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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Carnival Cruise Triumph Disaster- A tale from a passenger

As I am sure many of you heard about, the Carnival Cruise ship, Triumph had a fire in their engine room and they were stuck floating out in the ocean for days. What you didn't know is that I had a client out there on a trip with a group of her girlfriends and she was due to go on a trip to Disneyland on Thursday (Valentine's Day.)  The Triumph was originally scheduled to be back on Monday but it turned out she didn't arrive back in the United States until Thursday night. When the fire first happened and there wasn't any power on the ship, she had no communication with her family members at all. So that left her family to come to me to determine the next step on what to do about their Disney trip.
Here is the Triumph being pulled back to shore by a tugboat. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mizzou Man Cave

This is my first non-Disney post on my blog but I thought it was worth posting! If you didn't know, we are a house divided around here when it comes to collegiate rivals. I say house divided but I am thinking that unfortunately it has been divided unevenly since my husband is brainwashing both of my children to BOO at every Jayhawk they see. I literally had to drag my daughter Klarabelle into the Jayhwawk store at Christmas time. I know that one of these days she will grow old enough to realize who is the better team! 
Anyway, what I wanted to share with you is my husband's Mizzou man cave. You may be asking why I would share this on a Disney site and that is because I know that a lot of my readers are Mizzou fans as well as the fact that I know a lot of you are do-it-yourselfers and I think that this is a fun do-it-yourself project. Don't worry, the man cave isn't free of Disney touches either! 
Two years ago we decided to redo our basement and we knew it was going to by my husband's spot. It was going to be his place to watch Mizzou games and we knew instantly it would be his Mizzou man cave. The rest of the house is home to my Disney obsession so I was okay with devoting a space to him for his favorite passion. We went out to Home Depot and got the official Mizzou black and gold colors for the walls. He knew he wanted one wall to have tiger stripes but we didn't know the best way to do it. We thought about vinyl but we discovered that was going to be pretty pricey. We also looked into projecting stripes on to the wall to paint them but that never happened either. Ky simply just decided he was going to hand draw them on the wall. So he painted the wall the offical gold color and then hand drew the stripes with pencil. Check out how it ended up! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jake and the Neverland Pirates coming to a Disney Store near you?

I will admit it, I watch WAYYY too much Disney Junior. Today, I was watching and in between show they went on a "field trip" to the Disney Store and I was shocked to see that they were talking about how you could see Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates there! Like, the real costumed character that you see in the Disney parks. They also talked about how they have a "Royal Prep Academy" just like in Sofia the First. At this academy, the cast members at the Disney Store teach the kids how to curtsy and do the royal wave. 
Here is my little one with Jake at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Disney Necklaces


I am giving away a Disney necklace over on my facebook page at facebook.com/disneytripexpert so be sure to head over there and like this post, share it and and like my page for a chance to win! I will giveaway the gift card next Friday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sofia the First Singing Doll-Get it while you can!

I blogged previously about my struggle to purchase the Sofia the First Amulet that was found on the Disneystore.com website- I waited one extra day for a promotion, and wouldn't you know it, they sold out... and were never restocked, and sold on Amazon and Ebay for 3 times the original price.
Well, Disneystore is back with another Sofia product, and if your daughter is like mine, they looooove the newest Disney princess.
I just bought mine, and I'd suggest you go ahead and purchase yours. This looks like something that maybe a retail store could carry, but with how hot Sofia merchandise has become (and my previous experience) I'd suggest going ahead and purchasing this new product.
It's a Sofia the First Singing Doll, and sells for $29.50. I know I can't wait to give this to my daughter!
For all of you entrepreneurs, there is a limit of 2 (in case you are thinking of stocking piling and hedging these on selling out too). Here's a link to buy yours!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reason #5,037 I love Disney!

Chances are, if you are reading this blog- you love Disney too. You might be a fan of Disney past, thinking about a theme park visit, or love the movies. 

The Disney theme parks- Disneyland and Walt Disney  World- are two of the premier vacation spots in the entire world!

Think about that. It's unbelievable the traffic that these two parks see. It's a hodgepodge of people that visit- people from different states, different tax brackets, different countries. 

Why do these people pick Disney theme parks- and why do many of them choose to return?

I want to touch on one specific reason. And it's one of the reasons I love Disney so.

It's Disney's attention to detail. It's unparalleled. 

I'm one of those people who is always thinking when I go someplace, "What could they have done better?" You won't have many answers to that question in a Disney theme park. The thought process the Imagineers must go through... They see to every detail, and think about it from every angle.

