Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: EPCOT Flowers

On today's Wordless Wednesday, I once again celebrate the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival! (Can you tell I'm ready for spring?)

I personally love this shot because the floating flower beds are so subtle and so simply beautiful. It's amazing how a little addition can go a long way! Enjoy!

My March Calendar Shot!

Many thanks, as always, to Focused on the Magic for hosting today's Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting a Disney Fix

As most of you know, I went on a glorious vacation to Walt Disney World this past December. It was a fabulous week-long trip during my favorite season, at one of my favorite resorts. One would think that a trip of this caliber would be enough to hold me over for a while. One would be sorely mistaken.

This morning the Disney Fantasy sailed into New York Harbor while I rode the Staten Island Ferry to work. Talk about injustice. Now I am expected to sit at my desk and be productive. But the bottom line is that I will not be able to concentrate without a little Disney fix.

Welcome to NYC Disney Fantasy! (Photo by Ian R. Siegel (@IanRSiegel) / February 28, 2012)
What's a girl to do?

There are several options, but all of my favorites involve popping in my headphones.

There are several Disney podcasts that I regularly listen to. WDW Radio by Lou Mongello is a fabulous and incredibly professional show that explores all the little details that make Disney so wildly successful. If you are a Disney history buff, then this show is definitely for you. Lou is a terrific guy and he definitely has the pulse of the average Disney fan.

Because I am a Disney vacation planning nerd, my true love is the WDW Today podcast. I've been listening to these guys for years and I never get bored with their show! It's truly a unique podcast because of the diversity of the on air talent. They don't always agree, but provide truly intelligent Disney planning information. Most of all, I enjoy the show because they are FUNNY! Sometimes I listen during my commute and laugh out loud. Then I realize that I am probably the only person that would even get the joke because you have to truly be a Disney fan to appreciate it!

I also want to congratulate the team over at WDW Today for their 1,000th episode this past week. It is truly a terrific milestone for a great group of Disney fans! Congratulations WDW Today! Can't wait for the next 1,000!

Nothing truly transports a person to another place like music. The recognition of just a few notes could trigger a memory locked in your brain for safe keeping.

You may not notice it while you are at Walt Disney World, but there is constantly music playing wherever you go. It is intentionally played in certain areas to create atmosphere and contribute to an areas theme.

I listen to Sorcerer Radio and Mouse World Radio every day at work. There is nothing that helps me calm down more than good music! Sorcerer Radio features several terrific live shows and discussions. The DJs are wonderful and keep things interesting and fun. Mouse World Radio features a ton of Disney area music and ride music, including rides that are gone but not forgotten. Both stations have a knack of giving me a Wishes or Illuminations fix when I need it the most!

The best part about all of these options is that they are absolutely FREE. You can listen to either of the podcasts that I mentioned above by following the links I provided. As for the music stations, you can listen to them both for free on Live365 or on their free iPhone aps.

What do you do for a Disney fix?

  Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flashback Friday! What Will You Celebrate?

In 2008, I received an email from the Disney College Program Alumni group asking for New York City-based volunteers. The email stated that they had a "very special announcement" and that they needed some people to help make magic in Times Square.

Of course, that's all the email needed to say to get me to sign up!

When we arrived at a hotel in Times Square there were conference rooms filled to the brim with Mickey balloons! For the kick off to "What Will You Celebrate?" Disney Parks was giving out free Mickey balloons in Times Square with information about getting your free ticket to the parks on your birthday.

We had a TON of fun. It was also nice reconnecting with other Disney College Program alumni. The program truly changes you and it's a part of life that you can't understand without going through it yourself.

Holy hair static, Batman!

Many thanks to Focused on the Magic for hosting this Flashback Friday Blog Hop! Go check out the other great posts!
Focused on the Magic

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Detailed Topiaries

EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival - 2008
I absolutely love this display in the Italy pavilion! There was so much detail and I love the additional flowers in the pots around Lady and the Tramp!
Focused on the Magic

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's the Point? The Disney Point Edition

"What's the Point?" is a new series of blog posts on The Disney Point explaining the thought process behind decisions by The Walt Disney Company, including the parks, the cast members or Imagineers.

