Sunday, June 19, 2016

There is no better place to heal after a tragic week than the Magic Kingdom

I don't know about you, but the Magic Kingdom has helped me through my own personal tragedies by taking me into a magical land where bad things don't happen.  After this tragic week in Orlando, I believe that we all felt the need to stand united as Disney fans, some as Locals, some who worked with or knew the victims of the shooting in the Pulse nightclub.  We needed to support our City and each other through our own sadness and/or loss.  A post came out that on Saturday night, exactly one week after the shooting, there would be a special "goodnight kiss" in the Magic Kingdom.  This was not a "Disney Event" but it was approved and a very special way for us to gather in support of our friends, our City and heal from this in our own way together.  After the park closes each night, the Magic Kingdom always has a "goodnight kiss" to those who wait around to enjoy...and on this night so many of us did.  Disney Cast Members did the usual "goodnight kiss" effect on the castle 3 times (as of my count).  But so many people came with battery operated candles and glow sticks and flags...and what we did as a community was such a special feeling.  I have never FELT such a reverence, respect for all people, and somber love for everyone as I did last night.  Everyone was quiet.  Some that did speak talked about coworkers and friends who were lost.  We made hearts out of glowsticks and put candles inside the hearts.  

There were candles by the Partners statue...There was love.  Someone made a flag to support the victims & people were taking pictures in front of the flag.  As we were leaving Cast Members were handing out pins.  And sometime after I went in, the entrance had been dressed with the patriotic stars & stripes.  It was a beautiful tribute to the victims and their families.  Some family members were in attendance on Saturday night enjoying the parade, fireworks and a little bit of pixie dust to get them through this difficult time.  I think this beautiful vigil was a perfect way for so many of us to feel like WE are going to grow from this horrible act and stand strong as a City and united as Disney fans...and just be there in our special place in respect to everyone affected by the past week.  I was honored to be there and among so many friends who felt the same way.  Thank you Walt Disney World for allowing us to come together as fans, as Cast Members, as Locals, as families who love to travel here...this is our safe place, this is our happy place.  This is where we come to work on our own healing.  Thank you for allowing us to do that together in a very special way.  Thank you for making our heart smile through the tears.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge in EPCOT

Disney Vacation Club "DVC" has been around for 25 years and I
have been a proud member for 16 of those 25 years.  As Disney helps members celebrate "our" Silver Anniversary, we have been given a beautiful lounge in EPCOT at Walt Disney World in which to rest, charge our phones/devices, close your eyes & relax for just a moment, have a snack or drink:  sodas or coffee are complimentary, with a grand view of Spaceship Earth!
It's a wonderful place to go inside and cool off.  I truly enjoyed my yummy beverage from the Coca Cola Freestyle machine with 100 drink choices, use the WiFi computers, + you can play Disney Infinity, watch Disney shorts, or even plan your NEXT vacation through DVC or with the RCI Advisors available weekdays to find out if something different would work for you next time.  There are so many wonderful options in this air conditioned, drink & snack relaxation place!  This is totally gonna be one of my favorite new hiding places on a hot afternoon in EPCOT!  It's only June 1st and we could feel today what a wonderful cool-down from outside this will be on a hot summer day.  
But let me digress into the remembrance that 1 year ago today, I was on the Disney Wonder on an Alaska Cruise and I would recommend speaking with their excellent representatives on how to work some Disney Magic into your matter how you choose to do it!  One of MY favorite perks is that if you time your visit just right, maybe you'll get a wonderful Cast Member who happens to be coming around with snacks - all at no charge.  Watch Spaceship Earth as you cool off, catch up on Social Media and take a load off your feet.  Members are allowed to come in via the Merchandise Shop in the Imagination Pavilion by showing their valid DVC card & Drivers License.  Members are allowed to bring up to 5 guests per membership card.  The lounge will be open daily from 10am-6pm and hopefully you'll have Cast Members as wonderful as Millie & Karen to make your day brighter.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Animal Kingdom comes alive at night!

I had the privilege of being in the Animal Kingdom last night to see for myself all of the exciting new nighttime entertainment added for this park.  As I walked in, I stopped for a picture of the Tree of Life all lit up in it's beautiful nighttime glory.  I noticed a lot of other people standing around the tree, & was happily surprised to walk up right as the tree was having one of it's beautiful awakenings.  I have to admit that particular show was not spectacular to me.  The story wasn't holding me as much as I am usually entranced by anything Disney does...but they do have different awakenings, so if you also have that experience please give it a second shot - my second time was so much better!
Next, I enjoyed Expedition Everest,  which is spectacular after sunset!  The mountain is lit beautifully and the ride at night has such an added WOW factor!

