Saturday, April 30, 2011

We're on Facebook!!!

So the title of the post pretty much says it all...Disney: Done Right is now on Facebook.  I originally just linked my personal profile on the homepage of the blog.  I was really surprised to get a lot of new "friends" that were blog family!  So, I have created a page for this blog where we can all visit, chat, and such.  You'll find content posted by me from both Disney: Done Right and my column over on Disney Dispatch!  
So, why don't you go on over and "like" it.  We'll think of this as the kitchen.  Now, if you just read that and were like...what?...then I am more than willing to clarify.  See, the kitchen is the place where the best discussions happen.  There's always a chair for you to sit in.  You are made welcome no matter what time of the day.  I always noticed this about both my maternal and paternal grandparents kitchens as a kid.  Today, that is where the bulk of my conversations with my family occur.  Meal time or not, there's always a seat for you. 
 Just look to the right of this post for the black box with "find us on facebook" and click like!  Simple as that!  Thanks for your support and I am so excited about this new growth!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Discover this...Discover Epcot

I am still in awe.  I keep watching this amazing video and thought it was about time I shared it.  You can follow Andy's blog here.  He has a Facebook page as well as a Youtube channel.  This was a lot of hard work and the end result was flippin' amazing!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Disney Dispatch Post: In Your Easter Bonnet!

I stinkin' love Disney!  Especially my first memories of Disney World at Easter during the Easter parade.  Read a sentimental post over on Disney Dispatch with my article for this week!  Think of it as a prize in your Easter basket!  :D  Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Disney Done Crowded: Keeping Your Cool With Kids in the Crowd

They say "a dream is a wish your heart makes".  A dream of mine is to have children of my own to take to Disney World. That is a ways off for me but it doesn't mean I can't think about it.  So for right now I will continue to dream :D.  Today I am presenting my suggestion for taking children into the parks on a crowded day.  How do you keep them wrangled, how do you not lose them, how do you make sure they don't end up at Town Hall crying and lost?  Often the parks are so thick with crowds, it is hard for adults to stick together. With the parks crowded like they will be any day this week (as many children and families are playing in Disney World on their spring break) it is important to have a plan!  So today I am presenting some suggestion for keeping your cool in the crowd with kids (alliteration people, work with it).  These ideas are based on a good foundation; my experience teaching and wrangling kindergartners (especially on field trips), my experience being the resident "baby hog" amongst my humongous extended family, and the soccer mom hiding deep down in there noticing and picking up on parenting in the park, and using my Facebook status as a research tool.  So, let's get to it! 

#1 :  Let's make a plan:
Hopefully you have an emergency plan at your home.  In case of a house fire or other disaster establishing a safe "meeting place" away from danger or perhaps a plan for other weather emergencies.  Maybe your plan extends beyond your physical home.  When I was a kid we had a secret word that someone would have to tell us if they were to pick us up from school without being informed by our parents.  Praise the Lord those things never happened to us but, we were ready if they should arise.  
I think  a Disney emergency plan should be high on your priorities when taking a child to Disney for the first time.  Here's how I would do it. 
Create Your Plan:
a. Find your "meeting place":
At the start of each visit to a park (just in case you are park hopping and visiting multiple parks) I would take a quick minute to designate a "meeting place".  You'll want this place to be somewhere you and your child will not forget.  I would also consider making it a place that isn't too crazy crowded (ie:Cinderella Castle).  Instead I would think of a place that is a bit less frequented.  In the Magic Kingdom I would go for the flag pole at the mouth of Main Street USA (you can pick and choose what works for you).  I would visit that place with my kid before hitting any rides or attractions.
b. Lay some ground rules:
The most important of these would be to report to the meeting place if you get separated from me.  I would talk about getting to the meeting place while been vigilant for me because we may not be that lost after all.  Another rule would be NO LEAVING the park.  And when in doubt see a cast member.
c.  This is a cast member: 
After doing the "talk" I would introduce my kid to a cast member.  I would point out how to tell who a cast member is (for these purposes I would introduce them to a cast member behind a register.  I would point out the iconic name tag).  Just think of it this way, if you introduce your child to a cast member they have at least one other person they know in case you become separated.  Also, taking your child to the guest services counter won't be a bad idea either.  Just think of it as insurance.  Like a good neighbor...cast members are there!

