Archives for April 2011
|Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom at WDW|
|Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at Disneyland|
|Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom at WDW|
|Splash Mountain in Critter Country at Disneyland|
|California Screamin’ in Paradise Pier at California Adventure|
|Tower of Terror in Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California Adventure|
|Spaceship Earth in Future World at Epcot|
|Test Track in Future World at Epcot|
These are perfect to stock up on for your next Disney Vacation! Add them to your travel box and you’ll be set! 🙂
Since I’m home all week for spring break helping my hubby recuperate from surgery, I decided I would clean out. It is spring and it’s the season to do it! I hate clutter and I hate keeping stuff we’ll never use, that we don’t like- just in case. If we haven’t used it in the 2 years we’ve lived in this house, we probably won’t miss it and won’t really ever need it.
So, I climbed into the attic and lugged down 12 U-haul boxes of children’s books from my days as a first grade teacher. It was exhausting to say the least! Today, I spent the morning going through ALL the books. It really was a bit ridiculous. While I was purging the books I found quite a few not from my classroom, but from my childhood.
Do any of you 1970’s babies remember the Disney Book Club? I remember getting a new Disney book in the mail every so often. I don’t remember, but I would guess one was sent every month. All of the books in my collection had a 1971-1978 copyright date. They all had the same logo in the top right corner of the tri circle Mickey head reading a book that said “Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading.”
I have very vivid memories of my mom and I laying (or is it lying) in bed reading these books. When I look through many of them, I have “signed” my name in the inside cover and tried to write the date. I guess I was playing library at the time! A few have my name crossed out and my younger brother’s name written in. Maybe he borrowed them and took them to school! Some of the books had random sentences highlighted and others had stickers or stamps inside.
Then there is Donald Duck and the Magic Stick. I have no memories of not liking the nephews, but apparently I didn’t care for them too much! I wrote my name across the front cover of the book (probably in Kindergarten or First Grade based on penmanship!) and scribbled out 2 1/2 of the ducks faces and 3 of the 6 hands! Not sure which one is which: Huey, Dewey or Louie, but I obviously liked the one in purple better than the others!
When traveling with a toddler there is always a huge list of things to take with you:
- clothes, change of clothes and another change of clothes for each day
- cups/ bottles/ bowls/ spoons
- lotions/ powders/ etc
- blankie/ lovie/ passy/ etc
I remembered to pack his baby shampoo, baby wash and wash cloths, but failed to pack a cup to rinse his hair and toys for him to play with. For our next trip, I’ve already added “bath accessories” to the packing list. I’m going to throw in a plastic cup (I didn’t like using the glasses from the resort in the bathtub) and some small plastic and foam bath toys in the suitcase!
On a comfortable Saturday morning on January 12, 2008 my husband and I woke up way to early to head to Epcot for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. We were staying at the All Star Music Resort and took a bus at 4:00am to the Epcot parking lot. We were both wearing our running gear and had our required documents to enter the race. We had on sweats over our running clothes to help keep us warm. While it wasn’t cold, it was quite chilly at 4:00am! We walked at least a half a mile to the race tents to store our belongings. Then it was time for the next hike to the race corrals. I believe this was another mile and a half, but I could be wrong!
Once we made it to the corrals, we stood around talking for a while and taking it all in. When you register for the race you have to include your estimated finish time. Because Jonathan is a faster runner than I am he started in coral c and I started in f. (I didn’t want him to be held back because of me.) So as the race approached, we parted ways.
Once the race officially started, I think I had about a 25 minute walk to the starting line. I could hear the countdown to the gun shot and could see the fireworks in the sky, but I was too far back to see the actual start.
If you have never experienced a WDW marathon or half marathon, it’s quite a production! Disney doesn’t do anything without a production and the races are no exception! There were fireworks, characters, live video feed of the runners and music blaring. I still get teary eyed thinking about the emotions I had as I crossed the starting line. Because of this race and the full marathon I ran in 2003, I can’t watch or participate in any race (1 mile fun run to a full blown marathon) without tearing up. The adrenalin that pumps through your body is infectious. It makes me feel like I can do anything. But obviously, at mile 8, I realized I couldn’t do anything!
This was when the injury occurred. I was doing just fine and making pretty decent time for me. Then it hit me. I thought my knee was going to explode. I walked a bit and tried to run again. Not a good decision. The pain shot up the outside of my thigh from my knee to my hip. I hobbled along until I saw a Team in Training coach on the sidelines. I told her I had run the full marathon in 2003 with TNT and needed help. I explained my situation and she said it sounded like an IT band issue. She showed me a stretch to do and it helped for about 1/4 of a mile. But no longer. So, from mile 8-13.1 I hobbled along. Run. Walk. Stretch. Run. Walk. Stretch. It wasn’t fun. I was in pain. I was so sad because once again, I was not going to be able to run the race. I had to hobble/ walk/ run it.
Here is part of my “official” info from the race.
My goal is to one day finish a Walt Disney World race without having to walk and without being injured. Sure, I have the medals to prove I did the full and half marathons, but I know in my heart I didn’t really run them. Maybe one day I’ll be able to finish strong!
One funny part of the half marathon was around mile 11. I was hobbling along trying to run without crying and an older lady passed me. She was probably 65+ and she was eating a banana. Yep, I was passed at age 33 by a 65 year old woman eating a banana. I started running through the pain at that point!