Take the new Art of Animation hotel. I ran across a great article in the NY Daily News (if you're thinking about visiting Walt Disney World, take a second to read it). 

Here's a piece from that article-

While I loved the new attractions, it was not so much the rides that captured my heart but the great attention that was given to details by Disney Imagineers — from the moment the magical mirror inside Maurice’s Cottage takes guests into Beast’s castle for story time with Belle, to dining in front of a window where snow softly falls.

The napkins are folded like red roses, the master of the house welcomes guests in his study and knights in shining armor whisper in the halls.

I stayed at Art of Animation, the latest addition to Disney’s value resort portfolio. It opened last May, and family suites, starting at $250 a night, are available in the Finding Nemo, Lion King and Cars section.

The Little Mermaid area, where I stayed, offers standard rooms starting at $113 per night. I was again delighted by the smallest of details: The coat hangers were shaped like fish hooks, the walls of my bathtub made me feel like I was under the sea and the big blue swimming pool played music under water.

And the author didn't lie- take a look at the inside of the bath tub.  






And this is also why you should stay on property. There's no hotel like this- where you can feel like you are part of a fairy tale. You can stay at a Holiday Inn anywhere.

But this isn't just about the Art of Animation- the entire theme parks have these magical touches throughout. The author of the article also discussed some of the magic you can find in the new Fantasyland. It's the small things, like the coat hangars shaped like fish hooks, that really complete the magic.

We went to Walt Disney World on our honey moon, and also visited Universal Studios. The difference between the two parks was staggering. I had visited Universal as a child- and it looked like some of the rides hadn't been touched since then. The "classic" rides were classic in every sense of the word. 

Disney will actually shut down rides and restaurants so they can repaint, and update theming. It stinks when there's something shut down on your trip-but its a necessary evil to keep Disney of top of the theme park world. Now, since I visited Universal, they have added some new things, and underwent new ownership. It appears they are headed in the right direction-and the rides there were great. I love Spiderman and the Simpsons ride, among others. 

Whether it's creating new rides, hotels, restaurants, or maintaining old attractions- Disney sees to it with the most creative minds.

Speaking of the Art of Animation resort- check out the Cozy Cone Motel pool at the Cars part of the resort. 





This is also why you can visit the Disney theme parks, and find something new every time. 
Just one of the few reasons I love Disney!



Monday, February 18, 2013

One of my favorite Disney finds on Etsy!

Now that Valentine's Day is over, I can share with you what my husband got me.

Now, remember- as the blog title says, I am a Disney Dork. So it shouldn't be a big shock to you that I have little Disney items all over my house. My husband found something that even I never knew existed!

He got me a metal Mickey head that fits perfectly on our little yard sign pole. I also love that our last name is in the Disney font-I'm always looking for unique Disney items, and this definitely fits the bill. It's a perfect way to welcome guests into our home!





I love browsing Etsy- I like supporting individuals, and finding these one of a kind products.

They aren't expensive either- $35 for the sign. She also does other designs- theres some very cute Mickey heads with polka dots. Check out her store here. She'll make other sizes, and customize your order. It's a great way to bring a little Disney into your home!

(the picture above is from the seller website)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Think you're a Disney Trip Expert?

You may be thinking about a Disney trip for your own family. You've done your own research, are a Disney-mania lover yourself. You read all of the blogs, listen to the podcasts. You know what parks are there, and what rides you want to hit. You may have been to Disney just a year ago, and it was you who planned it. Everything went just great....so why in the world would you want MY help?
That's a great question. I've helped a number of different people-from those who have never been, and don't know where to start- to those who can tell me exactly what resort they want, what type of park tickets, how long they want to stay, and have very little questions.
So, why would someone who knows and loves everything Disney, has been to the theme parks multiple times, & could probably put together a pretty good trip- why would they book with me?
First, this isn't a competition between me (a Disney travel agent) and you. Just because you book with me, doesn't concede that you don't love Disney and know it all. I've dealt with a number of clients who have an amazing amount of knowledge. 
What does it mean? It means we can have a fun conversation- and believe me, I will listen to everything you say and want. What I can do is add a little extra "magical" touch. 
  • Maybe you didn't know about the new MyMagic+ program. 
  • When you show up to your hotel room at Walt Disney World, I've already requested your room be on the same floor as the monorail, so you don't have to take the elevator each time you get off. 
  • Maybe I recommended a place you didn't know you could watch fireworks, and not have to wait in a spot where you are competing with hundreds of other people. 
  • Here's a good one- maybe I saved you hundreds of dollars on your trip-and you didn't have to do a thing. That's because I watch for all Disney discounts, and apply it to any of my eligible clients as soon as they are available. 
  • Did you know there are over 300 restaurants at Walt Disney World? And guess what- I can help you pick the very best ones for your trip. 
  • You don't have to worry about waiting on the phone for Disney reservations- you can sit back and relax.
  • I can help you pick out transportation-making sure you leave at the right time, and get the best value.
  • Forget the ordinary trip- I can book backstage tours, swimming with dolphins, and alternatives to the regular old autograph books. I can make your trip once in a lifetime, and different than any other Disney trip you've had!
Best part? All of this is free. I am not here to tell you what to do. I know many of my clients have done their homework! What I am here to do is work together. I'm here to get you the best deal, the best trip, the best memories. I take some of the pain and hassle away, and can offer advice-imagine I'm proof reading your essay.... and planning a trip to Disney would be a very big paper! 

