Monthly Archives: January 2012

Undercover Disney

We have taken the “Keys to the Kingdom”  tour at the Magic Kingdom which was very cool.  Doing some research today, Disney has a tour that is even BETTER than that one.  The tour covers three parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  From the Walt Disney World website:

Discover some of the secrets behind the magic of Walt Disney World Resort! Get an in-depth look at the creative and technical operations used behind the scenes to bring innovative special effects, world-class entertainment and elaborate attractions to life.

At Epcot, we’ll reveal some of the exquisite details that make The American Adventure one of our most popular attractions. You’ll see Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom theme park in a whole new light after your guide leads you through a hidden world—the legendary underground “Utilidor” tunnel system.

From artistic accents to eye-catching designs, nearly everything that surrounds you at Walt Disney World Resort is created and maintained by the artisans of Central Shops whose masterpieces transport you to Fantasyland and beyond. Take a break with a family-style lunch at the Whispering Canyon Café inside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Then, see how horticulture and landscape design play a starring role in creating an endless variety of uniquely themed environments at the Walt Disney World Nursery & Tree Farm.

Head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park and see how Walt Disney Imagineers combined cutting-edge design with breakthrough technology to create the thrilling Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Here, as in every corner of Walt Disney World Resort, wardrobe is an integral part of the magic, so you’ll learn how the Creative Costuming team outfits the performers in Disney parades and shows. Finally, wrap up a most wonderful day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park with an up-close look at Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade.

The tour covers everything you ever wanted to know about Walt Disney World.  I’m especially intrigued by the visit to the Nursery & Tree Farm and Creative Costuming.  It’s a bit pricey at $229 per person, but you are getting a bang for your buck.  It’s going on my list!

Has anyone does this your?  Would love your feedback!

(Header photo courtesy of


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Cheap and Fun

My brother and sister-in-law are planning a trip to Disney World and asked my advice (I love that!), specifically about how to make it less expensive.  As we all know, Disney World is not cheap.  Our favorite saying is that you can throw $20 bills around that place pretty easily.  I had to think about some cost-saving tips and here is what I have come up with.

  1. Book a package.  Disney bundles in some pretty good deals with accommodations, the dining plan and park tickets.  Ala carte is more expensive.  If you book value hotels such as the All Star Resorts and Pop Century, the price is about $80 per person/per day.  Be careful because the park tickets that you get with this are 1 park per day and do not allow you to park hop.
  2. Off season is always less expensive- Don’t go during the summer or around any holidays as you’ll pay premium prices.  Not only that, the crowds do not make for a magical experience.
  3. Off property, non-Disney hotels are tempting due to the prices, but don’t do it.  Transportation to the parks is less convenient and you are missing out on the magic of staying on property. (exception- Swan and Dolphin which are non-Disney hotels but are on property)
  4. If you can swing it, book a “home away from home” resort- the DVC properties where you’ll have a kitchen and can eat meals in.  Dining out at Disney can get pricey and making meals in your room can cut some of that cost.
  5. Disney Dining Plan- I have mixed feelings about the Dining Plan.  It’s a good deal if you want to do the sit-down meals.  Character Breakfast for 2 can run $65.00.  You would pay $90 for one day of the Dining Plan, but in addition to the breakfast, you also get a counter service meal and snack for the day.  Counter service meals per person average about $15-$20(pp) and a snack adds in another $5 or so.  If you like the idea of not having to shell out money for food at Disney World, this is a good way to go.  We’re going to try the Counter Service Dining Plan next trip- 2 CS meals and a snack for $35 (pp) per day.  We’ll see if that works for us.  The regular Dining Plan is just too much food to eat.
  6. Not that’s it’s any cheaper, but if you plan your trip well in advance you can cut the sting of the upfront cost of park tickets by staggering the purchase.  Last year we bought (2) 7-Day Park Hoppers, but purchased them several months apart so that I had enough time to save the money.  They were about $450 each, so one was purchased in May and the other in September.  (Undercover has discounted tickets)
  7. Magical Express- to save the cost of a rental car, book this no-cost service with your reservation.  You are picked up at the airport and delivered to your hotel and Disney takes care of all the baggage transfers too.  With the on-property transportation system you’ll never need a car to get around the World.
  8. AAA- if you are a member AAA offers some pretty good discounts on packages.
  9. site for hotel discount codes.  If you subscribe to the newsletter, you also can get some unpublished discount links.

That’s what I have to share today.  I would love to hear of any money saving tips that you may have.  Let’s add to the list!


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Mad Men and Disneyland

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color title s...

