8.25.2011

Disney Love, 1922-1999

When I saw Amanda's post about this YouTube video, I absolutely knew I had to give my commentary! This will probably not interest ANYONE, but I had a blast reliving these memories! So fun!





:10 - I will probably be given a scarlet letter for this, but I've never actually seen Steamboat Willie in its entirety. I've seen the 2-second clip shown here in various places, but I've never seen the classic that started it all.

:27 - The witch in Snow White scared the HECK out of me for the longest time. Like up until last year. I kid, but really - she is a piece of scary animation if there ever was one.

:32 - Does anyone else find Pinnochio a little boring? There are such sweet, classic moments but then I find myself using it for background noise a lot of the time?

:35 - I actually had the original Fantasia on today, and I've come to the consensus that while I really do appreciate the original animation, there's something really fantastic (fantastic Fantasia?) about the all-encompassing experience of PhilharMagic. Seeing it on that scale and getting splashed with water at the end has spoiled me.

:45 - Is there a mother on this planet that doesn't weep beyond belief at this song? Seriously.

:58 - What the?? What cartoon is THIS from?!

1:00 - Most annoying piece of Disney animation EVER. And I'm usually incredibly defensive of anything and everything Disney ever made. But man, this makes me want to take twelve Aleeve.

1:05 - Again, WHAT is this from and why can I not look away from this?

1:18 - Another embarrassing confession: The most I've seen of "Song of the South" is on Splash Mountain.

1:27 - JOHNNY APPLESEED!!!!! Here's my memory of that one. When I was in Kindergarten, we watched this cartoon. I was so PUMPED because I knew that after the cartoon, it was my turn for Show and Tell. After Johnny was over, we walked back into the classroom, and there was my mom, holding our new kittens for my Show and Tell time. I was so proud, and it was literally the best day of Kindergarten ever. I will forever associate Johnny Appleseed with kittens, Kindergarten, and my mom. Sidenote: My mom loves this cartoon, so it was only fitting that she was waiting there, smiling for me, right after we had finished watching it.

1:47 - Love that my little girl now enjoys Cinderella as much as I do!

1:53 - Alice in Wonderland was always a little bizarre and confusing to me. Anyone?

2:03 - I love the little opening numbers from the classic Disney Sing Along Songs! So vintage.

2:08 - Peter Pan = AMAZING. Love this humor, not only because it's set in London, but I love the music, animation style, and HUMOR. It's a really funny movie!

2:11 - Whale of a Tale! I had never heard this song, but in the early 90s I had a collection of classic Disney songs on tapes. They were blue tapes and they came in really pretty packaging with a neat little booklet. Did anyone else have that set? Anyway, lots of songs I never knew existed were on those tapes, and this was one of them. I thought it was weird that he was singing about all of these women, but whatevs - it's fun.

2:18 - Yeah, I'm really glad Mickey and Minnie have had Extreme Makeovers since then. I'm all about vintage style and retaining original details, but this is creep fest.

2:31 - Pretty sure my kids are going to grow up on old school Mickey Mouse Club. I love it, and you can't beat it.

2:35 - This is another rando song that was on the blue tapes! And he's a cutie!

2:39 - Sleeping Beauty was my FAVE movie as a kid. I would act out scenes from it all the time. Now, as an adult, I love the art and animation style of the movie. Very Mary Blair/Eyvind Earle. LOVE.

2:46 - My dad and I are both obsessed with the ranch house on The Parent Trap. We have sketched out the floorplan and I'm pretty sure I'll build it one day.

3:00 - In my dream world, Julie Andrews and I are BFF.

3:12 - Those sneaky animators! Recycling for different movies!!

3:24 - Jodie Foster was comedic GENIUS in Freaky Friday! Seriously, her timing was impeccable.

4:25 - Even though I barely remember this movie, for some reason this song is forever etched in my mind?

4:30 - HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS!!!! I had this movie memorized! My family would rent it really often because we loved watching it together. Great movie.

