Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Being Strong When Things Go Wrong at Walt Disney World...

Most of the time I try not to let Fibromyalgia get in my way.  Even when at Walt Disney World if I'm having a day that my pain is so bad I can't really walk, I'll rent an ECV or a Wheelchair and just keep going.  As some of you who may follow me on Twitter know, I had a very disturbing event happen to me at the Magic Kingdom last week.  I was having a very high pain night that left me in a wheelchair.  Some of you that follow me on Twitter may have read that I had a very disturbing instance last week at the Haunted Mansion. 

The next day, when I was feeling better but still carrying around the baggage of the previous night, I decided to take the issue to Guest Relations.  Before we left the Park, we stopped in to retell the story of what has happened to me at the Haunted Mansion (which I don't care to rehash here).  When I began speaking to the beautiful young lady at Guest Relations (Victoria was her name and she should have been a Princess) I knew that things would get better when she stopped me for a moment so that she could take notes. Notes, because she was really listening to me and what I had to say.  As I told Victoria the story I began crying again, the utter humiliation the HM cast members put me through was still raw and new.  I could tell that it was difficult for her to listen to what had happened.  She was invested in my story and she wanted to make things right.  Victoria explained my issues to her boss, and her boss's boss, they wanted to make things right too. 

However they were already doing what I needed them to do.  They were listening to me.  They were validation that how I was treated should never have happened.  I told them that the only thing that I wanted was to be sure that no one else was subjected to that humiliation.  I told them that someone should have thought about the queue during design, that ADA compliance can't just be an afterthought.  But that I didn't expect them to rip up the ground and re-pour the cement in the queue.  To my great surprise I was informed that if enough people had a problem, that they very well may.  I was told that I'm not the only guest that has had an issue with the cobblestones in a wheelchair.  That the new ADA compliant queue was being seen as a little less than successful for guests in chair.  In addition to that bit of knowledge, Victoria assured me that the 3 cast members at the Haunted Mansion I encountered would be spoken to an dealt with.  The best part is that she meant it.  She meant it and her supervisors meant it, and they were going to make sure that it didn't happen to anyone else.

The choice to be in a wheelchair for me is difficult.  People, especially strangers, are judgemental, and no matter how far we think that we have come as a society in acceptance, it's not always the case.  As someone who can walk most of the time, making the descision to be in a chair opens a new wound every single day that I have to do it.  It puts my body's failures at the front of my thoughts, and though I know that it's the right thign sometimes, it is never easy.

The cast members at Magic Kingdom Guest Relations are there to help.  When you tell your story, they're there to gauge whether you're just having a bad day, or something has really gone horribly wrong.  They listen to the guests, they are our voice back to the company, and they make sure that things get done to keep the magic alive.  They even give Princess stickers to grown ups standing at the counter crying.  I know that sounds stupid, but the levity of it was amazing.

I know that I've left out many details in this post, details of the incident, and details of the resolution. That was on purpose.  But, I want you to know that Disney has done everything possible and gone what I think was above and beyond to make things right with me.   If you get anything from this post I want you to walk away with from thing... Disney does care.  They care how their guests are treated while on property, and if something goes wrong along the way they do want to make it right.  You just have to be brave enough to get your story to the right people.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great Pictures from Thursday 2/23

More images uploaded to my Flickr Photo Stream Today. Here are a few of my favorites!

Pictures up from Day 1 of the Princess Party Vacation!

Yesterday's Photos have been posted on my Flickr Photo Stream. Be sure to stop by and check out our first day at Walt Disney World!   Highlights include Downtown Disney and Dinner at the California Grill, as well as more pictures of our Vacation House!  Stop by the Photo Stream and check it out!

Here's a few of my favorites!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


My alarm was set to go off at 2am, however I guess that I was to excited to sleep because I woke up at 1am. Seriously, my husband hadn't even gone to sleep yet. So, I hopped into the shower and started to get ready. The Town Car will be here at 3am (CST) to take us to the airport where Tori and I will meet up with Bekah. We'll be on the ground in MCO by 9:30 (EST)!! WHoo hoo!!

Tori just started a pot of coffee for us. Hoorah for Coffee!

I need this vacation so badly and it's finally here! On the Schedule today is Lunch at Earl of Sandwich, Shopping at Downtown Disney, checking int our Global Resort Home, and Dinner at the amazing California Grill. There may possibly even be some fireworks thrown into the mix there at the end.

Stay tuned... it just gets better!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Less than 24 Hours and a First Look at our Global Resort Home!

