Monthly Archives: October 2012

I’m going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios…now, where do I eat?

One of the things I do as a travel agent is make recommendations to people of where to get dinner reservations while visiting Walt Disney World. Now, I haven’t eaten in every restaurant in WDW, but, I can tell you about places I have eaten, and places that my family really enjoys. One of these restaurants is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 50's Prime Time Cafe

One of the first things you notice about the Prime Time Cafe, is the atmosphere. The place is designed to look just like mom’s kitchen back in the 1950’s. From the wallpaper, to the furniture, to the decor, everything takes you back in time right when you walk in the door. When the hostess calls you for your table, you usually hear your name, followed by, “Mom’s calling you for dinner!” (You know, because you’re in mom’s kitchen, the staff is made up of family members – usually your big brother or sister.)

You are seated at the kitchen table, and every table has it’s own black and white television to watch little clips of tv episodes from the 1950’s. My kids totally loved looking around at everything – it was all totally different than anything they’ve ever experienced before!

The menu also features exactly what you would have expected mom to be cooking up. From fried chicken, pork chops, meat loaf and pot roast, there’s surely something to tempt any all-american down home cooking appetite. But make sure you come hungry! If you’re expecting dessert, that big brother or big sister waiting on your table will certainly tell mom if you don’t clean your plate! And another tip – do NOT put your elbows on the table. That is not good table manners, and you know how older siblings will look for any excuse to get you in trouble with mom!

And speaking of desserts…this is probably my most favorite part of the meal! One thing that Disney knows how to do well is dessert! And the 50’s Prime Time Cafe is no exception. On our last visit, I opted for the Boston Creme Parfait, while my husband went with Dad’s Brownie Sundae. You wouldn’t believe what all came on that thing!

Dad's Brownie SundaeBoston Creme Parfait

My kids had so much fun with the atmosphere, the food and the waitstaff, they even asked for our waitress’ autograph for their autograph books. She signed one “Eat all your vegetables!” and the other “Elbows off the table!”. All in all, we had a blast, and this restaurant definitely hit as a favorite for us in Hollywood Studios. It is definitely on a must do list for future trips!

Prime Time menu backPrime Time Menu front

What’s in store for Disney World in 2013?

What is in store for Disney World in 2013?

Earlier this week, Disney announced new “Limited Time Magic” Experiences coming to Disney Parks in 2013!

Not all the details have been unvailed just yet, but I can give you this bit of information that is straight from the Disney Parks Blog:

Disney Parks have 52 weeks of magical surprises planned for you in 2013!
“Limited Time Magic” features unexpected experiences, with an extra sprinkle of Pixie Dust, at Disneyland® Resort and the Walt Disney World® Resort that’ll appear, and then disappear when the next debuts. Ranging from Park-wide events to special culinary treats, to limited edition merchandise to special moments of surprise and delight, and more, this new celebration will begin in the new year.
So, what can your Clients expect with “Limited Time Magic” at Disney Parks when it begins in January? Here’s an idea:

  • True Love: Celebrate romance and enchantment throughout Valentine’s Week with special moments and entertainment geared to lovebirds. Disney Princes join their Princesses to meet Park Guests in special settings, prix fixe menus turn up at select restaurants and Valentine’s collectibles will be offered for the week.
  • Independence Week: It’s red, white and blue as Disney Parks salutes America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party — for an entire week, with patriotic lighting bathing the Disney castles on both coasts. Mickey Mouse appears in his patriotic finest and Guests will find special USA shirts, Ear Hats and other limited-edition souvenirs.
  • Long Lost Friends Week: Lesser-known Disney characters will move from the shadows to the spotlight meet-and-greets on both coasts. Photo opportunities with characters that could include Flik, Clarabelle Cow, Remy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will surprise and delight your Clients. And Disney Guests even have the chance to vote online for which characters they want to see.
  • Pirate Week: Why talk like a pirate one day when you could celebrate these scalawags all week long? The adventures of Jack Sparrow come to life like never before during a bicoastal buccaneer bash in which the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts become pirate-palooza: pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and more.
  • Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands: The Dapper Dans, the iconic quartet from Main Street, U.S.A., will add a special finale to their show, claiming the title of the “Original Boy Band” and delivering a medley of hits from One Direction, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
  • Unleash the Villains: Friday the 13th in September 2013 is a special day, so Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park are staying open until the 13th hour (1 a.m.). Maleficent, Captain Hook, Jafar and other Disney Villains host a dance party, complete with limited-edition collectibles and other nighttime mischief.
  • Golden Horseshoe Revue: The fabled Frontierland show returns to Disneyland Park for one month only, bringing back the corny jokes and enduring songs that were often enjoyed by Walt Disney himself.

Don’t want to take my word for it? You can read it for yourself HERE! http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/10/giant-ice-castle-in-times-square-kicks-off-limited-time-magic-at-disney-parks/

Sounds pretty exciting, huh? I might just start planning my own trip during Pirate Week!

