Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: My Disney Family

Are you thankful for Disney? I sure am. The vacation kingdom has not only created memories to last a lifetime for my family, but it also has given me a very important second family. These friends are not close in proximity, but are always near and dear to my heart. I am so grateful to have them in my life, and I only have Mickey Mouse to thank for them!

Focused on the Magic

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cast Members Make the Dream a Reality

Welcome to those of you joining me from Capturing Magical Memories and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the second stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Turkey. Football. Family. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for many reasons, but mostly because it forces us to really take the time to reflect on what we are truly thankful for. Everyday I am thankful that I am a part of the very special Disney fan community. I am thankful for the Disney parks and resorts that have provided me with memories to last a lifetime.

However, it is Cast Members around the world that make the magical moments so special. Walt Disney understood that. He said, "You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality."

Tribute to the Cast on Main Street, USA, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
When I worked at Walt Disney World, I worked holidays and weekends. One day while I was working at Space Mountain around Christmas, a guest came up to me and said, "Thank you for being here today to make this day special for my family." I was homesick and tired. Guests were grumpy...but that one person made my day. 

The 60,000-plus Cast Members at Walt Disney World all play a part in making your vacation magical. From the folks who clean the streets, to the maintenance workers who work overnight and the front line Cast who greet you every day in the park, there are so many people who play an important role in making your day special. Most of the time they are working long hours, making a small wage and struggling to keep on a happy face. 

Do what you can to tell them. Whether you thank them, tell a manager about special service, or stop by Guest Relations to brag about a Cast Member that went above and beyond, know that it helps fuel the magic for years to come. 

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have tomake a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
2nd Stop ~  The Disney Point (You are here!)
3rd Stop ~  Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Final Stop ~ The Disney Kids

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My #DisneySide Coming Out

As much as I'd like to prevent my #DisneySide from coming out in certain situations, it somehow always happens.

Take this picture for instance:

We went wine tasting in Long Island with my cousins and stopped for breakfast. My cousin said to my husband sitting across the way, "Take out your camera." This picture was the result.

We weren't talking about Disney, but it's always with me.

Another example: I'm teaching an introduction to public relations class this semester at St. John's University, and I require two students per class to present a news story from the world of PR. This past class two students had stories about Disney PR. How random is that?!

We all have our #DisneySide. It's time we embrace it!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Home for the Holidays at Disney World

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

As we celebrate the fall, there are a few things we can be certain of:

  • The leaves will fall off the trees in the north
  • Snow will eventually begin to fall
  • And Disney Parks and destinations will be dressed to the nines to celebrate the holidays
Each and every year as the decorations magically appear before our eyes, I get nostalgic for home. No, not New York City; rather my second home of Walt Disney World Resort. There's something EXTRA magical about the holidays at Disney. Everything has that extra touch and everyone seems to be in a great mood.

There are a number of amazing events at Walt Disney World for the holidays but my favorite event is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. It turns an area that I otherwise do not appreciate to an amazing spectacle each year. This year from November 8, 2013 to January 5, 2014, you may visit the Osborne lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here's how Disney describes the lights:

"Marvel at millions of glittering lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music.  Share in an awe-inspiring seasonal treat for the entire family. Brilliant multi-colored bulbs wrap the buildings, changing hues and brightness throughout the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   As joyful music surrounds you, a sea of twinkling lights form twirling carousels of heavenly angels, toy soldiers, a spinning Earth, and even Santa and his trusty reindeer. It’s something you have to see to believe!"

Here are some of my favorite photos from last year:

I will miss the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights this year, because oh there's no place like home for the holidays, 'cause no matter how far away you roam - if you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays - you can’t beat home, sweet home.

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 ~ The Magical Mouse Pad
3rd Stop ~ The Disney Point (You are here!)
4th Stop ~ The Disney Chick

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Taking a Spin with American Tourister's COLORA

Visit for full disclosure.


October used to be my favorite month. It's my birthday month. It's Walt Disney World's birthday month! It's the month of the World Series. It's the month that my favorite sport in the world (hockey) begins. It's the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! But one day I took a new job and that job has a massive event in October. October stopped being fun.

Then one day last month this beautiful piece of luggage showed up at my front door courtesy of American Tourister.

Meet the COLORA by American Tourister.

