't want to hear people say how I shouldn't make because I cuss, drink, or anything else that's un-Disneylike. And if I decide not to apply, I don't want to hear people say I should apply because I go so often and I have quite a bit of Disney knowledge.

I will share this- I know many people who would make a fabulous addition to the Mom's Panel. I sincerely hope that Disney has the smarts to pick them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wha?? I don't understand...

A few weeks ago, we booked a trip to WDW for August. However, there is a catch to this trip. We are going with my in-laws. Now, I'm not even going to start discussing this- they fall squarely in the category of people who "don't get Disney". It will be a very interesting trip.

Today, Mike and I were discussing this upcoming trip and he said something to me that I just don't understand. He said that we really have to do some planning for this trip. HUH? You mean more than just planning what park on what day- and more importantly, where we are going eat? I don't get it. This is a Disney trip. I pride myself on NOT over planning these trips. I mean, I know we only have 5 days to show them OUR Disney, but plan????

As I stared at Mike with a look of utter confusion, he said something else that I still don't understand. He said that he didn't think he was going to have his parents get Park Hopper tickets. HUH?!? You mean I am limited to only one park a day? If we are done at Animal Kingdom, we don't get to go to another park for the rest of the day? I... I... I don't understand. How do I do that? What about Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom... That only happens if we are AT the Magic Kingdom that day? How am I suppose to do this?

I just don't get it... Planning? No hopping??? I need a beer...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What does being a Disney fan mean?

Every few months, this discussion seems to come up. It seems there are some people out there that think being a Disney fan means you a squeaky-clean always happy person. I've got news for those people- you're wrong!

Take me for example- I am a HUGE Disney fan (I don't think anyone is really going to argue that point with me). But, I am far from squeaky-clean.

I don't talk about pixie dust and castles and happy endings all the time. As a matter of fact, I curse- a lot! I've been told I don't curse like a sailor... it's more that my language would make a sailor blush. Now, I don't curse (much) when kids are around just because I don't think it's appropriate. But I don't watch what comes out of my mouth and think "Is this Disney-like?"

In my life, there are things that go wrong and make me frustrated. Life is not all pixie-dust and that's OK! I'm a real person and I'm allowed to have bad days. It doesn't make me any less of a Disney fan on those bad than I am on good days.

The Disney community that I am proud to be a part of is made up of a variety of people- There is no stereo-type for Disney fans. Some are single adults, some are married with no kids, some are married with children, and some are older adults whose kids have grown up. We are all different but brought together by our love for Disney.

And if someone out there doesn't like me for how I am, well, that's not very Disney-like of them! I mean, didn't Nemo have a gimpy fin? Wasn't Lightening McQueen in trouble with the law? Didn't Mr. Incredible lie to his family for months?

Disney teaches about embracing differences and that you don't have to be perfect. And that's what being a Disney fan means to me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things that make me happy!

I am blantantly stealing this idea from my friend who just did a blog post on 30 things that make her happy. I decided to make my own list of things that make me happy- in no particular order.
  1. Disney
  2. Watching my son sleep
  3. Ice cream
  4. My friends
  5. My #peas
  6. The #beans- but don't tell the #beans though!
  7. Potato dumplings- not eating them, just the thought of them
  8. The first sip of a Starbucks coffee with foam
  9. Getting into bed with fresh crisp sheets
  10. The song "Wild at Heart" by Gloriana- Seriously, how can a song with the line "Put your hand into my back pocket, light me up like a bottle rocket" NOT make you happy???
  11. Any song by the Black Eyed Peas- because it always makes me think of my friend who HATES any song by them
  12. Those few seconds on Tower of Terror after your elevator is loaded into the tower, but before it begins going up and down
  13. Text messages from friends
  14. Riding the PeopleMover
  15. Snuggly kittens
  16. Pedicures
  17. Snuggles with Matthew
  18. Nascar date nite
  19. Dancing
  20. New shoes
  21. My pair of jeans that fit just right
  22. Crossing the finish line of a race
  23. A good hair day
  24. Eating frosting right out of the container
  25. Movie theater popcorn with butter
  26. Girl's Night Out
  27. Being under a bunch of warm blankets when it's cold outside
  28. Taylor Lautner's abs
  29. Reading a really good book that you don't want to put down
  30. Laughing so hard I cry

Monday, June 6, 2011

'Ohana means family

The Disney movie Lilo & Stitch popularized the staying "'Ohana means family." Many of my Disney friends, and myself, use this saying when we are talking about some of our dearest and closest friends. We use it to mean that our friends our like our family. But for me, that's not quite right.

