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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Things said to a Travel Agent #2

Magic kingdom Castle

By Frances

By popular demand, here is a second installment of Things Said to a Travel Agent. As a travel professional, I pride myself on knowing details about a destination and lot of ins & out. These are some more comments or questions that have taken me off guard in my years in the travel business. You can imagine my responses. Please enjoy with a great sense of humor. EPCOT Flowers

~ I would like to stay at a clothing optional resort at Walt Disney World. (I did giggle a little when asked this)

~ Client:  I would like my 9 year old to have charging capabilities on his Magic Band. I would like for him to be able to purchase things when I’m not with him and to able to use the dining plan. Me: {knowing it’s a single dad and only his son on this trip} Oh! Will another family be joining you? Client: No, I will find a good spot to sit and let him do all of the rides by himself. I would prefer to read my book and people watch than to ride rides.

~ I can’t afford to pay off my trip. My kids are super excited. Can you pay the balance and I can pay you back with my tax returns?

~ Client: Could you please tell me some of the best places to hide and smoke at the parks? Me: You don’t have to hide, there are designated smoking areas at each resort and at all of the theme parks. Client: They let you smoke pot at Disney?

Seven Seas Lagoon

Seven Seas Lagoon

~ I would like the garden view room at the Contemporary please. I will then find something wrong during my stay and raise hell. They will upgrade me then to an atrium room and I won’t have to pay for it.

~ Client: How many bottles of water can I take into the parks? Me: I don’t believe there is a limit on how many bottles you can take as long as you can comfortably carry them. Client: So you don’t think 6 – 24 ounce bottles is too many? Me: For the 4 of you, I think that would be fine but you can get free refills of water at any restaurant. Client: Oh, they won’t be filled with water. I’m filling them with vodka.

~ {A woman} I will go into the men’s restroom with my 5 year old son. I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable going into one with out me?  Me: The men’s restroom?  Client: Yes Ma’am!

~ I know Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club is only for their resort guests but can you tell me how to sneak in there?

~ Can you please tell me how to cheat the magic bands? I want my friends staying at the Hilton to use our passes too.

 

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Some Real Questions Asked to Travel Agents

magic kingdom story time with belle

As a travel agent, I like to think that I already know the questions that will be asked before I pick up the phone to contact a client. There have been a few that have taken me off guard. I’m now able to laugh at all of them but some of them did have me and other agents a little perplexed as to “Why would you tell me this?”Magic Kingdom Pete Fantasyland

Please enjoy with a great sense of humor:

  • My son has a warrant out for his arrest. Do you think he will still be able to fly?
  • Client: I would like to go to Disneyland in Florida.    Agent: Great, Disneyland is in California. Is it the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida that you wish to travel too?   Client: No. I have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando. I would like to see Disneyland in Florida next.
  • Does travel insurance cover a cancellation if my husband is arrested for a little felony?
  • Client: I saw the new Harry Potter world was open at Disney. Will I get a chance to see it when I’m at the Magic Kingdom?   Agent: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located at Universal Studios and it’s not a Disney Property.   Client: But the internet says it’s located at the Magic Kingdom.
  • In an email: (Attachment picture of a child) Do you think my 5 year old could pass as a big two year old?
  • How do I make my child look like he’s disabled? I don’t want to wait in lines.
  • I’m only going to make a reservation for four people but there will be 7 of us staying in the room at Pop Century. Do you think we Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace restaurantwill all be comfortable?
  • (Email received after client arrived home after trip to WDW. They traveled the second week in July) We had a great trip except it was very hot. I wasn’t expecting it to be in the 90’s with a heat index around 100 every day.
  • May I pay my balance when I get home from my trip?
  • Client: I can’t believe they made me take my cooler full of beer back to the car. It’s not like they sell it at the Magic Kingdom.  Curious Agent: How many beers did you have in the cooler.  Client: Oh, I took a whole case. I didn’t want to run out.
  • Client: {Laughing} I’m so excited. My mother in law is going to pay for my trip to Disney. Here is her credit card number.   Agent: I need her to sign an authorization form first. Where can I send it?  Client: Oh, I just took the credit card out of her purse. She doesn’t know she’s paying for it yet.
  • I don’t want to pay your commission. Could you please tell me how much you make and I will remove that from the invoice. (No, it wasn’t a service issue)

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Disney’s Princess Fairytale Hall Opens September 18th

Magic Kingdom Chipmunk fantasyland

English: Logo for New Fantasyland -- the expan...

