Thursday, March 31, 2011

English Tea Garden

If you’ve hopped on over from Babes in Disneyland today, welcome!

Today’s hop theme is flowers & plant, which Disney does just about better than anyone else. The landscaping teams work tirelessly year round to make sure that Disney Parks are full of beautiful and unique landscapes that are complete in every detail. Visitors to Epcot this month have been treated to the spectacular annual Flower & Garden Festival. I wasn’t able to spend any time enjoying the festival while on my trip, however I did stop by my favorite regular Epcot garden to see how it had been transformed. Much to my delight I found that behind the English cottages had grown a tea garden!

Tea Garden Edit

Growing in the Tea cup is a Bergamot Orange. The fruit is not particularly edible, but the essence is extracted from the fragrant skin to give the distinctive classic characteristics to Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas. Bergamot is also popular in other parts of the world as a preserve, confection, and tobacco flavoring.

A 20 minute garden walk, to explore the world of tea, is sponsored by Twinings Tea, and takes you on a journey through the history of tea blending.  For over 300 years Twinings has imported and blended the very finest ingredients for tea drinkers around the world.  This delightful addition to the cottage garden inspired me,  I think that I may try growing some herbs for tea in my garden this year. Perhaps I’ll grow some mint or chamomile. Are you a tea drinker? What sort of tea flavorings would you like to grow?

Mr. Popper's Penguins

My two daughters are just crazy for penguins, so we’re excited to hear about this new movie coming out from 20th Century Fox. The classic book, Mr. Poppers Penguins, has been turned into an adorable adventure for the family starring Jim Carey and a flock of chilly feathered friends. Mr. Popper's Penguins will be in theaters June 17th, but until then you can enjoy this sneek peak. Step ball change…

Disclosure: Klout Perk http://cmp.ly/2/va

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Di Vine in Sun

De Vine in the Sunlight

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Platinum Soiree: Video Recap | Disney Weddings Blog

Disney Wedding's After Ever Blog has a great video recap up of the Platinum Soiree that was held for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The dork in the orange dress and mouse ears hugging David Tutera... yea.. that's me! You could say I went a little "fan girl". Stop over to their website for more coverage of everything Disney Weddings!

Castle Cake Top

Cinderella's Carriage


DVCMom & David Tutera

Monday, March 28, 2011

Top of the World Lounge

Sitting high atop the Disney Vacation Club’s Bay Lake Tower, the 16th floor holds a special treat for DVC members staying in the modern deluxe villas. Overlooking the Magic Kingdom, this exclusive retreat is a comfortable respite at the end of the day. From 5pm-Midnight the Top of the World Lounge is open exclusively to members, and their guests, staying at Bay Lake Tower. The swank feeling of a jet set future captured in a timeless bubble of creativity and imagination beckon you to sit and stay for  awhile.

Monorail Mural behind the bar
Top of the World Lounge Group Seating Nook

On my recent trip to Walt Disney World, for the Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration, I was lucky enough to join a group of amazing social media personalities for a nightcap in this posh locale. The interior lounge is well appointed with modern furnishings. Seating 77, the lounge offers comfortable spaces for guests to gather together and relax. Nodding to historic Disney, by name and with the stylish vintage concept art decking the walls, this swank environment proves that Disney can create spectacular adult spaces. The chandelier over the center of the room was a magnificent sculptural piece, adding focal interest and creative lighting. The staff was friendly and welcoming, offering exceptional service to weary travelers.


It was quiet when we arrived with just another party or two stopping in for a drink. We had missed the fireworks and I suspect that is peak time for the lounge but I was very happy with the late night visit. Top of the World Lounge offers a small menu selection that are the perfect snacks for the end of a a long day at the Parks. The menu from a May visit is highlighted below.  During my visit I enjoyed a glass of the very special Italian brachetto sparkling wine, Rosa Regale.

