Disney’s One More Day

From the practically perfect personality of Real Disney Mom Jewelz P!

Hey All!

Sorry it has been a while – been busy trying to keep the clients happyand the strollers clean and purty!
Disney’s One More Day was great! at least for the times we picked to
go. Being 45 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth in Los
Angeles traffic is not an easy feat to just pop up and go..

We finally met up with our friend Amanda (The Disney Go To Girl/Disney
Mom’s Panel) and her little one and Ari Krell (Disney Mom’s Panel) at
Trader Sam’s for adult drinks – I wanted to have a little medicine in
me before the crowds and Excedrin was pulled from the shelves. This
was just as good.

So I just renewed our Annual Passes online and had to still get to the
ticket booth to issued a new passes. I found out that the “Stroller
Rental Deal” was not a deal at all. You could just pay for your days
needed all at once and just show your receipt at the pick-up area
instead of having to wait in line.. still $15.00 a day for the use of
a ratty over used stroller with no sun/rain/wind cover. I also saw
many kids who were way to big for these strollers. I wonder who
maintains them?

Any who –  2 o’clock and off we go to the entrance of Disneyland. Many
families were leaving for the mid afternoon rest. Not too crowded for
Main Street USA. Looking around at the shops just gives me bliss.
Though it is not Disneyworld – I still feel a calm even with kids
running into me and my head being bombarded by balloons. “Drink is
helping”..
We head on over to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for our AP photos. Go over
the bridge and into Fantasyland we go. Peter Pan’s Flight had a 25 min
wait – not too bad but Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my first intentions!
This was Alexis’ actual first time to Disneyland – It took me a while
but WDW and DLR in her first three years was an accomplishment!

Now mind you the lines and railings were not made for us “Pooh size”
addicts so directing my port and starboard side while carrying a
little one was rough. The husband had the diaper bag and it started to
get a little crowded. Alexis’ anxiety started to rise. “Drink helping
here” So I put her on my shoulders so that she could the cars and
people ahead – little distraction. Yes! We got “Ratty” a white little
car with burgundy seats. works for me. I sat inside so Lexi could
steer the car. Once again Pooh Size not helping here. Alexis was just
getting her start of stimulation for the day. Left! Right! Switchback!
KaBOOM through the TNT doors! – Hmmm is this how she will drive in 14
years? Oh wait it is me at the helm..

Next we were search of our stroller – CMs moved them yet again. There
is the StoryBook Ride but no It’s a Small World is next – literally
walked on the boats. though the song is played over and over – but no
it did not stay in our heads. YEAH!!

As we exited – Mickey’s Soundsational Parade  was just ending it’s
route right by us so that was great because we did not have to pick a
spot to watch – it went right by us! Lexi was trying to join the
march.

After a few more rides in Fantasyland we were off to Mickey’s ToonTown
– I loved the one in WDW but I am sorry to see it go. I hope to see
the expanded Fantasyland in Oct 2013.

New Orleans Square – Pirates had a 14 minute wait – and I could not
have been more happier! ah the smell of the chlorine and the Blue

Bayou food in the background as we waited for our perot (Pur Row).
Cajun for boat..
The scenes and some animatronics have changed through out the year but
the Wench in the Red Dress will never go way – Jack Sparrow popping up
here and there – And the flume drops – better than WDW’s.  Time for a
little dinner. Hanging out in the square hoping to
see………………… but  darkness is upon us and that means
LIGHTED toys for the little one. Some of the quick dining restaurants
had specials for the Disney One More day – We decided to try the
French Market – Good Food and with our AP discounts – even better!..

Haunted mansion was next in line – Walked right into the house and off
to the elevators we go… They changed some of the magic through here
too.. some things I even forgot – How could I do that? The Doombuggies
were tight as well.. POOH SIZE and the drinks are still helping! As we
exited the ride, You could hear the screams from Splash Mountain – To
cold and and dark to get wet at that time of the night.

Off to Tomorrowland – That’s where I drew the line – too many college
kids and the 70 minute wait for Star Tours!  It was becoming VERY
crowded at 8PM. So we went to the baby center to change out Lexi’s
clothes for PJ’s and a needed a new bottle that she dropped at
Pirates. $2.00 for a new Gerber bottle not bad. The Baby Center has 4
breastfeeding rooms, 4 changing tables, two high chairs, microwave and
hot water. Very small environment that sees about @1000 kids a day in
the summer..