I'm so excited!  It's less than 24 hours until I head back down to Walt Disney World for an all girls weekend with the #PrincessPartyCrew.  Everything is packed, Tori & I are headed out to get manicures this afternoon, and the limo is confirmed to pick us up at 3:00 Tomorrow Morning!

Today we got our first look at the magnificent 5-bedroom 3.5 bath Global Resort Home that we'll be staying at in the gated resort community of Windsor Palms.  Oh my gosh, I may not ever want to leave this home!   I'll be sure to post lot more pictures when we get there and maybe even some video.

Global resort Home Living Room Global Resort Home Master Bedroom

It's not just some house in the middle of some random block we'll be at, but a resort community with some high end amenities including a 7,500 sq. feet clubhouse with a resort pool, sun deck
and the all-important hot tub.  The kiddos will find a playground as well as A 58 seat Movie Theater, video arcade and Billiard tables, not to mention the sand volleyball, basketball courts, and tennis courts!!  Who knew that all this came with renting a vacation home!

Global Resort Home Hot TubMy favorite part of the house,  a private pool and hot tub spa right out the patio door on the screened lanai.  I may die right there. :-)  You know dern well that there will be cocktails and a dip in the hot tub at the end of every night.  Where's the closest wine store?  A full washer and dryer mean that we don’t ever have to worry about trying to tug on cold wet swimsuits the next day.  We just tossed them in the dryer after we were done with our nightly wrap up.  Sleep, who need sleep when you're on at the Princess Party House!

We'll be just 3 miles away from Walt Disney World, though it's close, this is my first time staying off propety in about 20 years and we needed to rent a party van to drive all the fun around!  Global Resort Homes offers it's guests a corporate discount with several local car rental places and the Global discount really helped out with the budget.   Global has been so generous to us with this house and I can't wait to share even more of it with you when we're live from Kissimmee!!

Oh!  Don't forget to follow our Tweets from vacation, We'll be using the hashtag
And I'll be Tweeting for the Kissimmee CVB with #VisitKiss as well!

Disclaimer: Global provided me with 5 nights in a resort home free of charge. All experiences and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MMmm... Via Napoli Wordless Wednesday

In just a week, I'll be back here!

Main Room of Via Napoli
Kristen's Pizza
Via Napoli ChandelierMain Table Via Napoli
Arancini GoodnessOrange Cream Dessert!
Via Napoli Ovens

Focused on the Magic

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend Pre-Trip Report

Cinderella's Castle
I'm so excited! Just two more weeks and I'll be on my way to Orlando, Florida! I'm super excited about this trip because It's a girls only weekend with some of my closest friends! We're headed down for the Princess Half Marathon weekend, I'm not up to running a marathon, but we'll be strutting our stuff during the Royal Family 5K! This trip has a bunch of firsts for me and I can't wait to share them with you!

Who: Kristen (that's me!), Tori (my 18 year old daughter), Bekah (my BFF), Jackie & Traci (two of my best bloggy buddies)

What: 5 Nights in Orlando, 3 Day Park Tickets and the Royal Family 5K!

Why: We had at first been toying with the idea of going to Blissdom. However, once again, none of us made it on the Disney Moms Panel, and frankly we were sad. From the mass of twitter friends came a call from our friend Traci at Vacation Field Guides that we should join her down in Florida for the Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend. Why not, we *ARE* Disney Moms, we would head down to "the World" and make our own magic. Since that decision was made Traci and I encountered further corporate rejection in not being invited to Disney Social Media Moms this year. I need this trip more than ever to get rid of some serious Disney blues.

When: Tori and I leave 2/22/2012 at 2AM!! Our flight doesn't leave until 6am, but we have to be there 2 hours before and it takes us 2 hours to get there, so 2AM it is! Should I even bother going to sleep the night before if I have to wake up at 1AM? I'll be leaving the boys and Katie at home, and Tori and I will meet Bekah at O'Hare to get this party started! Or... go back to sleep on the plane.

2AMWhere: Global Resort Homes is my generous sponsor for accommodations. They're providing us with a fantastic opportunity to stay in one of their 5 bedroom luxury vacation homes for the week. I can not wait to share that with you! Expect lots of gushing over this property in the near future. This will be my first time staying off-property in about 20 years, I'm nervous, but as a DVC Member I'm really excited to see what Global Resort Homes has to offer.

