A Runner’s Life Is Not For Me????

Lisa running dopey

By Frances

I had the honor of cheering on my friend Lisa in her quest to complete the Dopey Challenge. What is the Dopey Challenge? It is a challenge that includes 4 days of back to back races where the runners complete 4 races. A 5K on Thursday (3.1 miles), 10K on Friday (6.2 miles), 1/2 Marathon on Saturday (13.1 miles) & a Full Marathon  on Sunday (26.2 miles) totaling 48.6 miles. There photowere 7,000 runners that registered to complete the Dopey Challenge in spring 2013.

I was expecting the weekend to be fun with the exception of getting up at 3:00 am. I also was there to just support Lisa and to cheer her on in what I would have considered … well, A Dopey Challenge! Saturday morning was my first morning to be in full cheer mode for her. Lisa’s mom, Patty, and I devised a plan that she would see her off at the start. I would see her at the Magic Kingdom. Patty would try to make it to the Magic Kingdom but was unsure if she could make it in time & then back to the finish line to see Lisa cross the finish line.

As I waited in line to board the motor coach at 3:30am, the vibe of the runners and their supporters was almost palatable. There were people dressed up as Donald Duck, Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse and more. The crazy part was, it wasn’t just the women. Men were dressed up just as much! There was an excessive amounts of smiles and laughter that could have easily powered the city of Monstropolis for a week.

I parted ways with Lisa & Patty at Epcot to make my journey to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail. There were families boarding the monorail to cheer on their loved ones. There was a couple that live in Orlando that go to the Magic Kingdom every race to cheer on the runners. There were so many stories that I really became inspired. I always thought of running as a non spectator sport but here were a bunch of people going out to spectate at too early in the morning.

I saw families cheering on loved ones. Dads seeing their kids and picking them up for hugs. Wives kissing their husbands has they ran by. High fives given freely to anyone and everyone.

I also formed a few hour bond with the other spectators around me. We were all making sure no one missed seeing their friend or loved one. When they passed us, we were all cheering for them. It brought tears to my eyes to see all of the loved ones faces light up with the realization that they had their very own cheer section.

Here is a video of Lisa running through the Magic Kingdom: Click Here

Disney running events can be incredibly expensive but incredibly thrilling from the runner and spectators point of view.

I have never ran a race at Disney. But I plan to soon.

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Alice Apron Unbirthday Giveaway on Picturing Disney!

Have you ever celebrated your unbirthday? In the spirit of the March Hare and Mad Hatter’s fabulous tea party there is no day to celebrate like today! So grab some friends and family, have your own unbirthday party and then enter to win this wonderlandful apron.
Image

It’s easy to enter just head over to my photoblog, Picturing Disney, for more details! Remember you can send pics of past unbirthday celebrations as well!

A very merry unbirthday to you my dears!

“Top 5Must Do’s” at Walt Disney World During the Holidays

The Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The holidays are a beautiful time to go to the Walt Disney World Resort. The Mouze Kateerz writers have come up with our list of “Top 5 Must DO’s” during the holidays.

1. Resort Hop!

2. Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

3. EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional

4. Shop at DownTown Disney and the Resorts!

5. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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How to Survive Walt Disney World at Thanksgiving & Christmas Holidays

Castle Dreamlights, Disney at night, Disney Christmas at night, Disney Christmas castle, Disney Christmas vacation, planning Disney vacation at Christmas, Disney Cinderella Castle at Christmas

When Cinderella Castle lights up, will you forget the crowds? Just maybe…

The Mouze Kateerz writers have been to Disney more than 1,000 times combined. They have traveled to the Walt Disney World Resort during the value season and during high peak (AKA The Holidays). Here are a few tips to help you survive and be realistic about your upcoming trip. Our goal is for you to have the most magical vacation possible.

Lisa P: We have been there at Christmas and went in knowing we couldn’t do everything. We did EMH (Extra Magic Hours), and chose to more look at decorations at the parks that day and not worry about hitting a bunch of rides. Also did Osbourne lights at night. We had a boardwalk view room at the Boardwalk and could watch the fireworks from there. Also make sure to have ADRs  (Advance Dining Reservations) well in advance so you don’t have to worry that day.