#2: To label or not to label....that is the question:
I am living proof that personalizing items can lead to some weirdo noticing it and calling out your name.  On at least three different occasions in my adult life I have been the victim of a random personalization ploy.  Being that I am an adult  I quickly recovered my sense of "how the heck did they know my name?" and wipe the stupor off my face in time to keep on trucking.  But a small child might have a more difficult time so...and I am probably going to catch a lot of flack for this one...if you don't plan on having a conversation about not answering to anyone but someone you don't know (stranger danger) then you might consider keeping personalization on clothing, etc. to a minimum.  Now, I am ALL about Mickey Ear Hats.  But if you have a really small child you might let your child wear it without a name and get it personalized before you leave for home.  I don't know.  To be honest I don't even know what I will do with my own kid.  I just know what I know from my experience with the "Hey Ashley!" ...."he...hey wait...how did he know my name...oh.  yeah.".  So maybe you go with initials instead of names on those super cutie embroidered t-shirts, book bags, and so on.

#3: Birds of a feather flock together:
What to put your little goslings in while at the parks.  Of course you want your child to be comfortable and cute but, you might want to consider dressing your little kiddos in the same color/outfit.  I met a parent at the Festival of the Lion King who's entire family was dressed in the same Reese's Peanut Butter Cups t-shirts.  Of course I had to ask; "Is your last name Reese?" "no"  "Oh, then are you from Pennsylvania?" "no"..."oh, you are asking because of the shirts right?  Well, last year we lost that one (one of like 7 kids he was probably 3 1/2 years old) about an hour.  It was horrible.  We were playing at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and he just went out.  Like literally out the exit.  He probably just got disoriented but he was seriously gone.  So, now we wear the same t-shirt so that instead of describing him to everyone who is on the lookout I just say he's brunette, how old he is, and he's wearing this shirt!".  Smart Daddy and Mommy!  It is easy to pick out your kids when they are dressed similarly.  Even in a crowd.  There is power in numbers so this is especially effective for people with a lot of kids.  It works...in fact one of my Facebook friends made this exact suggestion.  Keep those birds flying together and you can pick them right out!

#4: Can I get your number?
I am not a fan of kids with Sharpied on name and phone numbers roaming around the parks.  It just creeps me out a little bit.  It kind of goes hand in hand with that idea of giving your name to anyone who wants it.  Another Facebook friend told me that some friends of hers are visiting Disney World right now and has a fabulous idea!  Instead of plastering the name and number in full view she did a little covert work and put their contact information on the inside of a Livestrong  (silicone styled) bracelet.  What a great idea.  I have heard of putting a piece of paper with this info in your kids pockets but, unless it is protected water rides will wash off all the important information.  Of course this smart Mom let the kids in on the secret just in case they became separated then they could seek help appropriately from a trusted cast member.  LOVE it!

#5:  Take a Tip from the DIVA...the Disney Diva!:
So over at Disney Dispatch a fellow columnist posted a great article on Safety Pictures and thought that her suggestion to take a picture of your kid was simply divine!  What a simple thing to do in order to ensure that (God forbid) you get separated.  Just flip through your digital camera and there your kid is in their current clothing and everything you need when you are most panicked.. whew!(don't forget take a safety pic each morning before heading into the parks)


#6:  Just a phone call away:
If you have older children who have cell phones, calling you if you get separated won't really be a problem (just make sure your number is saved in their phone with your area code).  I do know that for the smaller children, cast members will be able to make the call based on the information you put on your child's concealed identification.  I know there are free public phones in guest services but I am pretty sure they are for local calls only and to be honest I am not certain about different area codes and cell phone logistics. 

So what are your tips?  Do you have any scary stories or lessons learned from an experience of losing your child (you aren't a bad parent.  Kids are quick and little and that makes it easy for them to wander off!).  If you do have any super great ideas post them here in the comment section!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Disney Dispatch: Lost in the 50s...Prime Time Cafe that is!