4:35 - If I were to pinpoint when Disney began literally blitzing and invading the kids' market with merchandise, The Little Mermaid would be it. I was absolutely enraptured with STUFF from this film! Bedding, school supplies, toys, stickers, PANTIES. I had it all. And I would lay on the ground and push up on my arms and pretend that water was splashing all around me. Even at the beach, I tried this gesture to see if I would feel like Ariel did when she belted "Part of youuuuurrrr WORLD!!!!!" and the waves would crash all around. Good stuff.

4:41 - Disney Afternoon, please come back. PLEASE.

5:04 - Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney film I remember seeing in theaters. My mom and her friend were snickering because they thought it was funny that Belle was able to somehow hoist the Beast onto her horse after the wolf fight.

5:16 - Is this Homeward Bound?!?!!?

5:25 - I never in my life saw Hocus Pocus, but the posters absolutely terrified me. I had a nightmare that I still remember to this day. My dad and I were trapped in a warehouse with the three witches from this movie. I woke up absolutely terrified and I still am when I see images from this movie!

5:34 - THREE MUSKETEERS!!! I watched this with my friend Taylor when I would spend the night at her house. We were obsessed. We had major crushes on the Three Musketeers!!

5:39 - I've never celebrated Halloween really, but now that Kurt and I have been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and they play this theme throughout, I actually have happy associations with it!

6:04 - For some reason I associate the movie Pocahontas with my sister. I have no idea why. Maybe because she really, really liked it?

6:21 - I remember when Toy Story came out! My family went to the theater and we laughed until we CRIED. Also, it was amazing to see the first computer-animated film from Pixar.

6:37 - Oh my gosh that's Katherine Heigl. I KNEW I had seen her somewhere before Roswell and Grey's Anatomy!!

7:21 - I'm kind of obsessed with the song "Go the Distance." And yes, I'm being totally serious.

7:50 - Bear in the Big Blue House, PB and J Otter....Roly Poly Oly.....LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

8:00 - My siblings and I still sing the "Out of the Box" goodbye song. We're waaayyyy into the harmonies.

8:17 - "My Date with the President's Daughter" is probably the most underrated movie EVER. It is amazing!

8:31 - My sister and I thought this B*Witched song was just the coolest thing ever.

9:19 - "Even Stevens" was another example of superb comedy. Truly genius!

9:21 - "Lizzie McGuire" = a classic. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Hillary Duff.

9:48 - I jammed to "You'll Be in My Heart" just about everywhere. It was a pump-you-up love song.

9:50 - Can I buy the Zenon movies on DVD??? Because I totally would.


Love all of these Disney memories!




8.15.2011

Picking Your Disney Dates - Made Easy!

There are SO MANY Disney blogs and information websites out there, that sometimes it can get really overwhelming. I like to show different resources that are out there, and I've found one that can make your planning a lot easier!

YourFirstVisit.Net is a great site that helps you navigate your first time at Walt Disney World. However, even Disney veterans can use a handy new tool, the Week Picker! You answer a few simple questions (based on crowds, weather, and money preferences), and then your best weeks are given to you! There are three tiers - Deluxe, Moderate, and Value, since prices can vary by different hotels.

Our next Disney trip will be in late 2012 or early 2013, so even though I have awhile, it always makes it easier to make a gameplan of when you're thinking of going. For instance, I always make my dining reservations 6 months out, and this helps me to know that I'll need to make reservations next summer, probably in August (exactly a year from now!) if we go in January.

This is a handy tool that can help take the guesswork out of when to visit the World!



8.09.2011

Magical Blogorail - Favorite Character Dining Moment

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda's Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail! Today we are writing about our favorite Character Dining moments. This is an easy topic for me, because my daughter had her first trip to Disney back in January. It was imperative to me that she experience Character Dining, because she's such a fan of all the Disney Characters and of course, the Princesses.

We had never eaten at the Crystal Palace before, and I knew Evy would enjoy seeing Winnie the Pooh and friends. Boy, was I right! It was our first day at Disney, Evy was so excited from the minute we walked in the restaurant. The food was good, and was served buffet-style. It was a little crowded, but we expected that with this type of restaurant. The Characters definitely had a system of how they managed the tables, and we were able to sit and wait for them to come to us. Evy had a wonderful first-time Character experience of meeting Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet!










