Monday, January 27, 2014

Valentine's Day Fireworks at Walt Disney World

So this is love, oh oh oh oh, so this is LOVE! So this is what makes life divine!

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and what better way to spend the most romantic day of the year than with your loved ones at Disney Parks. While Valentine's Day is usually claimed by couples, I think you should celebrate with anyone who makes your life complete - family, friends, cousins, kids, etc.

One activity that I've always wanted to do and I think would make a fabulous Valentine's Day activity is a private fireworks cruise at Walt Disney World. There are fireworks cruises available for both Wishes at the Magic Kingdom and Illuminations at Epcot.

The Wishes fireworks cruise is on a pontoon boat and leaves from the Disney's Contemporary Resort dock. There are two options - basic and premium. In my opinion the slightly larger boat (premium) is a better option. For about $350, you can have ten guests aboard the boat. Included with that fee is the boat captain, drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks. The best part about the premium Wishes fireworks cruise is that they pipe in the music from the show onto the boat! (The basic option only fits eight people, does not pipe in the music and is only slightly less expensive)

The Illuminations Cruise leaves from the Disney's Yacht Club Resort and is also on a pontoon boat. It includes everything that is included on the Wishes cruise for about the same price.

I hear the views are spectacular and it is a wonderful way to see the best fireworks shows in the world!

Interested? All you have to do is call (407) WDW-PLAY to book these amazing excursions! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Preparing for My #DisneySide @Home Celebration

I'm one lucky little Disney fan! I was selected to host a #DisneySide Celebration at my home!

Next month, I will host a #DisneySide party at my home. Theme is my choice, but Disney has helped us out with an AMAZING haul of items to help make my home as festive as possible!

Today on an extremely frustrating day, I came home to a  large box with a #DisneySide stamp on it! Talk about turning a frown upside down! I've included a collage below but here are the items included:

- A Welcome Guide
- Disney Bingo Games & Disney Trivia
- runDisney "Cheer" Signs, runDisney bumper stickers & ESPN Bracelets
- Adorable Mickey and Minnie Lithographs 
- Disney Face Paint Guides
- HP Print-at-Home Cards
- Craisins Snack Packs
- Disney Vacation Planning DVD
- Muppets Most Wanted Calendars
- Swirl Decorations, Balloons, Plates, Napkins, Cups & a Table Cloth
- Disney Cookie Cutters, Cupcake Cups, "The Chew" Measuring Cups
- Disney Tattoos
- And last but certainly not least, American Tourister AT Skate Luggage

Stay tuned to The Disney Point to read more about my #DisneySide @Home Celebration! I can't wait to share it with you, though I wish you could all come and share your love with Disney with me in person!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Disney Point in Saving Mr. Banks

Did you have the opportunity to see Saving Mr. Banks over the holidays?

As soon as the title popped up in my local movie theater, I was there! I found a Thursday evening showing before it officially opened on Friday, which made my husband happy because I only embarrassed him by squealing in front of a few die-hard fans instead of a full theater.

What did I think? I absolutely loved it!

If you don't know, Saving Mr. Banks is inspired by the "extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic 'Mary Poppins' made it to the screen."

As a Disney history buff, everything about this film made me giddy and weepy. However, there was one thing that stood out to me that you may not have noticed. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney doing "The Disney Point" throughout the film. Do you not know what The Disney Point is? Read more about The Disney Point from an earlier post.

The alternate to The Disney Point is the full hand gesture, as shown by Bradley Whitford as Don DaGradi 
Did you notice Tom Hanks as Walt "Disney Pointing?" Hanks obviously did his homework and got in character. What did you think about Tom Hanks's portrayal of Walt Disney? Sound off in the comments below.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My All-Encompassing Disney Side

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Red. Enjoy the ride as we share our Disney side.

Since the dawn of the #DisneySide contest, I have thought about my Disney Side. Believe it or not it's a topic I've struggled with. After really thinking about it, I realized that the reason I can't pinpoint my Disney Side is because it is ingrained in me, in every fiber of my being, in everything I do.

My first trip to Walt Disney World was when I was one year old. My parents packed me in a car with my grandparents and they brought me to the Place Where Magic Lives. I was never frightened of the characters, I embraced them. My parents say I loved every minute of it, rarely cried and was about as good as a baby can be in the hot Orlando sun.

It would be almost a decade before I'd return to Walt Disney World. During that time I fell in love with Disney movies and cartoons. I slept with an Eeyore plaque that I took off the wall and put in my crib each and every night.