Most restaurants are all about letting you have it your way. You want fries with that? Done. You want a value size burger and a diet soda? You got it, no questions asked.
Same at Disney, right? After all, Disney is all about making the customer happy. No matter what you ask for at Disney World, there's a Cast Member ready to make it happen.
Except at one place...

Find out where here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Disney World Adult Clause: Find out Your Park Personality!

Did you know there is a teeny clause hidden on your Disney World Key to the World (that would be your ticket). You'll need a super magnifying glass to read it.  Just like on the Tim Allen movie the Santa Clause, teeny, tiny, whirling around into an almost non-existent abbyss .  Here's what it says:

Check your adult at the door.  Let your hair down. 
 Let the kid in you shine through.  Smile and have a open mind. 

Okay so, it doesn't really say that.  I completely made that up.  Sorry I lied. 
But, in all seriousness, this should be part of the admission.  Disney World is about fun and magic.  Being an adult and having a good time at Disney World are not mutually exclusive.  So today's post features things that you can do at Disney World as an adult.  I am breaking it down into different approaches (if you will).  I will front load by saying that this is by no means an exhaustive list.  Rather these are suggestions and options.  Instead think of it as a launching pad for the first time adult only trip. 

So let's get started...

step1 Take this cutie little quiz (I use to love these kinds of things in magazines when I was a teenager!)

1.)  When you find a dandelion you:
a. make a wish.  A little wishing never hurt!
b. smash it with your foot
c.  blow it right away!  What are you waiting for?  Wish or not, it is fun to see those seeds scatter!
d. save it to share with you loved one

2.) The perfect date would be:
a. a picnic at your favorite park
b. sky diving...for two.
c. a trip to the ice cream shop.  Who needs entrees.  Dessert is where it is at!
d. watching the sun set on top of the hood of a convertible

3.) You are most like which character:
a. Mickey Mouse
b. The Genie
c. Goofy
d. Cinderella

4.)The perfect car for you would be:
a. the prototype of the first flying car a
b. a fast one
c. Jeep Wrangler
d. a classic car (can we say Mustang Convertible)

Here's how the quiz breaks down: Click on the personality that best suits you to jump down to my park personality break down.  Don't feel married to one personality either.  If you had a good helping of A's, B's, C's, and D's read them all.  Pick and choose.  Just HAVE FUN!

if you answered mostly "A's"  Your park personality is  The Dreamer
:::::The Dreamer:::::
Wishing big is your specialty.  You crave wonder.  Having fun means thinking outside of the box.  While you love the classics you aren't afraid to think in the future!

if you answered mostly "B's"  Your park personality is The Dare Devil
The faster the better.  A scream and laughter from the same attraction set your heart sailing.  You like living on the edge and being in the driver's seat.


if you answered mostly "C's"  Your park personality is The Big Kid
You are just a big kid in adult clothes.  Fun is your middle name!  You want classic postcard memories and you are up to acting a little goofy.  Character pictures...yes please!  Get ready to ham it up in the place where dreams come true! 


if you answered mostly "D's" Your park personality is The Romantic
They say a dream is a wish your heart makes.  You believe that with you whole heart!  You like spending time with your sweetie.  You want to walk hand in hand enjoying each other, enjoying the parks.  Romantic dinners are a must!  Hearts and love are everywhere!  Disney is the perfect way to say I love you!

Step 2  Check out the park personality of your choosing.  Remember, you might compare the different suggestions across park personalities to see what each has to offer.