Holiday decorated topiary at Downtown Disney

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Amanda C: ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations)  is a must from that 180 day mark. Especially for the character dining, Liberty Tavern  and Le Cellier. Go in knowing lines are long and people are a little less magical because you are walking across the bridge to Adventureland nose to tail and hip to hip with complete strangers all wanting that magical experience just like you. Step back take a breath and people watch.
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Mike E: I would think the key to any crazy busy time is to just take it slowly like Lisa mentions, absorb all that is there to see, not worry so much about the different must do rides, and most importantly, as my good friend Monica says: “Just be.”
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Heather L: We have never gone in the crazy season!! Only way that I would is if I won a trip for free.  :) I know other friends that have and their best advice is to remain flexible, plan ahead, use fast passes, and take advantage of all the EMH (Extra Magic Hours). One friend who has been three times at Christmas and New Year’s says they enjoy visiting other Disney Resorts when the crowds are at their peak and Downtown Disney.
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Pluto holiday topiary at Epcot

Melissa R: Ironically, I just booked a last minute Thanksgiving trip for a client and got a lot of ADRs that they wanted…but having said that…be flexible! We will be there Thanksgiving week (and we were there 4th of July week) so the crowds don’t really phase us that much. Go in with a plan, know what are your must dos and what are the optionals.
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Teresa S: For many years we traveled to WDW the week between Christmas & New Year’s…. Take advantage of EMH – make sure your dining is booked way in advance and just go with the flow of the crowd. Patience is the key – there are long waits and so many people – but the atmosphere is full of holiday “sparks” and everyone is having fun! As Mike’s friend Monica said “Just be – just be in the moment” and enjoy the madness that is Disney at the holidays!!!
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Denny M: Don’t try to Christmas shop in the parks! The shops are insane. Spend a morning at Downtown Disney shopping for all those Disney gifts you have in mind. And make sure you make a shopping list ahead of time. In the hustle and bustle you’re sure to forget someone if you don’t. Plus…Downtown Disney is the best place to visit Santa! They build a house for him! Grins!
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Didi: We visited WDW during the 2 week period before and after Christmas and it was AMAZING! Planning is always important, but if you want to eat at all, ADRs are essential during this period! We did the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package on Christmas Eve (incredible), mass at the Contemporary Resort Christmas Day, and then did a complete tour of the resorts in lieu of a park day. Our favorite family trip ever!!
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Andrea C: Don’t try to ‘do it all’ during this time. With all there is too do in Disney during this time, you just can’t get it all in. Make a list. Get to the most important things on the list so if you run out of time, it really isn’t such a big disappointment. Remember to account for the extra travel time due to the large crowds. My favorite things to do during Christmas is to visit the Worlds in Epcot, the Osborne Lights and Resort hop to see them theme decorated.
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David D: I agree with Andrea… Each family member make a list of things they really want to do, and plan for those things—FPs, prioritizing when you ride, etc. Also on the really busy days, like thanksgiving or December 23, 24th, 25th, get to a park–magic kingdom especially–early and plan to stay there. When parks max out on capacity, you cannot get in!
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SO here are great tips in a nut shell:
1. Be flexible
2. Have a Must Do/Like to Do List
3. Make Advance Dining Reservations 180 days prior to your vacation
4. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours
5. Shop at Downtown Disney in the morning vs at a Theme Park
6. Have patients
Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com
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Photographing Walt Disney World: How to Bring the Magic a Little Closer to Home

One of our Mouze Kateerz writers, Amanda Major (www.cheapskateprincess.com), is one of the best Disney photographers that I’ve seen. She captures Disney Magic with every picture. She is one of the largest picture contributors to Mouze Kateerz. Here is an article that she wrote several months ago that I thought was worth rerunning for more readers to enjoy. ~ Frances

By Amanda M.

Every photo has a story.

One reason I am so enamored with Walt Disney World is the wide range of photographic opportunities I find when I vacation there. Photography can be both a tremendously rewarding experience and a maker of memories, but on the other side, it can be a journey into frustration and disappointment. Images don’t always turn out in print like you see them through your eyes.  Sometimes, I look at my photos and think, “Ugh!! It didn’t look like that!”  What to do…

Picture this…As photography has moved away from print film to digital, we now have the opportunity to clean up and fix a lot of images that would look better with a little nip and tuck. One of my most useful photo editing tools, Picasa in my case,  is the crop button. Simple. Handy. Crop.

Mouze Kateerz fan Randy Ash from Bloomington, IL,  dropped a photo off on our wall at Mouze Kateerz on Facebook, and it was so beautiful, I had to see if there was an original.  Apparently Randy didn’t need to crop his photo a for a closer view- he just zoomed up on his subject. In keeping with my theme of every photo has a story,  there was indeed a great Disney tale attached with his photo…romance, relaxation, and vivid colors.  Here’s Randy’s photographical memory:

disney photography, The Disney Moms, Tree of Life photo, Animal Kingdom photosThis past May, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with our first trip back to WDW since our honeymoon … without the kids. We decided during the planning for the trip that we would set no schedule, eat when we wanted to…not just when we could spare a moment between attractions. We took the time to look for the details that we so often rushed past in search of a character signing or fast pass.