The bag in the photograph is a 20 inch spinning luggage unlike you've ever seen before. This little vibrant bag packs a big punch:

  • COLORA is enhanced with the near effortless mobility of sleek, smooth rolling dual Spinner wheels
  • Fully lined interiors with zippered compartment and cross straps to minimize shifting of contents
  • Ergonomically designed dual tube aluminum handle with comfort grip locks in place when not in use
  • Large exterior panel pocket accommodates last minute items
While the features on paper are beyond impressive and while the vibrant color truly stands out, I figured that my business trip would be the perfect opportunity to give the COLORA a test spin.

So about ten minutes before I had to leave, I started to pack. (I'm kidding, of course. I started about six whole hours before I had to leave) Because I was traveling from New York to Philadelphia by public transportation and would have my laptop and purse as well, I was determined to fit all of my personal items in one small piece of luggage for a five day event.

Spoiler Alert! It fit and with room to spare. I even added my purse in so I wouldn't have to carry it separately. I fit four dresses, undergarments, three pairs of shoes, my pajamas and all of my toiletries in the special case.

Traveling with COLORA by American Tourister.

The first part of my trip was one that I am very familiar with:  my morning commute. Because of my extra baggage (pun intended) instead of hopping the bus in the morning, I took my car to the Staten Island Ferry. That's when the compliments started.
  • GIRL! Where did you get that bag? 
  • Oh my GOSH! I never saw a bag that color. Are there other colors?
  • That's American Tourister? I never saw anything like that. 
  • I highly doubt you ever lose that luggage in the airport carousel. I saw you coming a mile away. (That was from the bag inspector!) 
People in lower Manhattan absolutely went nuts over COLORA. I've never talked to so many people during my commute! People usually keep their headphones in and never look you in the eye. COLORA changed all that.

The luggage itself held up great. It went on the ferry, the subway and the Amtrak train to and from Philly. It was dragged through the streets of lower Manhattan. I beat it up, but it never showed signs of being beating up. It was light enough for this small girl to fling it (full) up on the Amtrak's luggage holder. It looked great and it felt great.

Now American Tourister is the Official Luggage of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, linking two quality brands together. Do you want to know more about this great line? Visit the American Tourister website and see all the great colors available for the COLORA line. Right now American Tourister is offering free shipping on orders over $99. Check out the 20" Spinner that I just reviewed. Thank you for joining me for this VERY special review! I highly recommend this luggage, especially for you Disney Pointers who like to Pack More Fun when traveling to your favorite Disney Destinations!

Visit for full disclosure.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How I Did It...Surprise Disney Trip

Can you successfully plan an entire Disney trip for your loved one and only tell them about it the night before? I did.

Granted, it may be an easier task when it's your four-year-old that you're surprising. However, I was planning a 30th birthday trip for my husband Tom, who has been known to be extremely nosy, who is always the first person to get our mail and who is responsible for paying all our bills. 

How did I get away with it? I followed these steps and I had some good luck:

1. Getting the time off. Here is your first challenge. Most adults don't have the luxury of waking up and leaving for vacation on a whim. After securing some tentative time off with my boss, I broke into Tom's computer, looked up his boss's email address and contacted him. (NSA, take that!) He was very understanding and my husband had more than enough time to take. (I did sweat a bit when Tom took a day off here or there, however.)

2. Booking all the Disney Details. I booked us five nights at Disney's Boardwalk Villas, but gave my parents address for everything. I planned everything with My Disney Experience (MDE) via my mobile phone. I included Tom as one of the participants but didn't give any of his personal information. Once he found out about the trip, I added his personal MDE account so he could view all of the dining and itinerary details on his mobile phone.

3. Get others in on the secret. Because we were away the weekend of his birthday, we had to have some fake plans so he didn't think it was strange that we weren't doing anything for his 30th birthday. I planned not one, but two birthday parties with friends and family. Our budget was obviously going towards a Disney trip, so I did everything in our home. Tom's mom got cake and we simply had cake and coffee during both parties.

4. Roll with the punches. Somewhere along the line, someone will slip. It's bound to happen. Remember, it's the thought that counts. Even if the whole story blows up in your face, the end result is a magical Disney vacation.

5. Plan the big reveal. I was determined to not tell my husband until the evening before we were leaving. I knew this would throw him off completely. The afternoon of the big reveal, I texted him at work and told him I couldn't wait anymore and I wanted to give him his birthday present. I wrapped up this amazing countdown clock. He opened it up and it was pure shock. 16 hours? We are going to Disney World in 16 hours?!

Check out PixieDustedStitches on Etsy!

 It was worth every penny and all of the lying! :)

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing my day to day trip report. Follow the hashtag #TomTurns30 for new posts! Thanks for reading. 

Please comment with how you've surprised your loved ones!