Archives for April 2010
Our first trip to Disney World was in 1983. I was 8. Even though I was old enough to remember this trip, I barely remember things. I have to look at pictures or hear stories from my parents to piece it all together. Some of the things I remember were camping. We weren’t at Fort Wilderness. We were in some KOA, I guess, campsite in Orlando. We were in a borrowed pop up camper and I remember it rained- a lot! I remember the canvas pop out parts of the camper leaking. I remember walking to the bath houses. That’s about it.
As for the actual time in the Magic Kingdom I remember the parade because the girl characters were carrying pom poms like cheerleaders, Swiss Family Robinson’s Treehouse, The Jungle Cruise and Cinderella’s Castle. At Epcot, I remember how much I LOVED Journey into Imagination and Figment. I also loved the “jumping water” outside of Imagination. And, that was my trip. That is all I can remember. I have no idea how many days we were there. I have no memory of driving down with the camper in tow. I have no memory of where we ate or what we purchased for souvenirs.
1. Tinkerbell Romper for toddlers From Samster Mommy: This makes me want a baby girl! I love the idea of an outfit to wear to the parks that wasn’t bought at Target or the Disney Store and that isn’t frou frou! Tinker Bell will be proud!
2. Banned from the park?? Really? It’s a good thing that burly security guard didn’t work at Walt Disney World when they were having the Pirates and Princess Party! He would have had to “kick out” lots of grown women dressing like a princess!
While visiting Walt Disney World, there will be times you need something to help keep the kids, or adults, occupied. Even if it’s not peak season and tourists are swarming all over the place, there will be times when you need to distract the kids. Some of those times may be:
- waiting on the parade to start
- waiting in line for an attraction
- riding the bus/ monorail/ ferry boats
- eating meals
- waiting on fireworks, Fantasmic, or Illuminations to begin
- waiting on a show to begin
There are many different things we have stashed in our backpack to keep us occupied. These things help can help cut back on the whining!
1. “Line candy”- I believe “line candy” was born during our trip in 1991. My mom packed twizzlers and starbursts for us to eat. This tradition has stuck! Every trip we make to WDW, I pack twizzlers and starburst candies in the backpack. I also add lifesavers, gum, gummy snacks (especially if they are Disney characters) and suckers to the mix. The only rule for the candy… it can only be eaten while waiting in line (or if a kid is having a meltdown!).
2. Handheld games- We have the 20Q game, tetris, and yahtzee in electronic form. We don’t bring the Nintendo DS or iPads into the parks because of fear it will get lost, stolen or wet. But, if these $5 games are lost, stolen or wet it really won’t matter.
3. Disney tour book- My favorite tour book for WDW is the Birnbaum Guide to Walt Disney World. It has great pictures, lots of color and cartoon characters throughout the book. It’s full of information and the kids enjoy looking at the pictures too.
4. Mini playdough or silly puddy- it’s small and easy to manipulate to keep hands busy!
5. Disney Bingo- When our oldest son could read we made this game to take with us to the parks. I made the board in Microsoft Publisher, printed it on card-stock and had it laminated at Kinkos. I found miniature wipe off markers at Wal-Mart with an eraser on the cap. While we are waiting in the parks we will each get a card and start playing. We are all looking for the same things, but our cards are different. The first person to get 5 in a row “wins.” (They could always win a piece of “line candy!”) Here are a few photos of the game.
What does your family do to help kill time while waiting in the parks?
The Value and Moderate resorts at Walt Disney World have doors that open to the outside. One thing we’ve done in the past is put window gels on the window by the front door. When you are walking down the outside hallway heading back to your room, the only thing that makes your room different from the others is the room number on the door. For younger kids, those numbers don’t mean a thing! However, if your room window has Disney character window gels on the window, the young ones definitely know which room belongs to them! It adds a bit of Disney magic to your “home” and helps the kids find their room easier!
I didn’t have any pictures of our window gels on windows at our Disney resort, so photos of the gels on my kitchen window will have to do! Can’t you see how “excited” the baby is to find the “room with the Disney window gels?” 😉
I found these window gels at Target several years ago. I believe it was in August in the “back to school” section of the store. These were actually on sale at the end of the back to school season!
|image from celebration.fl.us|
One of our long time family friends recently visited the Orlando area and stayed at Celebration City, Florida. She wrote an amazing blog about their stay and the photos were breathtaking! I visited Celebration City about 10 years ago when we were on a week and a half long trip to Walt Disney World. We took a “day off” from the parks and visited other Disney places: Downtown Disney, Celebration City, Fantasia Gardens, the Boardwalk and a few resort lobbies. Celebration is quite a charming town! It would be perfect to retire there and work at Disney part time! 😉
Besides walking around and taking in all the sights, there are other things to do in Celebration:
- Town Center! There are events at the Town Center throughout the year. Things to do such as: concerts, movies, art shows, car shows, parades and more.
