The Adventure Begins

Grandma was well prepared for the 2 hour flight with a 3 year old. I kept pulling tricks out of that diaper bag for the entire flight and all was quiet. I wished I could have said the same thing for the many, many other kids on that 6:30pm flight out of STL. My little guy was an angel and that was all I needed. By the time we got the bags, the car, and arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were looking at almost the start of another day.

A quick glance out of our balcony and I could see shadowy figures in the distance. OMG we had a Savannah view room! The figures were shadowy because I did not have my glasses on. I ran back into the room, grabbed the glasses and much to our delight there were giraffes and antelopes in clear view of the balcony. I’m not sure who was more excited; me or the baby, but it sure was pretty cool.

After a quick 6 hour sleep and breakfast at The Mara, we headed out for shopping and for our move to Boardwalk Villas. As usual, the room was not ready at chek-in, but by the time we finished Downtown Disney, Walmart, Publix, Starbucks, Walgreens and car drop-off at the Dolphin, we received the much awaited text with our room number…not on a high floor as I requested.

Getting ready to march to the front desk to ask to be switched to another room, I looked at the room map and determined that maybe 2nd floor would not be too bad, and when I walked into our room and saw that we were overlooking the Village Green and the Boardwalk with the extended balcony that could easily host a party of 12, I was thrilled! This was one of the rooms that we had always wanted to be in…and we would be able to people watch to our heart’s content from our jammies on the balcony.

So, other than temporarily losing each of our cell phones, a lost (but found) fifth of Bacardi Limon by Bell Services, the first full day was a good one. The little guy was exhausted and in bed by 8pm which left Grandma and Papa some time to site on their balcony drinking coffee and Bailey’s and enjoying the comings and goings on the Boardwalk.

Tomorrow…Breakfast with the characters and pool time.

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Rejected…Again!

The Mickey Mom’s Panel dream for 2013 has just faded until 2014.  I received (another) wonderful rejection notice today:

 

On behalf of all of us at Disney Destinations, LLC, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to apply for the 2013 Walt Disney World® Moms Panel. 

We realize how hectic it can be to keep a family going day-to-day, so we truly appreciate the effort you put into your application. It was clear just how much you do for those you love and the inspiring role Disney plays in your life. We were incredibly delighted by the heartfelt response and very humbled by the special stories you shared in your application. 

Having received thousands of entries, you can imagine how difficult it was narrowing the field to the next round. While you were not among those selected, we are very grateful that you took the time to enter and share your love of Disney Parks with us.  

The 2013 Walt Disney World Moms Panel will officially start their new roles in January 2013 at www.disneyworldmoms.com. We very much hope that you will visit the site regularly and along with them, keep sharing your love of Disney Parks with the world!  

Thank you sincerely for your application and if I haven’t already, I hope to meet you one day! Sharing your love of Disney Parks is infectious and you are part of a kind, happy Mouse-loving family.

Magically yours, 

So, nothing to do now except to keep blogging and to get ready for my grandson’s  upcoming Magical trip.  I’ll have toddler experience to add to my resume` for next year.

 

 

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Trading Places

In a moment of..oh, I don’t know…temporary insanity-I’ve decided to take my 3-year-old grandson to Walt Disney World- sans his mother.  I have traded in my adults only Food & Wine Festival, pool napping, margarita drinking, sleeping in vacation for a park hopping tour with a toddler.  I’m happy about it!  It’s been 20 years since I traveled with a three-year old,  so this Grandma had to do some studying on travel do’s and dont’s with little ones.

GrowingupDisney.com has been an excellent source of information, as well as the Disney Mom’s panel.  Here is what I have learned so far:

  • Pack pipe cleaners- these quiet, soft little things will apparently keep a young one busy on the plane as well as waiting in line at the parks. I’m practicing trying to bend these things into animal shapes to amaze and amuse my grandson, as well as other passengers on the plane.
  • CARES-Child Aviation Restraint System- a couple of straps and buckles that will keep your child in the airplane seat, shoulder harnessed, so he does not run screaming through the aisles.  Much better than lugging a 50lb monstrosity of a car seat on board.
  • Colorforms-these magical stickers can be peeled and re-used again and are perfect for pasting to airplane windows.  I’ve bought 3 packages of them.  I just have to hope we get a window seat.
  • iPad-Kid’s movies- need I say more?
  • Diaper bag- did not have one, now I do.  Will need something other than my mini-shoulder purse to carry- pull-ups, hand sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, Wet Ones, sippy cup, lighted key chain for the dark rides, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse playing cards, Matchbox cars, portable snacks, change of clothes, sunscreen and whatever else I can fit in that thing.  It’s like a Mary Poppins carpet-bag.
  • Tabletoppers- plastic place mats with the “Cars” characters on them.  I’m hoping between that and the Matchbox cars,it will buy me enough time to gulp down a quick-service meal before the native gets restless.

Disney has a whole page dedicated to Traveling with Little Ones and lists attractions best suited for..little ones.  I was not even aware that some of these existed, especially at Animal Kingdom, since we never go to that park.  I, apparently, will be spending lots of time there.

I have not seen a parade in years, but I’m already scoping out the best places to sit on a hard curb for 2 hours so that we have premium viewing, until some inconsiderate family plops down in front of us at the last-minute to block our view.

Out of all the advice, blogs, board postings that I have read, the most important thing I have to bring is patience.    Working on that now, and looking forward to watching my grandson experience all the magic that Disney has to offer.  If you see a tired, haggard, Grandmother pushing a stroller with a 3-year-old boy, that will be me.  I will also have the biggest smile on my face because I am sharing my love for Disney with the next generation.

