Monthly Archives: December 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Image via Wikipedia

So before we start the obligatory New Year’s resolution which for me is always “losing weight”, let’s talk about  our favorite food indulgence at the Disney parks.

I have a few: (no surprise)

Edy’s ice cream at Sea Shore Sweets

Churros at any park

Chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats

Rice cream and Viking coffee in Norway

Anything from the Werther’s store in Germany

Chocolate and peanut butter cupcake from Starring Rolls at Hollywood Studios. (I haven’t had one yet, but I     looked at them through the glass, and know these are on my list for next trip)

Grey Goose slushies

Nachos at ESPN

What is the one (or more) thing that you just have to eat when you’re at the parks?


Filed under Travel


Raining "buckets" in February

In the month of December there are no less than a dozen birthdays of my family and friends. Not sure what it is about the month of March, but I’m guessing something about cabin fever and winter being too long.  My birthday is in February; Ground Hog Day to be exact, and there is nothing that I like better than spending my birthday at Disney World.

Early February is a great time to visit Disney World.  Holidays are over, MLK week-end has passed and there are those precious few weeks between mid January and mid-February which beg me to come and visit.   The weather can be iffy; cold and rainy, or you could get lucky with some balmy mid 70’s weather, but either way, a great winter escape.

In 2010, I spent my birthday in Disney World, and had a great time.  Even though it rained buckets, it was fabulous.  I wore my “It’s my Birthday” button and received “Happy Birthday’s” all day long from cast members.      In 2011, I was not lucky enough to be at my favorite place, but my family was coming from Chicago to help me celebrate.  NOT!  You may recall the HUGE blizzard that stranded cars on Lake Shore Drive and then wreaked havoc on the east coast.  I spent that day dreaming about the rain in Florida and wishing I was there.

Have you spent your birthday at Disney World?  What are the things that you like to do to make your day more special?


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Sand and Sun

After our first snowfall yesterday, the thoughts are already turning to warmer weather (and I don’t mean the 60 degree  weather we’re expecting on Saturday).  I’m talking about spending time on Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay.

From the Disney Cruise Line website:

Among the clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches and swaying palm tree, discover the following new Castaway Cay Enhancementsand additional island amenities:

What’s New

  • 20 premium 325-square-foot private, furnished cabanas in 2 locations: Castaway Family Beach (for families) and Serenity Bay Beach (for adults)
  • An extension of more than 700 feet to the all-ages Castaway Family Beach
  • 2 Water Play Areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak
  • 3 additional private, ocean-view massage cabanas at the adults-only Serenity Bay Beach
  • The Hide Out, a teens-only activity area on the beach
Castaway Cay is the highlight of every Disney Cruise.  Never been crazy about Nassau so we don’t even get off the boat there, but Castaway Cay, that is pure pleasure.  The kids don’t usually come with us on cruises, so we make a beeline to Serenity Bay, grabbing 2 conch coolers on the way to our hammock and chairs overlooking the ocean.  
Our favorite excursion was the wave runners.  You hop on one of those babies and go way out past the ship.  The guide stops on a sand bar where you can get off the machine and stand in the middle of the ocean.  That was pretty awesome and I would love to do it again.
What is your favorite thing to do on a cruise?


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Holiday Services

I’m sitting at my window watching the sleet come down.  Today seems more like winter than Christmas Day did.  Also eating Ghiradelli chocolate peppermint candy and feeling like I want to keep the holiday spirit going for just a few more days.

Did you know that there is a department in Disney titled “Holiday Services”?  I was just reading about this fascinating group of people and have added this job to my future dream job at Walt Disney World.

From the “Disney Files Magazine”-Charged with transforming the Central Florida property into a winter wonderland each holiday season, this dedicated team of Cast Members works throughout the year to create, collect, repair, replace, sort, store, distribute and ultimately install a mind bending array of decorations before uninstalling their masterpieces and starting the process anew.  

All of the holiday decorations are stored in a 54,000 square foot warehouse.  A computerized system tracks every decoration so that they are all returned to their rightful place in the warehouse once the holiday is over.  Each piece is inspected for wear and tear (the Florida sun can be damaging to some of the items) and the decorating -replacement cycle is about 5 years.  The entire process of refurbishing and replacing lasts from January through October, and then the holiday decorating starts again.  