There is another saying "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Think about it- you have that family member (or members) that you really don't like, but you just kinda tolerate. To me, 'Ohana is something so much more than family.
'Ohana doesn't include all photo crashers in the picture though :)

For me, I have a wonderful group of 'Ohana friends. Who are they? Some of them are:
  • the ones that I ate at Biergarten with- the food was mediocre, but it was hands down the best meal of my life.
Yep- my 'Ohana friends are inappropriate... LOVE THEM!
  • the ones you see on Main St. and start yelling and going crazy with happiness.
  • the one I think of every time I go over a particular bump on Space Mountain and remember him commenting when the lap bar met his groin in a rude way.
  • my #peas- my two friends who are always there for me. And know when they need to give my space.
Yes, I know I just used this pic, but there are no words for how IMPORTANT these two are to me!
  • the ones that I want to call first when something good happens.
  • the ones that I tell first when something bad happens.
This picture and the one above are completely interchangeable :)
  • the ones that tell you to stop being a drama queen and just get over yourself.
  • the ones that are in all of your pictures with you.

There are just some of my 'Ohana friends- it's not all of them.

'Ohana is those friends who touch your soul. They are the friends that are in so many of your memories- both good and bad because they are there for you no matter what. They are the ones that I think of when I cry happy and sad tears. They are the friends who take a part of you with them when they leave.

I am so thankful for all of my 'Ohana friends. I am not complete without ALL of them. I need them in my life.

And this post is dedicated to my 'Ohana friend who has very recently come back into my life- I didn't realize how much emptier my life was without them in it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our adventures with Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii

So, like many Disney fans, my family was very excited when it was announced that Disney Interactive Studios would be putting a Lego Wii adventure based on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We love the Lego Wii games and couldn't wait to get the game.

Well- consider this your warning. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME!!!

It's a known issue that many of the Lego games have some bugs in them while you play. But this game takes it to a new extreme.

In this game, there are 4 "movies", based on each of the four released Pirates movies (um- duh). Each movie has 5 stories that you play through. Our problems started on Story 1, chapter 2. We got about 75% of the way through the story, and our Wii console froze. It also began emitting a high-pitched sound (which the cat did NOT like). We couldn't get it to do anything for us and we had to turn off the entire console and turn it back on. So we booted the game again, started the story again, and guess what... Yep- it froze in the same exact spot. So, after doing this 3 times, we thought it might be the disc. We took the disc back to Target, explained the issue, and came home with a new disc. And guess what- same thing!!!

At this point, I called the technical support number for Disney Interactive Studios. They said that we had a corrupted save file. We could try playing past with only one person (we had been playing with two people) or breaking less objects, but our best bet was to delete the file and start over. And so we did. We deleted the save file and started the entire game over.

After we did this, we had a couple of other freeze issues, but after restarting the console, we were able to move past the spot without an issue. UNTIL... we got to story 4, chapter 5. Yes- the last story of the game. And guess what- it happened again. The console froze- and even after restarting, three times, the game continued to freeze in the same spot.

So- we placed another call to Disney Interactive Studios. They told us that this is a known issue and there is no current fix other than to delete the save file and start over. We are 40% finished with the game- and with a 7 year old playing, that is no small accomplishment. And now we have to delete the file and start over. They did tell us that if we didn't want to keep the game, we could exchange it for another Disney Wii title.

But that's not what we want. The whole family enjoys playing the Lego Wii games, and we want to be able to play the game. But we can't... So, until Disney fixes the issue, I recommend to everyone that they avoid buying Lego Wii Pirates of the Caribbean. I hate saying this, but there are just too many bugs and glitches in the game right now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Behind-the-Scenes experience

First off, a warning- settle in for a long read. There was no way I could make this post any shorter without taking out some good stuff, so it's long. Deal with it :)

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.

Matthew showing off his wristband

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!

My Cinderella shirt- the headband is sparkly :)

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.

Some of the Phineas and Ferb merchandise

A Tor Story plush- where's @JimGarth?

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.

After this, we continued to walk around the store and just marvel at everything that was there. One focal point of the second floor of the store is Imagination Theater. This is a small theater section where they have a video screen that plays Disney videos and clips.
Imagination Theater

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.

Unlocking Imagination

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.

Picking out parts

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!

Getting the key to his car

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.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm NOT perfect

Breaking News: I am NOT perfect...

Lately, it seems that because I am a Disney fan, I am expected to be perfect- I shouldn't curse, I should always be overly chipper and unfailingly polite.

Guess what- I fail all three of those criteria. I have been known to curse a little (or sometimes a lot). I try not to do it around children, but it happens. And I think that anyone who knows me will quickly agree that I am more along the lines of sarcastic and snarky than chipper and polite. But this doesn't make me a bad person.