- Eat! There are several fast food, sit down and ice cream/ dessert places in Celebration. You can also shop at Publix grocery store.
- Shop! There are shops and boutiques for everyone in the family- including the dog!
- Golf! Spend an afternoon enjoying the outdoors golfing in Celebration.
- Worship! See if the church of your choice has worship services on Sunday or Wednesday you can attend.
Here is a bit of history behind the city of Celebration from Bardell Real Estate:
Celebration was founded in 1994, it’s a master planned community south of Orlando near Walt Disney World in central Florida and provides a unique environment. Celebration is a community built on a foundation of cornerstones: Community, Education, Health, Technology, and a Sense of Place. Zoned for permanent residents (no short term rental), Celebration was developed by The Walt Disney Company.
Named America’s 2007 Dream Town, Celebration is connected directly to the Walt Disney World parks and resorts by World Drive; the north end of World Drive begins near the Magic Kingdom and its south end connects to Celebration Boulevard, allowing residents and guests to drive to Disney property without having to use any busy highways.
Celebration was intended to fulfill Walt Disney’s original vision for EPCOT as an experimental location where people could live. Instead of using Disney’s vision for EPCOT which was based on modernism and futurism, the town uses the concept of “New Urbanism” to emphasize parks, sidewalks, and a mix of residential and commercial space.
The bank, the post office, the town hall, the movie theater, and other downtown buildings were designed by renowned architects. The majority of homes are within one mile of the downtown area. Segway scooters and small electric cars called “NEVs” (“Neighborhood Electric Vehicle”) are common.
Community events are held downtown throughout the year; for example, during the Christmas season it “snows” on Market Street (bubbly foam blown from machines on the lampposts).
The community has 7 different denominations churches. There is also a hospital (Celebration Health) and a fire station in Celebration. An eighteen-hole golf course winds through the town.
The philosophy behind the town is that it is to be a friendly, neighborly place, drawing its design and its sensibility from such places as Savannah, Georgia, Nantucket, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South Carolina.
I’ve been thinking of some of our past trips to Walt Disney World and trying to remember my fondest memories. There are so many that come to mind! I don’t want to write about or highlight all of them in one post, so I’ll spread them out over several weeks, months or even years!! I’ll “steal” an idea I’ve seen on several blogs and recall these memories on Mondays and call it “Monday’s Memories!”
My first memory is probably one of my all time favorites! In 2008, my husband and I went to WDW all by ourselves to run the half marathon! No kids, no friends, no family. Just the two of us. We were able to take a few extra days off work to arrive early and leave late. We spent 2 days in the parks prior to the race and one day after the race. The day in Epcot after the race will not make it to “Mondays Memories!” That day was not fun for me since I had pulled my IT band during the race. But the days prior to the race were great!
On the Thursday morning before the race on Saturday we woke up very early, got ready, grabbed a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant and took the resort bus over to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Morning Hours. We were there before the park opened so we were able to see the opening ceremonies. What an experience! If you haven’t ever been to this, it’s magical! The ceremony took place between the ticket turnstiles and the corridors under the railroad tracks. The characters came on the train and stood on the platform overlooking the turnstiles. Mickey introduced the family selected to “open” the park. They sang songs, played music, danced and shot confetti all over the place! I had tears in my eyes the entire time (1. it was pure Disney magic, 2. I was ecstatic to be there and 3. I was jealous it wasn’t us chosen!) and I even had to choke back sobs!
That was the first part of one of my favorite days at Disney World. After we got into the park for extra magic hours my husband and I took our time walking down Main Street soaking in all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings. Prior to our trip I had found a download from The Mouse for Less that showed you the “hidden gems” in the Magic Kingdom. We slowed down, took our time and looked for all the hidden gems in this document and some others I had read about on different message boards. This quite time we spent together, enjoying the park was one of the best times I’ve had in the Magic Kingdom.
After an hour of searching for the hidden gems we wandered over to the Haunted Mansion. We found out that Liberty Square was not included in the Extra Magic Hours, so we went back to Fantasyland to kill some time. At the “opening time” we went back to the Haunted Mansion and were part of the first group to enter the Mansion and the stretching room. After the ride, we saw some Disney Cast Members talking to a family who was 4 or 5 doom buggies ahead of us. They were looking at something on a small portable DVD player. This peaked my curiosity, so I stopped to eavesdrop on this conversation. After a few minutes (or possibly seconds… it just seemed like minutes!) I realized what was happening. This family was chosen to spend the night in Cinderella’s Castle Suite that night! Are you kidding me?!!? They were only 4 or 5 ahead of us! What if it had been us?!?! It was very sweet to see the look on the kid’s face when he told the cast member he was willing to give up his night in his resort to spend the night in the castle! She told the family that Disney would take care of their luggage and they could return to their original room after their magical stay in the castle!