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Run Disney

So, I did a half-marathon the other day…on my bike, but felt that it was time to think about doing a Run Disney event.  My blogger friend, Amanda over at Alone in Walt Disney World, participates in a great many of these races.  Reading her reports had sparked an interest because they sound like so much fun.  I’m not a runner, but I am in pretty good physical condition and do ride my bike a lot, both in spinning class and on the road, and thought “why not enter a Run Disney event?”.    The Marathon in January was not an option because I can’t take off work in January, but I did see the Princess Half in February as a possibility.  I’m not really ready for running 13.1 miles, but I could easily do the Royal Family 5K.   The stars aligned with availability at DVC that week-end, so I can finally say:  “I’M RUNNING IN A “RUN DISNEY” EVENT!!

I’m already thinking about my costume, and was tweeted by the lovely ladies over at Team Sparkle, and will probably choose some of their garb for the event.  After Halloween, I’ll be looking for some clearance costumes to see if I can find anything “Princess” like, and much to the chagrin of my already full closet, I’ll be looking for some better running shoes.   Who knows, I might like this running stuff!

For those of you who are avid “Run Disney’ers” what good insider tips can you provide other newbies like myself?

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It’s Time

OK, I’m waiting for the 2013 Mickey Mom’s panel to start accepting applications. I started this blog almost 1 year ago so that I could hone my writing/blogging skills in hopes of nabbing a spot on this prestigious panel. This would be a dream come true for me; helping others plan their trip to Walt Disney World. I am applying for the 4th year in a row, and I swear I have been unable to crack the code to what they are looking for in a panelist.

Enthusiasm for Walt Disney World-check
Expertise in travel planning to Walt Disney World-check
More knowledge than the average person about Walt Disney World-check
DVC member since 1999-check
More than 35+ visits-check
Vacationing there every year since 1983-check
Surrendering my first born as a Cast Member-check

I HAVE to be what they are looking for. Sitting tight and waiting for this year’s questions. Wish me luck.

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Unplugged

iPad mini

iPad mini (Photo credit: patrick-allen)

I recently responded to a post on the DisBoards asking how many electronic devices do you take to Disney World.  For us, 2 iPhones, 1 Kindle, 1 Laptop and 1 iPad.  After thinking about this, it really sounded absurd.  At what point did we move from no electronics to 5 pieces of equipment for vacation?  Years ago, (I can reminisce because I’m of that age) it was just a camera, and then a video camera.  We have some precious vacation videos of my girls when they were kids and I am so glad that we captured those memories on tape.  Before cell phones, we purchased walkie-talkies to keep track of one another, and I don’t recall at what point cell phones starting making the trip.  Because we traveled to WDW every year, I think I even stopped bringing a camera.  And here I am today, with 5 devices.  The iPad is used for blogging, reading books and surfing the web.  Mr T has the Kindle with all of his books on it, and a mini-laptop because I don’t share my iPad, so that he can surf while drinking his morning coffee  And of course the iPhones for communication and photos and even videos.

Is my vacation a better experience because of electronics?  Well, I no longer have to lug all my books and magazines in my suitcase, which saves on space and weight.  The iPhones are very handy for snapping quick pictures and I’m able to do real-time updates/reports on my blog.  Surfing the web keeps us updated on what’s going on the world, but I really could just watch the news for that.  It would not hurt me to abandon Facebook and e-mail while on vacation, and I certainly do NOT look at work e-mail.

So, could I leave all the technology behind?  I’d like to try it, just once, but I’m not ready to cut the cord just yet.  How about you?

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Gourmet Disney

I was just reading the menu for the new “Be Our Guest” restaurant;

Be Our Guest Restaurant Fast Casual Lunch Menu

Soups

French Onion Soup
Potato Leek Soup

Entrées

Tuna Niçoise Salad- Warm Seared Tuna Steak with chilled Green Beans, Potatoes, Olives, Roasted Bell Peppers, tomatoes, and Hard Boiled Eggs

Carved Turkey Sandwich served warm on a Baguette with Dijon Mayonnaise and Pommes Frites

Croque Monsieur- Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham, Gruyere Cheese, and Béchamel with Pommes Frites

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Garlic Butter Spread and Pommes Frites

Quinoa, Shallot, and Chive Salad with Green Beans, Potatoes, Olives, Roasted Bell Peppers, and, Tomatoes

Vegetable Quiche- Mushroom, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Onion, and Chive Quiche served with Baby Lettuce coated with Champagne Vinaigrette

Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style) Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, and Bacon served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans Jardinière

Disney has certainly come a long way and has become a foodie destination. During our visits in the early 1980’s, you would have been hard pressed to find a decent meal in either the parks or the resorts. We used to go off property to Jungle Jim’s in the Crossroads center to eat dinner. I remember one horrible buffet dinner at the Contemporary that was almost inedible. The parks offered typical amusement park food of hot dogs and hamburgers. I did not go to Disney then for the food, that’s for sure. Oh how times have changed!

Now, there is so much good food to be had, there is never enough time or stomach to try it all. My new favorite blog is DisDining.com which features descriptions and reviews of various restaurants around the World and lots of places that we have never eaten at. Aside from the Food and Wine festival, we have several new restaurant visits scheduled. And even with that, they’ll still be many more spots left untried. I think I need about a month in Disney World to sample all the delicacies. I never thought that would be the case.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

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