Being a Disney fan doesn't mean you have to be perfect. Yes, Disney has an image of family friendly, but they too have a little bit darker side. They own ABC, which produces shows like Desperate Housewives. They have produced the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which include drinking and cursing. And even good ol' Walt liked an occasional cigarette and drink. And I'll bet there was some less than 'family friendly' language used in some Disney board meetings.

I have many friends who are Disney fans- and none of them are perfect either. I am a Disney fan- not a Disney employee. I do not represent Disney in any fashion. And being a Disney fan isn't the only thing that defines me. I love NASCAR racing, kickboxing, running, reading, my family... the list goes on. Being a Disney fan is one part of who I am.

It's taken me 35 years to become really happy with who I am- imperfections and all.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I LOVE Southwest Air

OK- this is a little different blog post, but I just have to say it-
I LOVE Southwest Airlines...

As many of you know, I am going to WDW to run the Food and Wine 5K in October. I had originally made my plane reservations to leave Friday and come home Monday. Since I am leaving both my hubby and my son behind, I didn't think I would be able to eek any more solo time out of the trip. And I was ok with that...

But then I discovered more and more of my favorite people were arriving on Thursday (I know, not all of them, but many- JIM!). So, I hopped on line to and did a little researching. I found that I could save $50 by flying out on Thursday. And Southwest, being the WONDERFUL airline they are, allowed me to change my flights with NO charge, and I even got a credit for the difference in price. Also, I get to take a bag without paying luggage fees and they have some of the nicest (and funniest) attendants around!

Now, I get to leave on a better flight (12:00 instead of 7:00am), and I get in to see my friends a day earlier. I get to eat at restaurant I've never tried at WDW, and I have time to do some Vinyl shopping. And, thanks to one of my bestest friends, I don't even have to get a hotel room that night- she has offered me her extra sofa bed in her 1BR villa!

So Southwest Airlines, I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! You have totally made my week!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mouse of Zen

As many of you know, I like to put Disney with things that you don't normally think it belongs with- such as Nascar. Turns out, I'm not the only person who does this!

Brad Conway is a police officer with a love of Disney. While this isn't unusual, it's how he expresses this love that is different: he writes haiku. (Note: haiku is a form of Japanese poetry usually written in three lines. The first and third line have five syllables, while the middle line has seven syllables.) In fact, Brad has written a whole book of haiku poems dedicated to Disney. The title of the book is, fittingly, Mouse of Zen. There are 351 haiku in this first edition (the second edition is already well under way).

Cover design copyright J.B. Conway and Knell Studio Works
While reading the book, there were several poems that made me just stop in my tracks. For example, this haiku utterly and completely sums up my feelings about Disney World

a place heaven sent
day or night, rain or sunshine
world that never sleeps

And having just returned from a very hot and humid summer visit to Disney World, I find this one very appropriate:

humid afternoon

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.

To order Mouse of Zen, click here. Also, be sure to follow Mouse of Zen on Twitter.

All poetry in this post © J.B. Conway

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Social Media Swag

In the last hour, I have really scored in the swag department, all thanks to Social Media. First came the Fed Ex envelope that held a HUGE surprise- I had won a bike from the Ellen Show. This was from an Earth Day contest she had. Honestly, I had forgotten all about it until I opened the envelope.
Then- the doorbell rang again, and it was my Rayovac and Disney gift card swag from Disney and Rayovac.

Really- I think I need to just go to bed right now, because this day has been so great, it can only go downhill from here...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ever wish you had Magic Wand?

Have you ever wished that you had a Magic Wand? Rayovac Batteries knows that feeling- and they are doing something about it.

Take a moment and think of what you and Rayovac batteries could accomplish if you had a Magic Wand. Then watch the video to the left that shows what happens when a little girl gets the chance to spread some magic around Disney World with her Magic Wand.

Then, go to and enter for a chance to win in the Rayovac Magic Wand Sweepstakes. The grand prize is a trip for 4 to either Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World. And really, who doesn't want to win that???

Also, join Rayovac and MomSelect for a Twitter Event to support the exciting Rayovac Powers Your Vacation-Magic Wand Sweepstakes. The evening will feature more than 20 fun giveaways from Rayovac ranging from a summer supply of Rayovac Batteries to Disney Gift Cards.
Rayovac Powers Your Vacation Sweepstakes
Date: Wednesday, May 19th
Time: 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. CST
Location: #rayovac
Follow: @Rayovac_Battery, @MomTalkRadio, @CirclePRMary

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Say-it-all Saturday

Another Saturday is here, and I find myself with very little to say this morning. As anyone who knows me can attest to, that is a very rare occurrence. So, I have just a few short rambling thoughts I will share on this Say-it-all Saturday...