The Dreamer
park options:
You live for fairytale and magic.  Your park of choice is the Magic Kingdom.  Filled with everything you imagine Disney to be, this park will allow you to wish to your heart's content!  Don't miss out on fun rides and shows like Mickey's Philharmagic, Dumbo, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion.  You'll want to stay late for nightly shows like Wishes! and The Mainstreet Electrical Parade. 
Because you are open to the possibilities of dreaming you'll also find Disney's Hollywood studios, Epcot, and Disney's Animal Kingdom charming.  At Hollywood Studios you will enjoy going back into the golden Hollywood age.  Be sure to live up your dreams of stardom at the Great Movie Ride, The American Idol Experience, and The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.  You'll want to take in plenty of shows while you are at Hollywood Studios so make sure to get a great seat at Beauty and the Beast.  Make sure you keep your paparazzi eyes out for the Citizens of Hollywood.  Don't end your night without seeing something truly fantastic...Fantasmic!
In Epcot you'll love seeing what the future holds.  Dream away on Spaceship Earth, fly on Soarin', and go around the world in a day (or two) at Epcot's World Showcase.  The sky is literally the limit.

Animal Kingdom will bring animals from all over the world for you to see up close and personal.  Take a safari and see animals like you could only see on safari in Africa.  Don't miss out on Broadway the Disney way with Finding Nemo the Musical.
Dining Suggestions:
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
Quick Service: ABC Commisary (grab a quick bite to eat here and you never know what kind of starlet you might run across)
Epcot:
Table Service: Coral Reef Restaurant (Ever dream of eating under the sea.  Dream no more.)
Quick Service: Sunshine Seasons (what kind of cuisine do you desire.  Today just say the word and everyone in your party can be served something to their liking all in one location!). 

Resort Restaurants:
The Polynessian Resort:
Dinner Show:  Disney's Spirit of Aloha Show (a luau the Disney way.  Yes please!)


The Dare Devil
park options:
Excitement is your thing!  Your park of choice is Disney's Hollywood Studios.  With everything from heart startling thrills like Rockin' Rollercoaster and The Tower of Terror to great stunt shows like Lights, Motors, Action! and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular  you are going to love being put in the hot seat.
You'll find your share of thrills and villains at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.   The Magic Kingdom has a few classic rides for the thrill seeker.   You'll be up for tackling the mountains (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and my favorite Splash Mountain).  Because you like a good "scare" here and there, you will want to get your body over to the Haunted Mansion for the ride of your life.
Epcot offers thrill seekers one of the most intense rides in the World (the Disney World that is).  Mission Space is so intense they actually made a less intense version for those faint of heart...get ready for an out of this world experience! 
Make sure to check out Disney's Animal Kingdom and take on the Yeti in a runaway mine train on Expedition Everest.  Be on the lookout throughout Animal Kingdom for animals on the prowl.  You can even be part of the show with fierce birds of prey at Flights of Wonder...if you dare!

Dining Suggestions:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge:
Table Service: Boma (because you are open to new adventures in dining, try out Boma.  Forget your run of the mill burger and fries.  Taste something that you can't get at the fast food restaurants!)

Epcot:
Table/Quick Service:  Try eating different foods around the world (World Showcase) .  From Chinese cuisine at Nine Dragons to the delightful Restaurant Merrekesh you're sure to find something new that is tempting to your extreme taste buds!)

 






The Big Kid
park options:
You love to have fun.  You fully admit to being a big kid at heart and you don't care who knows it!  Your park of choice is the Magic Kingdom...where a kid (of any age) can have fun!  With 7 lands of magic this park is sure to let your inner kid out!  You'll enjoy classic rides like Peter Pan's Flight, Stitch's Great Escape, Monster's Inc. Laugh Factory, Splash Mountain, and Jungle Cruise (to name a few).  You'll also love parades like Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade, Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, and of course the Main Street Electrical Parade.  You'll also be awestruck with shows like Dream Along with Mickey and Pirate Tutorials with Captain Jack Sparrow.  Character encounters are a MUST for you.  Look for classic Disney favorites throughout the park (character dining experiences like those at Crystal Palace  and princesses can be found in large quantities at Cinderella's Royal Table).  You'll want to soak in every song, dance, cheer around the park so get there early for the day to begin with opening ceremonies!  The big kid will enjoy the park even more with a Mickey Ear hat...fyi. 
You'll be open to having fun no matter what park you are in.  You'll dream of growing up to be a star at Hollywood Studios.  You'll pretend you are in the future at Epcot. And you will be an animal loving globe trotter at Disney's Animal Kingdom!  At Hollywood Studios you'll love trying your hand at being an animator at the Art of Animation.  Don't miss out on fun attractions like Muppets Vision 3d, Backlot Tours, the Great Movie Ride, and get there first to ride/secure fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania.  You'll love walking through the streets of America taking all sorts of great photographs.  You'll find the Citizens of Hollywood to be comedic and you'll probably be willing to goof around with them!