English: Logo for New Fantasyland — the expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Frances

Disney’s Princess Fairytale Hall opens on September 18th! You will be given a choice to meet Cinderella and visiting princess or Rapunzel and a visiting princess. As with all things with the new Fantasyland expansion, no detail is too small for this magical place. There are custom portraits of all of the princesses. Melted wax on the candle sticks. Check out this you tube video to see more details.

LINK TO YOU TUBE

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Needing a moment in Fantasyland?

There are days that you just wish that you were anywhere than where you are right now. Please enjoy these magical photos of Denny Miller to take you Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom Chipmunk fantasyland

Have you ever noticed the squirrels?

Fantasyland dumbo

Dumbo is a must ride for my family! We love the play area waiting arena. My son prefers it over the ride 🙂

Prince eric castle ariel waterfall

This looks like a secluded beach! Any one fancy a dip at Prince Eric’s castle?

magic kingdom story time with belle

Belle’s cottage is a high light of our vacations.

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Magic Kingdom is at capacity and I don’t know what to do!

Disney fireworks, Magic Kingdom fireworks, Main Street, U.S.A.,

By Frances

When going to the Disney Parks during any peak holiday season, one or more of the parks will close due to capacity. There is a system to them closing the entrance and it’s always good to know.

Closing Phases

Phase 1

Guests with ‘Magic Your Way’ base tickets, or a ‘1-Day 1-Park Ticket’, Guests without an admission ticket, and Cast Members using Main Gate & Silver Passes will be turned around at the parking lot booths.

Phase 2

Admission is limited to:

Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)

Annual and Premium Annual Passholders

Guests with Hopper tickets coming from another park

Guests re-entering the park

Guests with dining reservations

Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League

Guests using Walt Disney World Resort Transportation will be admitted.

Phase 3

Admission is limited to:

Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)

Annual and Premium Annual Passholders

Guests with dining reservations

Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League

Phase 4

Closed to all guests.

3 Important Point To Mention Again!

1. Guest that are staying at WDW resort (on property) are granted entrance until Phase 4. You may pay a higher price buy you can get in.

2. Reservations on holidays can save the day. If staying off property make dining reservations inside the park you want to attend or at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Pirates League inside the Magic Kingdom.

3. When the park is at phase 4 you will not be allowed to enter no matter if you have reservations or if you are staying at a WDW resort. On peak holidays, I have know for the Magic Kingdom to be at phase 4 as early as 12 noon. If you have 7pm reservations, plan to be at the park all day! If you leave, you take a chance of not being let back into the park for your reservation time and you will be charged for missing your reservation. OUCH!

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What is your Monster Name?

Create a monster

By Frances

The Disney Parks are having a monstrous summer to introduce Monsters University coming to theaters June 21 (AKA The first day of summer). One of the great items that you can do is create your own Monster and monster name.

You get to choose from several monsters to create your own. monster(2)

Then you are able to choose from several colors.

Then you are able to customize it with horns, glasses, wings, fangs, eye lashes and even a special bonus feature.

You will then type in your first name and last initial to come up with your monster name. My monster name is Frances Hurl 🙂

 

Go to this site to create your monster

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Photos were taken straight from the Monster Generator.

 

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ARGH! Save your doubloons or join the crew at The Pirates League?

The Pirates League

Pirate flags decorate the walls of The Pirates League

If you didn’t know it was there it would be easy to walk right by The Pirates League. It is tucked away in the Magic Kingdom between Pirates of the Caribbean ride entrance and the gift shop. Even worse, while everyone seems to know about Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with all their ball gowns and glitter, it seems that The Pirates League does a pretty good job of keeping a low profile. Just like with the princess counter-part, The Pirates League is a chance for kids to dress up, only here – it’s the pirate life for them. They can choose to add costumes or simply the face painting and accessories. But is it worth the money? Here are three reasons you should part with your doubloons for this experience.

Yo-ho, a pirate's life for me

The Pirates League offers options for boys who want to get dressed up but don’t want to spend their time in the castle with pixie dust!

1. Boys go to Disney too! This one should also include, not all girls want to be princesses all the time. Disney has absolutely cornered the market on the “Happily Ever After” princess tale. From meet and greets to meals to expensive makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. But for a long time that left boys feeling a little left out of all the dress up fun. Most boys I know love to dress up it’s just that most of them don’t want to dress up as Prince Charming – a black eye and a sword, now you are talking their language! The Pirates League gives them an escape from all the pink and glitter. Not to be forgotten are the little girls who want to sign up for the pirate’s life. There is the Empress package or the Mermaid package that gives them a makeover with pirate accessories necessary to go plunder the Magic Kingdom.

The Empress package

A great alternative for the girls who would rather be a pirate than a princess!