During our Christmas trip last year, we participated in the "Keys to the Kingdom" tour at the Magic Kingdom. I knew a lot of the details they provided from my training as a Cast Member, but my family absolutely loved it. They could not believe how many small details were considered when  planning for the Magic Kingdom. The tour definitely focuses on how Disney does the "little things" right, improving the overall guest experience without them even knowing it. 

You may have walked down Main Street U.S.A. a thousand times, but you probably never noticed some of these elements. The same can be said for the thousands of Cast Members that work at Walt Disney World and other Disney destinations. They are trained to do things a certain way to improve guest interaction. 

One such training that is ingrained in the brains of Cast Members from day one with the company is the gesture that this blog is named after, "The Disney Point."

When Cast Members begin their training at the Walt Disney Company, they are required to attend a class called "Traditions." As a Disney fan, this class was absolutely thrilling for me! One of the many discussions involved how to appease the array of cultures that we come across in the parks on a daily basis.

In some cultures pointing (with one finger) is considered rude. Therefore, Cast Members are instructed that if someone asked where the closest turkey leg cart was, instead of using your "pointer" finger you should gesture with your pointer and middle finger together or with your whole hand. This is a more welcoming gesture than a single finger point.

There is also a second part to the Disney Point that may be a Disney legend or folk lore. Many people notice photos of Walt Disney walking around an unfinished Disneyland pointing things out. In most of these photos, he is doing "The Disney Point." However, some claim that Walt Disney really was holding a cigarette in his hand and that Disney's public relations department airbrushed it out. 

Regardless of the reason, Disney Cast Members are instructed to always use the Disney Point. Next time you are at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, take notice when asking a Cast Member a question. You will be shocked that you never noticed it before! 

If you are bored, there are some funny videos of Cast Members demonstrating the Disney Point on YouTube. Below is a picture of me and my College Program roommates doing the Disney Point on the Rock N' Roller Coaster.  I can tell you from personal experience that it is something that never leaves you. Eight years later I am still Disney Pointing!

Brandy, James, Kristy and I Disney Pointing :)

Have you ever noticed a Cast Member doing the Disney Point?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Disney Blogger Gift Card Giveaway!

Do you love free stuff? I certainly do! Now you, as a Disney Pointer, have the opportunity to win free stuff... free DISNEY stuff!

What: The Disney Point is participating in Disney Gift Card giveaway! As of 12:01 a.m. today, February 17, 2012, you can enter to win a free $100 Disney Gift Card.

Where: You can enter this awesome giveaway in this post by filling out information below in the raffle widget.

How: You will be asked to follow The Disney Point and other amazing Disney blogs on Facebook and Twitter as a part of your entry. After all the participating blogs collect entries, a winner will be randomly selected.

Why: There are a lot of terrific Disney bloggers out there, putting out exciting content for Disney fans. We are connecting Disney fans to these fantastic bloggers.

"Legalese" Open to residents of U.S. and Canada
Must be 18+ to enter
$100 Disney Gift Card will be mailed to the winner

Thank you so much to Theme Park Mom and Disney Every Day for organizing this great giveaway! Here's to hoping a Disney Pointer wins the gift card!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Delicious Disney Valentine's Day

Welcome to those of you joining me from The Magical Mouse Pad and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

I have to admit, Valentine's Day isn't my favorite holiday.

Don't get me wrong, I love any excuse to have a day dedicated to the one I love. However, I hate going out on Valentine's day because everyone is edgy and every restaurant in town is overcrowded and overpriced. Therefore, my dream Disney-inspired Valentine's Day would be celebrated at home with my husband.

The way to my heart is through my stomach. There's nothing I enjoy more than preparing a delicious meal with my husband. We work well together and making the meal is half the fun. I would love to scroll through my favorite Disney cookbook, Delicious Disney.
Delicious Disney Cookbook
The book offers everything from appetizers to desserts, based on recipes from restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line. Do you have a favorite meal that you have every time you visit the World? It most likely is included in this terrific, image heavy cookbook from author Pam Brandon.

