Monthly Archives: May 2014

Disney During Summer – Keeping Cool to Maximize FUN!

Have you heard the phrase, or a variation of it – “A hot day at Disney World is still better than any day at the office” ? Maybe you’ve seen it on an e-card or written on a photo of Cinderella’s castle on your preferred social media outlet. For many, this rings nothing but true. But for some, the summer months are the only time they can take a family vacation, and they are stuck trying to keep their skin from melting, and unfortunately not enjoying the “happiest place on earth” quite a much as they could, or should be.

If you are one of those who is planning to visit WDW this summer, or have heard the horror stories of heat and humidity and are worried, this blog post is for you! I will give you a few tips on just how to stay cool as possible while enjoying all there is to offer in the parks!

1. BRING A HAT! – The Florida sun is not only hot, but it is bright too. Most of us have never figured out how to apply sunscreen to our scalp without getting it in our hair. At least I haven’t. Pack a hat for every member of your family. It will keep the sun out of your eyes, and the burn out of your scalp.

2. BRING YOUR OWN REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE! – A refillable water bottle is a huge must in the keeping cool category. You can purchase one of these almost anywhere at home before your trip. Big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target offer inexpensive prices and a wide variety. Did you know that you can request a FREE cup of water at ANY quick service dining location in Walt Disney World? You can use this free water to fill up your bottle, or you can fill it with the water from the self-service drink fountain in these restaurants. Hydration is key to keeping your body temperature down and keeping heat stroke at bay. Remember to pack a sample size bottle of dish detergent to wash out while in your room.

3. BRING A COOLING PAD! – Our favorite is the Frogg Togg Chilly Pad. This is a towel that you wet under a faucet, and it remains cool and slightly moist. Great for putting on the back of your neck, or putting on your face when you get too hot. These are washable and reusable time and time again. Frogg Togg also makes headbands, bandanas and even hats! You can find them here: http://www.froggtoggs.com/cooling/the-chilly-pad.html

Cooling Towel

Cooling Towel

4. WATER RIDES! – When scheduling your fast passes, be sure to schedule water rides like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids during the hottest part of the day. Usually right after lunch works best. Don’t forget your resort pool either! Mid afternoon is a great time to take a break from the action and head back to the resort for a dip in the pool. And when your swimming is done, you can just head on back to the park for afternoon touring once the sun starts its descent from straight overhead.

5. MAKE THE MOST OF INDOOR PAVILIONS! – The Land Pavilion and The Seas With Nemo & Friends both offer multiple attractions and activities indoors, and can both be large time consumers. When planning your day at Epcot, work around these pavilions and return to them when you need a break from the sun. Both will allow you a large amount of time spent indoors where it will be nice and cool. Both also work well during rain spells too!

6. WEAR LIGHT CLOTHING! – This includes colors of clothing and weights of clothing. Thin, airy materials will allow for adequate air flow, and light colors will be less of an attractant to the sun. Keep this in mind when pre-purchasing clothing before your trip too! So often we see that “perfect” Mickey shirt, but remember material type is important! Uncomfortable kids are cranky kids! This goes for adults too! Also pack light! A backpack is a must with my family, but if you find yourself with a larger than expected load, take advantage of the lockers that are at the parks.

7. BRING A PERSONAL FAN/MISTER! – Personal fans and misters can be purchased at a variety of places. You’ll want to bring one with you, or else you’ll be paying high costs for the ones in the park. But they can be a godsend! Which ever you choose, fan or mister, you’ll be thankful for it. Be sure to pack extra batteries!

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8. PACK YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE! While these items might not actually have an effect on whether or not you are hot or cold, they can affect whether or not you feel comfortable throughout the day. Travel size deodorants, travel size personal wipes, and even body refresher sprays can go a long way to help you feel fresher after sweating. All can be purchased in convenient size containers in the travel section of most retailers, and in many dollar-type stores. And while you’re there, make sure to pick up several travel size bottles of sunscreen. The larger bottles will be great at the resort pool, but you won’t want them taking up large amounts of space in your backpack. But grab several, you will want to apply, and reapply during the day!

