Friday, February 28, 2014

United Kingdom Pavilion - Hedge Maze

Many say the World Showcase is too adult for children - but I'm here to say, once again, that they're missing on so many great opportunities for learning, fun, and adventure!

The UK Pavilion is honestly one we tend to skip over.  We don't eat fish and chips or drink guinness, so the food doesn't draw us in.  We have shopped here in the past - I still have a wonderful soccer-style jacket (though the zipper is broken) and Adam has a beatles sweatshirt from our first trip to WDW together in November of 2006.
So young.. and tired! On the ferry after a LONG day of commando park hopping!
We love spending time in the World Showcase.  Between the food, the trains, and Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, we spend hours there every trip.  And, we'll often pop in different days of our trip to appreciate all of the amazing dining available!

This time, I knew we had to find the 'secret' hedge maze.  Honestly, even back in 2006, I remember heading to the back of the Pavilion to watch the Beatles tribute band (then, British Invasion) and just sitting there watching, but before my addiction to Disney details, I missed the maze.

Not this time!

We had fun finding our way in and out, back and forth.  Of course, at 4, it's easy to cheat and sneak in between or over the hedge, but that's okay!

We enjoyed spending a little bit of time back there - I hope you will to!!

Have you ever spent time in the hedge maze?  Comment below letting me know or share your pictures and thoughts on my facebook page! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sofia the First: Songs from Enchancia

Recently, I was given a copy of Sofia the First: Songs from Enchancia to review for this blog, thanks to ENMN Medi.

As a mom of two boys, princesses aren't always at the top of our list, but Sofia broke the mold first.  I'm fairly certain my older had a little crush on Sofia - she is adorable!  We've seen every episode, many several times.  I think Sofia has cracked the door open and now, we have a lot of Princess love in our house - Noah always shouts excitedly when a new Disney Princess joins Sofia for a song or an adventure!


I put it in the car cd player and didn't tell my boys what music they were listening to.  After a few tracks, we heard Amber and Sofia's song - Bigger is Better.  If that wasn't a big enough give away, a few tracks later came Good Little Witch with Sofia and her friend, Lucinda.  

The tunes on this cd are:

1. Sisters and Brothers (Sofia)
2. Merroway Cove (Sven, Oona and Sofia)
3. The Love We Share (Ariel and Sofia)
4. Bigger Is Better (Amber)
5. (You Can Always) Count On Baileywick (Cast)
6. Make It Right (Belle and Sofia)
7. Good Little Witch (Ballad) (Sofia)
8. Good Little Witch (Lucinda and Sofia)
9. The Ride of Your Lives (Jasmine, Sofia and Amber)
10. A Recipe for Adventure (Aunt Tilly and Sofia)
11. Bring My Best Friend Back (Clover and Sofia)
12. The Simple Life (Cast)
13. Make Way for Miss Nettle (Miss Nettle)
14. Enchancia (Ruby, Jade and Sofia)
15. Be Who You Wanna Be (Jake and Sofia)
16. Merroway Cove
17. Bigger Is Better
18. Good Little Witch
19. A Recipe for Adventure

And, the best part is that NOW, I can give 3 cd's away to my readers!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for another Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!!
Thanks to +My Dreams of Disney+Heidi's Head, and +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse for co-hosting every week!

Back in 1963, National Geographic dedicated A LOT of a magazine to Walt, Disneyland, and Mickey Mouse.


Did you know: Walt and WED (now known as WDI) used National Geographic for a lot of their inspiration, colorings, etc...  I had no idea!


There was over 50 pages of articles in this and it's an incredible read!

For the full thing, check out this PDF here from VintageDisneylandTickets

Walt Disney World Price Increases

It's never a surprise when Walt Disney World raises their ticket prices.  I would say most of us expect the annual price hike.

But, I can't say too many were expecting the first price hike to be in February!

