Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plans for 9/29-10/4

Yes, I’m still alive! Things have been hectic the past week with getting the kids ready to go back to school and making sure everything is in place for our upcoming vacation. I can honestly say that I’ve been stressed to the max and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Overall, it just hasn’t made for a happy Disney Mommy.

So this is what I’m going to today… I’m going to let go.

I figure that I’ve been planning this vacation for 17 months now. We have our plane tickets, room, money set aside for DDP & Parkhoppers, what more do I need? I just have to let whatever is going to happen, happen. We’re only there for 5 nights, we’re not going to be able to do everything, or meet everyone, but if I can just relax I’ll have a great vacation.

So for lack of something spectacular to post about, I offer you our meager travel plans for next month’s Disney Trip. This is it. I’m not tweaking and editing any more. Are you going to be down in the World at the same time? If you want to meet up, tweet me a DM @DVCMom!

Sept 29
- Wheels down MCO around 2:00pm. Magical Express to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Check into concierge room. ADRs at Tokyo Dinning for dinner. EPCOT’s open until Midnight.

Sept 30- Animal Kingdom for he morning. Disney Hollywood Studios in the afternoon. lunch ADRs at Sci-Fi Drive in. Fantasmic!

Oct 1
- DVCNews.com Meet-up at Magic Kingdom Rope Drop. ADRs at Kona Cafe’ for brunch. Packet Pickup at Wide World of Sports. Lou Mongello Food & Wine walk about at EPCOT.

Oct 2 - Mickey’s Halloween 5K! ADRs at Chef Mickey’s for brunch. We’re going to play it by ear that afternoon / evening.

Oct 3 - EPCOT & Foodie Fest, The Disney Food Blog Meet-up in the the morning/afternoon. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in the evening. ADRs at Tony’s for dinner.

Oct 4 - Play it by ear in the morning. Check out of Animal Kingdom Lodge. Mickey Magical Express back to MCO around 2pm.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Disney Blog Carnival 8

Disney Blog Carnival 8 is out from the DisMarks website.

Oh wait a minute. I can here you all now...

"What is a blog carnival, and why should I care?"

Let me tell you why.

There is so much stuff out there in the blog-o-sphere, finding the things that you want to read can be hard. A Blog Carnival is a sort of blog community that collects links to blog posts on a particular subject and puts them all in one place for you. A Blog Carnival can be compared to a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Following a carnival for a topic that interests you is a great way to learn what bloggers are saying.

The DisMarks website produces a Disney Blog Carnival that gathers all sorts of magical articles from bloggers around the world who are sharing their experiences with Walt Disney World, Disneyland, other Parks and Cruises, Media, and The Disney Company in general.

So if you've been looking for some great Disney blog posts with information that you want to know, and a place to scan through those articles quickly, then pop on over to the DisMarks website and check out Disney Blog Carnival 8


Pssssttt.. we're in this edition!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Build a Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure!

IMG_0017Today the kids and I piled into the van in order to make the trip into Schaumburg (about 1.5 hours) to attend the build your own Perry Inaction Figure event at the Disney Store. The event was scheduled to start at 11am, and we walked in the door shortly before then. The place was packed with children and families sitting on the floor in the aisles near the cash register. Though the old Children’s Place design of our store was fairly cramped, everyone was buzzing with excitement. First up, was a screening of the Phineas and Ferb Episode. While the kids watched the show and sang along to the videos, I took the opportunity to check out some of the new merchandise. To my delight there was even more gear that was appealing to teens and adults, with an improvement in the quality of the children’s lines. My oldest daughter commented that she was “so happy to see that I can shop at the Disney Store and buy things for me again.”

After the screening Cast Member Melissa and her team handed out of 70 kits to people at the event. This first morning session was a huge hit as everyone spread out to try and find room to build their inaction figures. Melissa did a great job in explaining the project, though a microphone would have been a big help. In the area we were at the kids could neither see, nor hear the instructions. My oldest daughter (who volunteers at a Children’s Museum) took charge of our section and helped out all the kids around us. An extra cast member on duty would have been made the event run more smoothly overall. Jim, if you’re reading… Tori’s available for hire.