We decided to leave and may way for home! I was happy – I had my
Disney One more Day Buttons in hand, met up with Amanda and Alexis got
her first visit to Disneyland!.
Very happy to have beaten the late night crowds – those leaving work
at 5 or 6pm to hang all night in Disney!

From what I overheard – 40 minute wait to get into the Mickey and
Friends parking lot, Stopped letting guests in for about and hour
around 10:15pm and the 5 freeway southbound was backed up to the
91(saw that when we drove home) All in All not major meltdowns and
good time had by all!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes…

From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD…
Please be aware that you may find parts of this article uncomfortable to read, and maybe even harder to imagine.
As in any Disney tale, you will find heros, villains and triumph over adversity; and this true life account is no different.
In a land, not so very far away; there is a terrible place where the sun never shines, and found trapped in that dark place were six children named Cooper, Dustin, Matthew, William, Nathaniel & Zoe Renee until their little lives were flooded with light by their adoptive parents Eric & Stephanie McKinney.  These innocent babes did not have the loving and cozy beginning that is usually lavished upon all new borns. Their birth parents had issues of their own, full of drug and substance misuse which lead to the horrors of child abuse; both physical and sexual.  Tragically this has left scars both visible and invisible…
Using Stephanie’s own words to describe just how her children’s lives began -
Cooper  – “He was found when he was three, abandoned in a trailer open to the elements…he was covered in body fluids and left to die in the elements.  He had been physically abused, mentally/emotionally abused, and sexually abused in the most disgusting and heinous way.”
Dustin – “Dustin was three and in the hospital when we met him.  He had been starved and abused in his FOSTER home.”
Matthew – “We got Matt and William at the same time, and Matt was two.  They are biological brothers.  They had already had three foster homes, because no wanted Matthew. He was ‘weird’.  He has Autism.”
William –  “He had been beaten so severely when he was 4 months old, that both sides of his skull had been fractured.  His biological father had beaten him hard enough to crack his skull on both sides, with a plastic bottle.  Everyone wanted to adopt William but not Matt.  But William has since developed ADHD.”
Nathaniel – “He was 22 months when we got him, and he is currently 4.  He came into care because both he and his sister (Zoe Renee) were removed together.”
Zoe Renee –  “She was 5 months old when we got her, and is currently 3.  She was a mess when I got her.  She weighed only 6.5 lbs and had 12 fractures.  Both her arms, and legs had been twisted broken…along with 8 of her ribs.   Both biologicals deny any involvement.”
Tough reading I know; especially if your soul has been sheltered from the darker side of humanity.
The McKinney’s are honest to goodness working folk, wanting only to provide the best life and accommodation for their growing family’s disability needs.  This year the project has been a more accessible downstairs bedroom for Cerebral Palsy sufferer Zoe, thus giving her more independence as walking and climbing the stairs is quite challenging.  The expense of this build soon nibbled away at the savings carefully put aside for a Disney vacation.  However, neighbor and self titled ‘Disney Nut’, David Mullican swooped in with the splendid idea of Eric and Stephanie entering their local Tennessee TV station’s competition for a deserving family to win the ‘Trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World’…unfortunately, even with the help of all David’s fellow Mickey Moms Club members voting online until their fingers were sore; the McKinney’s luck wasn’t quite yet Pixie Dusted!  But not winning wasn’t an option for former US Marine Mullican, he soon rallied the MMC troops into action once again…with the afore mentioned pixie dust arriving in the human form of Club member Heidi LaDuca!  With Heidi’s generous donation of the free use of her stunning vacation home in Orlando, and the growing involvement of the Mickey Moms Club; gradually the dreams and wishes in the hearts of the McKinney family were coming true.
Now can you imagine the joy that this trip to WDW will bring?  It will bond and reinforce the commitment and love that runs right through the very core of the McKinney family.  When Eric and Stephanie announced that they were going to Walt Disney World in May 2012 the children all produced smiles bigger than the Cheshire Cat, not to mention more noise and sheer exuberance than Illuminations; now wouldn’t you have loved to have witnessed that?!  Amongst other conditions both Cooper and William suffer with ADHD, Matthew is Autistic and Zoe has problems with mobility, so the the careful planning of each stage of this amazing trip will be paramount due to each individuals special needs.  Each child has their own personal Disney ‘to do’ list’ including visiting Epcot, watching fireworks, taking in some rides, checking out Star Tours and visiting with the Princesses, but topping the list is of course, a meeting with Mickey & Minnie Mouse!
This family are all heroes, the parents for their unconditional love, and the children for their ability to thrive against all the odds.  Maybe this is your chance to be a hero, whether it’s giving complete acceptance of disability, or to just offer your love and support to the Marvellous McKinneys.
You can follow Eric & Stephanie, Cooper, Dustin, Matthew, William, Nathaniel & Zoe Renee McKinney on a Facebook page dedicated to their Disney dream vacation here – The MicKinney’s Magical Trip to Walt Disney World

The Many Adventures of Fort Wilderness

From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD!