In a $4 price hike, a 1 day Magic Kingdom ticket is now $99.  The other 3 parks (no park hopping, but choosing either EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios) is $94.  Hey, it's only $93/$88 for children aged 3-9.  That's a savings, right?

Not really.  But, to not be completely freaked out when planning a Walt Disney World vacation is to ignore the 1-day ticket price.  When you upgrade to a 5 day pass, you're looking at only $60.80 per day ($56.80 for ages 3-9).  Yes, that's still a lot of money, but for $60 a day, you're getting entertainment for as many hours you want during park hours.  While I can't say I'm in favor of these constant price increases (there were 2 in 2013, I wouldn't be surprised be a second in 2014), getting angry won't change the prices.

The best way to deal with the increases -

Plan Ahead -

I have few clients who were planning to "wait for the discounts" before booking  trip for fall 2014.  Unfortunately, the discount that may come out will reflect the *new* ticket prices.  For a room only or Free Dining promotion, saving money on tickets would have been  great perk - we can add discounts later, but can't change the starting price! 

This is just one of many reasons to BOOK EARLY!

Expect and accept that Walt Disney World is not a cheap vacation.  But, it will be high quality with great service, cleanliness, and experiences like no where else!

Book now before ticket prices increase again!  Email me at JennL@theWDWGuru.com for a free, no obligation price quote!  I will constantly check for discounts to apply to your vacation to make sure you get the most for your money, while spending the least amount possible!

Friday, February 21, 2014

My #DisneySide Celebration

Recently, I was given the opportunity to host party.  That may seem strange.  An opportunity to host a party?  But yes, in this case - I was awarded an opportunity - or should I say - an inspiration to host a party.  To share my #DisneySide at home.

Sponsored by Disney (and headed up by Maria Bailey of Mom Select Media), I received an American Tourister suitcase, the Official luggage of Walt Disney World, filled with incredible Disney goodies!

Inside, there was a Disney Parks planning DVD, cookie cutters, plates, napkins, cupcake tins, Disney Bingo - SO much stuff to inspire a great party!

I headed to Evite and found an AWESOME Evite - I took out all the private details for blogging purposes, but you can get the idea:

I worked my non-Martha Stewart magic and attempted to make Mickey Mouse oreos, rice krispie treats, even fruit!  For plenty of great and festive recipes, check DisneySideCelebrations.com!


Of course, between my dog and the kids, the table was emptied before I could take pictures!  These are th remnants.  They may not have been as pretty as the Mickey cookies on Main Street, but they sure were delicious!

During the party, I had Disney parks music playing in the background (Reedy Creek Radio) and we played some Disney trivia and Disney bingo, provided with my Disney Side party kit.  Unfortunately, as I was the one hosting, I have no pictures of us -  no one took pics while we were playing!

We did have fun decorating - blowing up tons of red and yellow balloons and adding them to our already Disney-fied basement.  Noah definitely loved it!

We ate more Mickey krispies, oreos, and fun shaped fruit than we could imagine and we used the craisins, provided in our party kid, for snacks AND for bingo markers!

Our party was a blast - a reason to get a ton of kids to make a huge mess and all the moms to get together and chat!  We ended with several families staying for a pizza dinner.  I would have preferred Via Napoli, but I'll take what I can get!  A great end to our Disney day!

How do you share your Disney side?  For more great ideas about how to have your own Disney Side party at home, check out Disney's official #DisneySide website!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Vintage Disney


Welcome to those of you joining me from My Dreams of Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Vintage Disney

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase "Vintage Disney?"  For some it's old theme park attractions, others it's The Fox and the Hound - that phrase can go so many directions.

For me? I go directly to Mickey Mouse.

Steamboat Willie

We recognize Steamboat Willie as Mickey Mouse's first cartoon - but did you know that Plane Crazy came out first?  Plane Crazy was given a silent screen test in May of 1928.  Though it didn't take off, Disney added sound and released Steamboat Willie in November of 1928, and fully releasing Plane Crazy as a sound cartoon in 1929.