Bay Lake Tower Flatbread
Chicken Sliders
Lobster and Crab Cake
Farmers Cheese Plate
For Kids:
Cheese Nachos
Make Your Own PB&J
Cappuccino Creme Brulee
7 Layer Cake for 2

We laughed and talked about the excitement of our day while enjoying selections from wine list, and a few chocolate martinis. Outside the fashionable glass wall is a breezy sky deck, able to hold 499 and designed as the perfect vantage point for viewing the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. Looking out into the night, the Astor Orbiter spun ‘round in Tomorrowland and, across the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian’s lights twinkled in the distance while the monorail quietly slide through the Contemporary Resort’s Main Building below me. The magic and memories taken away from the experience will last a lifetime. Thanks so much to my companions for the evening that sprinkled pixie dust and created even more magic in my night.

Astro Orbiter & Castle

Member Guidelines for visiting the Top of the World Lounge can be found at http://dvcnews.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grand Floridian Courtyard Fountain

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the flagship of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. The Victorian themed property offers world-class dining, entertainment and luxurious accommodations. A strikingly beautiful resort with manicured grounds set amongst gleaming white buildings with red gabled roofs. I spied this point of interest first from out the window, high above, while having breakfast at Citricos in the Main building of the resort. As I closed in on the fountain it never for a moment lost it's charm or refreshing spirit.

View from CItrico's

Grand Floridian Courtyard Fountain

Grand Floridian Courtyard Fountain

Grand Floridian Courtyard Fountain

Disclaimer: My paid registration to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration included accommodations at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Disney Blog Hop Today!

Welcome to the DVC Mom Blog where life is what happens when Cinderella grows up.  It's Thursday and I'm co-hosting the Disney Blog Hop with the phenomenal Babes in Disneyland.  Grab your mouse ears and join the jamboree as we explore the wonderful world of Disney blogs!   

Follow the links to visit each of the blogs who have signed up, comment on their posts and let them know you've been by.  Follow them through Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  If you are new to this Disney Blog Hop, here's the "rules":
  • This blog hop is for Disney-related blogs, whether you blog about the parks, animations, a specific character, Disney corporate, etc.  If you are a blogger who covers Disney, feel free to enter, but be sure to enter a URL that directly sends readers to your Disney-taged posts.  All of you Disney Social Media Moms should definitely link up...
  • Enter your blog in the linky below.
  • Check out the other blogs and follow them through Google Friend Connect, on Facebook, etc.  Just let 'em know you checked them out and like what they are doing.  We all like to know we have new readers.
  • ***optional*** Welcome new readers to your blog!  Each week we do something a little bit different.  Since I didn't set anything up for this week, a general welcome will do.  
  • Also optional, please consider posting the Disney Blog Hop button on your blog or web site so that we can spread the word.  It would also be great if you wouldn't mind tweeting about the blog hop so that more Disney blogs with participate.
  • Most of all Have fun!

Look Out for Pirates!

Disney Junior Party
A soft and colorful dance floor.
Some people might say that there are some things that a 40 year old woman who left her children at home just shouldn’t get all wrapped up in.  A Sharkey and Bones concert is probably near the top of the list, but that didn’t stop me one bit.  This pirate girl was more than happy to shake it with the Neverland crowd. 

Disney Junior hosted a spectacular after hours dinner for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration attendees and their families last week.  We were told to meet up at the convention center, where we were then driven by motor coach to the set of Lights, Motors, Action! at Disney Hollywood Studios a fabulous party awaited.   DJ Renee welcomed us to the evening by spinning some great party music during dinner.  Never to be out done in the culinary venue, our Chefs for the night offered us delights for the taste buds.  The buffet featured field greens with blood orange vinaigrette, scalloped potatoes, seafood paella, and a roast pork with apples, amongst other delicious fare.  The dessert table made many a Mom happy as it contained the much desired chocolate options that most of us were missing at dinner the previous night.  Everything was delicious. 

100_2921 Dessert Table
After we had eaten, we were treated to the rousing sounds of Sharkey and Bones, from Disney Junior’s new smash hit Jake and the Neverland Pirates.   Though these Pirates drink tea on their ship, and told me that they’ve only seen the ship with the rum “pass by in the distance”, they sure knew how to get a party started.  The new line up on Disney Junior has only been airing since February 14th, but Jake and the Neverland Pirates has already shot to the top of children’s choice television ranking number one for it's target audience.  In its first month, Disney Junior delivered Disney Channel’s Top 3 highest-rated weeks ever with preschoolers and generated huge ratings gains across all key demographics. This show is even bringing it home for the women 18-49 group.  I can see why indeed,  I was up on my feet I was rockin’ out to the sea going hits like Tic Toc Croc, and Yo Ho Ho!   Sharkey and Bones were joined out on the dance floor by Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and Jake himself.   

