Tag Archives: Disney

Confession: I Do Not Have a Disney Side

Unless you live in a cabin deep in the woods, shunning all forms of media (old, new, print, social and maybe even carrier pigeon) you’ve likely caught wind of the new Disney ad campaign, “Show Your Disney Side”. While I love the idea posed here that each of us has an Ariel, Belle, Pooh or Goofy just waiting to burst free at the next quarterly sales meeting, I have to admit… I do not have a Disney Side.

disney side

I’ll pause here to allow you time to scoop your mandible off the rug.

Does it seem odd that one who has been lucky enough – and I do realize I am very fortunate – to be included at many Disney happenings from press events to trips and parties, was even as a guest at an event with First Lady Michele Obama, doesn’t consider herself to have a Disney Side?  Maybe I should start at the very beginning. I hear that is a very good place to start.

My mother was among the first be-gloved and shiny faced children to walk through the gates of Disneyland when it opened in 1955. In a childhood that was far from storybook, this is a memory she would cherish and retell to her own children with a wonder that only Walt could evoke. Growing up, even when money was tight, my parents would find a way to be sure we’d be able to make the two hour trip to nearest movie theater to see Pete’s Dragon, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks or the latest Disney offering.

I can still recall the feel of ripping that green “E-Ticket” ride coupon out of the book and handing it over to the attendant for my first ride on the the Submarine Voyage in Tomorrowland. I was so convinced that magic was possible. I’d been transported to a world I’d read about in a book. Books were my best friends, the characters within kept me company in a lonely, socially awkward early childhood.

Vintage Disney taken from a scrapbook my mother made. My most prized possession in the fifth grade? My The Fox and The Hound  lunch box.

I may or may not have gone to Disneyland in matching outfits with a beau or two in my teens. (note: if anyone has photographic evidence of this (Ted) I will pay top dollar for all copies and the negatives.)

When I found out that I my first child was on the way, choosing the nursery theme was easy. Classic Pooh.. that’ll do Piglet, that’ll do.

That child’s first movie, at one week old? The Lion King.  In this house the words, “It’s the circle of life Simba” can be heard at least once a week.

When it came time to gift my second child with her first stock – also a family tradition, teaching them economics is important –  what was it?

GM.

No that was me. Smart move eh? She got Disney. Her’s is doing far better, needless to say.

When Halloween rolls around everyone from Pooh and his Honey Pot (Me and Lil Nugget Number 2 when she was an infant), to just about every Princess, Toy Story character and Nightmare Before Christmas cast member has made an appearance.

And the parties, oh the parties. You’re thinking the kids aren’t you? Well how about the Lilo and Stitch party the threw for me on my 28th birthday?

Disney is so much more than a side for us. Our first visit to Disney World, we planned for over a year. The price tag that was eye popping, but manageable because we got lots of advice from experts in the blogging community (it was not a hosted or comped trip).

Seventeen hours of driving with four kids in the car. We finally arrive after 2,167 “are we there yets,” and it turns out mom missed the confirmation email a month ago and they CANCELLED our trip.

Me and my now 14 year old daughter.

Adding to the pain, the Disney hotel we researched for so long before finally settling on, was fully booked. I turned into a puddle of tears right there in the lobby.

Do you know what they did? This huge global company that owns… well… half the globe. Did they turn us away? Did they offer to return our deposit and send us to the motel down the street with their condolences? Nope, they weren’t going to let the magic die for us. They put us up in another Disney hotel, a better one. Made sure all the add-ons I’d set up for our kids, including an in-room birthday party my mom arranged for our youngest son, were transferred to the new room. The even made sure to check on us.

Did they know I was a blogger? No. They just knew I was a mom. We were a family. This was supposed to be a magic trip for us and they were going to be sure it was.

It was. It still is.

We stayed at Kidani Villas where the Warthogs sang along with my oldest as he played Ukelele on the balcony at night. Giraffe wandered near our windows in the morning. We met cast members that worked in the hotel who we still send Christmas cards to.