Finally my journey took me to the new show, The Jungle Book:  Alive with Magic.  I LOVED IT!  
Yes, I know there are so many critical reviews by others.  
Yes, I know that Disney has set a very high standard for the level of entertainment that fans expect through Fantasmic, Wishes & Illuminations to hold this against.  But in my humble opinion, comparing this show to any other is

like comparing people to past relationships.  
Every one is different and every one has it's own "personality" so to speak:  Animal Kingdom is a quieter park and has a very special magic in the simple things of nature.  This show can't bring you the fireworks that others can, with respect to wildlife.  Talk to some of the most amazing

Imagineers of our past, I have, and they will tell you that not every single moment can be a "10."  This show is beautiful.  The Sherman Brothers music will inspire you to sing & dance and smile.  We don't get enough of that in our lives.  Take it and enjoy those moments every chance you get.  Don't compare it, just ENJOY IT!

 Enjoy the beautiful visions on water (think Fantasmic or World of Color type show) along with dancers, drummers, floats and even a fire dancer that is just fun to watch.  I love the Animal Kingdom.  I enjoy the simple things of life along with the big.  I encourage you to watch this show and appreciate it for what it is.  And I hope walking in with those thoughts, will allow you to enjoy it as much as I did.  There truly was a special kinda magic in the air.  

I'd like to thank my friend, Anthony Cortese for providing me with these pictures of the show, as I was posting live video on Facebook through the show.  His pictures are great & if you'd like to see his talented Dreamfinders documentary, click this link and purchase a copy for yourself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


 Building ME through this journey!  
This may be off my "usual topic" but it comes from my heart.
During my time away from blogging, I went through a series of struggles.  I lost my Mom, Dad & Husband within 8 weeks.  This consisted of my entire family, best friend and the man of my dreams.  When things happen, it is important to allow God to work through our bumps in the road to allow us to still be grateful for our blessings, be positive and continue to look for GOOD in the world around us.  I'm thankful that this year as I'm beginning to hit the 1 year anniversaries of many difficult moments in my life's journey. I had a friend share a podcast that put me in a good place as I got ready for church on Mother's Day:  The "RobCast" is Rob Bell's podcast and a lot of what I am sharing today comes straight from him in this show:  
When we encounter "detours" in the road leading toward our dreams, we truly do need to acknowledge and embrace how awful the situation was.  Don't skim over it - it truly was important.  Understand and embrace that the realization is that the worst moments in life are the reasons that your story is so great.  It's not getting rid of or forgetting what happened, but you can retell your story in a positive way and allows you to help others who are currently in or passing through difficult times.  
Remember:  The worst moments in life are the reasons your story becomes great!  It's because you get up and keep going!  Life is a series of unrelated fragments that come at you.  The way you choose to handle them develops your future.  You can choose to be better or you can let your situation make you bitter.  I hope you choose to grow in spiritual maturity.  You can choose JOY!  Life will always bring you twists and turns, but you're still here!  There is always a way to "Retell" a negative experience.  Be thanful when you are past it.  Make peace with it.  Don't allow yourself to close down.  Decide to open up. There truly IS a light at the end of our tunnel.  Keep your focus on the positive and build your body, mind and spirit until you get to the place where you want to be.  And when you get "there" then it's time to set a new goal that is higher.  This Disney Girl in Orlando had some "truth moments" this week  Always work toward the positive and making yourself stronger every day!  Thank you for taking the time to read this.  If you are not in a storm right now, that means there is one on the horizon, as we all tend to go through the circle of life.  I hope you take a piece of this with you along the way.  I am thankful for the encouragement I receive and I hope you have that as well.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm Comin' Back, BABY!

Sometimes, life comes at you at an overwhelming pace and you have to just hang on for the ride until you can catch yourself...regain your footing....and blast off to places that you've never dreamed of!

That's what happened to me.  And I found that no matter what knocks you down, try to keep looking for something to make you smile every day.  Always thank God for the blessings and opportunities in those difficult days because of the place that it is bringing you into.  That's just my two-cents.  
I am still very much a DISNEY GIRL IN ORLANDO...but now, I know that dark days make the sunshine feel brighter.  
I almost feel like a completely different person from the girl who used to do this blog.  
Today I'm just going to say I'm BACK!

Since I've been away, I've made my first trip to California with a "few" of my closest friends and had the opportunity to run a Half Marathon...right past Walt's apartment with my WDW Radio Running Team.  Thanks to Lou Mongello for bringing so many close connections of Disney "family" into my life.