Bones & Sharkey
Kids and Parents both enjoyed the music of
Sharkey & Bones
Our pirate crew was having a blast during the event, and can't thank Disney Junior enough for hosting  our evening.  “The new Disney Junior programming on Disney Channel reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7.”(3)  Thanks for a fabulous evening Disney Junior!

Pirates say Arrrrrgh!
DVC Mom & the Pirates say Aaaarrrrrrgh!
  1. http://zannaland.com/jake-from-the-never-land-pirates-character/
  2. http://www.reallifeblog.net/tag/sharkey-and-bones/
  3. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/03/15/“jake-and-the-never-land-pirates”-ranks-as-tv’s-no-1-series-among-kids-2-5-and-boys-2-5-is-disney-channel’s-no-1-series-to-date/85897 
Disclaimer: Disney provided me with discounted rates, tickets, and swag, during the Disney Social media Moms Celebration.  As most of my readers know, I'm also a shareholder and DVC Owner, but I am otherwise not affiliated with the company, I do not work for Disney nor do the opinions and experiences stated reflect anything but my own thoughts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Can I bring him home? - Wordless Wednesday


Why yes.. yes I can...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tangled DVD Giveaway!

This Contest Is now Closed

The latest Disney hit Tangled is about to be released on DVD and we want to share it with you! Have you met the newest heroine in the Disney family? Tangled features Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore), as a young girl hidden away from the world by her overprotective mother, Gothel.  Rapunzel dreams of discovering what the world holds, when suddenly Flynn Ryder (voiced by Chuck's Zachary Levi), a caddish drifter stumbles into her life.  The two strike a deal and Flynn agrees to lead her through the forest and find the hidden strength she never knew. This romping adventure encourages everyone to find hidden talents just waiting inside on them.

Get all Tangled up in the story with our new widget!  Explore the world of Tangled online, whether you are an aspiring artist, chef, or just feeling crafty, Rapunzel will lead the way as you find your own hidden abilities! Claire Keane, daughter of Tangled director and animator Glen Keane, will share tips on how to decorate your child's room just like Rapunzel’s.
One Tangled DVD, plus a surprise bonus!
How to Enter/ Required Entry:  
To enter you must be a public follower in Google Friend Connect. Then leave a comment telling me what your hidden talents are! (1 entry)
Leave more comments for additional Entries: 
Follow @DVCMom on twitter (1 entry)
Become Friends with The DVC Mom on Facebook (1 Entry)
Subscribe to the DVC Mom RSS Feed (1 entry)
Tweet about the give away and come back to leave a link (1 entry per day)
Contest Ends April 1st, so hurry and enter now! Winner will be chosen from all qualified entries from Random.org. Be sure to leave me an email so that I can contact you if you win!

This Contest Is now Closed

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I took a moment to escape. In all honesty, I was looking for a quick fix to a chipped nail and wanted to pop in to get it repaired before running off to the next experience. I stopped into the Ivy Trellis Hair Salon at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to ask if they had a manicurist. The lovely girl there told me that the spa was where I needed to be. She picked up the phone and called over to ask if I could get an appointment. Luckily if I arrived quickly they could fit me in for a manicure. So, off I went down the beautiful garden path towards the Grand Floridian Spa and Health Club.  Upon my arrival and check in, the staff member, took me in back to the luxurious locker room and suddenly I had to slow down.

Elegant Lockers
Softly lit, comfortable waiting room.