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion For Sale!

Disney’s Haunted Mansion For Sale!

Well, no, not really. But…if you don’t mind living near Atlanta, GA, you CAN purchase a house that is an exact replica house of the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland! I swear this is true!

The house is being sold by Theme Park Connection, a internet site that claims to buy, sale, and trade Disney Items. Below is straight from their site:

“Theme Park Connection, known for buying and selling some of the rarest Disney items in the world, brings you their rarest find to date: a Disneyland Haunted Mansion Replica Home. Theme Park Connection is selling this over-10,000 Square Foot Disneyland Haunted Mansion House located near Atlanta, Georgia, in the private gated community of Sweet Bottom Plantation. It is the only known house in the world that is modeled after the inspiration and actual architecture of a Disney attraction. It’s a version of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion you can actually live in, at 3816 Turnberry Court, Duluth, Georgia.”

The house is listed to have 10,000 square feet, 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. The house is currently owned by Mark Hurt. Mark, a Disney Contractor and owner of the company Constructioneer, built this home in 1996, and was inspired by the Disneyland Haunted Mansion to copy it down to the finest of details.

You can see the listing of the house here, and take a video and photo tour.

http://themeparkconnection.com/hauntedmansionhome/index.html

Definitely take a look – check out the mirror in the bathroom! I could sooo live here! If only it wasn’t so far away from my home in North Carolina.

Unfortunately no tours are available, only Real Estate Agents and Pre-Qualified Buyers will be able to make appointment to view the home. Per the the Disneyland Haunted Mansion attraction spiel “There is always room for one more” but in this case it’s one more family. No ghosts please!

 

Disney being sued by Stan Lee Media over Marvel Rights

Stan Lee Media, a company who is claiming to hold the rights to Marvel characters like Iron Man, Hulk and Spiderman, has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company, seeking “billions of dollars in profits”.

Stan Lee, who actually created hundreds of characters featured in Marvel comics, happens to be no longer associated with Stan Lee Media. SLMedia claims that Stan Lee assigned rights to his characters over in 1998, but subsequently also assigned them over to Marvel Enterprises, one month later.

Disney acquired Marvel Enterprises, which had been renamed Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4.3 billion dollars.

The lawsuit alleges that “The Walt Disney Company has represented to the public that it, in fact, owns the copyright to these characters as well as hundreds of other characters created by Stan Lee.” Stan Lee Media professes that this is false.

The lawsuit mainly focuses on movies featuring Marvel characters that Disney has released since its purchase of Marvel Entertainment. Those films has grossed major profits, like “Avengers” which brought in $1.5 billion in world wide sales.

“This lawsuit is without merit,” The Walt Disney Co. said in a statement. “It arises out of the same core facts and legal claims that have been rejected by three federal district court judges.”

Stan Lee Media was created in 1999, with the purpose “to sue to recover damages to its assets”, and has been involved in multiple lawsuits in multiple states involving the company, its shareholders, and Stan Lee himself.

Disney’s Monsters Inc. – Monsters University

In 2013, Disney/Pixar will be releasing a new feature, Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters, Inc. which was released in 2001. To help promote this upcoming movie, Disney has launched a new website: http://monstersuniversity.com/edu/index.html which looks exactly like what you would expect any college website to look like. Monsters University

On this site, you can do everything you can on the site of your average college, from browsing the academic program, to finding information about campus life like housing and dining and school clubs, to ordering apparel (which by the way you CAN actually order).

There are even Fraternities and Sororities, Athletics and information about Homecoming Weekend!

Monsters University Campus

Click on the Academics tab and take a look at the courses offered. I think this is one of my favorites:

MON 345: Existential Threats (4 units)
Taught by world-renowned Fearologian, Dr. Barnabus Malworthy, this advanced philosophy course engages the timeless debate of whether fear evolved from nothingness or a higher power.

If you think you might have what it takes to be a Monsters University Student, make sure you check out the admissions tab to see just what it takes to enroll. Unfortunately, applications for next fall are not being accepted just yet, but stay tuned. I’m sure there’s more in store for this exciting installment of the Monsters Inc. franchise.

Is the Family Vacation Still a Priority in Today’s World?

The family vacation. For many generations, families have been budgeting, planning for, and taking a family vacation. Whether it was to the family’s vacation home at the lake, a quick trip to the ocean, or a week touring a different city each year, families have long enjoyed the time together, away from their every day lives and the daily grind of work and school.

When I was growing up, vacation to me spelled Walt Disney World. It was the place I went almost every year as a child, and for many years, it was the only place I thought anyone went when they went on vacation. From a child’s perspective, vacation meant to me time with my grandparents, who lived in a different city than me, time with my aunt and uncle, who I didn’t see that often either, and time with my parents, 24 hours a day, for days at a time. That was something that I as a child of working parents, didn’t experience unless we were on vacation.

As a parent, family vacation means uninterrupted time with my children, hearing their laughter, experiencing their joy, experiencing precious time with them, and making memories to last their lifetime.