The kids attending this event varied in age from around 3 right up through 17 and all seemed to be having a great time. My Teens we’re not the only ones participating either. The kids that I spoke with found the art project was “easy to work” and the resulting Perry Figure “Cool.” It seemed that a good time was had by all.

I’m very much looking forward to the redesign of this store that I trust will come. The current layout is not designed to hold an event of this sort, but the cast members and attendees made the best of what was available. It was obviously a draw into the store with 70 plus attendees at the 11am session and another happening at 1pm. The adults wandering around while their kids were entertained were all shopping and I wouldn’t be surprised if this has created a better than average sales day, the Agent P “mystery discount” coupon that they were handing out to the attendees was a great touch!


Way to go Disney Store, keep up the fabulous changes!

We’re in for the next event so bring it on!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

D23 and the Disney Geek

I know that this video isn't my own content but I love the D23 Disney Geek and want to share his antics with my followers. I'm a Charter member of D23 and I love all the great news it offers to the community, as well as special events and gatherings exclusively for D23 members. For more information about Disney's D23 please visit my article on the club over at The Disney Driven Life entitled "I'm 23, are you?".

If you've been thinking of signing up for D23, let me know because they've just started a great refer a friend program. Current D23 Members who refer new members* are eligible for exclusive rewards! It's easy! When your friends are signing up for D23 on DisneyStore.com, they will see a 'Refer A Fan' box. Just have them enter your name and city of residence, and you will be credited for referring them!

Be sure to tell them that Kristen Kirk of Rockford, IL sent you!

And now... for the D23 Disney Geek!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Editorial: I love Twitter and Disney!

1043356381070397992When Twitter first came out I gave it a go, and found it wasn’t for me. No one I knew was on it, no one “got it”, and business’ weren’t yet using social media as a marketing tool. I left and let my account sit dormant for years, it just didn't fill a purpose at the time.

A few months ago when I started my DVCMom Blog I decided that I needed to give Twitter another try. Though I had found some Disney community on Facebook, mine was mostly full of friends that didn’t care what Disney was doing and I didn't want to bore them. So, I changed the name on my Twitter account and set out looking for Disney tweeps. Wow! Did I find a lot of stuff. Not only did I find a great community of fans who are just as into Disney as I am, but The Disney Company has embraced social media in a major way and has set innovative precedents this year in marketing strategy. I’m truly enjoying my experience on Twitter this time around.

This week I was reminded not only why I love Twitter, but why Disney’s customer service is legendary. Being that my time for vacation is getting close I’ve been considering pre-ordering the PhotoPass CD. Now, last time I was there the Photopass ended up being pretty useless for me. We didn’t have enough park days and I could never find a photographer when I wanted one. However on this trip we’re doing a few special events, and the older kids might be splitting off from Katie and I. I think it will be a better deal on this trip, but only if I could buy it at a discount.

I tweeted out to my followers to ask if anyone knew where I could get the code. One person responded to help me the best that she could, but I tweeted that I would call my concierge for help. The next morning @DisneyPhotoPass, the official tweeter for that branch of the company who sent me a link to exactly what I wanted. How amazing is that!? I sent it out into the universe and through the magic of Disney, and Twitter it came to me, The pre-arrival discount page. Because of their great customer service, I’ll be pre-ordering the CD.

Go Disney! Not only do you post press information out to Twitter, but your staff is actively searching for mentions of the company with the purpose of finding people with questions and helping them. Now that’s customer service. I love Disney, and I love the avenue which Twitter gives them to keep making dreams come true.