I tucked my belongings into one of the lockers provided at the spa and looked around this elegant location.  As a Grand Floridian Guest the facility was available for use during my stay.  The softly lit area was decorated in rich creamy colors.  I took a seat on the comfortable couches, everything about the atmosphere here said slow down... breathe... relax.  After a few minutes of pure "me time" my manicurist came to get me.  I was taken to a comfortable chair, and treated to a full manicure.  It was obvious that "quick" was not a word that had much meaning at the Spa.  They were much more versed in words like, relax, indulge, and luxuriate.  My manicurist chatted with me about family as she fixed my nails and massaged my hands.  While in the spa I was pampered and well taken care of.  This is truly a gem of the resort that I doubt many people take advantage of.  This little retreat is a truly magical place, that forced me to slow down and relax in the middle of a hectic weekend.  Next time you're looking for a few minutes of pure devotion to yourself at Walt Disney World, give the Spa and Health Club at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa a try. 
Jacuzzi Room
Jacuzzi Room seating, with towels and robes.
Jacuzzi Room Sauna
Jacuzzi room, water cooler and dry heat sauna. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One last moment

We rode pirates, grabbed a Dole Whip, and I'm headed home.

A little more pixie dust...

As I sit here, in the distance I hear the whistle of the steam engine sounding at the Magic Kingdom.  It carries across he lake a magic hat can not be beaten.  Walt Disney World is a place that makes dreams come true every single day and it does it very, very well.  

More fabulous photos have been uploaded to the Flickr Photostream.

I had to take the web cam down this morning because it's time to say good-bye to this magical resort, and check out.  I'll be at Magic Kingdom today, so there will be more pictures to come, and over the next week or two I'll share with you, my friends, tales of the most wonderful. So stay tuned... the journey has just begun.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good Morning Disney

Friday, March 18, 2011

The celebration continues...

What a wonderful day of conference sessions and guest speakers. Disney has gone so far for all of the attendees. I really thought that I would be able to be posting throughout the conference to keep everything "Live". However, I have been so overwhelmed by the people, the knowledge, the environment that it is indeed going to take a little time to get all of my thoughts together. I feel so blessed and honored to have been able to come down for this weekend. The experience is simply beyond anything I have ever had before.  I was walking back to my room last night and all of a sudden the castle was in front of my in the distance.  I stopped in my tracks and gasped, my eyes welled up with tears as I stood there in the dark, in the middle of the walk way in awe of the spires bathed in purple light.  It was so beautiful, and right outside my door.  Magic is around every corner at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Me and my party guru David Tutera

I've uploaded some more pictures from today to my flickr stream.  I hope that you've been watching the live shot out my window that's streaming on the website, because I have a pretty great marina view.  The Grand One is docked right below my balcony, and across the water the monorail goes by every 5 minutes or so.  I smile every time I see it, no kidding.

Here are a couple of my favorite moments so far, like getting a hug from Party Guru David Tutera.  Disney Weddings put on THE most amazing event for us last night.  Getting married at Disney is no joke, these brides get the very best of everything and they are truly Princesses.  Easy Button?  No way...  Just calling in the Fairy Godmother so that you can spend your wedding day doing nothing but being a Bride and having the time of your life in your special moment.  As David said "Dreams come true here every day."

Ashley, Traci and I
Hanging out with Twitter / Blogger buds like Traci and Ashley has been phenomenal.  I talk to Ashley almost every morning, and this was the first time we've met.  How cool is that!  I have meet so many of the nicest people, there is more talent in this crowd than you can imagine.  I ate lunch at the same table as Lou Mongello... seriously...Lou!  Oh... and the food, the food has been culinary bliss.

Right now I have a few hours of free time, so I'm headed out to take pictures with the new camera that I won on Shwaag!

Disclaimer: As part of my paid registration to the conference, Disney has provided attendees with accommodations, tickets, some meals and swag.   As most of my readers know, I'm also a shareholder and DVC Owner, but I am otherwise not affiliated with the company, I do not work for Disney nor do the opinions and experiences stated reflect anything but my own thoughts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day one, and it's all just begun...

I don't think that I can really pull together a good post right now. But I didn't want to leave that handful of you following wondering what happened. This afternoon has been the craziest, most amazing experience. I am surrounded by the creme de la creme of Mom Bloggers and Disney Bloggers.

Anyhow, I've updated my flicker stream with lots of pictures from this afternoon, I hope that that you enjoy them.