Here is the part that I like- …searching far and wide for unique items to complement a design concept or sitting down with Walt Disney Imagineers to create pieces you won’t find anywhere else.  

I’d like to think I’m creative and dreaming up holiday decorations with Imagineering would be so much fun!  I don’t really get into decorating my house during the holidays; just a few items here and there, but decorating the parks for the thousands of guests that come to see the holiday magic, would be a labor of love.

Since we’re talking about dream jobs, if you could decorate one space at any of the Disney parks or resorts for the Christmas holidays, which one would it be?


Filed under Travel

How much is enough?

Today, I am reveling in the luxury of a day off from work, as I know a lot of other people are.  I’m also wishing that I had more time off this week, but I don’t.  I feel the same way when I’m at Disney World.  No matter how many days I’m there, I always wish I had one more day.

When the kids were little, we used to spend three, maybe four days on vacation; one day for each park.  It was probably all we could afford, and after three days of commando park hopping, we were exhausted.  Once we bought into Disney Vacation Club, we did not do quite a much park hopping, and the vacations started getting longer.

We are now up to six or seven days, and I still don’t feel like it’s enough.  The time limitation is based on:  available vacation days from work, points available in my DVC use year, and most importantly-money.  After one week now, I’m still not ready to leave.  How many days would be enough?  I’d like to get up to 10 days, but waiting until I have some DVC vacation points built up for that.  My ultimate goal would be to spend 30 days at Disney World, but I don’t think this will happen until retirement.  30 days in the month of January or February so that I can escape the worst of the Midwest winters.

How many days do you normally spend at Disney World, and is it ever enough?


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Happy Holidays!

I wish I was one of those families who are, at this moment, spending the holidays at Disney World. I’ve always wanted to wake up on Christmas morning and be at the Magic Kingdom.  The next best thing for our family is watching “The Very Merry Christmas Parade” on ABC.  It has become a holiday tradition that we don’t miss.  We sit in our jammies, eating breakfast and imagining ourselves sitting on Main Street watching the parade.

The program used to be live, and I thought it was much better then.  Most of the show is now pre-recorded which has taken some of the magic out of it.  They used to display the temperature at the Magic Kingdom, and we’d be sitting around our fireplace, shivering from the cold, and wanting so badly to be in the Florida sun.

I try not to cast a cynical eye on the program because when you come down to it, it’s really just a 90 minute commercial for Disney World. We’ll watch it just the same, and we’ll lure my grandson into the tradition.

For those of you that have spent Christmas at Disney World, I would love your feedback on the experience.  Too crowded?  Would you do it again?

Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays and a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.


Filed under Travel

Flower Power

I was just reading in my Mousesavers newsletter about the upcoming Epcot Flower & Garden Show to be held March 7th through May 20th.  This is my second favorite time of year to visit Epcot.  The Disney gardeners are on steroids, and the park is never more beautiful than during this spring event.

Also returning, is the “Flower Power” concert series, and I see that they have a better line-up than the one that was on tap for the Food & Wine Festival. (Hanson, really?)  Returning for the pleasure of all of us boomers are:  Chubby Checker, Davy Jones and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

PBS recently aired a tribute to the music of the 60’s, complete with the above musicians, and many of the Motown artists.  It was a great show and brought back lots of memories from my tweens and teens. (96 Tears, Red Rubber Ball and others).  What struck me though was all of the OLD people in the audience!  They seemed too old to be rocking out to some of MY favorite songs.  But wait a minute, those people are MY age!  How did that happen?  When did growing up in the 60’s and 70’s turn into old and why can’t those people dance?

When I think about my age, I don’t think of “old”.  Mature, wise, prime of my life, best years, come to mind first. But old, never. I’m sticking with that.  When I start thinking “old” it will probably be when I’m 90. (God willing).  And even at that age, I hope I’m still going to Disney World and listening to Davy Jones and maybe dancing a little crazily.


Filed under Travel