9. ICE CREAM! – Walt Disney World has some of the greatest ice cream treats around. Save your snack credits by bringing in your own mid-day snacks from home like granola bars, goldfish and crackers. Flying in and worried about packing room? You can ship non-perishable items to your resort with your name and reservation number indicated on the outside of the package, and pick them up when you arrive for check in. Pack these snacks for during the day and use the snack credit for aMickey Ice Cream bar or a Dole Whip Float!

Dole Whip Float

Dole Whip Float

10. HAVE PATIENCE! – Most importantly, have patience! Undoubtedly, the summer time at Walt Disney World is the busiest time of year. Lines are going to be long, crowd levels are going to be high, the sun is going to be hot and the air is going to be humid. But remember, everyone else is going through the same thing you are! Getting frustrated or irritated with a line or another guest will do little more than get you heated. If you pre-expect that these things are just a part of the experience, and just accept them and keep going, then your day will flow much easier, and everything will go smoother. When your day goes smoother, you’ll enjoy everything more!

Our summer vacation, July 2009

Our summer vacation, July 2009

 

Melissa Furches is a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel. If you are interested in booking your own family vacation to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line, please contact Melissa at melissa.furches@magicalmemoriestravel.com or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Must.Meet.Mickey. All travel agent services are free, and can take the questions and worries out of planning your family vacation! Contact Melissa today!

 

Disney to Parenting – The Perfect Compliment

The Incredibles

The Incredibles

 

Let’s face it – I grew up a Disney kid. My grandfather was an artist. He loved to draw and loved the process of animation. That is the link that I assume drew him in to the world of all things Disney. We visited Walt Disney World almost every summer of my youth. I can remember when there were only two parks, then only three, and when the fourth park opened. I remember all the rides that came and went, some that didn’t bother me to be gone, some I still miss to this day like 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Body Wars (yes, I will admit I liked that ride).

I also tried my best to collect all of the Disney Gold Collection VHS movies, and to this day have a bookshelf full of them in my garage, although a few of them like Lady And The Tramp no longer have good sound or visual quality. And I know because I still own a VHS player, for the rare opportunity to view one that I don’t have on DVD just yet. I will never forget my grandparents giving me The Little Mermaid on VHS. I had gone to the theatre to see the movie, and fell in love with it. I got that VHS and watched it, rewound it, watched it, rewound it, and watched it again. I could belt out Part of Your World with Ariel like we had twin voices. (Okay, I sounded horrible, but you weren’t going to tell my kid self that.)

As I grew into adulthood, I carried Disney with me. I honestly begged to have my honeymoon there, but at the time we couldn’t afford it. When my children were born, Playhouse Disney (now Disney Junior) was a staple in my living room. Bear In The Big Blue House taught my kids about sharing. Stanley taught my kids about different animals. And Rolie Polie Olie taught them that people are different, but can still be friends (ie., Olie was a round robot, and his friend Billie was a square bot.) In fact, Rolie Polie Olie was the theme of my daughter’s first birthday, and she still gets called the nickname Tor-bot (Her name is Victoria) from time to time.

I was not a stay at home mom. We didn’t spend lunchtime in the park before returning home for nap time. We didn’t start our mornings with breakfast and then a little “ABC” writing practice. And more nights than I want to count I was just too tired to end the day with story time before bed. Quite often, my evenings at home with my children were filled with mom running around cooking, cleaning and the like while my children sat with the Disney channel or Disney DVD’s babysitting. Dinners often were eaten in the living room in front of the t.v. My daughter probably watched Beauty And The Beast every day of her third year on this earth, and my son spent his second year engrossed in Radiator Springs watching Cars.

I am sure that many out there will say that we shouldn’t allow our children that much t.v. time. “Television will rot their brain”. Sure. “Video games are robbing our children of true playtime,” which I won’t necessarily disagree with, but I will tell you that my daughter’s first video games were High School Musical and Disney Princess games, while my son first tackled swimming across the sea with Finding Nemo. They are older now, and my daughter barely plays video games at all, while my son still prefers simple, childhood games over fighting, hunting, war or true-to-reality games.

While I will agree that outdoor play and exercise are better for children than indoor television watching and video games, I will tell you that Disney was the perfect compliment to my childhood, and helped me instill many important values in my children. Values that they need to know and learn to become good adults.

Disney never shielded my children from the concept of evil. There are bad people in this world. Disney doesn’t disguise the ugliness of reality. But Disney teaches that when the good of the world stay true to that nature, they will discover that there is more good in the world than bad.