Pioneer Hall. Notice in the tree the dangly, hanging "old man's beard" aka Spanish Moss.

With the Pioneer Players “Hoop Dee Doo!” still a-ringin’ in my ears, I thought that I would take you on a little ramble around it’s home; Fort Wilderness, which is one of the original Walt Disney World resorts opening in 1971 along with the rest of The World.
The peaceful rustic charm of Disney’s Resort and Campground at Fort Wilderness has kept me returning for a visit (even if just for a peek) for decades now.  Not many things have changed in that time, although sadly you can no longer ride on the Fort Wilderness Railway, which ran out of steam in 1980, or take a dip at River Country, which saw it’s last hurrah in 2001.  The railway transported guests around the resort much like the buses of today do; only with a few more bells & whistles!  Even today in the furthest reaches of wilderness territory, a keen eye can spot the old railway lines zigzagging about.  The first water park I ever caused a splash in was River Country; it was a naturalistic homespun styled swimming hole, the type of place you would imagine Huckleberry Finn and his pals to frequent!!  You can still see the River Country harbour from the ferry boats taking you across Bay Lake; you never know, it may just be re-imagined one day!!  Sadly, both attractions were closed due to costs, health, and maintenance issues.

The forlorn looking, abandoned River Country.

The 400 plus guest quarters are modelled on prospector’s log cabins from the 1880’s. They snugly sleep a party of six; on a double, and large bunk in the bedroom, and a pull down murphy bed found in the lounge.  This being Disney, you won’t have to rough it pioneer style  as your cabin is an air conditioned “home sweet home”.  Everything is thoughtfully anticipated for what any family on vacation may need with the themed decor carried on throughout.  The bathroom contains all the usual facilities, and will seem in constant use if the cabin has a full quota of guests!  The kitchen has all modern appliances, and if you wish to rattle those pots and pans whilst on vacation you’ll find plenty to choose from in the well stocked cupboards – you can even host a cook out on your own private deck using the charcoal grill provided!  Worried about cleaning up the mess?  Fear not……daily mousekeeping is included!!  Another major bonus is that you are able to park your vehicle right outside your front porch, although you are not permitted to drive around on site (just on entry & exiting) unless of course you hire one of the merry looking electric golf carts that are omni present.  If I can liken the resort as a whole for any British readers, it’s like Centre Parcs on steroids!!

Your "home sweet home" cabin. (2710 Heron Hollow)

