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.