Then in 1994 my family started to visit the Walt Disney World Resort yearly. We regularly (and luckily) stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. On our first trip we purchased our stone which will be 20 (TWENTY!) years old this year.

We went to Disneyland, we sailed on the Disney Cruise Line. To say I drank the Disney Kool Aid would be an understatement.

When I was in high school, while everyone else went on Spring Break to Cancun, my best friend and I planned a post-graduate trip to WDW. One day I picked up a teen magazine and read an article about a girl who got fired from the Disney College Program because she called out to go to the beach. I was both outraged that she would squander such an amazing opportunity and excited to hear that such a program existed.

I did my research, and in my junior year of college at St. John's University, I packed my bags and headed to sunny Orlando for a semester at Walt Disney World. I had the pleasure of living, learning and earning at the greatest place on earth. I worked at Space Mountain and became even more interested and obsessed in Disney history and thinking.

It was during my Walt Disney World College Program I learned about the Disney Point." We were not to point with one finger because it is rude. We are either supposed to point with two fingers, or gesture with our full hand. Walt Disney always did it - many rumors say that it was because he always had a cigarette in his hand and Disney PR photoshopped it out. Either way, it's something I still do to this day.

I went back home to finish my degree. In graduate school I had the Disney "itch" again. I applied to the Disney Professional Internship Program and was accepted to work in the Disney Public Relations office. Again, this only increased my interest in Disney Parks and I loved every minute of it.

Disney has become a part of who I am. My husband and I danced to a Disney song as our first dance as husband and wife. We are Disney Vacation Club members. It is truly my happy place. It has given me a second family (including Cast Member friends and fellow Magical Blogorailers) and memories that will last a lifetime.

My Disney Side is All-Encompassing!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Magical Mouse Schoolhouse.

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 ~ The Disney Point (You are here!)
2nd Stop ~ Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
3rd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
4th Stop ~ 400 Miles to Disneyland
Final Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse is

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Guest Post: Running the World - 2014 Dopey Challenge

Editors Note: Enjoy this guest post from my friend (and person who walked me through my first 5k) Briccio DeLeon who is heading down to Walt Disney World tomorrow to participate in the Dopey Challenge. His story is truly inspirational! Stay tuned for his post-marathon report later this month.

Let me tell you a little about myself and how I started running.  Up until five or six years ago, I would have never considered myself a runner.  I’ve been overweight pretty much my whole life and an opportunity to change that came when a friend of mine invited me to the gym with her.  A few days became a few weeks, and a few weeks became a yearly membership; before I knew it, after two years, I officially lost 75 pounds. 

Running wasn’t really a part of that equation until the end of that period.  I never really had a good appreciation of running.  I remember going to Great Kills Park on Staten Island with my family when I was a kid and having this long stretch of road ahead of us. I would end up walking the whole length.  My first real appreciation of running was with my father when he and I walked the park and he challenged me to a run.  Any kid who gets a challenge from parent feels the need to be “better” than them, so of course I took the challenge and ran the length. 

As I frantically ran with all my energy I saw my father take his time and run at a pace that confused me a bit.  Why wasn’t he running faster? He completely let me pass.  That’s when I learned my first rule of running – keep your pace and conserve your energy.  After a good five minutes of me sweating, burning, and coughing, I hit the wall and stopped dead in my tracks.  A few minutes later my dad just strolled up and passed me right by.  Yep, he beat me and deservedly so.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized what he was doing in that run and I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.

Fast-forward to 2010: My best friend asks me, “Wanna do a Disney Half-marathon with me?”  As a Disney fanatic, I’m embarrassed to say that I never EVER knew about runDisney before this.  I looked it up, saw pictures of kids high-fiving Mickey and decided “Why not?”  Having only run on treadmills to help me lose weight I knew I had to change my plan because marathon training was a whole different beast.  Six months of training later, with runs around Manhattan at 6pm at night in the summer months that got me from 34th Street and 1st Avenue to 79th Street and BACK, I knew I was ready.  When January 2011 came and the challenge started, my goal was never to be competitive; rather my goal was to have fun and to FINISH. THE. RACE.  And I did.  I didn’t care how long it took me, I just wanted to finish, get my pictures with Mickey, Donald and all the Disney characters that I passed and to see Disney World in a whole new light.  It was the best, most fun goal I’ve ever set for myself and I’m glad to have completed it.