Waiting Around

>> I passed my TSA porn scan at the airport. I really wasn't sure if I would opt out or not until I got there. Morally I completely disagree with the thing, but I needed to get on my plane. Basically I was tired and didn't feel like causing a ruckus, so I went through the machine for my 10 day dose of radiation. Blah... It was very uneventful, but the thought of someone looking at such a detailed scan of my is just plain creepy.
>> My flight should board in about an hour. I think I may try and sleep a little on the plane if I can. Waking up at 3 am is kind of sucky. There's plenty of coffee in me, but I still feel cranky.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> Sent from my iPhone

And Away We Go!!

Today is the day I leave for the big conference. My town car will be here soon. Katie Anne woke up early so she could say good bye to me, I'll miss her so much. Coffee on board. My flight leave O'hare at 8:00am. Follow my Twitter @DVCMom for all up to the minute news!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One More Sleep... HA! Who Can Sleep?

I'm so excited to be leaving for my first ever blog conference, and that it's being held at Walt Disney World is just icing on the cake. Now, I never really sleep well, but the next 4 nights are going to be a joke! Sleep!? We don't need no stinkin' sleep!

Last night I got to bed at 11pm, woke up at 1am, at 3am, and then gave up on the whole sleep idea when I woke for the last time at 6am. Tonight, I have to wake up at 3am, because my town car will be here at 4:30am. Have I mentioned how much I hate living so far away from my airport? Yes, yes, I know that there is one in Rockford, but trying to get a flight on your terms is a joke. That means it's a long car ride to O'Hare for me, and if I want to get to Florida at a decent hour, I need to leave home at "Ooooh My God It's Early!" Not much sleep going on tonight.

I have a REALLY hard time sleeping in hotel rooms and usually just end up passing out from exhaustion at some point on my second night. LoL... but there's extra Magic hours all over the place, Magic Kingdom until 1am, Epcot until midnight. Who the heck is going to be sleeping!?

Mr. Sandman, you are just going to have to wait until I get home on Sunday night to catch up with me. Sugar and Caffeine, you're my new best friends!! I've got the Starbucks Via packed, and might as well main line it. Walt Disney World.. here I come!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

EBook Review - The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining

I  really didn’t plan on writing a post today, but then AJ Wolfe at The Disney Food Blog released the first edition of her new eBook "The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining”.  I’ll tell you now, I’m a DFB fan, and I think AJ is a total doll, but even if I wasn’t pre-biased I would still be singing the praises of this volume.   I bought the book right away, in order to see what The Disney Food Blog had to offer in this next exciting project.   It was worth every penny, and I felt that I just had to share it with you as soon a possible.   If you’re in the process of planning a WDW trip, stop now right now, read the book, and rethink your culinary tour.

"The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining” is a comprehensive guide to eating while on your Walt Disney World vacation.  First timers should not even start to plan without this guide, and Disney veterans will be just as tickled with details and information for all types of eaters.  The typical Disney guide gives you a brief overview of Disney dining, with an explanation of how to make advanced dining reservations, and a list of restaurants available to try.  Usually there will be the author’s opinions and a rating of the establishment.  AJ does that, and goes so much further.

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining” takes your hand and walks you through the language and scheduling of Disney Dining, then, it helps you build a food budget and gives you examples of pricing.  It takes that information, personalizes it, and helps you compare it to the Disney Dining Plan so that you can make a fully informed decision on what will work best for your family.  Penny pinchers will be thrilled with the suggestions for stretching you food budget while still enjoying the vast array of options offered around the Resort.  All sorts of special needs are addressed with advice on dining with kids (or finding a sitter), with large groups, picky eaters, vegetarian & vegans, eaters with food allergies, Diabetics, and Celiac all will find useful information to make your culinary experience a vacation in it’s self. Want to know how to make a special dinner even more special?  “The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining” covers all the exciting and tasty additions Disney will help you arrange.

I’ve been traveling without my kids lately, so I was excited to read about the fabulous resort lounge options, and signature dining.  AJ even talks about how to get “home” after that drink around the world or very late night monorail crawl.  Need to find a healthier breakfast to stave off the effects of that extra margarita?  AJ has you covered there with a look at good for you eats that taste amazing too.  If you have a Disney food question you can count on AJ Wolfe to answer it. 