Aladdin and Jasmine

Aladdin and Jasmine

While all of the princesses may be beautiful, Disney never created all of their characters to be perfect. Aladdin was homeless and poor. Nemo had a wimpy fin. Belle was seen as an outcast in her hometown. Arial fell in love with someone who was “different”. Dumbo didn’t look like all the other elephants. Cinderella was basically a slave. Bambi’s mother died. Pinocchio was a liar. You probably get the point. There is a character in a Disney movie that anyone can connect to, for any varied number of reasons.

Disney instills imagination. What little boy doesn’t love to run around the back yard believing that he is Dash Incredible, and faster than any human on the planet! What little girl doesn’t love to twirl in a dress and pretend she is getting ready to attend the ball where she will meet her prince. Disney brings imaginary and far away worlds to life like Neverland, the 100 Acre Wood, Halloweentown and Monstropolis. Disney has taught my children to engross their minds in creativity, to imagine the unimaginable, and to create stories and worlds of their own.

I will probably never win any awards for being a perfect parent. Lord knows I’ve failed time and time again. It may take a village to raise a child, and if that be true, I sure am grateful for Disney being a part of my village. Here’s to a future with more movies, more life lessons, more creativity and more fun.

Stitch

Stitch

 

20 Little(r) Known Facts About Walt Disney World

I realized the other night that I haven’t posted here in a while. Sorry readers. I vow to do a better job. So to get back on track, I thought I’d start with a list of things that you may, or may NOT know about Walt Disney World. Hope you find something interesting here that might just help you plan your family vacation to WDW.

 

1. Chewing gum is not sold on WDW property. The idea is that if it isn’t sold, there is less chance of someone defacing property with a chewed up wad of gum.

2. Make in the park breakfast reservations during the hour BEFORE the park opens. With a reservation, you CAN get past the gate, and walk through the virtually empty park to get to the restaurant. The feeling is truly surreal, and you can snap a couple of great photos without hundreds of strangers in the way.

3. Along with number 2, make late in the park dinner reservations in the hour AFTER a park closes (on nights that the parks don’t close at 9 pm or later). In the same respect, you can snap some great photos with the park basically empty and get different views of the scenes at night. The busses will still run for a couple hours after the park is closed, so there are no worries about getting back to your resort.

4. If you interested in taking in a parade or show (for example Fantasmic), and there are two showings of it in a night, always take in the second show. The crowds will be fewer, and finding a good viewing spot will be much easier.

5. Let your kids decorate your resort room window! Make a sign that tells where you’re from, bring window clings of their favorite Disney characters, or anything else that will make a temporary decoration. Don’t be surprised if Mousekeeping has a little fun with the decorations too!

6. Request a free wake-up call on the resort room phone. Let it ring until the kids answer it! The’ll get to be awakened by Mickey or Stitch or another Disney character. Just another way to add a little “FREE” magic to the vacation!

7. Buy a Hidden Mickey field guide or Hidden Mickey app for your phone, and have a family scavenger hunt for hidden Mickeys!

8. Every one of the country pavilions in Epcot have hidden nooks and places to explore. Don’t make the mistake of just walking through and riding rides or eating food! Each one was carefully thought out and designed to give you a true to life feel of the country it represents. Make sure you’ve turned every corner and walked through every door!

9. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios actually plays for an hour after the park closes. This is a GREAT place to take pictures because the lights are simply spectacular – but it is often crowded with people. If you can hang out until park closing, snap your pictures after the crowds cease. Again like number 3, you should have no problem getting a bus back to your resort as they run for a long while after park closing.

10. If you’ve never visited the World before, make sure to order your FREE planning DVD and FREE customizable maps. Even if you have visited before, order these anyway! You can get these once per calendar year, and the DVD will be great to let you know what is new since your last visit, and the maps make great keepsakes and/or scrapbook items! You can get these both from here https://disneyvacations.com/vacation-planning-tools/ and here http://customizedmaps.disney.go.com/

11. If you intend to be a multi time visitor during your kids’ childhood, find a spot in one of the parks with a fixed photo spot, and make sure to take the same picture each time you visit to use as a growth chart of sorts. A few good spots to mention: In the Magic Kingdom, on the right after you enter the park is a statue of Goofy sitting on a park bench. There is also Excalibur’s Sword in the Stone in front of the Carousel behind the castle. In Animal Kingdom, the sign that you pass between the bus stop and the entrance of the park makes a good photo spot. In Epcot, In the Canada Pavilion there is a board with Native American/Indian style masks on it that your family can put their faces in for a photo. (We use this one for our own growth chart.) In Hollywood Studios there is a street sign on New York Street, or the Miss Piggy Liberty fountain in front of the Muppet Vision 3D show.

