Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Customer Rules

This review for The Customer Rules by Lee Cockerell is part of a Magical Blogorail sponsored campaign. Copies of the book were received free of charge for a review. Opinions are those of the reviewer and do not represent those of the author.  Your opinion may vary.

When I first heard about our awesome opportunity to review The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service by former Disney Exec, Lee Cockerell, I thought - hey, I love a good book.  Plus, maybe it would apply to my work as a travel agent.  As former Executive Vice-President of the Walt Disney World Resort, Cockerell's leadership experience extends beyond the Disney Parks.  In fact, he started in the culinary and hotel world, working for both the Marriott Corporation and Hilton Hotels.

Within a few pages, I realized that this book doesn't apply to only my customer service roles as a travel agent, but it applies to my everyday job in the military, as well as my life as a mom and wife.  Many of his tips are words of wisdom that are written so eloquently and can be applied to any situation.  One of my rule was "Rule #6" - Be an Ecologist.

In this section, he says:
"Your organization is like an ecosystem, and everything in it s interconnected, just as in the natural environment."  
" success hinged largely on three things.  One was hiring great people, the second was making sure those employees had the expertise, and the third was leaving them alone to do their jobs without looking over their shoulders or micromanaging them... eventually the system would self-regulate, just like a natural ecosystem."
These words are written perfectly and should be learned, memorized, and followed by leaders in all fields.  I can relate this to my job and hope to apply these lessons learned as I grow as a leader and manager in my job.

I honestly wish every leader I work with and anyone striving to be a leader in any workplace would read this book.  I found that it applies way beyond the limits of customer service and have already recommended it to many of my coworkers!  I truly believe that Lee Cockerell's lifetime of service and leadership make him the perfect example of how businesses should be run.  He is featured in the Executive Speaker Series at the Disney Institute and has written other books, an app, and even blogs regularly about his experiences and more! 

The Customer Rules by Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World
This review of The Customer Rules by Lee Cockerell is part of a Magical Blogorail sponsored campaign.

Former Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, Lee Cockerell, shares his 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service in his latest book  The Customer Rules. And if you want more from Lee Cockerell check out his first book Creating The Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney.

Purchase the Book Here 

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Your Own

If you would like a signed copy of Lee Cockerell's The Customer Rules please enter to win our giveaway below.  We will be giving away two signed copies. Please click here if the entry widget is not shown below.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Windows of Main Street

It's the Latest Talent Agents
Charles Corson
Casting Agent

This window relates to a few others, including this window of Robert Jani.  Charles Corson worked in the Casting Department for Walt Disney Studios and became Director of Entertainment for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Frozen - Boy Style

Disney Princesses.  Historically and typically more appreciated and beloved by little girls.  But, Princesses Elsa and Anna have broken out of that mold.  Boys everywhere are just as obsessed as the rest of us and my own ask to listen to the music daily, with my 4 year old knowing every single word.

But, there is one big difference I've noticed - when my friends post pictures of their daughters singing Let it Go - and I have to share it with you.

Enjoy - my 4 year old singing Let it Go.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eating Clean at Walt Disney World

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Blue. Enjoy the ride as we discuss ways to stay fit & health at the Disney parks!

Eating Clean at Walt Disney World

Clean eating is a fairly vague term.  It has different meaning and extents to different people.  I'm not as extreme as some, including one of my current addiction: Food Babe, though, she has made me a little more scared of food than I hoped.

For this, let's just stick with - making good choices!  

There are so many possibilities to stop for a Mickey Premium Bar or ice cream sandwich, and while I have a hard time resisting a Mickey Mouse candy apple, I try to avoid having snacks like that on a daily basis.

Our last trip, we got on the road at the tail end of me completing an extreme clean-eating "diet reset" - let's just consider basically paleo vegan.  Very strict for a temporary period, but with a goal of changing my taste buds and to stop reaching for the sugar and reach for a piece of friend, raw vegetables, or nuts.

Where do I start?

  • Be Prepared
    • Bring pre-chosen snacks to battle hunger, such as fruits, nuts, and veggies
    • Look at menus ahead of time to choose menus that fit the dietary habits you are hoping to maintain
  • Don't Get too Hungry
    • If you walk into the Main Street Confectionary hungry, it may be near impossible to avoid a delicious sugary treat (again, I'm all about the splurge, but I'm trying to limit those!) - so walk in after you've had a meal and aren't craving sweets
    • Choose wisely with your snacks 
      • Ice cream carts and snack kiosks sell fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, and bananas.
      • Liberty Square market sells baked (I've seen white and sweet) potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh fruit, veggies, dried fruit
    • Bring snacks with you so you don't get too hungry!

But, I'm Walking 7 miles a day, right?

True - you may be walking anywhere from 6-10 miles on an average day at Walt Disney World, but those cupcakes may have 300-500 calories a piece.  Add in a hamburger and french fries at another 800 calories per meal, and the calories add up quickly!