This book’s conversational tone is light hearted nature and makes for an easy read while digesting the wealth of information presented.  Her opinions and suggestions are backed with years of research and tastings.  While her reviews of some establishments have a hard edge, I know I can trust that they earned her scorn, and will avoid them in my own culinary adventures.  The photography woven thoughout the pages is a beautiful highlight of this fabulous text.  I got hungry just flipping through it.

The “The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining” is currently only available in digital form as a PDF.  If you have a PDF reader, you will get immediate access to this 250 page text at purchase.  It's digital format will allow updates to be made as Disney changes it's programs, making sure you, the reader, always has the latest information. It also has allowed AJ to incorporate links to even more details and resources across the internet on Disney dining.   If you’re looking for a deeper look at dining in the Walt Disney World Resort, I highly recommend “The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining”.  Download it today.

"To celebrate the grand launch and to thank you for your support of the blog, we’ll be offering the Guide for 20% off its standard rate for one week only! Order your copy now for only $14.95 (regularly $18.95)." -DFB

Disclaimer: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions 


2 Sleeps, 2 Disney Girls - Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday

sc003541b803 - Version 2

Monday, March 14, 2011

3 More Sleeps, 3 Things That I Can't Leave Without

Twitter is all a buzz with tweets about getting ready for Disney Social Media Moms.  The girls are shopping, and primping, and packing with excitement for the day that they leave.  Folks are chatting with each other about what to wear and everything that they should bring along.  With the exception of my dress and a chiffon shirt, I’m all packed and ready to go.  My hair has been cut and colored, my nails are done, and I’m running over with anticipation.  4:30am Thursday morning just can’t get here fast enough!  Continuing my countdown to Disney Social Media Moms, today we celebrate only three more sleeps before I leave. I thought that I would share with you three things that I can’t leave home without.

Cold/Allergy Medicine – It’s always wise to pack your medications but people don’t realize how often a climate change will affect them.  I know from experience that I can’t head down to Florida without a box of Dayquil and Nyquil in my suitcase.  This past October I was talking with a gift shop clerk at the hotel and discovered that they run through a TON of allergy medication.  Lots of people head for warmer weather and end up with the sniffles.  Though the hotel gift shops at WDW carry a small selection of cold/allergy medications your choices are slim, it sells out fast, and they charge you an arm and a leg.  Be smart, pack your favorite sniffles remedy in you bag before leaving home.

Flip Flops or Crocs – My mother always insisted that we wear good sturdy shoes while touring the parks, which isn’t a bad idea given the amount of walking that is done.  However if sturdy shoes aren’t what your feet are used to wearing, they can do more harm than good.  I’m not a fan of shoes, it’s sort of like putting my feet in jail.  I am a flop flops girl.  This past year I spent the money to buy a really nice pair of flip flops with a little arch support and a firm sole.  They fit me like a dream, and I’ll be able to walk for hours in them.  If you don’t usually wear flip flops, I still suggest packing a cheap pair so that your feet are protected on your way down to the pool, or when you have to make a quick run for the hotel snack bar. 

My electronics bag – I know that most people like to disconnect when they go on vacation, but one of the things that I enjoy most is sharing my experience with you!  I wouldn’t dream of leaving without being able to stream the view from my room, upload pictures, tweet and post the exciting things that happen while I’m in Walt Disney World.  This vacation will see the addition of flip video (which I won’t have time to process until I get home) and mobile blogging.  I love reading trip reports and looking at pictures from others, this is the way that I can give back to you, my readers. For Disney Social Media Moms it’s especially important for me to share, since my family will be at home.  Stay connected, and share the magic. 

If you're looking for even more Disney trip reports, check out the Blog Roll of Disney Social Media Moms that I added to the right hand column!  I'm not the only one headed for fun and adventure.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

4 More Sleeps, 4 Great Parks!

The Walt Disney World Resort has grown so much since I was a girl.  I have wonderful memories of it being the “secret” place for my family.  We’d drive down from Illinois several times a year to escape the madness of every day life.  It was three hotels, a camp ground, the Magic Kingdom, and Downtown Disney.  We’d spend a whole week at our get away home and try to do it all.  Today, seeing it all in one trip… just not possible. Entertainment options on property are more than I can count.  To celebrate that I have just four more sleeps until leaving for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I’m sharing my favorite  four attractions in each of the four Parks.  Today's links tow the company line, with all you want to know about each ride from the the Walt Disney World Resort website.