In 1929 alone, there were 12 mickey mouse cartoons released.  Sketches were made over and over, turned into storyboards, which turned into animated features - that we can still enjoy today (thank you, you tube!).  I'm always amazed at the discipline and the tedium of animation - it's so incredible to see how they made it!

Of the 130+ films Mickey Mouse starred in (not to include the new/old one that premiered at Frozen which is incredible), my favorite sticks with The Band Concert.

Vintage Mickey - big, full, black eyes - I love the pie-slice eyes, too - but this one right here.  Mickey in his band leader costume.  He's my absolute favorite.  This 1935 is so clever - it's witty, displays classical music, cartoon antics, and is the absolute basic Mickey Mouse and what comes to mind when I hear "Vintage Disney."

       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:

**2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog** You are here!
3rd Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
Final Stop ~ Disney Nouns                

**All pictures from the Walt Disney Family Museum. If you find yourself in San Francisco, this is an absolute must for Disney fans - plus great views of the city!**

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!

In honor of Presidents Day, I wanted to share last year's President's Day Tiggerific Tuesday -
but also find some new, fun trivia!

Before the 1964 World's Fair, Walt Disney and his team were working hard on creating and updating Animatronics - what we now consider standard was incredibly innovative and remarkable in this time period.

When the President of the World's Fair, Robert Moses, visited the Disney studios in 1962 for an update for Ford and General Electric, sponsors of Disney attractions (Magic Skyway and Carousel of Progress), he was introduced to the Abraham Lincoln figure that was being worked on for Disneyland's "Once Nation Under G-d".  Though not quite ready, the Lincoln animatronic stood up and shook Moses' hand.  

Moses insisted that Lincoln be used at the World's Fair and received Walt Disney's blessings to find a sponsor for the attraction.  Mr. Lincoln eventually became the centerpiece for the Illinois Pavilion at the World's Fair.
For more on the 1964 World's Fair, check out this great website

Thanks again to my great co-hosts:+Heidi's Head+My Dreams of Disney, and +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse 


#runDisney Planning

#runDisney Planning

We've been runDisney addicts in my house since 2010.  Our first half marathon - it was a life changing event - we went from never running for ourselves (I'm military, so I have to run, but never actually enjoyed it) to running for enjoyment.  


Our last Disney race, the #runDisney Princess marathon 2013 was a great experience - though I think Adam and I both preferred Marathon Weekend.  Something about the insane numbers of marathon weekend make it all that more exciting!  But, if you're thinking of your first Disney race, you have many options:

Walt Disney World #runDisney Events

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
    • Annually held in early January, Marathon Weekend offers a 5, 10k, half marathon, and the only full marathon at Walt Disney World.  Runners do 1 or any combination (or all 4) during the 4 days!
    • Kids races are available from crawlers to a 1 mile fun run at ESPN Wide World of Sports
    • The full marathon (26.2 miles) runs through all 4 parks
    • The half marathon (13.1 miles) runs through EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom
    • 10k (6.2 miles) runs around the Boardwalk
    • 5k (3.1 miles) runs around EPCOT's World Showcase
    • Dopey Medal is awarded for running all 4 races; Goofy medal is awarded for running 13.1 and 26.2
  • Princess Marathon Weekend
    • Held in mid-late February
    • A female focused race, my husband and the other men took up only 6% of the runners in the 2013 event. 
    • This weekend boasts a 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  
    • Kids races are available from crawlers to a 1 mile fun run at ESPN Wide World of Sports
    • Half Marathon runs the same route as Marathon Weekend (EPCOT and Magic Kingdom)
  • Expedition Everest Challenge
    • Held in early May
    • This themed race is a night time 5k and scavenger hunt at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    • Family challenge is a daytime short race and scavenger hunt at ESPN Wide World of Sports
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Race
    • Fitting with the theme, this is a Halloween style October race
    • Another night race - this 10 miler is a Hollywood Studios based race and ends with a post party in Hollywood Studios
    • A Family Fun 5k and kids race are also offered
  • Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
    • This has become the race at the end of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival in early November
    • This is an evening half marathon, starting at 10 pm and ending at EPCOT with an after party 
    • with food and wine festival booths open!
    • Starts at ESPN Wide World of Sports, runs through Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios before heading and ending at EPCOT
    • Kids races and a 5k are also available
    • There is an after party for runners and those who buy tickets