Every trip for us to WDW includes a morning at Animal Kingdom. First destination… The Tree of Life to see A Bug’s Life. As we worked our way towards the tree, we stopped to take this pic with the tree in the background.

The vivid color of the simple pink flower struck me so I decided to take a close up. “

Animal Kingdom, It's a Bugs life, Disney Photography, The Disney Moms, Animal Kingdom safari
“This close up has become one of my favorites from this trip. It is a good reminder to me to slow down and look for the detail, it is all part of the Magic!

Mouze Kateerz fan Randy Ash from Bloomington, IL

The personal thing about photography is that sometimes a photo will have no meaning or emotional attachment to anyone other than the photographer. The picture belongs to you; the special meaning is all your own. But this doesn’t diminish the beauty you can find in photographs, even if you really have no idea where the photo was taken.

Bonnet Creet Resort, Windham Bonnet Creek Resort, Hollywood Studios, Bonnet Creek photosHere is a photo I took in 2011 at Windham Bonnet Creek Resort on the other side of the highway from Disney‘s Hollywood Studios.Our first stay here was fabulous, and included hot dogs for Christmas Eve dinner (a new annual tradition) and a swim in the heated lazy river on Christmas Day.

I took several shots of a sunset as the clouds were rolling in on Dec. 26th, the day before we returned home. Most people will not recognize this as Bonnet Creek.

There are no Disney characters in the shot, no iconic Disney architecture or logos, so you won’t recognize the location, but you are drawn in all the same.

photography, Picasa photo editing, Picasa photography, Disney Picasa, photo cropping, Disney photography, The beautiful thing about this photo is that I didn’t do a thing to change the color. I just cut out the distracting clouds and focused on the closer beauty of an Orlando sunset. I then fought off depression by telling myself in that every sunset does notlook like this when you are three miles from the Magic Kingdom. I remain unconvinced; I somehow suspect actually they do.

So if you can’t zoom, then crop. A little nip here, and a little tuck there can take a good photo and bring it a little closer to home, both to your eye, and to your heart.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we’ll see you around the Disney parks with a camera!

Amanda

Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  If you have some fabulous Disney photographs you’d like to share, send an email of your favorite Disney location to mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

See ya soon!

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Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be in Springfield, MO

Monday October 22, 2012, Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be at an Early Bird Holiday Shopping Event with multiple other vendors in Springfield, MO. If you are near by please stop by and plan your next magical vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Cruise line or Adventures by Disney. If you RSVP to frances@distinctive-journeys.com by Monday morning October 22nd, you will receive a special gift.

Event Location:

Panera Bread Company

500 South National Avenue

Springfield, Missouri

6pm-8:45pm CDT

Several vendors with lots of giveaways, including Thirty-One gifts, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Usborne Books, Celebrating Home, Party Lite and your Disney Travel Specialist. Bring a guest and get an extra entry into giveaways!

Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be giving away a model of the Disney Dream.

There are some appointments available prior to the event and the morning of Tuesday October 23rd. Please contact Frances @404-414-6198 to make your appointment.

 

 

Disney World Guidebook Round Up

By Melissa L.

With such a huge costumer base, it is no wonder that there are entire shelves in bookstores dedicated to Disney World Travel Guides as well as website companions that offer online subscriptions to the company’s best planning tools.  How do you make your way through the stack in order to find which is best for you? Use the guide below to find what resources you are looking for in order to make the perfect pre-trip purchase for you!

Books

Most fun and personalized: Passporter

What makes the Passporter guide book my go to choice is the fun I have filling it up with personal information.  The moment after I book my next Disney World trip the first thing I do is order the most current Passporter! I pour over the pages for hours before planning trips, going over ever detail, adding every last minute that I have planned to my pass pockets and updating all of our personal trip information.  I am a Passporter addict! I even used leftover pockets on my honeymoon!

This innovative guide has excellent descriptions of the hotels, attractions, and restaurants at Walt Disney World, as well as, ratings and worksheets that help make your trip planning fun.  What I love about Passporter is that I can hold onto my guidebook as a memento after our trips and flipping through it feels reminiscent of flipping through a scrapbook or photo album.  The deluxe version is fabulous and they offer updated refills each year as well as Disneyland Resort refills.

Most comprehensive: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

To use the singular of Unofficial Guide does not do this line of books justice.  Not only is the original namesake filled with a plethora of Disney Planning information for planning your vacation from beginning to end, but there are multiple companions which include a color companion, guide specifically for traveling with kids, one for traveling without kids, one for traveling around other parks in Orlando, and editions for Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

Best quick look for Disney pros: Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World

I have found myself with a small collection of Birnbaum guides over the years.  Planning a Disney trip is exciting and for some reason I usually find myself with a copy of this at some point in my planning.  It’s usually under $10, and I find it great as a guide when I am planning out where to eat or what new attractions to look forward to.  I carried it in my work bag for two months before our last trip.  It is slim and had lots of quick descriptions which are great for skimming through on a lunch break or when I have a few minutes here or there.