So when you ask me if I have a Disney Side I say, no. No I do not have a Disney Side.

Disney is part of my family.

This post was not sponsored or compensated in any way. None of the items or events I’ve written about here were part of any blogger perks or programs. Disney is truly a part of our family and this post was a love letter of sorts.

Shopping, Sake and Pixie Dust: Disney WITHOUT the Kids

Is it any wonder that Disney –World, Land or any other incarnation–  is truly the most magical place on earth? After all, they’ve cornered the market on Pixie Dust and all the world’s Imagineers hang out there.

Just when I thought I knew my “Disney Magic” inside and out, they go and hit me with a “Jasmine” and show me a whole new world. A world with no strollers, where nap time is a choice rather than a self-preservation tacit and you can become a kid again with out a kid in tow.

Recently Disney hosted my family and I at the Disney Yacht Club Resort and in the parks at Disney World as part of the annual Animal Kingdom, a wondrous place transports you to several exotic locations around the globe all without having left Florida.

Here are a few of my favorite KID FREE things to do at Animal Kingdom;

  • Shop. Shocking I know, but not having a child begging for their 10th pair of Mikey Ears leaves you the freedom to really explore the shops and in the case of this park, the Bazaar-like kiosks and treasure filled outposts. Stunning holiday ornaments were on clearance! Tip: If you’re staying at a Disney hotel property, you can have your finds sent back to your room and not have to lug them back to your room.
  • Ride anything you want to and nothing you don’t. Expedition Everest… did that!
  • Slow down and enjoy the scenery
  • Eat, drink and be merry. The food choices when you don’t have to make sure there are chicken nuggets (obviously I’m used to this culinary caveat) are amazing. I recommend the sushi and sparkling Sake at Yak & YetiTip: Find out what time the parade hits the streets and make an advanced reservation with a table on the second floor near the windows. Here you can take in all the sites without being stuck in the crowd.
  • Let yourself go. Dance with the drummers, ride that ride three times in a row and really enjoy the magic!

 

Beautiful architectural details on a door in "Asia"
Beautiful architectural details on a door in “Asia”
Sushi at Yak & Yeti
Sushi at Yak & Yeti

 

 

Be a kid again and let the wonder take you over!
Be a kid again and let the wonder take you over!

 

A great video to embarrass the kids with when you get home is the BEST souvenir EVER!!

Disclosure: My family and I were provided accommodations and park admissions free or at a discounted rate as part of my participation in the Disney and Chevrolet sponsored Traveling Mom retreat . As always are my opinions are authentic and my own , because you deserve nothing less!

Disney’s Toontown.com (an EPIC Video review)

If you suffered through that you DESERVE a reward! Francis Ford-Copolla I am NOT!

Disney’s Toontown Online is a FREE to play award-winning game that also offers a paid version for less than the cost of a movie ticket. It’s designed specifically for kids and families. Jump into the game, like the Lil’ Nuggets did for nearly THREE HOURS after we shot this review, and see why we can’t get enough!

Stop back by here and leave me a comment (just not one on the shoes, clothes and toys decorating the poorly lit background. I’m allergic to house cleaning okay!). One randomly chosen comment will win all of this…

Toontown.com loot: hat, t-shirt, mousepad, play cube, notebook and MORE!

Get an extra entry for tweeting (be sure to leave a comment with the link to your tweet)… unlimited entries!

“Enter to win a Disney Toontown.com prize pack from @dipaolamomma http://bit.ly/bD3XeE #toontown”

Contest is open to US residents only, ends Friday July 23rd at midnight EST. Winner will be notified via email so be SURE I can reach you!

My thanks to Disney’s Toontown.com for providing my family with box of branded items and access to their website for review. As always any review on this sight reflects my opinions and is only undertaken if I feel my readers would enjoy it or benefit from it.