Disneyland  #runDisney Events

  • Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend
    • In January - usually halfway between WDW Marathon Weekend and Princess Marathon Weekend
    • Woman centric races, there are kids races, a 5k, 10k, and half marathon
  • Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
    • Often held on Labor Day Weekend/late August/early September
    • This race boasts kids races, a 5k, 10k, 13.1, and the now famous Dumbo Double Dare - which is the 10k and half marathon - this race has sold out the same day it opens 2 years in a row
  • **JUST ANNOUNCED 2/25/2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend #SmashtheHalf
    • This newest runDisney event will be in mid-November at the Disneyland resort
    • Super Heroes 5k, Kids races, 13.1, expo


Next on our schedule is:

Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014

Assuming I can get leave approved, of course!  I am excited to run through 3 out of the 4 parks, and at night!  I'm not a night runner at all, but I'm excited to make it try!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Baby Stuff Giveaway!!

Baby Be Mine giveaway prizes
Our Baby Be Mine collection features so many items to pamper and care for your baby. From wonderfully natural products, to gear to make feeding and soothing easier on the go, this gift collection is the perfect Valentine's Day treat!

San Diego Bebe

San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow with built-in Privacy Cover
San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow with built-in Privacy Cover - Retail value: $59.99
San Diego Bebe is a deluxe line of nursing pillows for singletons and twins made with virgin eco-fiber. Eco-friendly, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic and foam-free, we never use fire-retardant chemicals or toxic glues. We pride ourselves in manufacturing the healthiest choice nursing pillows on the market today. Our pillow line is LOADED with features and benefits, including a cool built-in Privacy Cover™ for discreet nursing in public. For more information visit doubleblessings.com.

Yummi Pouch

Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches
Yummi Pouch 2 sets of 6 reusable food pouches - Retail value: $30
Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches encourage healthy snacks for active kids. Our eco-friendly food pouches are freezer safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and can be filled with healthy blended snacks and easily taken on the go, no spoon required. Our vision is to help moms and dads prepare healthy snacks for their active kids. Yummi Pouches are perfect to be filled with nutritious smoothies and purees prepared in batches, frozen or refrigerated, and easily consumed on the go. For more information visit yummipouch.com.

Wristy Buddy

wristy buddy giveaway
Wristy Buddy Lion Teething Wristband - Retail value: $15
Wristy Buddy is a teething wristband designed for babies who haven't developed the motor skills to hold traditional teething devices. Wristy Buddy is made of absorbent materials to help keep little faces and clothing dry. Its various textures and colors engage and stimulate. It is easily accessible to your teething baby and is more sanitary than traditional teething objects. Wristy Buddy is machine washable. Phthalate-Free, Lead-Free, and BPA-Free and Non-toxic Certified. Patent-Pending. For more information visit wristybuddy.com.

Beachfront Baby

Beachfront Baby Wrap
One-size Beachfront Baby Wrap in the winner's choice of color - Retail value: $39.99
Beachfront Baby water baby carriers are a must have for the summer! 100% polyester jersey lends breath-ability with just the right amount of stretch. The fabric feels like a lightweight, silky swimsuit which keeps it light in the water & dries very quickly. Wear baby in the shower, at the beach, at the water-park or in the pool. This especially comes in handy for keeping your hands free to play with or help older children in the water!
Beachfront Baby LLC is a Texas-based company run by Diane Turner, President & work-at-home-mom to four lovely children. Beachfront Baby has offered fashionable water baby carriers to parents world-wide since 2011. For more information visit BeachfrontBabyWraps.com.