The cabins are set out in neat loops, all aptly called country names like “Heron Hollow”, “Arrow Head Way”, “Shawnee Bend” etc…….my children found it highly amusing to recite the bus route perfectly when riding the resort buses!!  And talking of buses, I cannot speak too highly of this transit service!  Fort Wilderness covers a whopping 750 acres, and is served by three internal bus routes, which connect to the Out Post, which connects to the rest of The World. Sound complex?  It isn’t, trust me, if I can work it out so can you!  You are never placed too far away from a bus stop on site either, which is great news for your World weary feet!  A hot tip is to strike up a conversation with your bus driver (use your judgement for when it is safe to do so), they are such friendly and knowledgeable folk, with a mountain of information to impart with us pilgrims!  Another mode of transport are the ferry boats.  These jolly little crafts call at the marina, then connect you to the Magic Kingdom, the Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary Hotel. Bon Voyage!
Camping at Fort Wilderness is also wildly popular, and I can see why…..there are almost 800 pitches to be found set amongst the majestic Cypress and Pine trees with their dangly hanging Spanish Mosses  which I jokingly refer to as “old mans beard”! How wonderful it must be to camp in such an enchanted place, and only ever a stones throw from one of the superbly chilled and well kitted out comfort stations!  I like to call it “glamping”; like camping, but glamourous.You get the big woods experience, but without ever leaving civilisation!  We Brits you know, find it fascinating to look around at all the huge recreation vehicles; as we don’t have anything like them back home!
If you happen to run out of provisions then you won’t be disappointed with either of the little merchandise/convenience  stores in your neighbourhood. You will find the Settlement Trading Post near the marina, and the more centrally located Meadow Trading Post by the main swimming pool.  Both are well stocked with select every day food, drink and camping sundries, and of course WDW souvenirs!
A favourite pastime of mine is dining, and I can thoroughly recommend that you mosey along down to the ‘Trails End Restaurant’.  You will find the three square meals of the day are served here “without end”, in bounteous buffet style. “Crocket’s Tavern” is right next door, where one can purchase libations.  A super way to end a hectic Disney day I find, is to grab yourself a cold drink, pull up a rocking chair on the Tavern’s porch and people watch!  Hopefully while you’re resting your aching bones, your effervescent little darlings can let off yet more steam (under your watchful gaze), on the considerately placed children’s play area, or on my boys favourite, the beach swing ball!
As if there isn’t enough already to amuse and entertain else where in The World, Fort Wilderness has it’s own seemingly endless list of fun things to do!  There are two dinner shows; as we know, one is the famous Hoop Dee Doo Revue, and the other is Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue, which as the name suggests is hosted by none other than the big cheese himself!  You can also join Chip’n’ Dale for a nightly camp fire and sing-a-long with a “bring your own” marshmallow roast, followed by an outdoor Disney movie, and best of all, this gathering costs my favourite price; free!  A visit to the Tri Circle D Ranch is always a crowd pleaser, it’s where all the park and resort working horses call home. The ranch offers pony, guided trail, carriage and hay rides; something for every budding gaucho!  If you still have any time or energy left…..other activities are plentiful, like two wonderful swimming pools, the beach, a games arcade, bike hire, jogging trails, tennis, segway tours, various boats for hire, volleyball, shuffle ball, horseshoes, both pole and line, and BASS fishing and so on and so on…….and for the the finale, be absolutely sure to NOT miss taking in the quirky and nostalgic Electrical Water Pageant, or the Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes” Firework display, both perfectly viewed from the beach!  There’s truly a winning combination of good old fashioned family fun to be found here.
After reading this, my rural round up, you’re probably thinking the same as me; Fort Wilderness is an adventure destination all in it’s own right! And you’re correct, it sure is.  Yeehaw!

Fantasyland is Getting a Makeover!

From the bright brain of Real Disney Mom Michelle W!

As everyone knows by now (okay, maybe if you live under a rock you might not know), Fantasyland in Walt Disney World is getting a makeover! Back in February they closed down Mickey’s Toontown Fair to start some of the major work. Up until then there was some construction going on, but now it’s in full force with the opening planned for late 2012.

So how do I feel about this change? Well in some ways I’m excited, and in others…okay, who am I kidding? I’m TOTALLY excited about it! While it was sad to see Mickey’s Toontown Fair totally taken down, and it will be upsetting to see Snow White’s Scary Adventure close , I think when you look at all the new stuff coming into their places it will totally make up for it!

Toontown, in my option, was always a nice little place to go if you wanted to take a bit of a rest. If you had little ones, it was a nice spot to go and let them run around after being trapped in their strollers for most of the day. But in the grand scheme of things, the area didn’t really have much else to offer in terms of attractions. While it was nice to visit with Mickey after taking a tour of his house, I think having a whole land for that was a bit much. I know there were many visits that I made to the Magic Kingdom, where I never even stepped foot into Toontown, but that was also before my daughter was born. So while it would have been nice to have her enjoy playing there a few more times, I think she’ll enjoy all the new attractions that are in store.

As for the closing of Snow White’s Scary Adventure, this one I’m sort of on the fence about. While I don’t like seeing the classic rides go away, like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, this ride I always found to be a bit too scary for the little ones, even before I was a Mom. Let’s face it, Snow White is a pretty scary movie, so it only made sense that the ride was scary too. But it will be nice to have Snow White still be part of things in the expansion since it was the first full length animated movie. So I look forward to seeing the Seven Dwarfs Cottage and Mine Area come to life.

I know I for one cannot wait for the Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid Ride! The Little Mermaid is up there as one of my top Disney Movies of all time and while I love watching the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I just can’t wait to ride the ride! Also seeing the addition of Prince Eric’s Castle will make the trip worth it!

And speaking of Castles, not only will Prince Eric’s Castle be added, but The Beast’s Castle will be there as well as a whole Beauty and the Beast Village area! It’s almost like Disney asked me, “Hey Michelle, if you could add something to Fantasyland, which movie would it be from?” I would have totally said Beauty & the Beast! I can’t wait to see the new dining experience that they have planned for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. I always wanted to eat in a ballroom!