This week is spring break for our school system. I think all of my youth from church are traveling somewhere. I know 1 is at Walt Disney World and I couldn’t be more jealous! Our family isn’t brave enough to travel to WDW when school is out. We choose to take our son out of school to get cheaper rates and smaller crowds!! Since we do take him out of school for at least a week to travel to WDW I try to make sure he has educational experiences in addition to everything Disney already offers. You can read more about some of the “work” I’ve made him do in the past here and here!
My new friend, Jodi over at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse has excellent ideas on how to bring Disney into your classroom, homeschool setting or child’s life- at home or on vacation! In reading some of her creative ways to incorporate Disney into her child’s homeschooling experience I decided to think of new ways to make my son “work” while he’s on a vacation to Walt Disney World!
The first idea was to find ways to use your five senses at the parks and resorts and keep a journal with all your experiences. There are so many ways to use your senses:
- At each park, in each land and at each attraction, the music changes. Pay attention to the background music. See if you can identify the song or the genre of music being played.
- There are different languages being spoken all throughout the World Showcase at Epcot. Try to start a conversation with a cast member at any of the countries and ask them to speak in their native tongue.
- Listen to the announcements being made on busses, attractions and my favorite, the monorail. Usually you can hear the same message in English and Spanish. Do you know what this phrase means: “Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas!”
- Don’t forget to listen as you experience “Sounds Dangerous” at Hollywood Studios!
- Listen for park guests who are yelling on the rides. Can you tell if they are yelling because they are scared or having fun?
|Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.|
- There are all sorts of aromas at the World Showcase in Epcot. You can smell the foods from different countries cooking. Ask the cast members working what the foods and seasonings are that make the different smells.
- If you visit during the spring, try smelling some of the beautiful flowers at the Flower and Garden Festival!
- There are several areas on property where you can visit animals: Kilimanjaro Safari, Conservation Station, and Tri Circle D Ranch come to mind. Obviously, animals smell!
- In all of the parks you can find food carts- popcorn, cotton candy, turkey legs, churros, etc. See if you can identify the food by it’s smell before you reach the cart.
- Can you name three attractions that use smells as part of the experience?
- Besides the meals you eat at Walt Disney World, you can try exotic foods at the World Showcase. For something fun, try something new at each country. Candy and desserts is our favorite!
- While in Future World, stop by and try the drinks at Club Cool. Which tastes the best to each person in your group?
- Can you think of any foods you can only taste at WDW?
|Photo courtesy of Orlando Attractions Magazine.|
- You can feel a lot of things while on different attractions. Some you can feel the breeze blowing your hair, water splashing your face, or G forces pressing your body. Keep track of the different feelings in your journal.
- At many of the resorts there are beaches with sand. If you visit these resorts feel the sand on your feet as you prepare to feel the water from the pool or lake!
- At Animal Kingdom you can feel the fossils at The Boneyard and the animals at the petting zoo at Conservation Station. You can also visit animals at the Tri Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness. At Hollywood Studios you can feel the oversized things on the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground.
- What attractions at the Magic Kingdom have new queues that let you touch and feel things?
|Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.|
- There are so many different sights at WDW! You can see the rides, buildings, landscaping, waterways and transportations. How many different modes of transportation can you see in one day?
- At the end of It’s a Small World you can read “goodbye” in different languages.
- You can also see the words on the menus at the restaurants you visit, the attractions you ride and the buildings you walk past.
- You can see characters from different Disney movies in all of the parks. How many characters did you see each day of your trip?
Melissa at Makin’ Memories wrote a post a few weeks ago, with the Magical Blogorail Red, about her favorite attraction: The Great Movie Ride. She ended her post with the following quote, which I found beautiful!
“I end by saying this: when an attraction changes you, opens you up to new things, and lets you take a little bit of Disney and connect it to every day things, that attraction holds a special place in your heart. What attraction have you let change you?”
I have been thinking about this question since she posted it on March 18- What attraction have I let change me? I have mentally walked through all 4 parks and all of the attractions. I have looked at past photographs from trips, reviewed old park maps and read descriptions in travel books. I have a lot of favorites and “must do” attractions, but have they actually changed me?
Well, after much thought and consideration, I have narrowed it down to 3 attractions.
The first time I rode Tower of Terror at the then MGM Studios at Walt Disney World was 1996. I went with my family for my college graduation trip. I loved the attraction then and still do today, even after several changes were made. The way this attraction changed me was is similar to the challenge Melissa wrote about in her post. After experiencing this attraction, I went home and started watching old Twilight Zone shows with a friend from the 1950s and 1960s. We didn’t watch all of them, but we did watch enough that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World and California Adventure (the only two I’ve been on) now have a different meaning to me. I understand the back story a bit more and feel like I have experienced a little of my parents childhood at the same time!
Another attraction that changed me was the Haunted Mansion. In 2006, my mother and I attended a Youth Ministry Conference at Walt Disney World. Part of our conference was to participate in the YES (Youth Educational Series) Program. During our tour with the YES Program, we had the chance to go behind the scenes and see how the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion were created. We learned about the effect known as Pepper’s Ghost and saw first hand how this is done. We explored the use of scrims, lights, mirrors and glass to create the ghosts scenes throughout the ride. You may be asking, “So, how did this change you?” Well, in my everyday life, it really didn’t change me, but in my theatrical life it did! Before Cman was born in 2009, I spent quite a bit of time at our local theatre in our hometown helping the lighting director run lights for shows. We used lighting techniques, gobo’s and scrims for several productions. The Haunted Mansion is a lighting person’s dream! I can’t ride this attraction without thinking about all the techniques used and I can’t run lights or see a play without thinking about how Disney uses the same lights and techniques in the Haunted Mansion!