Baby Spa

Baby Spa gift set
Mommy & Me Stage 1 Gift Set - Retail value: $54.99
Includes Soapless Body Wash, Moisturizing Body Lotion, Shea Butter Diaper Cream, Calming Massage Oil, Travel Size Ultra, Soft Baby Wipes, Travel Size Moisturizing Body Lotion, Plush Tickle Sensory Toys, Infant Massage Book
Indulge babies with those sensory spa experiences we all love to feel. Our pampering gift set nourishes, hydrates and soothes, making it perfect for those memorable mommy and baby moments.
  • Safe & gentle for sensitive skin in newborns through crawlers
  • Great for baby showers and delivery gifts
  • Contains organic enthnobotanicals Songa™, Kendi Oil, and Patented Swiss Moisturizer EG28 to soothe, hydrate, and comfort tender baby skin.
  • Includes our infant massage book and tickle toys to stimulate baby sensory development
  • Our signature Fresh Baby scent
BabySpa is a natural bath and body care collection for newborns through preschoolers made with special ethnobotanical blends that provide lasting hydration, soothing effects and sweet, comforting sensations. All of our products are 98-100% natural! We believe natural is better, and therefore always use extracts and oils from plants, roots and flowers to deliver gentle, vitamin-rich skin care. Our collection contains over 30 different botanicals, each one carefully selected for its unique benefits and therapeutic properties. Our bath and body care collection offers an easy to follow "stages" approach with products that are individually tailored to address the changing skin care needs for babies from infancy through toddlerhood. For more information visit babyspausa.com.

Buncha Farmers Inc.

Buncha Farmers gift basket
Buncha Farmers gift basket including stain removers, Manuka honey natural soaps, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer and skin creams - Retail value: $60
Buncha Farmers Inc. is committed to the highest standards of quality, satisfaction and fair pricing. We put a lot of thought and care into developing our products so that YOU, our CUSTOMER, can benefit and truly appreciate our efforts. Our focus is to make day to day living a little more rewarding and put less stress in your life. We also want to make your life as healthy as possible without sacrificing little pleasures that everyone looks forward to everyday. For more information visit bunchafarmers.com.

Bert&Bratt

Battery powered, Portable Sterilizer
Battery powered, Portable Sterilizer for infant items - Retail value: $45
Battery powered, portable sterilizer for infant items! Sterilizes pacifiers, sippy cup tops, bottle nipples and small teethers with just the push of a button. Gets items germ free in 4 minutes and uses NO WATER, NO HEAT and NO CHEMICALS. Easily fits into diaper bags and purses and goes wherever baby goes. Never be without a clean pacifier or feeding item again.
Bert&Bratt is a 100% female owned Canadian company. The product was dreamed, designed and manufactured by the head moms in charge, Tasha Bertrand and Annemarie Brattland. "This is a product that we, as mothers with young children, would have loved to have. We both hated having to run and find soap and water whenever something hit the ground. This makes moms lives easier and helps keep babies away from potentially harmful bacteria. When something is easy people tend to do it more often. We made cleaning infant items as easy as pushing a button!" For more information visit bertandbratt.com.

Rhoost

Rhoost Finger Guard and Cord Winder
Finger Guard and Cord Winder - Retail value: $20
Rhoost's Cord Winder makes dangling blind cords a thing of the past, keeping your loved ones safe and your personal style intact. Features screw free installation. Our Finger Guard protects little fingers from door and hinges, keeping your loved ones safe and your personal style intact.
Rhoost designs eco-friendly, stylish and non toxic baby-proofing products. No screws or adhesives required. For more information visit rhoost.com.