So tell me, What are your favorites?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5 More Sleeps, 5 Tasty Treats!

DVC Mom & Carrot Cake Cookie
Photo Credit: Katie VanTassle
To celebrate having only 5 more sleeps until Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I thought that I would share with you my 5 most favorite things to eat or drink at Walt Disney World.  Living in Rockford, I don't usually have access to really great food, so when I head down to the "world" it's time to get my foodie on.  I hope that during next weekend I'll be able to indulge in all of my favorite things.  Follow the links for more information and reviews on the fabulous Disney Food Blog, which I believe to be the ultimate resource for Disney food lovers.

5. Baklava, Morocco, Epcot
4. Carrot Cake Cookie, The Writer’s Stop, Disney Hollywood Studios
3. BBQ Bacon 1/3 lb Angus Cheeseburger, Pecos Bills, Magic Kingdom
2. Mickey Crispie Rice Treat on a stick, Main Street Confectionery, Magic Kingdom
1. Citron Gray Goose Slushie, France, Epcot

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake Strands Tourists at Tokyo Disneyland Resort

The Tokyo Disneyland Resort was effected overnight by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan.  Built on landfill, the ground encountered liquefaction during the intense shaking of the quake. The resort's car park was inundated with waterlogged ground, but it has not been "obliterated" as some internet reports suggest. No injuries or structural damage has been reported according to the local Urawa police station.

69,000 people were visiting the resort when the disaster hit, visitors were evacuated to safe areas. Reports from visitors (http://twitter.com/#!/rezaikram/) suggest that they have to stay in open outdoor areas of the parks, and will be kept there overnight due to lack of transportation systems running outside of the parks.  Visitors have been given "disposable heaters, plastic bags and rain coats to keep us warm" to help keep them warm in weather that has been reported as "Cold and Rain".  

WDW News Today tweeted several pictures from the parks.
MrDAPS also sharing very informative tweets.
MousePlanet.com also covering the breaking news. 

Unconfirmed reports on Twitter from suggest that the parks will be closed today (Saturday) which is not surprising as the city and country attempt to recover from the shock.  Currently people are only moving on foot as all transportation systems of the city have been shut down.

All coastal areas of Hawaii are currently being evacuated due to a tsunami warning.  Hawaii is expected to get hit by the tsunami around 3am local time (that's 8am EST), putting the new Disney Vacation Club property Aulani at some risk.  Aulani is currently under construction on the leeward side of Oahu.  We will bring updates as to how the resort fares through the disaster as soon as we have information.

Update 8:37EST - The Disney Blog is reporting that most damage to the resort property has been done to the parking lot due to liquefaction and is near monorail beams.  The security of the structure will have to be evaluated before the monorail line can be reopened.

Jodi Jill shares and exclusive interview with a guest on site on examiner.com

The US State Department is asking Americans to suspend their travel plans to Japan until at least April 1st, 2011.  Full Travel alert can be found here. Updated information on travel and security in Japan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Update 9:41EST - TDL Cast members are reporting continued after shocks lasting  3-30 seconds. As well as continued liquefaction of the ground causing puddles and cracked cement.  Utilities are questionable around the city.

3 foot waves have reported around the Island of Oahu, where Aulani is located.   No significant Hawaiian damage has been reported at this time, but waves could continue for several hours.

Update 11:15EST - TDL Executive Steve Davison reports that Parks are closed tomorrow so crews will be able to search for damage and can check things out.  No damage has been found at the hotel. All entertainment rehearsals have been canceled for a few days.

The Disney Blog has confirmed that guests are now able to leave the Tokyo Parks on a voluntary basis. 

Update 2:53EST  3.12 - Cast Members have confirmed at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort will be closed until at least 3/21 in order to inspect the property and make repairs as needed. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - France


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Traveling to Disney with Chronic Pain

In general, I’m a fairly healthy person, I do my best to eat well, and I walk 5Ks and do yoga.  However, as I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I have fibromyalgia and sometimes it’s just harder to do things than it needs to be.  One of the times that managing my condition can be most difficult is when I travel, and heading to Disney is no exception.  Traveling with a chronic pain condition can be an adventure in budgeting your resources.