Also, to top off our delicious Disney-inspired Valentine's Day meal, I would love to try something new. Inspired by an intense craving a few weeks ago, I took to the Interwebs to search for the perfect Dole Whip recipe. I found this easy recipe and instructional video from the blog Chip & Company. On Valentine's Day, I would love to pull out my ice cream maker attachment and make a yummy and refreshing Dole Whip!

How are you celebrating this Valentine's Day? Are you incorporating any favorites from Disney into this holiday?

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Disney Chick.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Manda’s Disney Blog

2nd Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer
4th Stop ~ (You are here!) The Disney Point
Final Stop ~ The Disney Chick

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Power of Disney Magic During Difficult Times

Sometimes it is difficult to find inspiration to write.  Often I find that life gets in the way. Over the past week and a half I have been suffering with a terrible flare up of my Ulcerative Colitis. It's hard to talk about the Happiest Place on Earth when you have to strain to remember what happy feels like in general.

I am lucky though. It's been over two years since my last flare up. As awful as they are, a little distance between flares can help me maintain normalcy. So when considering this post, I thought back to my last flare up. Where was I? Walt Disney World of course.

My husband (then fiance) Tom and sister-in-law planned a last minute trip down to the World to participate in D23's Magic and Merriment special event. The itinerary was simply too good to pass up. Special events included a seminar at EPCOT, special seating for the Candlelight Processional, dinner on the set of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, a private showing of the Osborne Family Festival of Lights, tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and (arguably my favorite part) a tour of the infamous Cinderella Castle Suite.

A few nights before our trip I felt the dreaded gut pain that is the bane of my existence. We discussed canceling, but since it wasn't a full blown flare yet and because I was looking forward to it so much, I tearfully decided to get on the plane and hope for the best.

We had a great time, but I spent the majority of the trip running from bathroom to bathroom. Since I couldn't really wait in line, I didn't go on many attractions but I was OK with that. I did them all before! I went more for the scenery and Christmas festivities.

However, when it was time to sign up for the Cinderella Castle Suite tour, I was feeling particularly miserable. We were sitting by Sleepy Hollow for about a half hour and spent the whole time running through Liberty Square to the bathrooms. (not the easiest location by the way) I finally thought I had everything under control when our group got called for the tour.

Our tour guide was amazing and walked us up to the Castle. They were giving a history of the suite when my stomach started acting up again. I knew I wouldn't make it through the tour, so I told Tom to stay with his sister and enjoy the tour. He, as always, objected to continuing; however, I insisted. There was no need for everyone to miss out because of my condition.

After my sprint to the Fantasyland restrooms, I walked back to the Castle and sat down across from the door where my group entered. All of the emotions of the weekend caught up with me. Just as the tears began flowing down my cheeks, a Cast Member peeked her head out of the door.

"You were in the last group, weren't you?" she said, peeking through the many guests strolling through the castle passageway. I turned around to look behind me even though I was sitting against the wall. "Yes, I had to run to the bathroom," I responded. "I'm just waiting for the rest of my group."

"Are you still interested in seeing the suite?" she asked, now standing over me. Am I still interested? Absolutely. "Come on," she said with that famous Disney smile. "I will give you a personal tour."

The Cast Member proceeded to give me an amazing tour of the suite. On the elevator ride up, I asked her if my group sent her for me. "No," she said. "I saw you run off and you looked very upset. I figured it was an emergency and I'd find you. So I asked someone to watch the group while I came back down here to get you."

If the tears weren't flowing before, they certainly were after she told me that.

People talk about the "Disney magic" with an amused tone. Yet that night I felt it stronger than ever thanks to one observant, kind and thoughtful Cast Member. One of the biggest regrets I have is not getting her name. However, I still stopped in Guest Relations to tell them about my experience. They told me that they will most likely be able to pinpoint who it was based on the time and the tour number I provided them with.

The Disney magic is very real, and very powerful.  Enjoy the photos below from my tour:

The mosaics on the elevator floor

The clock always reads 11:59 in Cinderella Castle

The details are stunning!

The gorgeous beds!

My favorite part of the suite - the royal bathroom!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Love is in the Air

Engagement Photo Shoot in EPCOT
May 2009
Focused on the Magic

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: My February Calendar Shot

My February Calendar Shot - Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Go check out other Wordless Wednesday entries today!

Focused on the Magic