Enter to win this Fabulous Gift Set! Retail value: $285

This giveaway is open to the US and Canada. Each page you follow is an additional entry!
Baby Be Mine giveaway prizes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 10, 2014

Walt Disney Trivia!

Recently, I was asked to answer questions for a 3rd grader in Washington state, doing a long range project on Walt Disney!  I was honored to be asked and thought that Tiggerific Tuesday would be a perfect place to share these questions (and my answers) with you!

How do you think Walt came up with Snow White?
Snow White was first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.  This tale became a Broadway play in 1912 and also a movie.  Walt saw a version of the movie, starring Marguerite Clark (check out you tube!) in 1916 in Kansas City.  He started making this film in 1934 – the first full length feature animation movie.  People thought he was nuts!

What is an unknown fact about Walt Disney?
When Walt Disney first starting making Mickey Mouse cartoons, he couldn’t find anyone to get the voice exactly as he wanted it, so he voiced Mickey himself!

What other things did like to do besides drawing?
Walt began drawing as a kid (read about that here: http://www.waltdisney.org/content/important-women-disney-history-aunt-margaret), but he had many hobbies over the years. He became fascinated by miniatures (think doll house sized things) and thought about creating a traveling miniatures show. (http://www.waltdisney.org/content/tiny-story-about-big-disney-influence) Then, with his lifelong fascination of trains, he bought a 1/8 sized model train, which he named the Carolwood Pacific, and had a working boxcar train in his backyard! (http://www.disneybabiesblog.com/2013/09/tiggerific-tuesday-trivia_16.html)

What is something nobody knows about in Disneyland? 
Disneyland was created in a YEAR! 366 day

When was Minnie Mouse created?
Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse both have the same ‘birthday’ - though Mickey had a few shorts before, their first big cartoon was Steamboat Willie in 1928

Why did Walt Disney want to start Disneyland?
Walt used to take his two daughters, Diane and Susan to a park and sit on a bench while they rode on a carousel.  He wanted a place that the entire family could go together and enjoy themselves together as a family. He first thought about his world of miniatures, Disneylandia, and he loved his backyard train, though eventually he had to stop letting everyone and anyone (legal/safety reasons) go for a ride.  He decided to create a park and found a little land to build on!

Do you know what grade school Walt went to?
Benton Grammar School in Kansas City, MO. He then went to McKinley HS in Chicago and dropped out at 16 to try to enlist in the Army to fight in WW1.  He was too young, and still forged his birth certificate to join the Red Cross to drive in Europe.

What was one of Walt’s most famous movies, besides Snow White?
There are SO many – Peter Pan, Dumbo, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. 2 that WALT was particularly fond of that didn’t receive the amount of credit he expected: Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland

What was the first ride made in Disneyland?
Much of opening day Disneyland was built so quickly I’m not sure there is one ‘first’ attraction, but I would say the train was one of the key attractions!

Is there anything else I should know about Walt Disney or Disneyland?  
Too much! I’ll give you a couple of Walt Disney World trivia facts – Walt died in 1966, only 2 short months after announcing what he called “The Florida Project” – the idea of a permanent World’s Fair – EPCOT – the Experimental Prototype City (community – he used both of these words) of Tomorrow. After his death, because of lung cancer, the park plans stalled and his older brother, Roy, kept his dream alive and made the Florida park happen.  The Magic Kingdom opening in 1971, 5 years after Walt’s death and Roy died shortly after that.  His dream of EPCOT was never fully realized and the park we know as EPCOT didn’t open until 1982.

Best Disney Couples

Hopefully you've noticed that over the past few weeks, members of the +Magical Blogorail have been sharing their favorite Disney couples, as a part of an American Tourister giveaway.  Fourteen of us put out information, trivia, and stories and now it's up to you to vote.

Which couple is your favorite Disney couple?  I'm going to stick with Walt and Lillian!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Inspiring Disney Couple

This blog post is one in a series by the Magical Blogorail about famous Disney couples. During the series you will have the opportunity to win a D23 2-piece luggage set from American Tourister. Read through this post to learn how you can enter to win.