I also love the idea that Dumbo is going to be growing in size. While it’s nice to take a ride on a flying elephant, the long lines that you would end up in with little ones were never fun. So having a whole interactive area to play with while waiting to ride will make it all worth it! That’s what I love now about The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride that they recently updated as well. This way when you are waiting in line, you have something to play with.

So while I’m sad to see some areas leave Fantasyland, I’m looking forward to seeing all the new and exciting things they have in store!

http://about.me/michellewhalen

The Planning Continues…

From the happy heart of Real Disney mom Janice B!

Eleven weeks to go! I decided to make this trip to WDW all about re-living the past. We will be dining in restaurants that we haven’t been to in a long time, and seeing some shows that we have not seen in quite a few years.

No trip would be complete without breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, and there is no greater way to start your trip then breakfast at Chef Mickey’s before hopping on the monorail and heading to the Magic Kingdom. This is always a must for me on our first day!  Many years ago, when the kids were young, Chef Mickey’s was not at the Contemporary. It was located in Downtown Disney (then known as Disney Village). Although initially disappointed when they moved, through the years we have come to realize that it is much more convenient in the Contemporary.

Our dining line-up includes:

  • The Garden Grill in Epcot, The Land Pavilion. We have not been here in years. This will always be one of my favorites. A slowly revolving restaurant with hosts Chip and Dale; great views of the vegetables growing down in the Living with the Land attraction. Great value for your money since your meal is served family style and they continue to re-fill servings. The macaroni and cheese was always a favorite of my daughter. Now that she is in her twenties and always watching her weight, I wonder if she’ll keep asking for more!
  • Coral Reef in Epcot, The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion. This pavilion used to be called The Living Seas. This was always a favorite of my son when he was in his early teens. He was fascinated by the large glass wall fish tank and was always thrilled when we were able to get a table up close. Watching the fish while you eat is fascinating.
  • Fantasmic Dinner Package at Hollywood Studios, eating in the Brown Derby. This will be a particular treat this year. In all of our visits over the years, my son and my husband have never seen Fantasmic. It seems like it was never running when all of us were at WDW together; or sometimes that night was set aside for something that was deemed a little more important! My daughter and I were always able to catch it on our trips alone since it was a favorite of hers. We will all be seeing it together this year after a great meal at the Brown Derby.

No trip will ever be complete without a visit to the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney. There are so many things to look at that at times it becomes overwhelming. My best find ever, the year my daughter was graduating from culinary school, my husband and I took a trip to WDW for our anniversary. I was able to find several Chef Mickey items for her. My favorite being a Swavorksy crystal Chef Mickey.

Well, the planning for the October family trip continues! We are really trying to fit in so much. We plan to snack our way through the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at least two days. This event holds a special place in our hearts since my daughter is a chef and she cooked for the Party for the Senses at the 2010 Food and Wine Festival. I have also started looking at a February stay at the Grand Floridian for myself and my husband to celebrate another anniversary.

Disney planning never seems to end.

http://about.me/bjkbrady

Getting There; Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

From the practically perfect personality of Real Disney Mom Jewelz P!

Photo Credit: Joe Penniston

Well there are a few choices from California that we could have taken. Auto was out of the question due to having to stop very frequently for the baby and finding a hotel each night possibly, and too expensive; fuel was pushing over $4.00 a gallon…

We looked at trains but after Hurricane Katrina, there was too much damage to the train tracks after New Orleans towards Orlando. My parents did take the train to New Orleans then rented a car to drive on to Florida. They chose a cabin with its own bathroom which made it very convenient. But being on a train for two days just was not my style even with the amenities. When you are on your way to Walt Disney World time is of the essence!!

So plane here we come!! I had racked up enough frequent flier miles to get my ticket for free. (sales and marketing in a previous life) Alexis was only 8 or 9 months at the time so she was on our lap. The husband’s ticket came out of our pocket. We opted for non-stop due to baby on board and my husband’s inability to fly much. After searching everywhere; Orbitz, Expedia…we went with United. 

Now if you have never flown with a baby here is the scoop for flying out of LAX; due to the fact that we were staying 7 days, that’s a lot of supplies for an infant and even more for Mommy and Daddy trying to make the room comfortable enough to call home. I was going to avoid BAGGAGE FEES as much as possible.  One bag alone was to carry Alexis’ things, and chances are it was going to be empty on the way back. I decided to ship 5 days of diapers (65), a large can of formula, teething items, burp cloths, some infant clothes, shampoo and body wash, Dawn (to wash her bottles out in the sink), and laundry detergent from a local Laundromat (cheaper than on WDW properties). With a baby I knew that we were going to do laundry. You can ship up to 70Lbs through the USPS. Just under $27.00 for two boxes! I had sent it to the Caribbean Beach Resort with a delivery confirmation so I that I could track it. Once I knew that our package arrived then I knew what to actually pack. I mailed on Monday and it arrived that Friday and we were leaving on Sunday.  Heed of caution; one box was crushed but the contents were fine. I also decided to rent a rocking chair and a stroller in Orlando for Alexis.