Plan for indulgences

As I mentioned, my current favorite of delicious Disney treats are the Mickey Caramel/Candy Apples - I think they're delicious.  For other sweet fruit items, I feel less guilty eating the chocolate/caramel (Karamelle Kuche) covered fruit.  Dark chocolate and strawberries? Win/win!  But, if you want a Mickey Premium bar, go for it! I try to save my big indulgence for the last day so I'm not wanting one every single time I pass them!
Karamelle Kuche in the German Pavilion

While you're at a big meal, consider choosing a salad or vegetable as a side or appetizer instead of french fries or something less healthy!  This appetizer from Be Our Guest is delicious!
Salad Appetizer at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Good luck and happy clean eating!  Stay along with this Magical Blogorail Blue loop for different dining options and other ways to eat healthy while at Walt Disney World!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney on Wheels.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

**1st Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog** You are here
2nd Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
Final Stop ~ Disney Mamas

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Favorite Disney Snack

EPCOT's World Showcase

Home to 11 Pavilions

From our very own American Pavilion serving hamburgers and hot dogs, to the China Pavilion serving fancy drinks and dumplings, there are food choices for everyone in the World Showcase.

Many people have must-have meals, favorite drinks, snacks, desserts - it's all there.

My Favorite World Showcase Snack is....

The Bavarian Pretzel

I'm drooling just thinking about it.  That might also be due to my current gluten/carb/wheat/tasty food restrictions, but doesn't that pretzel look tasty?

It is.  Someone once walked by and said "ew, those pretzels look burnt" but no.  These are not the microwavable soft pretzel you can get at Target - these are for real.  The color is a darker brown because of the ingredients, not due to overcooking.  This small kiosk, Trinken, serves beer, water, and pretzels (okay, probably soda, but I can't guarantee that).  And mustard, of course!

These pretzels can also be found at the other beer station and in the counter service restaurant, but I generally just pick up one at Trinken located across the walkway from the full pavilion!

What is your favorite EPCOT snack?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Roy O Disney
"If you Dream It, We Can Do It"
Dreamers & Doers

Roy O. Disney, Walt's brother is truly the man behind Walt Disney World.  Though he planned to retire, after Walt's early death in 1966, Roy stepped in and made sure that "The Florida Project" happened.

Roy was the reason Walt had money - Walt loved to spend, and Roy was very conscientious about spending and savings - the businessman of the two. 

What I love about this is the famous quote "If you dream it, you can do it."  I recently heard on an episode of WDW Radio with Lou Mongello a fact I had heard before - this quote that has long been attributed to Walt Disney himself was actually written for Horizons, the long lost (and missed) attraction for EPCOT center.  Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald wrote that - it was even the song for the attraction!  

Bet you weren't expecting 2 pieces of trivia this week!

Linking FastPass+

My Disney Experience and Fast Pass + are Walt Disney World's newest ways to make touring the parks "easier."  Instead of having to run from attraction to attraction, you now have the ability to schedule your fast pass+ ahead of time.  60 day in advance, if you have a pending WDW Resort reservation.

I've had many questions about how to link people together.  When you're traveling with a party, only 1 person in the party needs to make those reservations and they can all be shared by the party.

STEP 1: 
Log in to My Disney Experience online

Hover over the My Disney Experience logo and wait for the drop down. Then, click on "My family and friends"

Under the friends and family category, invite those who are traveling with you to link accounts.  With magic bands and MDE, Disney is hoping that every adult creates their own account.  By linking accounts, you can share itineraries and link all reservations.  

Once everyone is linked, click of "FastPass+"
You will see the following screens, 1 then 2:
**Screen Two has the step to link - when you select your party members, your fastpass+ will be shared among everyone**

Select Date, then Park and then a list of options will appear for you.  

**Note "FastPicks" where Disney will automatically select fastpasses for you.
Skip this! If you're not sure, read my article here on which FP+ to choose!**

Once you select these, you will be able to move them around in order of importance and continue on for the days of your trip.

Hope this clears stuff up!  And, if people in your party disappear for a minute or two, log out and try again.  Sometimes the site is wonky, but it shouldn't be a permanent change unless someone actually changed something!!

For more tips, planning trips, and all the help you could want, email me at for your free no-obligation price quote!! When you book with me and Guru Travel, you receive itinerary planning, concierge service, and more!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

For Dustin

Almost two years ago, my blogging friend and now co-travel agent, Beth, shared the story of her beautiful nephew, Dustin.  

At just two years old, Dustin was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma - a terrible cancer that targets children and is nearly incurable.

For almost two years, we have encouraged, fought, raised money, prayed, everything us strangers could possibly do for this beautiful boy and his family.

Sadly, Dustin lost his battle on Tuesday.  He left behind his wonderful parents and 2 brothers, one older and one younger.  And he made so many people come together to spread their love and hope for him.  

It breaks my heart just thinking about him, and I can't fully imagine what his family is going through.  If you have a minute to stop by Pursuing the Magic to leave Beth some kind words, I'm sure she would appreciate it.  Or, just send quick thought/prayer/anything to the family he has left behind.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for another week of Disney Trivia!

The Shades of Green Resort - the resort on Disney property owned and operated by the U.S. Army.

Only military (and a few others) are eligible, and even though I'm eligible, I've never stayed.  But, I've finally been inside and I'm using this to share history and trivia of the resort!

Did you know:

The Shades of Green opened up in 1973 as the Golf Resort.  Even before it was a resort, it opened as two story clubhouse for the golf courses with no guest rooms.

In 1986, it became known as The Disney Inn with extra rooms and a Snow White theme, hoping to appeal to non-golfers.  

In 1996, the resort was purchased by the U.S. Army, though Disney still owns the land.