12. You can request a FREE cup of water (hot or cold) in any of the quick service dining locations. Use the cold water to fill water bottles during the warmer months, and bring along single serving packs of hot chocolate and add to the hot water during colder months for a less expensive alternative than the expensive cups of cocoa at the snack kiosks! The hot water is good for mixing with formula for infants as well.

13. In Epcot, in the World Showcase, the CM’s in each country should be native to the country they are working in. Let your children ask them to write a sentence in their native language in their autograph books, and to teach them what it means. This is a great way to teach your children a little culture, and if your children miss school time for their vacation, many teachers allow students to write a paper for extra credit to make up missed work, and this could definitely add to this!

14. When budgeting for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation, consider the budget for the following vacation too! A 10-day No Expiration Park Hopper ticket will cost less than 2 5-day park hopper tickets. If you can afford the extra costs upfront, you will save money on your next vacation this way.

15. Parks don’t actually close at closing time. For example, you can get in line at Space Mountain with a 30 minute wait time at 9:55 pm on a night when the Magic Kingdom closes at 10:00 pm. You can still wait in line, ride the ride, and make it out of the park and on your resort bus before they lock the kingdom up for the night.

16. If you can hang out until after park closing at the Magic Kingdom, be sure to stick around for 30 minutes after closing time. You will get to experience the “Kiss Goodnight” which most park guests never get to see. Cinderella’s castle will start to twinkle and “When You Wish Upon a Star” will play. Then a narrator will greet the remaining park guests, thank you for your visit, tell a little about the magic of the park and wish you a safe trip home. The Kiss Goodnight lasts around 2 minutes, and will play every 30 minutes after the park has closed.

17. If you are bringing along a stroller, or renting one when you get there, bring with you a brightly colored bandana or scarf. Often the stroller parking lots are crowded with many strollers that all resemble one another. By tying the scarf to the handle of the stroller, you will be able to easily pick it out of the crowd. Also, for varying reasons, cast members may move strollers from time to time a short distance, usually to free up walkways and such. Again, a scarf or bandana that you recognize will help you pick it out.

18. Photopass photographers WILL take photos of your family with YOUR camera. However, do not expect them to work the camera to get the best shot. You should have the proper setting, flash and zoom done before handing them the camera. Their job is to get the best shot with their camera, not yours. (Though some are gracious enough to do this with yours.)

19. Never carry heavy or bulky bags of in park purchases around for the rest of the day. Anything bought in the park can be sent back to your resort room for FREE. Just let the CM know when you make your purchase that you want it sent back to your resort room. Likewise, see something in a park store and not purchase it but change your mind? Let the CM at your resort store know what you’re wanting, and they can have the item brought in to your resort store special for you so you can purchase it without going back to the park. Works great for those who do not purchase park hoppers.

20. Flying on a plane to Walt Disney World and worried about fitting items like food in your luggage? Resorts will hold packages shipped to resort guests. Address your package with your name and your reservation number, then the resort name and address. Then when you arrive let the front desk know that you have a package to pick up that was shipped in. Shipping may be less than baggage fees at the airport.

 

I hope you enjoyed this quick list of 20 little(r) known facts about Walt Disney World. Hopefully they will come in handy when you’re planning your vacation to the World! As always, if you have any questions, let me know! I’m always happy to help! If you have your own secret (or not so secret) facts to share, please share them with me! And remember to subscribe to this blog for more tips, tricks and information pertaining to Disney! Have a magical day!

Melissa Furches is a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel. If you are interested in booking your own family vacation to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line, please contact Melissa at melissa.furches@magicalmemoriestravel.com or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Must.Meet.Mickey. All travel agent services are free, and can take the questions and worries out of planning your family vacation! Contact Melissa today!

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