Prior to all the packing research, I had to look into the TSA rules. I knew that my baby gear would be scanned. Now having to deal with a 9 month old and a husband who hated to fly, it was all on me to make the security check point as painless as possible. I had Chase hold Alexis and I took out all the identification necessary to pass through. I needed a copy of Alexis’ birth certificate and our driver’s licenses. Meanwhile I had a carry-on bag, diaper bag and a baby carrier. My diaper bag was considered a carry-on bag!  I almost rolled my eyes but then reconsidered;  could have been as bad as saying the “B” word on a plane.

Some tips:

 

  • Get there at LEAST 90 minutes before your plane departs
  • WEAR slip-on shoes or flip-flops. Do not put shoes on a baby they will ask you to remove them as well; just keep socks on them.
  • DO NOT prepare a bottle of formula before passing the X-Ray; they may test for explosive gases (found that out the hard way).
  • Try to keep baby happy…change the diaper 20 minutes before boarding.
  • When changing a diaper on the plane, keep a few gallon size Ziplocs to put the used diapers in; remember the diapers do not flush and you don’t want the diaper to smell up the cabin.
  • Have a bottle ready for baby during take off ; cabin pressure build up can be painful for the little one; suckling will help pop the ears.
  • For other Travel Smarts – Please check out my page  http:/​/​www.citystrollerrentals.com/​Travel-Smarts.html

We had chosen to take the Magical Express from the airport with our WDW reservation. Approximately 3 weeks prior to your departure you will receive the ME boarding passes to and from the airport. You will also be receiving a luggage strip tag per person for your checked bags. If you decide to use them your bags will avoid baggage claim completely and will arrive in your room about 2 to 3 hours after you land.

Very helpful when you land and are a little exhausted from a 5 hour flight not to mention travel time to the airport.  Next thing to do is follow the path to the Magical Express!

The Hoop De Doo Musical Revue Revisited

From the magical mind of Real Disney Mom Janie GD! 

Audience participation pioneer style by my youngest son in 2011

Following on from my last blog, “Disney Beginnings”, where I reminisced about my first experience of the evergreen “Hoop Dee Doo Revue”, a thought occurred to me; “What puts the ‘Hoop’ in the ‘Dee Doo?'”, and makes us all keep coming back for seconds, thirds, and so on and so forth?

The revue began it’s very long and illustrious run of shows in 1974, (according to Disney, it is the longest continually running musical in the whole of the USA) and was originally billed as “The Pioneer Hall Show” so names after the hall in which it is held three times nightly within the Fort Wilderness Resort and Camp Ground.  Today’s show title is far more memorable and quirky don’t you think?!  I can also recall a similar show being held at the “Diamond Horseshoe” at Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom during 1980’s. I remember it so well as I took part in it dressed as a showgirl, and had to speak with a Southern drawl; not an easy task for a Cornish maid I can assure you! 

The Hoop Dee Doo is a rowdy family affair dinner show that is sure to entertain from the youngest little dude in your gang, right up to to the oldest cow poke in town!  Good old fashioned clean cut comedy is certainly part of the winning formula that keeps you coming back for more belly laughs and groans year after year!  The show revolves around a fictional travelling vaudeville troupe who are; Miss Flora Long – a beautiful maiden, Miss Claire De Lune – a delightful dancing girl, Miss Dolly Drew – a witty wholesome gal, Jim Handy – a dashing cowboy, Johhny Ringo – a swanky card shark spiv, and then the chap, who for me carries the whole show along with such gusto, Six Bits Slocum, who is a loveable buffoon.  The action starts as the cast bursts in through the main doors……immediately you are captivated by their enthusiasm and charisma which carries right on through with lots of sing-a-long songs and high kicking dance routines culminating in the deliciously ridiculous “Davey Crockett” grande finale involving several “volunteers” from the audience!