I can I am always overestimating my abilities on vacation, the fact is that the transportation, seating, standing and walking at Walt Disney World is significantly different from what we have at home.  Chronic pain sufferers adapt their living environment to their needs.  On vacation it’s different and your body knows. 

Plan Ahead

If you have the time, it’s a good idea to start walking about 6 months before vacation.  You can expect to cover a minimum of 5 miles a day at Disney. If you’re not used to that, it will take its toll.  Even if you are usually a fairly mobile person, understand your energy stores, and plan ahead of time where you may need to adapt. I can go to Walt Disney World and walk a 5K, however, that may mean that I end up renting an ECV the next day at the park.  Spoonies (see spoon theory at butyoudontlooksick.com) understand that they need to store and borrow.

Do as little as possible the two days before your trip.  Getting vacation errands done doesn’t have to be a stressor, and waiting until the last minute can use up precious energy resources.  Plan to have everything done two days before you leave so that you can feel at your best the day you travel. 

Bring all your prescriptions, especially occasional pain medications.  Those “as needed” prescriptions are great for chronic pain sufferers who have occasional flares of their condition, but they won’t do you any good at home.  Pack your toiletry bag with the expectation that you will be in more pain than normal.  Make sure that you have your pain reliever of choice, as well as muscle relaxers and topical creams. If you go with your full arsenal, you can win the pain battle on vacation.

Restrictive clothing can be a hassle when pain levels are high.  I’m famous for buying new clothes before a trip, but be sure what you bring along is relaxed and comfortable.  Also make sure that your shoes are broken in and ready to walk. 

At The Hotel

Be sure to make your room comfortable as comfortable as possible upon arrival.  If you have brought sheets from home, make the bed.  Identify what resources are available to you in your room, and call for extra pillows or blankets to aid in supporting your comfort if need be.  Handicap accessible (HA) rooms are available at all Disney hotels and should be requested in advance.  I find that the HA rooms are set up for those in wheel chairs but don’t offer an advantage to me as a chronic pain sufferer. 

Relax in a hot bath or bring your swimsuit and use the resort’s hot tub.  I don’t find the hot tub in the pool areas to be hot enough to be therapeutic.  Take the opportunity to draw yourself a hot bath and relax for a few minutes to rejuvenate you.

If massage is a regular part of your health care routine, you don’t have to miss out while staying at Walt Disney World. You can make an appointment at one of the Resort Spas to take a break for your health.

Your hotel room will be large enough to stretch out in.  Some relaxing yoga poses can gently stretch your muscles and prepare them for a day at the parks.  Prepare to use your full range of motion in the morning and your body will thank you later on.  Light stretching can also be a benefit when taking a break in the Parks.

In The Parks

Guest Assistance Pass can be obtained at Guest Relations of all the Parks.  These passes can be used for a wide variety of different conditions and can alleviate the discomfort of standing in very long lines by offering you a seat while you wait for the rest of your party. 

Rent a Wheelchair or ECV –  All Disney Parks (excluding water parks) and the Downtown Disney Area offer mobility assistance rentals.  You can either get a standard wheel chair, or an electric (ECV).  I hate when people see my weaknesses, but this isn't a time to be vain.  Sometimes to enjoy vacation I need mobility assistance.  If you do too, go ahead and rent an ECV.  It can be the difference between suffering and having the time of your life.
  • $12.00 USD per day for wheelchairs at Theme Parks
  • $12.00 USD per day plus a $100.00 USD refundable security deposit for wheelchairs at the Downtown Disney Area
  • $50.00 USD per day plus a $20.00 USD refundable security deposit for ECVs at Theme Parks
  • $50.00 USD per day plus a $100.00 USD refundable security deposit for ECVs at the Downtown Disney Area

Be Prepared – Acknowledge Limits – Be comfortable – Rest – Stretch

Most important of all pain management is to acknowledge your limits. If you need to rest, then sit down and take some time for yourself.  Walt Disney World is a fabulous place to sit back and soak in the scenery or people watch.  You will find this to be most enjoyable, and your body will appreciate the brief rest.  Chronic pain doesn’t need to keep you from having a wonderful vacation.