Since 1937, when Snow White and Prince Charming fell in love, Walt Disney brought love stories the big screen and left so many of us having dreams and wishes that our hearts make.  Realistic or not, the love stories are beautiful and enjoyable to so many.

For me - my favorite Disney love story isn't animated - it's real.  Walt and Lillian Disney.  Okay, I don't really know too much about their relationship.  But, I know they lived a 'normal' married life- they struggled, they loved, the had a family, they traveled.  They lived!  They dealt with life - their daughter Diane, miscarriages, adoption - their daughter Susan.

They met while she was working for the Disney Studios as a secretary for the Ink and Paint department.  Lillian always took pride that Walt would drive several of the girls home and would take her home last, even though she had the closest stop.  Apparently, due to the struggling studio, Walt asked her not to cash her work checks ($15/week).  They married in 1925 and remained until Walt's untimely passing in 1966.

As Disney fans, we probably all know how Lillian helped make Disney what it is today.  After Walt lost Oswald, he sat on the train creating his cartoon mouse, which he thought to name Mortimer.  We have Lillian to thank, as she is known for telling Walt that Mortimer was "too formal.  How about Mickey?"

Walt and Lillian traveled the world during their marriage.  On Walt's South America trip, the government sponsored goodwill tour in 1941, that inspired The Three Caballeros.  

Walt named his favorite backyard train the Lilly Belle, after his beloved and is also the name of one of Walt Disney World's locomotives.
 Walt's Backyard 1/8th scale locomotive, the Lilly Belle

I found two fantastic quotes about Walt and Lillian.  While reflecting on their marriage in the 1990's, after his 1966 death (and her subsequent second marriage which her 2nd husband passed away in 1981), she said:
"We shared a wonderful, exciting life, and we loved every minute of it. He was a wonderful husband to me, and wonderful and joyful father and grandfather"
I can only imagine the wonderful and magical life they lived, spending time with family above the firehouse at their Disneyland apartment.

And, like out of a Nicholas Sparks novel - Lillian suffered a stroke on December 15th, 1997, exactly 31 years after Walt's death.  She passed away the next day at age 98, only 2 months shy of her 99th birthday and is buried with Walt.

While we don't know the intricate detail about Walt and Lillian like we may know of the Disney princesses, knowing a little of their story - I found numerous quotes from Lillian saying they had a wonderful marriage and he was a wonderful husband.  I can only imagine the craziness, happiness, and the extremes they experienced.  Together.

To read more - check out this awesome article by Jim Korkis, Disney historian!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Magical Express

Disney's Magical Express


One of the many reasons to stay on property during a Walt Disney World vacation is Disney's Magical Express.

In a very smart move to keep guests staying on property instead of nearby resort, Walt Disney World offers this free service to all guests with resort reservations!

What is Disney's Magical Express?

Disney's Magical Express is bus transportation from the Orlando International Airport, MCO, to any resort owned and operated on the Walt Disney World resort.  Non-Disney operated resorts, such as the Swan and Dolphin, Shades of Green, and Downtown Disney resorts are not included in this free service.

If registered on time, each member of the traveling party receives luggage tags to put on checked luggage and boarding passes, which may now be stored on the Magic Bands.  If tagged correctly, luggage - and this can include strollers, car seats, and any other checked luggage with the magical yellow tag that Disney provide, will be picked up by Magical Express cast members and delivered to your resort room.  This process can take several hours for the luggage and if the flight arrives after 10 p.m., the traveler should gather their own luggage before getting on the bus.

Who is eligible?

Anyone with a valid resort reservation if eligible for Disney's Magical Express for flights arriving on the day of check in and departing upon check out.  If you check out of a Disney resort early, stay somewhere else for a night, and still hope to take Magical Express, you will not be allowed on the bus.