Epcot will put you in the mindset of well, tomorrow.  With futuristic rides like Mission to Mars, Test Track, and Soarin' you'll be grinning from ear to ear.  You'll also enjoy the fun, food, attractions, shopping, and did I say food found throughout World Showcase.  Look out for more of your Disney favorite characters as you make your way around World Showcase.  Don't forget your camera!

Disney's Animal Kingdom has a lot to see.  Its like the zoo only amped up by like a million degrees.  You'll enjoy seeing animals as you trek through the Maharajah Jungle and take the Kilimanjaro Safari.  You'll also enjoy fun rides like It's Tough to be a Bug, Dinosaur, and Kali River Rapids.
Dining Suggestions:
Hollywood Studios:
Table Service: 50s Prime Time Cafe (you'll enjoy feeling like a kid around the 50s era table.  Hey, get your elbows off the table and clean your plate for a sticker showing your membership in the clean plate club!  Plus, they have s'mores on their dessert menu :D)
Magic Kingdom:
Signature Dining: Cinderella's Royal Table (You'll love chatting it up with the princesses and making wishes with your souvenir wand and wishing star!  Can you say photo opp?)
Quick Service: Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (If you have followed my blog for any time then you know my affinity for this quick service restaurant.  Join Sonny Eclipse as he provides the musical entertainment your heart desires!)
Resorts:
Grand Floridian: 1900 Park Fare (with tons of characters and iconic Mickey waffles this is one of my park breakfast favorites!)




The Romantic
park options:
Can you feel the love tonight?  If you are answering, then the answer is without a doubt YES!  You love to be able to slow down for time with your sweetie!  Your park of choice is Epcot.  You'll love the romance of walking around World Showcase.  Make sure to take advantage of the lovely views provided from each stop along the showcase.  You'll enjoy taking time to enjoy a drink or opportunity to dine in style.  Don't miss out on Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.
Because it is really about being with your loved one you'll find Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom, and Disney's Animal Kingdom charming.  Hollywood Studios will allow you to kick back and enjoy some shows like Beauty and the Beast.  You'll enjoy rides that let you reminisce, like the Great Movie Ride.  You'll enjoy listening to music to rekindle memories at the American Idol Experience.  And you'll enjoy heart racing stunt shows like the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show and Lights, Motors, Action!. 
The Magic Kingdom will bring out the Disney in your romantic heart.  You'll enjoy classic rides like Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course the Carousel of Progress.  Make sure to take in nightly shows like Wishes! and the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Get a dessert from the bakery on Main Street USA to enjoy with your sweetheart (can we say milkshake with two straws?).
Disney's Animal Kingdom has so many walking areas to see all kinds of animals.  These paths are perfect for strolling hand in hand.  You'll like Finding Nemo the Musical and the Festival of the Lion King because they are amazing shows but mostly because you'll get to sit next to the one you love. 

Dining Suggestions:
Epcot:
Table Service:  Le Celleir Canada Pavilion (the perfect spot for a date)
Dessert: Boulangerie Patisserie France Pavilion (perfect sweets for a romantic and necessary dessert splurge).
Magic Kingdom:
Table Service: Tony's Town Square (This is the night, what a wonderful night and they call it bella note.  Enjoy a meal (possibly a little meatball nose rolling...)  like Lady and the Tramp).
Resorts:
Signature Dining: The Chef's Domain at Citricos ( This signature dining allows you to dine in an intimate setting where you are treated like the rich and famous as you hob nob with the chefs as they prepare your fine cuisine!)

Need more information?  Enter a key word into the google search engine located at the top right of the home page and enter in anything you might need to know.  If you can't find it here look on Disney's offical page :D