I'm a human being, who will listen to what you want-I'm not a computer or machine. I'm not just a person with an email, or on the other end of the phone. I'm a Disney Trip Expert- in our conversations, I'll try to get to know your family, what you like and don't like, and what you really want out of your trip. 

I've planned plenty of trips without the help of a Disney travel agent (and before I was one myself). But there was one time I did- and boy, did it make the planning so much easier. Some people think this is a deal too good to be true- yes, I really do this for free! 

So if you're a Disney Trip Expert too- before you book your trip, give me a call or email, and why not give me a chance? Disney Land, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, or a Disney Cruise- I can help-we can work together through it all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fantasy Faire coming to Disneyland!

There's always lots of news about Walt Disney World, but Disneyland has plenty of new things to offer of it's own. 

The new Cars Land area has proven to be a mega hit. 

But on March 12, there's going to be a new Royal addition at Disneyland.




Next to Sleeping Beauty Castle, you'll find Royal Hall. It's going to be a meet and greet spot for some of your favorite Disney characters- you'll find characters from Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Tangled.

There will also be an animatronic Figaro. He's Pinocchio's cat-but you'll also see him with Minnie  Mouse in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 

You'll find a statue of Rapunzel's Tower (or as my daughter calls her, Pencil's Tower). It will have animatronics as well!

Does your child want to become a princess or prince? They'll have a chance to be a part of a magical fairy tale of their own- there's going to be a fun story telling experience. 

Do you like live action shows? There's going to be shows at the Royal Theater, where you'll be able to see shows of "Beauty and the Beast' and "Tangled," in a "vaudeville style" of show. There will be characters appearing during the show- including Belle and Rapunzel, as well as a piano player! 


You'll also have the chance to join in with Belle and Rapunzel in a Royal Ribbon Festival- check out the picture below.




Hungry? You'll find a food cart nearby called Maurice's Treats, that will resemble something Belle's father would have worked at. They will have bread twists with different flavors, and a frozen drink called Boysen Apple Freeze. The drink is frozen apple juice, with wild berry flavor and a passion fruit foam. You can buy the drink in a cup, or a souvenir goblet or stein. The goblet will feature Disney Princesses, and the stein will have Beast on it. Of course, the souvenir cups will sell for a cool $9.99, compared to just $4.50 for the drink in a normal cup.


There's also going to be a new store called "Fairytale Treasures." You'll be able to find Princess costumes and accessories, and some items for your little Prince.

Don't blink- there's always something new at your favorite Disney theme park!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Walt Disney World Updates and News

Today is a little mash up of Walt Disney World news that has trickled down recently- I've posted about them on my Facebook page, but here's a fun little recap!





First up is the California Grill. It's currently closed for renovations, and is supposed to reopen this summer. This is one of my favorite restaurants of all time- the food is delicious, and the experience unmatched. I love the goat cheese ravioli as my appetizer, Oak Fired Filet with potatoes as my entree, and Molten Lava Chocolate Cake as my dessert. No need for a menu- I can order it right now (and how  badly do I wish I could)! 

California Grill is located on top of the Contemporary Resort, near Magic Kingdom. There's windows in the restaurant that overlook Magic Kingdom- there's also a couple doors where you can walk out on the roof. You can watch the nightly fireworks show from here- all the while avoiding the crowds, and the music is piped in through speakers. If you eat earlier in the evening, all you have to do is keep your a piece of paper they give you to return to the restaurant to watch fireworks- the California Grill is located on the top floor that you can only reach by one elevator, and you have to be eating there to get on.