I've also had some wonderful opportunities to become a small part of the Walt Disney Birthplace Restoration.  In the midst of that pinch-me moment, I shared Martinis with Disney Legend, Bob Gurr...the creator of the Monorail and so many Disney attractions.  He truly felt like the closest person I would ever meet to Walt Disney himself.  His attention to detail from everything down to the positioning of our photo was meticulous.
 I have had the honor of meeting Jeff & Gregg Sherman, sons of Richard & Robert Sherman "The Sherman Brothers" and become a member of the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club.  With this wonderful organization, I get to experience more opportunities to see talented Artist, Alex Mahr; Disney
Historian Jim Korkis (always a treat) along with Robbie Sherman (another son of the Sherman Brothers who played and sang wonderful songs for us.  I was honored to meet Greg Ehrbar, with over 30 amazing years and projects in the Disney company.
I couldn't be more thankful for the amazing experiences that I have been honored to take part in...
But above all, I thank you,  my wonderful
friends who have held me up when I didn't have the strength to
stand on my own and keep my head held high when I wasn't sure how.  YOU INSPIRE ME!  THANK YOU!  You have given me the strength to keep running and told me to just put one foot in front of the other and you have held my hand the entire way.  I wouldn't be back here without you...and I wouldn't be able to move forward without you.  I have some excellent times ahead!   
I will be traveling to Alaska for a week-long cruise in a few weeks.
I have more Run Disney and non-Disney Running events.

I'm planning a Group Meet Up --- YES, I'm planning an EVENT!  And YOU are welcome on Saturday, July 18 to join us for Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney.  More details will be out soon.  We will gather before the show to talk & have fun and we'll all get our own seats.  

I also plan an Aqua Car event by the Boathouse in Downtown Disney.  We will meet, fill the cars and split the price.  Bring cash that day for your portion so that we can get a better value and maybe even race our friends.  No date is planned for this event yet.

I also have some great plans at Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, which I look forward to sharing with you.

Thank you for believing in me along the way.  Thank you for your support, friendship....and keep watching to see what sorts of amazing experiences that I look forward to sharing with you.  This Disney Girl in Orlando is BACK!  And I have YOU to thank for your inspiration...more to come!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Frozen Summer Fun at Hollywood Studios

For the first time in forever, we had the opportunity to                                          see Arondale's Royalty  in Hollywood Studios!  At the park entrance, Cast Members were giving out Take-Along Olafs so that we could all take photos of his first summer vacation.  We were encouraged to share those pictures on Twitter or Instagram and post #olafsummervacation.  Hollywood Studios will post some of those pictures tonight before the fireworks.  Another fun part about Olaf is that on his back, you have his autograph along with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff.    There is an App that can help in your Frozen Summer Festivities, so check out the Aurasma App if you have a Smart Phone or Tablet.  The Royal Welcome was a wonderful celebration and we had the honor of even seeing several Disney Park executives enjoying the festivities.  Olaf came out to have some fun on the screen and we all wished for it to be a little bit cooler, so it snowed in front of the stage.  
Queen Elsa & Princess Anna are taking a goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms this summer and made their grand entrance on a horse-drawn sleigh, which is truly a fantastic sight!  I enjoyed the dancing snowflakes, skiing group that came through and even the ice harvesters chopping through. One of my personal favorite parts was seeing Kristoff - he's DREAMY!  
If you have the chance to go to this event don't miss the Frozen Sing-Along!  It happens 7 times daily at Premiere Theater and was even better than I expected! They were giving away tickets to the Sing-Along outside the theater.  The tickets were being handed out in chronological order and once all of the tickets were given out, there would be no more that day.  But even for us on the first day, we came out of the first show a little after 1pm and immediately got a ticket for the 2:30p show to see it again...yes, it was that good!
And they still had plenty of tickets to give away.  Wandering Oaken's Frozen Funland has an ice-skating rink and you can skate for a $10 fee.  There is also a play area with real snow so you can make your own snowman.  You can get an Olaf cupcake which is Carrot with Vanilla Buttercream marshmallows and white chocolate.  You can get the Olaf cupcake at most quick service locations throughout the park.  Most of the merchandise is in Wandering Oaken's Trading Post - but bring your patience.  Due to capacity limitations, the wait to get in was approximately 2 hours to shop or ice skate.  This is open from park opening to closing, so this may be something to come back later and check out.  In the late afternoon, check out DJ Chill as he hosts a Dance Party & music from the Ice Men of the North.  Then you can close out your Frozen Summertime day with a special Fireworks Spectabular set to music from Frozen.  I had a blast and I hope you get the opportunity to see this event for yourself!