People may test that rule, but it is technically not legal, so I wouldn't push it!

How do I register?

Signing up for Magical Express is easy!  Send your flight info to your travel agent and have them take care of it, call it in yourself!  The details you need - every member in the travel party, airline, and flight numbers. . 

What if I didn't get luggage tags?

With our without luggage tags, you may grab your own luggage and bring it to the Magical Express counter located in the airport - there are signs, so pay attention or ask!

How do I find the Magical Express?

There are signs in the airport to help you find Disney's Magical Express Counter - it's on the first floor of the airport, but it's always good to check which side you need to be on!  Terminal B, Level 1 - trust me, it's easy to end up in Terminal A!

When you arrive at the Magical Express area, make sure to have your boarding pass or Magic Band ready to go - they will check you in and usher you towards the correct line.  You will be mixed in with multiple resorts and there is likely to be a wait of some sort.  I have never personally waited more than 10-15 minutes, but I've heard in peak season, it can get worse.  I'm usually too excited to focus on the long waits!

How do I check in to return home?

Getting home is my favorite part - the Magical Express counter at the resort takes your luggage at the resort and makes sure it is transported and checked in at the airport!  While at the Magical Express counter, you may also check in for your return flight at your resort, if you are flying on one of the following airlines:

  • AirTran Airways
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • US Airways

How do I know when I will leave?

The day before you check out, you will receive your check out pack - with an updated cost if you used room charges and also Magical Express information, telling you what time your bus will be leaving the next day.  It is 3-4 hours prior to your departure time.


This is a great service - while sometimes having a car is nice, easy, and faster - very little beats free.  Free round trip transportation from the airport to the Walt Disney World Resort can save a lot in taxi or rental car fees!  Personally, I would rather save money to spend on a great meal or an extra day in the resort than on the car!

For more info, trip planning help, and free concierge travel planning, please contact me jennl@thewdwguru.com for help!  Book now for great Disney Guru swag and more - ask about current offers!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia


Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Inside the Wilderness Lodge, at the entrance to the Mercantile (their gift shop), is this fantastic totem pole - featuring Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Humphrey the Bear.

Did you know:

Never heard of Humphrey? I sure hadn't!  He's from a Walt Disney Studios cartoon character who first appeared in 1950!  According to wiki, these shorts are more wild than the standard cutesy Disney gags - now I have to see!
You may notice in the opening credits that this was created by Jack Hannas.... think that maybe he borrowed that inspiration when he co-created his own studio (Hannah-Barbera) when Yogi Bear came out in 1958?  Yeah, that's a common thought! 

Magical Moments - That You Can't Plan

Walt Disney World (and I'm sure all Disney vacations) is filled with magical experiences.  Part of the fun of planning is trying to find the fun that may be available - from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Harmony Barbershop, to dinner at the Be Our Guest Restaurant - there are magical moments everywhere.
Things you can't plan for happen all the time - when the hostess came to take us to our table at Be Our Guest, Noah was handed (or probably snatched.. he's a work in progress!) the candelabra (not burning candles!) to lead our party to our table!

Or - when we visited the EPCOT Character Spot first thing on our EPCOT morning - before we headed to Soarin' and still only had a 15 minute wait at EPCOT - we witnessed Disney Magic at it's best:

While we took a decent family photo, a woman probably in her 60s was overwhelmed by Disney Magic.  For us regular folks, we met with each character individually, even while no one else was in the room.  But, as the cast members talked to this woman, sobbing in what I hoped were tears from overwhelming joy, all of the characters came together to greet, hug, and take special pictures with her.

This was one of the most touching moments I've experienced at Disney - and, after, a cast member continue to comfort her and walked her out of the character spot to make sure she was okay.

I may never know her story, but it truly was a magical moment.  We can plan all we want, but being able to witness the magic of cast members and of Disney is one of the best gifts we can hope for!

Have you ever experienced unplanned Disney Magic?