Image via Wikipedia

Watching 3 hours of Mad Men this morning made me nostalgic for Disneyland in the 1960’s.  I can remember watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” while growing up and always loving the shows about Disneyland.  I was not able to visit Disneyland until 1977, but nonetheless, I remember those shows.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Characters at Disneyland circa 1960's

Adventureland Ticket Booth

TWA Moonliner 1960- (photo courtesy of

Submarine and Monorail from the 1960's

Walt Disney greeting Shabanou Farah

Now it’s time for me to don my white gloves and hat and smoke a cigarette.  Would love to hear about your family trip to Disneyland in the 60’s.


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“You like me, right now, you like me!”

As said in the immortal words  of Sally Field when she won her Oscar for Norma Rae.  (good timing with the Oscar nominations just announced)  Anyway, I try to “like” quite a few Facebook pages that relate to Disney, so I thought I would share some of my favorites:

Disneyland-– the official page of Disneyland

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups-– a sans kids guide to info at Disneyworld

Walt Disney World- official page of Walt Disney World

All Ears- planning information

My Year With the Mouse- blogger Shelby; written with a  sense of humor and good inside scoop at Disneyland

Disney Vacation Club- things related to DVC

Disney Bird- fellow blogger

Disney Mom’s Panel- Walt Disney World® Moms Panel is a forum where online “Moms” answer your questions and offer advice about family vacations to Walt Disney World® Resort, and which I hope  to be a member of someday.

And of course, my blog now has a Facebook page which can be found at:  Stop by,say hello and post on my wall.  You can also click the “Like” button on my blog.


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I Scream, You Scream

Yes, today’s post is about one of my favorite food groups; ice cream.  I eat ice cream almost every day, even in winter.  In the summer, we sometimes have ice cream for dinner.  I love the creamy sweetness and like lots of flavors, but mostly anything that has chocolate in it.

Disney World is an ice cream lovers paradise.  You can get this delectable treat at lots of places around the World.  Here are some of my favorites:

Seashore Sweets-Boardwalk- serving Edy’s Ice cream in about a dozen flavors.  It’s close to our hotel, so I eat most of my ice cream here while on vacation.

Photo courtesy of WDW Info

Beaches & Cream-Yacht & Beach Club- Home of the “Kitchen Sink” from Woman’s scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee and mint chocolate-chip ice cream covered with all the toppings available in the shop and an entire can of whipped cream. Intended to serve four people, this sundae is a popular choice when celebrating a birthday or special occasion at the resort, but be warned: Once it’s ordered, you will become the center of attention while eating it. Photo courtesy of Dan Pratezina

Kitchen Sink

Main Street Plaza Ice Cream Parlor-(from Disney Food Blog) is well known for its Plaza Sundae, a pile of vanilla bean ice cream covered in hot fudge, whipped cream, and cherries — all in a big ol’ waffle bowl! And there’s nothing like getting a classic cone right before the parade or fireworks begin… . While the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor doesn’t win for variety, it sure does win for “makin’ memories.”

Photo courtesy of Disney Food Blog

Ghiradelli’s-Downtown Disney- my favorite because everything is made with chocolate!

Where do you like to eat ice cream at Disney World?


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Cyberspace and Outer Space

Queen of Outer Space

Image via Wikipedia

I ‘m wondering why Marty Sklar’s people have not contacted my people yet to arrange the dinner I had written about last month.  I threw my wish out there in cyberspace, but nothing has happened yet.

I have decided that wishing in cyberspace is the same as wishing on a star (outer space).  The whole universe is watching via cyberspace so why can’t you wish from there?  Someone, somewhere will read about my wish to dine with Marty Sklar (since Mr. Disney is not available) and my wish will come true.  So, I’m waiting.  It’s only a matter of time before everything is in perfect alignment for it to happen.

My other wish was to dance to Fred Astaire.  He is also not available, so the following will be excellent substitutes:  Maksim Chernovsky or Tony Dovolani from Dancing With The Stars.  The only other excellent dancer I could think of was Patrick Swayzee; another availability problem.  I fell in love with him in “Dirty Dancing”.  Just call me “Baby”.

I have lots of other wishes, too, but going to start with these two for now.  Don’t want to flood cyberspace with too much at one time.

What wish would you like to throw out into cyberspace?


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A picture is worth a thousand words

With so many trips to Disney World under my belt I have almost stopped taking pictures on my trips.  Now that I blog, though, I have found tons of things to photograph; things that are not the usual touristy things to capture for posterity.  Looking through the reams of pictures we have, I wanted to share some of the better ones.  The photographer was probably not me; more likely my husband or my daughter.  For your enjoyment:

Postcard shot from our room at the Boardwalk

Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay-Disney's Private Island

My grandson meeting Minnie Mouse for the first time.

View from Bay Lake Towers

The Contemporary shot from the Top of The World Lounge

Traveling with the Characters on the way to opening the Magic Kingdom.

Great night time shot of the Castle

What are some of your favorite pictures?


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