If you’d like to follow my tweets, you can find me @DVCMom. We’ll be live tweeting from our Walt Disney World Vacation September 29th - October 4th

Monday, August 9, 2010

Phineas And Ferb Chain Reaction

I must admit, my entire household is addicted to the Disney Channel's hit show Phineas and Ferb. It's a guilty pleasure that the whole family can enjoy. We find ourselves singing songs from the episodes at random points during the day, and we all have our favorite characters as well as episodes. Next week we're even attending a Disney Store event to build our own Perry Inaction Figures. Visit your local Disney Store for more information on the event nearest you.

Perry Inaction Figure Sign

One of the great things about this TV show is that it encourages kids to get off their toosh, get out and do something. It promotes creativity not only in the arts, but in technical and mechanical thinking as well. Phineas and Ferb solve problems and interact with the community around them as they try and figure out what they''re going to do today. In this 104 days of summer vacation the Disney Channel has challenged our kids to create a chain reaction just like Phineas and Ferb. The project is fun, adventurous and a great way to keep the kids busy during this last bit of summer vacation. If they create a successful project, they're then invited to film it and submit it for a chance to share their chain reaction in a professional video for Disney Channel Viewers.

Katie spent hours working on her chain reaction, which admittedly was limited by using things around the house that she could design and put together herself without causing trouble. Her original project was upstairs in the hallway, it's been scaled back for her presentation. I hope that you enjoy Katie's Chain reaction.

Makin' Memories Monday

Kristen & Donald 1981

Donald Duck and I in the Magic Kingdom circa 1981... Many people will tell you that Donald Duck is their favorite of all the Disney Characters. His debut on June 9, 1934 in the Silly Symphony cartoon 'The Wise Little Hen' set him up for stardom. With his hot temper and wise cracking ways I think many people identify with Donald as he takes the lumps and keeps on moving.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

TripIt App Review

Updated March 12, 2011

I’ve been a Passporter girl for a decade, faithfully purchasing a new book for each trip to get all the latest and greatest information, organize my plans and track our spending. But I really hate carrying  that guidebook around with me. As soon as I got my iPhone last year, I decided that I needed a way to put all that Itinerary information that I keep in my Passporter into the palm of my hand. The search was on and TripIt is what I found. I still love my Passporter and it always comes along on vacation, but my book and pass pockets stay in the room to be organized the the end of the day.   eBooks and online editions get used for quick brush ups on information when I'm in the park.

I have come to love the TripIt application is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. It is the first web based open itinerary platform that organizes all of your travel plans. With the power to combine trip details trip details into one sleek itinerary using the power of “The Itinerator”.  Just forward your confirmation email from the hundreds of supported booking sites to your trip it and it will automatically add the information to your itinerary. The Itinerator can automatically include, maps, directions and weather. All your travel plans, confirmation numbers, emergency contact information, are right in the palm of your hand on your mobile device. If you don’t have a mobile platform that supports TripIt, you can easily print your itinerary from the TripIt website. In addition TripIt interacts with over 30 other popular travel applications to create one powerful travel tool.

The TripIt website can allow you to share your information and travel plans with friends, family, and others on the trip through Facebook or LinkedIn. If you don’t wish to share your details, TripIt also has a “private trip” option so that only those in your network who are traveling with you have access to the information.  TripIt holds information for multiple trips all in one easily accessible place, which makes planning a breeze.

Basic TripIt is FREE however, for $69 a year (on sale at the time of posting for $49) TripIt Pro. It will give you mobile alerts to flight delays, cancellations or gate changes. Automatically share information with those who need to access your details. TripIt Pro can also keep track of your rewards programs for you. It’s designed with the business or frequent traveler in mind.

We used TripIt for the first time in October 2010 and it’s been a great tool for me to use in planning and organizing all of our activities. The Itinerator made transferring my Disney and Airline Reservations onto my iPhone a piece of cake. I was able to add pictures, notes, and suggestions from Disney Fans across the planet. I even entered our travel insurance data, and emergency contact points for the entire family.

For personal of business use i think that TripIt is easy to use and makes managing information simple. It puts all of the vital vacation information in the palm of my hand for fast, light, detailed access on the go.