1. I love, love, love this weather we are having right now. It is perfect spring weather, and after the winter we had here in PA, we've earned it. It's perfect weather for a morning run and then playing outside until dark. If it stayed like this all year long, I would be happy.

2. I have the most wonderful son in the world! We spent several hours in the Emergency Room with him yesterday (smashed fingers in the car door while rollerblading) and he was sooo good. Actually, he was good through the whole ordeal. I am so proud of him.
One of my favorite pictures of Matthew

3. This wonderful weather makes me wish I was at Disney World. I have never been this time of year, but this just seems like perfect Disney weather.

4. I am glad there is NASCAR racing again this weekend. I missed racing last weekend.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Say-it-all Saturday

As I've started to pay more attention to the world of blogging, I've noticed that there are certain things that some people post on certain days- such as Wordless Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, etc. Being the kind of person I am, I decided to do my own- Say-it-all Saturday... So here goes.

1. Well, I did it. I signed up for a half-marathon. I have been debating whether or not I wanted to attempt this for a couple of months now. I am doing the Broad Street Run in May, and that's 10 miles- I figured, what's another 3 miles??? So, I am officially registered for the ING Rock-and-Roll Half Marathon in Philly in September. It seems like a good idea right now- we'll see if I'm singing the same tune in September!

2. This week, Disney announced that they have created a Premium Passport. This is an annual pass for both Disneyland and Disney World. (You can find details about what is included here.)

When I heard this, my first thought was WOO HOO!!! We currently have a 3 day trip scheduled to Disneyland this summer, and two separate 6 day trips to Disney World this year. So, I did a little looking into this passport. Disney- you screwed this one up! The cost for this Premium Passport is $700 per person. Adult AND child. There is NO discount for kids. I've priced this out and it is still cheaper to buy separate tickets for everything than to buy the Premium Passport. I'm curious to know how Disney can up with this pricing, because it seems to me that they really missed the mark on this one.

3. I look out my window and I don't see any snow piles. After more than a month of having piles of snow still over 3 ft high, this is a reason to celebrate! Although we may still have some cooler temperatures that come along, I think we have turned to corner into spring!

4. Thanks to everyone who told me about Site Meter for tracking visits to my blog! I was able to figure it out and install it!

Ok- that's about all the unrelated thoughts I have for this morning. Off to make pancakes for breakfast!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Catching on to this Social Media thing

One of my first posts on this blog was discussing how I didn't quite get Social Media, but I was in for a quick lesson...

Well, fast forward about 6 weeks later, and while I am by no means a social media queen, I have a much better understanding and respect for it. It has changed my life in ways that I would have never thought.

One of the first things is that I started, and have stuck with, this blog. It gives me a place to put my thoughts down in writing. And even more surprising- there are some people who read it! (And note to blogger- I would like it if I could track my page views...). It's really kinda fun- at least it is once I have decided on what my next post is going to be. I use social media to help me with my blog by following other blogs and absorbing the good from them.

I have met people who have amazing Disney websites that I love (like I look at how they network and use social media and I learn from them. I also learn things about Disney from people who are in the know (such as #wdwmoms). Social media has also brought in contact with people in other countries who share some of my same passions. For example, I regularly correspond with a friend on Twitter who is an up-and-coming NASCAR reporter- in the Phillipines! One thing that both of these people do, that I am trying to watch and learn, is effectively network using Twitter and Facebook. They develop contacts and put their name out there using social media. It's all really very cool.

One thing about social media that surprises me is how it is really starting to invade our society. On Twitter, you have many big, popular NASCAR drivers (@kylebusch, @dennyhamlin, @mw55) who will hold Q&A sessions with their fans. This brings the fans closer to the sport, and increases exposure. There are many large companies- such as Harrah's, Kellogg, and HP- who are hiring corporate social media directors. They are learning that social media is here to stay and they want to know how to use it.

Before I went to the Disney Social Media Moms conference, I had a little (emphasis on little) idea of what social media was and how it worked. Now, I have more of an idea of how to effectively use social media- not that I have it all down yet, or that I am doing it... But, I think it's safe to say I have a little more of a clue than I did when I started this journey!

Wordless Wednesday

For this Wordless Wednesday, I decided to post a picture of one of my favorite sights at the Magic Kingdom. I love seeing the confetti Mickey ears in front of the display as you enter the gates. To me, it represents the possibilities of the day ahead. Rides, shows, parades, food...

I hope this picture bring as many smiles and happy memories as it does me!