So is this special family time as important to the rest of the world as it is to me?

Of course, in today’s economy, many families struggle to get through their day to day, much less to try to find extra expenses to take time away for vacation. But I believe that most families understand the need for time together, a break from the every day norm of life. Many struggling families I know spend their time these days just traveling to other family to spend time, those family members that they don’t see that often. And others make mini vacations at home, a couple of days to hang out, watch movies, make crafts, rearrange bedroom furniture. Just time spent alone together. It can be so healing, so progressive, so crutial to a healthy family life.

This is why I belive that the family vacation is so very important. In any form, to any place, just time spent in each other’s company is priceless. And I believe that most healthy families agree. I think that on a large scale, many families might not be traveling as far, or spending as much, but the vacation from normal life is still a priority to them.

Whether it is a trip to the beach with the grandparents, an educational trip to the nation’s capital city, or a all-for-fun visit to the home of Mickey Mouse, my family always looks forward to our time together. It is time we cherish, and a time that I hope we will always look back on as part of the foundation of our family. I only pray that I am doing a good job of teaching my children how important this time is, as my family instilled these values in me.

So, I know about rides and shows and characters, but…is there anything else to do?

So everyone knows that Walt Disney World has a lot of rides, right? And maybe if you’ve never been, you might not realize that they have just as many shows, of all types as they do rides, from stage shows, to animated shows, to animatronic shows, to live action shows. And I am sure you know that there are parades and fireworks to take in and see too. Also, don’t forget the character meetings and photo opportunities too!

But, is that it, or is there more?

Since we are a family that tries to visit Walt Disney World as much as we can, I like to look for the “other” experiences our family can have when we visit Disney World to make each visit different. Activities other than rides and shows and parades. And being a thrifty mom, I like it when those “other” activities don’t add cost to our trip!

So what else is there? Let me share with you some of the things that my family likes to do!

Travel around the world in Epcot, with Kidcot Fun Stops: In Epcot, the World Showcase features 11 countries. Each of these countries has a Kidcot Fun Stop. Kidcot is an area within the country pavilion, where your children can work on a craft, and meet an individual native to the country pavilion they’re in. Currently, the craft within the station is coloring a Duffy, the Disney Bear (who happens to be Mickey’s very own teddy bear). The craft is free for the children. When finished coloring, your kids can ask the cast member to stamp their country’s flag on the back, and my children ask the cast member to write something in their native language. Usually it is something simple, like “Hello from Norway” or whatever country they are in. When visiting Japan and China, my children ask the cast member to write their names in the oriental characters. This makes for a very special and personalized keepsake to remember the trip!

Disney vacations for families

Disney Pin Trading – Making friends and trade for your pins of your favorite characters!: Warning! Pin trading is not free like the Kidcot stops in Epcot. However, it is easy to save some money on pin trading, if you put some thought into it BEFORE heading to Disney World! Pin trading is an activity where kids (and adults) collect and trade pins. Usually, the pins are displayed on a lanyard around their necks, and these can be purchased in all of the parks, the resort gift shops, Downtown Disney and online. There are many different ones to choose from, starting with a basic Mickey Mouse design, to specific movie or character themed ones. My daughter has a Tinkerbell and a Mickey Mouse one, and my son went with the Star Wars Vinylmation design. Many of the lanyards come with starter pins as well. The goal throughout your trip is when you see someone wearing a lanyard, to ask them if they want to trade. (Make sure if your children have any pins that they don’t want to part with, that they leave them at home, and only wear the ones they’re willing to trade!) I find that my children have a great time meeting other children, and cast members while doing this, and even my shy child comes out of his shell to talk to people to ask if they want to trade pins. Many of the resorts feature a daily Pin Trading Event, usually in the early evening hours, in the lobby. This allows children in the resorts to come together and everyone is there to trade pins! Here’s a tip – if you spot a cast member wearing a GREEN lanyard, this cast member has special, and often RARE pins – that you can’t find easily elsewhere. These cast member are required to trade with children, so they can not tell you no. Sorry adults, they can not trade with you. But this is a great way to come across some really neat and special pins. Now, the pins are not always cheap, and are priced in different tiers with some getting rather pricey. One thing I like to do is keep an eye out on sites like ebay, to grab a good deal on an auction for a lot of pins at a good price. This way, I can give them to my children as rewards and incentives throughout the year, so when we arrive on our next trip, they are ready to go to find that special pin that someone is willing to trade them for. I can tell you for sure that even my husband gets in on the action when it comes to pin trading! See my family below wearing their pins while riding the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom.

Disney family travel

That is a few examples of some of the “other” things for your family to do on their Disney vacation. There are many more, but maybe in another blog. I’m always willing to offer ideas for your family to make the most out of their trip! Experience is what makes this time memorable! For more information about how to plan a magical and memorable vacation for your family, contact me anytime, and I’ll help you all along the way!

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