Best pictures: The Complete Walt Disney World

Like the other guides featured here, this has great descriptions and reviews of the parks, restaurants, hotels, and attractions to be found at Walt Disney World.  Unlike the other guides here this is so chock full of photos you may find yourself lost in a day dream before you make it through the first 20 pages.  There is so much not just to read, but to see in this book that its hard to resist once you take a peek inside!   There is also a really neat section that is a Disney encyclopedia of sorts called “Disney A to Z”!

Online Subscriptions

This is the digital age, so while there are plenty of books out there on the topic of Walt Disney World, there are also tons of websites out there  filled with Disney planning information.  There are also a small handful of online SUBSCRIPTIONS where you pay for a span of time to use a website’s own planning tools.  The Passporter guidebook has a company website which offers monthly access to their Passporter’s Club in which you can view any of their many available e-books for free.  This is great for getting companion information to their guide book.

Most fun, personalized, and comprehensive: Tour Guide Mike

Tour Guide Mike is a personal favorite as far as planning tools.  You begin by filling out a survey about your trip plans and aver a few minutes your Automated Vacation Planner is prepared for you with personalized trip planning information to fit you and your family’s needs.  It is amazing how spot-on the tour and dining recommendations can be! Furthermore, you can add reminders for making Advanced Dining Reservations, later on add your confirmation numbers, and are privy to being able to access the loads and loads of vacation planning articles on the website.  My very favorite feature: The Least Crowded Park Charts! They rock and are incredibly accurate! I plan my park days based around these recommendations and they are constantly updated if changes come from Disney!

Best quick look for Disney pros: Touring PlansDisney Wishes, disney photography, Picasa, Disney, Magic Kingdom photos, fireworks, Photoshop, photo editing

From the makers of the Unofficial Guides, Touring Plans is a site focused mainly on, well, Touring Plans! Here you can find comprehensive plans for touring all Disney parks as well as another super-accurate park chart.  The Touring Plans Crowd Calendar not only makes suggestions as to which parks to visit or avoid each and every day (for up to a year in advance) but you are also giving estimates on how crowded Disney will be!   Whatsmore, your Touring Plans subscription (available for Walt Disney World, Disneyland or both) allows you the ability to login to the smartphone app which gives you up to date and accurate ride lines and wait times!

What is your favorite guide? Did it make the roundup? Let me know in the comments below!!

When Melissa isn’t teaching, snapping pictures to post on Picturing Disney on Facebook, updating her photoblog Picturing Disney, or prancing around Disney Parks like a kid, she is lives her life filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after in New York with her husband and their adorable dog.

It’s All About The Mouse!

Please enjoy some of our favorite photos from around the Walt Disney World Resort.

 

 

Cinderella Castle Halloween, MNSSHP Castle, Cinderella castle

 

 

It’s a World of Laughter…

 

 

Walt Disney’s Famous Words …. Quotes by Walt Disney

Walt and Mickey Mouse statue, Mickey Mouse statue, Walt Disney statue, Walt Disney

By FrancesWalt Disney, Walt Disney statue, Mickey Mouse photo, Mickey Mouse statue, Main Street statue

I consider Walt Disney a mentor in some ways. I may not have ever met him but I have read multiple biographies about the good & the bad things that happened in his life. He was told “No” more times than “Yes” in his youth. He had a passion for art and drawing that included painting on his parents house with his sister Ruth. He had more than one business that went bankrupt or was closed down. He had to learn how to be a better manager so he could create loyalty. Here are a few quotes of his that I have really shaped my life!

Walt Disney photo, Walt Disney Art of Disney, Downtown Disney art

Walt Disney painting from Downtown Disney’s “Art of Disney” store.

All quotes are by Walt Disney

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way,  implicitly and unquestionable.”

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to  pursue them.”

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I  wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and  obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a  kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other  things.”

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I  am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to  do.”
Downtown Disney entrance sign, Mickey Mouse Disney, Mickey Mouse Disney sign, Disney, Mickey Mouse

“I believe in being an innovator.”

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating  those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”

GPS Address for Walmart, Publix, and Malls near Walt Disney World

By Frances.

Getting around the Walt Disney World Resort can be a challenge. And then you add a quick run to the grocery store… you might as well order in. Here are some important addresses that you will want to add to your GPS. [Read more…]