The other Character Dining experience we had was at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot so that Evy could meet the Princesses. Akershus came highly recommended to us by a friend (who has two little girls), and we were wanting to try some new food (Norwegian!). I had eaten at Cinderella's Royal Table several times before, but with Evy, I wanted to test the waters with a different venue. When we told Evy it was time to get dressed to go see the Princesses, she nearly had a heart attack.



When we arrvied at Akershus, there were tons of little girls all dressed in their Princess costumes. Again, it was a crowded scene, and even with our Advanced Dining Reservation we had to wait a little while for our table (just like at Crystal Palace). We met Belle right as we walked in, then posed for our photo package before being seated.











Evy was absolutely overcome while meeting the Princesses. Actually, it all hit her afterward. After all of the Princesses had been by our table, she flipped out that they weren't there anymore. I rarely have issues while eating out with Evy, but she was NUTS. She was shrieking and carrying on - not in a tantrum way, just being so hyped because of the whole thing!


Miscellaneous Thoughts and Tips about Character Dining:

-Is it worth it? YES, if it's in your budget. Character meals are more expensive, since there's usually more food involved and the Characters come right up to your table. You're guaranteed to see each Character and get pictures if you wish. The one-on-one time is great, and you're not being rushed through a line. However, if you don't want to (or can't) splurge on a Character meal, it's not the end-all, be-all. You can still meet Characters; the meals are just a more relaxing way to do it.

-DEFINITELY make an Advanced Dining Reservation! It's nearly impossible to walk in. Even with an ADR, be prepared to wait a little bit, since there isn't a high turnover rate (people linger to talk and take pictures with Characters).

-Do you prep work ahead of time. We talked and talked about the Characters and Princesses with Evy before our trip. She was familiar with everyone's names and movies, etc. Obviously this isn't a "must," but it REALLY helped! Evy was so excited and ready to meet who she had been hearing about and watching.

-We took little Princess dolls with us to the restaurant so Evy could show each Princess their respective doll. It was a great ice-breaker, and Evy had something to hold. She was able to interact with the Princesses even with a limited vocabulary (obviously at 2 years old she couldn't carry on an in-depth conversation, but she was able to say some things!). She was THRILLED to show each Princess their doll, and they thought it was adorable!

-There are many Character Dining options. We've done Cinderella's Royal Table, and it's fabulous (the environment is wonderful!). Also with CRT, it's easier to see all of the Princesses at once. At Akershus, the dining areas are a little segregated, so you can really only see the Princesses when they're right in your section. At CRT, it's a wide-open space, and you get more "viewing time" for your buck. However, Akershus has a great appetizer buffet, and unique menu items. CRT is your standard meat-and-potatoes, gourmet soup, etc. Both Akershus and CRT have a photo package. On our next trip, I'd like to try Chef Mickey's. Once Evy is a little older and can appreciate different Characters, we'll do the 1901 Park Fare at Grand Floridian (Alice in Wonderland, the Stepsisters, etc.).

-If you can, try to capture the meetings with both a still camera and video camera (this works best if you have extra sets of hands). One camera will catch things that the other doesn't, and vice versa. However, don't stress over getting the perfect pictures or footage. You really will carry the memories with you forever!

I predict that Character Dining will be an element in our Disney trips for years to come!


Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Black this month. We will be back September 13th with an all new theme. 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 over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

1st Stop ~ Unknown Magic Within Walt Disney World

2nd Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad

3rd Stop ~ The Disney Chick

4th Stop ~ Manda’s Disney Blog

Final Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer


8.02.2011

Miscellaneous Tips: Naptime

When you take your little one(s) to the World, you need to decide what to do during naptime. You have several options:

-Skip the nap, which usually ends in catastrophe.

-Go back to the hotel. Depending on where you stay, this can be a feasible option. If you're staying in a Deluxe resort (on the monorail line), it's a fast and convenient option. Plus, if the adult going with Little One is needing a rest too, you can crash in your comfy bed. With Moderate resorts, this is still an option, although you need to account for a little longer trek. Value resorts require the longest trip, and it could end up taking a major chunk out of your day. Although Value resorts are great for families (relatively inexpensive and fun-themed), it's important to consider how important a mid-day nap is and what your child's sleeping conditions need to be. If you have a baby/toddler who requires a pitch-black room, a machine playing the sounds of ocean waves, a Serta mattress, and a lullaby being sung, you're in a different boat than a mom who has a baby/toddler who can sleep standing up. Take this into account when choosing your hotel!