Your show ticket gives you as well as the revue, dinner, plus a broad selection of drinks and is inclusive of all gratuities.  And what a heavenly dinner it is……I think that “endless banquet” is probably a better description for the chow down at Pioneer Hall! Your jovial servers, upon request will keep replenishing your table with endless supplies of the lightest cornbread, the stickiest ribs and the crunchiest deep fried chicken you’ve ever eaten, all served in pioneer style tin pales! Dessert is a show stopping strawberry shortcake extravaganza!  And “Where else on earth?” I ask you, would it be socially acceptable for a lady to drink rose wine from a preserves jar?!!  

I’ve watched and enjoyed the revue several times since my initiation in 1979 and each time come away feeling uplifted, not to mention full to the brim of food glorious food!  Over the decades this booming show hasn’t changed one bit, and neither really have I or my family. We go along in holiday mood wanting to have a laugh and good time with those we love, being entertained by characters we’ve come to know over the years, in a setting that is cosy and familiar.  So, I believe that’s the answer; we the audience are the “Hoop” and the perfect partner for the Pioneer Players to “Dee Doo'” time and time again.  If you asked Six Bits for his opinion I bet he’d answer you with something like “If it an’t broke, don’t fix it!” And, I pray that Disney never will!

http://about.me/janeglanvilleduckworth

Finding the Right Fit for You!

From the practically perfect personality of Real Disney Mom Jewelz P! 

It’s been 11 or 12 years since I last was at Walt Disney World. A very long time for me considering that I was going every year for ten years. Marriage, moving, new job promotions and a baby put a lot on hold. My husband and I were not able to go on a honeymoon or even a mini vacation. Finally a breath of fresh air! I was six months pregnant and I told my boss,  “I am going on vacation in 13 months”.  (Maybe it was Disney withdrawals, the hormones raging, or that I just really needed a vacation!) Without missing a beat I went to Walt Disney World’s Vacation Website and ordered the Vacation Planning DVD. I needed to see what had been built and improved over the years. This would also give me  the opportunity to show my husband what he would be in store for!!! Not having met my little one yet, I knew Disney could take care of her no matter what! I had for the most part always stayed on the WDW property. Why? If Disneyworld was my only destination (why anyone would go anywhere else?), there is no reason to stay off property. The conveniences and the ease of the transportation are priceless. 

Knowing your budget is where you need to start. Walt Disney has many resorts for different budgets which is great!!

 To save money; Value Resorts-All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, All Star Movies and POP Century

I only recommend these if you have a large group , such as sports teams, or if you only need a place to shower and sleep. They do not have any sit down dining restaurants, (Something to think about.) and are located farthest from the 4 Parks.  I stayed at All-Star Sports in 1998 and it is too small for my family for today. The rooms do not have as much closet or drawer space, and there is only one sink and mirror. Two adults and two children will be able to stay here in comfort, but more than 2 adults may be too much. There were no elevators to speak of that I remembered. So if stairs are a challenge, it is best to request a floor level room. The rooms are brightly colored and a sports theme is carried through out the resort, the room I was in had crayon marking on the walls and I could hear all the surrounding happenings. The pools were always too crowded for me. If you are new to staying on property and your budget conscious you may want to start here. There is a playground, arcade, laundry facilities and a food court with an average price 15.00 a person. Another little tid-bit ; The All Star Resorts are in a different county so they have a higher tax rate.

 For those who need a little more room to breath; Moderate Resorts-Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter and Ft. Wilderness Cabins.

 I have stayed at both Port Orleans French Quarter (1999) and most recently Caribbean Beach Resort (2010) The Moderate resorts will have at least one sit down dining restaurant  and are not as far away from the 4 Parks as the Value Resorts. Carribean Beach or CBR has Shutters for sit down dining and a tasty food court to experience. These rooms not only have more space but a dual sink vanity. YEAH! The beds are better and the décor is just up my alley. While the All-Star Resorts and POP have three or four levels, I loved the Caribbean Beach Resort because it only had two stories and each village surrounds the bay. The pathways are wide and not cramped for walking. There are many villages named after Caribbean islands with their own bus stop. You can catch the theme park buses as well as an internal bus system to get you from village to village. This was helpful because we were in Trinidad South and the grandparents were in Aruba. I could have walked along Barefoot Bay but it was so hot and muggy that I wanted the bus with air conditioning. We opted for the Pirates of the Caribbean Themed rooms (Trinidad South only) and I loved it! The beds are not as comfortable as the normal Finding Nemo themed rooms. Why? The Pirate Ship beds are so high that the mattresses they have are about 5 inches thick and no box spring for support. The village pools were quiet and not many kids, that is because of the cool main pool at Port Royale. This is a fun pool! It is a themed old Spanish fortress, complete with towers, antique cannons (that spout water) and a water slide. So if you are looking for a more relaxing resort that has hammocks, child playgrounds and for those who walk, the stroll around Barefoot Bay is for you. Other amenities are beaches, an arcade, volleyball courts, bike rentals,  marina/watercraft rentals, and laundry facilities at each village pool.