So now it’s 2014 and in less than a week, I will be running the first Walt Disney World Marathon Dopey Challenge. What’s the Dopey Challenge you ask?  It’s basically for people who are completely and utterly OUT OF THEIR MINDS! It encompasses:
  • Thursday, January 9 - Family Fun Run 5K
  • Friday, January 10 - First Annual 10K
  • Saturday, January 11- Walt Disney World Half Marathon 
  • Sunday, January 12 - The Walt Disney World Marathon.   
4 days, 48.6 Miles, 6 medals of awesomeness (one for each run, one for the “Goofy Challenge” of running the half and full and one for the Dopey Challenge of completing all four!)

So how does one prepare for this monstrous feat of athletic aptitude?  I learned two very vital things from running that would help anyone in their pursuit to be a better runner.  Socks and shoes!  No joke! Compression socks are probably a runner’s best friend other than their shoes.  They help protect the legs from injury, from strain in running long distances and provide extreme comfort on the feet that prevent you from damaging them. The right shoes also helps.  There are websites out there that help explain which shoes are the right one for you based on the way that you run.  Once I found my right pair, I never looked back and I’m glad these sneakers I have now (Adidas Boost) are the ones I’ll be running with.

Other than that, the only thing left to do is get out there and run.  Whether you’re doing it competitively or if you’re like me and just doing it for the fun of it, there’s no other better place to start than just going outside and running.  Don’t run for the time, the pace, the miles, or even the calories - run because it’s in you to WANT to run.  The best thing about it is that everyone can do it; you just have to motivate yourself.  You don’t have to run hard and fast, just do it like me and start easy and go from there, the next thing you know, you’ll be signing up for the 2015 Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.  Just don’t forget the two things my dad taught me - keep your pace and conserve your energy. 

I’d like to thank Roe for giving me the opportunity to write this.  I started my own blog last year wanting to write tips and hints and exactly the same ideas I’ve been meaning to write here but as always life finds a way to never provide any consistency (A major headache for a “blogger” that Roe and I even joked about what to update on our blogs and I have to admit, she’s doing A LOT better about it than I am. - Briccio

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Escape from Escape from Tomorrow

Disney fans, are you curious about Escape from Tomorrow? I was. After I caved and rented it I thought of something positive that came from all of this - I watched it so now I can definitively tell you to avoid it at all cost.

Rosanne was not impressed.
As much as I hate to admit it, the trailer for Escape from Tomorrow intrigued me. How did they get away with filming in Walt Disney World and Disneyland for so long? How were they able to shoot an entire movie in the Disney theme parks without sending up red flags? Disney can be creepy sometimes. For those of you that have read the Kingdom Keepers, you may never look at It's a Small World the same again.

Had the film focused on the rides or characters being possessed, I probably would've enjoyed it. But that was not the focus of the film. In fact, there was no focus to the film. Possessed attractions, real life witches, public health scares, lost children, demented guests...they all make an appearance. It was all over the place.

The worst part, quite frankly, was the "porn" like feel to the whole film. Most of the movie dealt with the middle aged father chasing around young teenage girls. Do not let your children see this film. There's nudity in all the wrong places and a sex scene. I'm not a prude but it was crass. The scenes with the young girls were uncomfortable.

I was not impressed. I was not amused. I was in fact disappointed that the directors of the film were able to pull this off but did not have the story or script to make it worthwhile. The production itself was impressive but the story was atrocious.

Am I totally off base? What did you think about Escape from Tomorrow? Sound off in the comments below.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My 2014 Disney Resolutions







Welcome to 2014! Personally, I couldn't be happier to say goodbye to 2013. Even though this year has brought some amazing memories, it also brought a lot of personal pain and heartache.

I'm looking forward to 2014 in many different ways. However, from a Disney perspective, I have a few items to add to my to-do list for 2014.

3. Go on a few tours. My family absolutely loved Keys to the Kingdom. It was truly a highlight of our trip and it's a must-do for every Disney fan.

There are a few more tours at Walt Disney World that I'd love to do in 2014, including:
2. Ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I had an amazing time visiting the New Fantasyland in 2013. In late 2012 we were able to visit the awesome Enchanted Tales with Belle. When we returned this past year, we got to dine at the amazing and stunning Be Our Guest restaurant and rode Under The Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.

However, the attraction that I am most excited about is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Each car will sway left to right individually, making this ride unique. I've been watching the construction over the past few years and I cannot wait to ride the finished product.

1. Disneyland, where art thou? It's been fifteen years since I've set foot in the Happiest Place on Earth. The last time I was there, Disney's California Adventure DID NOT EXIST! The next time I go to Disneyland, I will not leave without taking part in the "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps" tour.

Until I make it back to LA, Disneyland will forever top my Disney bucket list and resolution list.

What is your 2014 Disney Resolution? Share in the comments below.