-Your next option is to take a time-out for a nap, but do it "on-the-go" style. This is a good compromise, especially if you only want to take a few minutes to power-up, without having to make a trek back to the hotel. Here are a few options about napping in the Parks:
  • Hop on the Walt Disney World Railroad. It circles the entire Magic Kingdom Park, and the breeze when you're riding is really soothing! It makes just a few stops, but you can stay on and ride as long as you like. Special note about strollers: You CAN take strollers with you, but they have to be folded. Disney-issued strollers won't fit on the WDW Railroad. Therefore, you'll need to hold your napping child. I've also seen parents create makeshift pallets on the train benches (with blankets, jackets, etc.) and just have the napping child lying down next to them. The train moves at a slow pace, and as long as someone is sitting next to the child, it should be just fine.

  • Take advantage of the Baby Care Centers. These are in every park, and they provide for many needs that parents and babies might have. Although there are not beds/cribs, there are plenty of rocking chairs. Keep in mind that you might be asked to leave your stroller outside the Center in some parks. Napping in the Baby Care Center would be ideal if your baby/toddler likes to be held and rocked. This is just my personal opinion, but I thought I would add it: Since the rocking chairs are usually in the nursing area of the Centers (each one varies a bit), and if you're only holding your baby while he/she sleeps (not nurses), be prepared to let nursing mothers use the rocking chairs should it get crowded. Since they are designated for that purpose, it would be polite to give nursing mothers priority. To see great photos of the Baby Care Centers, click here.

  • Find a quiet spot in the parks. This allows you to keep your child in their stroller and not have to make a risky "transfer" (out of their stroller, boarding buses or trams, etc.). Here's my tip: As you're strolling through the parks at the beginning of the day, keep your eyes open for good napping locations. Then, once you notice your little one has fallen asleep, you can immediately go to your location, take a seat, and enjoy the rest time yourself (without stressing about where you'll sit and camp out). We found a nice area in Disney Hollywood Studios near the 50s Prime Time Cafe and Echo Lake. It was shaded with trees and had several benches. Since there were no attractions nearby, there wasn't a lot of traffic (but we were still able to people-watch!). Another good area is in Magic Kingdom, where the Swan Boats used to be. It's near the bridge over to Tomorrowland. Although the Swan Boat attraction isn't there anymore, they've kept the loading area, much like a pavilion, open. It's shaded and is off the beaten trail. You won't be bothered there! Again, just look for areas as you go about your day. Once you keep your eyes open for them, you'll see potential nap areas everywhere!

  • Jump on the Monorail! This is a tip that I want to share because the Monorail is a little-known area that can be nice for napping when you're visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot (there is not direct Monorail access from Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). Although you should avoid the Monorail (for napping) during peak hours like park opening and closing, it can be a great option midday. The Monorail is climate controlled, and there's plenty of room to leave your stroller open and roll it right on. When you get on the Monorail at Magic Kingdom, you'll make a nice loop to the Contemporary Resort, Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and then back to the Magic Kingdom. Keep in mind that this loop will contain those three stops before returning to Magic Kingdom, so it's not a continuous, nonstop ride. When you get on the Monorail at Epcot, there's a longer stretch to ride until you arrive at the TTC. You can switch Monorails and head back to Epcot, or you can switch Monorails and continue on to the Magic Kingdom. Note: There is a continuous narration on overhead speakers when you ride the Monorail, and this might keep your child from sleeping well. However, being able to stay stretched-out in their stroller might outweigh this risk!

It's important to know your options for napping when you take a young child to Disney World. You might even use a different strategy depending on the day. With our daughter, Evy, there were some days when my mother-in-law took her back to the hotel (Grand Floridian), and other days when she napped in her stroller on the Monorail or just in a quiet spot in the parks. However, she had a nap each day and it made ALL the difference! It's definitely possible to still allow for naptime while not having to sacrifice a huge part of the day. For more of my ideas and tips for traveling with babies and small children (including specific attractions that are good for napping), click here!