Transportation: United Airlines & Dollar Rental Car! The Princess Party Van was booked using the discount that Global Resort Homes has for it's guests. Thanks again Global! You made my day when I was able to upgrade from an economy car to a mini-van with a Sun Pass for just $80 more.

What's for Dinner?
ADRS Include: California Grill, Via Napoli, OHana & Whispering Canyon
Counter Service Plans: Earl of Sandwich, Scat Cat Club
Obviously there will be much more foodie fun to report on, but this trip will be heavy on the counter service so we'll play it by ear!

So that's just a taste of what's coming up in the next few weeks.  I'm crazy busy writing for several travel outlets, so these next two weeks will be a marathon before I even get to vacation!  You'll also be able to follow this trip on i.SeeKissimmee.com  as I bring daily vacation coverage to the blog for the Kissimee convention and visitors bureau.  I hope that you enjoy all the great things to come on this trip of this trip!   It will be followed by 9 nights in the Western Caribbean with highlights including food and jazz in New Orleans, Mayan ruins in Belize, and a possible dolphin swim!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love is in The Air Wordless Wednesday


Focused on the Magic

The theme for the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop is your Love Is In The Air
This shot was taken at the 2011 Disney Moms' Panel Meet & Greet.  The room was decorated with glittering lit pink trees, pink table cloths and lovely centerpieces.

Monday, February 6, 2012

John Carter Super Bowl Spot

DVC Mom Contributor Erik is really excited about the movie 'John Carter' coming out.  As a huge comic book fan he's read it before and is looking forward to seeing what's been done with the story.  me on the other hand, I'm not quite sold yet. 

I've got the John cater Super Bowl trailer here for you.  Let me know what you think about this upcoming Disney feature film!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Retreat to Morocco Photo Story

I wear a Fez now. Fez are cool.Fez House Foutain
Colorful Lamp in fez HouseInside Fez House
Display in Fez House
Henna LampsMarketplace in Morocco
Epcots MoroccoBrass work
Water Wheel100_1118

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chat With A Disney Guru Feature

I'm honored to be the featured "Disney Guru" today over on Colorado Mountain Mom!  
So stop on by and read this fun interview!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yo Ho February! Season Two of Jake and The Never Land Pirates Premiers!



The classic character Peter Pan makes his first-ever appearance in the hit series for kids age 2-7, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," in a primetime special presentation, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns," premiering MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Featuring six original songs, the special finds Peter Pan returning to Pirate Island to enlist Jake, Izzy, Cubby and Skully in finding his lost shadow. Adam Wylie ("Picket Fences") voices the role of Peter Pan.

Reflecting on the emotional connection of generations of consumers, Disney's chracters and storytelling in "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" embrace both the classic and contemporary. Jake and his friends inhabit a world first created for Sir James Barrie's classic children's book, Peter Pan. A fan favorite of multiple generations, Peter Pan, the little boy who never grows up and has the magical ability to fly. Disney's Peter Pan was first seen on the big screen in the 1953 in film, then in print, as a park attraction, on video, a sequel released to video, and seen on to numerous toys and merchandise to count.

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates" introduces a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby - and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Smee, from Disney's classic "Peter Pan." The series, which emphasizes teamwork, features original pirate rock music performed by Sharky and Bones of The Never Land Pirate Band. A full-length preview of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns" will become available via Disney Channel on Demand on February 6.

Also Beginning Monday, February 6, DisneyJunior.com/PeterPan will feature "Jake's Countdown to Peter Pan" and the debut of a new two-part game, "Shadow Shenanigans," where players can take on the role of Peter Pan's shadow to try to wake the sleeping Jolly Roger crew and then play a shadow matching game.

But that's not all...

Season two will debut MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 with new episodes airing daily at 8:30 a.m., ET/PT throughout the week. This season you'll hear the voices of Sharon Osbourne, Josh Duhamel, Jane Kaczmarek and Tiffani Thiessen who star in recurring roles, joining the series notable voice cast including David Arquette, Tori Spelling, Lisa Loeb, Adam West and Ariel Winter.

Grab your pirate crew and settle in to celebrate a fantastic new season. Yo Ho, Let's GO!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Once Upon a Dream: Calendar Shot, Wordless Wednesday

Rose from Remy

Focused on the Magic

The theme for the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop is your Calendar Shot!  I've gone with the romance of Disney Cruise Dream's French dining experience 'Remy'.  Taken on my cruise this past May, ladies dining at Remy are all presented with a rose "From Monsieur, of course."  I took that image and created a dreamy calendar shot to capture the romance of February.