The interior of the restaurant was somewhat dated- it had a confetti theme. It looks more modern and sleek-and they have added a huge wine rack. It looks like they have added some different seating as well. One of my favorite things about the restaurant was how open it was- you could see the entire kitchen. Here's a picture of what the restaurant will look like-


They aren't stopping there with the redesign at Walt Disney World. They also changed the look of the WDW buses. It looks clean and sharp- but I don't know if they look as much "fun." Oh well, I'm sure it will grow on me. These are the Disney buses that take you from resorts and parks for free, one of the huge advantages of staying on property. 



Last is something the little Jake or Captain Hook at your fun is going to love. It's called "A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas." It'll be similar to the Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom activities. We've complete the Kim Possible one at Epcot- you were recruited to join her team, and were given a phone. You were given clues, and had to stand in front of specific spots in Magic Kingdom to advance and get more clues- items like statues and buildings would interact with you, by shooting smoke and other cool things.

In this new Adventure, you'll be given a treasure map, and will have to fight off pirate enemies- you're trying to join Captain Jack Sparrow's crew!

These little activities add so much value- and magic- to trips. If you or your child are worn out, or someone else is off on a ride, you can go do these and have a blast.  They are definitely worth checking out! You'll be able to a Pirate's Adventure in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!


One reason why I love Disney- they are always working to get better! New theme parks, new rides, new hotels- but they also work hard to upkeep the attractions, restaurants, and other things that we already know and love about the Disney parks!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Story Behind the Superbowl MVP and "I'm going to Disney World!"

One of the Superbowl traditions is the MVP of the Superbowl, the biggest game played all year, saying in a Disney commercial "I'm going to Disney World!"


 I decided to dig a little deeper into the story- and found some very interesting facts!

They actually film two commercials for different markets- one commercial says "I'm going to Disney World!" but there is also another one that says "I'm going to Disneyland!"

Also-it's not always the MVP of the Superbowl in the commercials. The most famous one-and timely, since he's playing in this year's Super Bowl- is Ray Lewis. Ray was involved in some legal troubles (including murder allegations) and Disney was not comfortable having him in the commercial. Instead, they had Trent Dilfer, who was the quarterback of the team. Later on, Saturday Night Live did a pretty fun skit that had Ray in the ending of some Disney movies.

I also found a really great story about Mark Allan, who is the guy in charge of getting the player to say "I'm going to Disney" on camera after the game. This may sound easy, but imagine if the game came down to the last play- he might not know who they want to say it until the game is over. I don't know if you noticed, but there's quite a few people on the field at that time. They also want the players with their helmets off, and can have trouble reaching the players. There's some very interesting stories in the article, like a story about them getting on the field BEFORE THE GAME WAS OVER!! And another time when Joe Montana noticed their cords were severed, and players running him over.

Check out that story here- and what are they odds, but Mark is from San Francisco, the other team playing in the Superbowl!


And finally, here's the history behind the whole "I'm going to Disney" campaign. I pulled this off the wikipedia page.


"In his 1998 memoir Work in Progress, Disney CEO Michael Eisner credited his wife, Jane, with the idea for the campaign. According to Eisner, during the January 1987 grand opening for the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, the couple dined with Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who in December 1986 had piloted the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. After Jane Eisner asked what the pilots planned to do next, they replied, "Well, we're going to Disneyland." She later told her husband the phrase would make a great advertising campaign.


Weeks later, Disney launched the series following Super Bowl XXI on January 25, 1987 with a commercial featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. Simms was paid a reported $75,000 for his participation. The company later aired three more ads that year with other athletes following major sports championships.
In subsequent years, Disney reportedly has offered $30,000 to athletes and other stars for participating in the ads and appearing at one of its theme parks."




The question is based off the idea-what's next? Now that you have reached the peak of your career, what in the world are you going to do next? Why not keep the fun and joy going by going to a Disney park! The player will often appear the very next day at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World in a parade.

I think we should bring this into our every day life.

Make a great meatloaf? Scream, "I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!"

Score some great deals at the grocery store with a bunch of coupons? Once you get the final receipt, look at it, jump up and down, and yell, "I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!

Get the dishes put away from your dishwasher without your 1 year old son crawling inside it and removing all of the dishes (and avoided him pushing buttons during the washing cycle?) I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!

All green traffic lights on your way to the store, which closes in ten minutes, and you sneak right in before they close the doors? "I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!"

Why not... we should all celebrate everyday like we just won our own Superbowl!