 For those who have who want to experience a Deluxe Resort-Animal Kingdom Lodge, Board Walk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club and Beach Club, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.

 These may not be the Disney Vacation Club Villas but they are sure spectacular! The Deluxe resorts are normally located just a hop skip and a jump to the Parks. I stayed at the Grand Floridian in 1997 and it was fantastic. I love the old feel of the 1900’s Victorian. The grand atrium is overwhelmingly immaculate and if you are lucky to see the cockatiels in the lobby they are beautiful. If you can, try to stay at a Deluxe resort once. The monorail and the water taxis make it very easy to get to the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation Center. The rooms are lavish and have a balcony or porch to extend your room space. Deluxe Resorts also have more combinations of rooms to accommodate your party. A choice of sit down dining options, baby and childcare services, pool of course, spa and health club, watercraft rentals, beaches and the possibility of having the best seat in the house to see the fireworks; from your room!!

For more information and updated refurbishments at WDW and new attractions please go to www.waltdisneyworld.com                                         

Introducing Real Disney Mom Jewelz P!

I am so stoked to introduce to you all another Real Disney Mom that will be blogging here at The Real Disney Mom!

Meet Real Disney Mom Jewelz P!

Real Disney Mom Jewelz G.

Hi all! It’s me, Jewelz. My husband thinks I am obsessed! I guess so when you consider that I had our daughter at the hospital right across from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank,CA. (not to mention I planned our WDW trip when I was still preggers with Alexis)
But it doesn’t stop there; I started a business that takes me down to Disneyland every week!!! I love all things Disney from Mickey, to the Incredibles, to Handy Manny with my little girl. I worked in Disney Imagineering when the concept drawing and models for the Tree of Life were in it’s final stages, and I also helped with Disney Quest concepts.
Now as a mother of three, working full-time and happily accomodating clients to making their meltdowns at the parks easier, I look forward to sharing my 38 years of planning trips from a single and family point of view.
I hope to see you real soon!!

Wishes

From the happy heart of Real Disney Mom Janice B!

It seems as if I am always planning the next WDW family trip! Probably because as soon as I return from one trip I start planning the next. I have been planning one to two trips per year for almost 30 years. When my children were young, I took great care in planning each step of our WDW trips. After all, having two children almost four years apart in age, one boy, one girl, it was not always easy to make everyone happy all the time. Their likes and dislikes were so totally different that once they were school age, I began a WDW vacation game/contest. Each one was allowed to keep a “running list” of things they wanted to do on our next trip with the understanding that not everything could be done on each trip. 100 days before the trip, they each received a hand-made by Mom booklet. Their booklets included a count-down calendar, the top 3 things on their wish list with a point value attached to each and a list of how to earn the points for a coupon/promise that if not the whole family, at least that child would be able to do one of his/her special requests. They earned points for good report cards; chores around the house; etc. Several years in a row my son chose taking an animation class that required us to drop him off early in the morning at MK and pick him up later in the afternoon. My daughter always seemed to want to earn dinner in the castle! Before leaving home I would actually create a spread sheet with each day across the top, outlining what we would do at each park trying to make time and room for both of their wishes (I also used this to keep all of my dining/special event reservation numbers in one place.)

I am now planning a 7 day trip for October, 2011. My children are now adults, 27 and 24, they no longer live at home and I think they would argue if I tried to make them earn points, but they do look forward to updates and e-mails with new ideas and suggestions, as well as sending me e-mails with new ideas. Planning has not really gotten any easier even with adults. I still want to make sure they each are able to do all the things that excite them. After all, no matter how old, they are still my little kids! I get an enormous amount of pleasure watching my son (27) in the Magic Kingdom. He gets just as excited now as he did as a small child! He loves to find hidden Mickey’s and show them to little kids in the park. My daughter, a chef who has actually cooked at the 2010 International Food and Wine Festival, always wants to go when the festival is in full swing. I search daily for new ideas; constantly try for reservations for their favorite restaurants; check websites, facebook, etc., daily for new items. My son is extremely excited this year to try the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom.

I may not offer points for WDW rewards anymore, but I still create a folder with a spreadsheet trying to get in everyone’s favorites. After all, once you hit WDW, everyone is a child a heart again!

http://about.me/bjkbrady