2. The Pirates Oath and your pirate name. Before you head back to get made over and join the crew – you have to pick out a pirate name. And in true pirate fashion – you must stick to the code. Based on your birthday and letters of your name you are given your new pirate name. Learn it because for as long as you are there, that is your name! Kids love getting their new name and the older ones will tend to remember their pirate name long after the experience is over. And to me that is what part of the Disney magic is all about – remembering those magical moments long after the vacation is over and “real life” has set in again. And the pirate oath is one of my favorite things that they do at The Pirates League. Once your new pirates makeover is complete, he or she will have to say the pirates oath (with the help of the veteran pirate who is initiating them to the crew). And since it is one big crew, of course all new pirates must be announced as having joined the crew – usually with the clanging of bells, some yelling and shouting and a whole lot of fanfare. (What do you expect, these are pirates after all!)

The pirates oath

Taking the Pirates Oath before being allowed to join the crew

3. The secret room. Again, pirates and their secrets! This is a closely guarded pirate secret, so secret in fact that the new members of the crew are not allowed into the secret room until they have said the oath and been welcomed to the crew. Now, what could a pirate keep in a secret room? Why – treasure of course! (And since it is Disney, a photographer too.) The treasure room is the prop room for the photo shoot at the end of your makeover. This is perhaps my favorite of all Disney photo spaces. Between the lighting and the treasure that lines the room, the photos do look like you have a plundering pirate worthy of the set of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Ready to take to the high seas

The pirate portrait in the secret treasure room. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!

And a bonus reason to love The Pirates League, the pirate makeovers won’t leave you feeling like your wallet has been plundered. Without a costume, the packages start at $29.95 + tax and go up to $39.95 + tax. Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-CREW and they accept reservations up to 180 days prior.

So next time you will be in the Magic Kingdom – consider checking out The Pirates League to have your pirates singing “Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho a Pirate’s Life for Me”.

 

mel-at-epcotAbout the Author:

Melissa Rhodes is a stay at home mom to two Disney addicts, one princess and one pirate. She is also a Disney Vacation Specialist with Magical Memories Travel, where she helps other families plan the Disney magic that she loves experiencing with her own family. Melissa made her first visit to Disney in 1978 and has made more than 50 trips since.

Melissa would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. You can reach her at Magical Memories Travel at  703-688-2WDW or 1-888-908-7718 , ext 122.  When she is not dreaming about Disney, Melissa can be found at Mickey By Mel or on Facebook at www.fb.com/mickeybymel

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Closed for Refurbishments: Walt Disney World Resort

Grand Floridian construction, Grand Floridian construction photos, Grand Floridian construction on DVC villas

By Frances

The Walt Disney World Resort closes or you will have limited availability to sections and rides periodically to refurbish or reimagine it. Here is a list that was updated on April 9, 2013

Magic Kingdom® Park
Main Street Bakery
Mad Tea Party
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Pirates of the Caribbean
01/12/13 – 06/18/13
04/10/13 – 05/21/13
05/13/13 – 05/16/13
05/13/13 – 05/15/13
06/17/13 – 06/21/13
Epcot®
Epcot Character Spot
Fountainview Ice Cream Shop
France Ice Cream Shop
10/21/12 – TBD
04/08/13 – Fall
02/25/13 – June
Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
None
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
Anandapur Ice Cream Truck 4/14/13 – 5/24/13

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
None
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
None

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
BoardWalk Bakery expansion – BoardWalk Bakery will be closed during this work. A coffee cart will be available on the boardwalk area during this time. 01/06/13 – 04/26/13
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
California Grill 02/02/13 – Late Summer 2013
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Beach Pool & Slide – The Courtyard Pool will remain open during this time 05/27/13 – 05/31/13
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
The Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – Guests may be referred to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort for spa services. 01/16/13 – Summer 2013

Downtown Disney® Area
None

Golf Courses/Miniature Golf
None

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Traveling to WDW from the UK Day 3

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By Nine

Today was a 5am start as Tink woke up and declared it was now morning time, yuk! Still it meant that we got to Animal Kingdom nice and early after showers and breakfast in the room.
We headed straight through to Africa to get the Fast Pass for the Safari, for 950-1050. We quickly got some coffees and headed off to do the Pangani Forest Trail. This was great and DD really enjoyed seeing all the animals, especially the gorillas. After this it was time to head back to the Safari and with the Fast Pass we were on the ride in no time. This was FAB. All the advice to get on this nice and early is true, we saw so many animals up close – giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, monkeys, antelope and lots more. Tink loved it.
After this we hot-footed it straight to Camp Minnie-Mickey. We saw a fairly short line for Chip and Dale which was perfect as madam had been on about meeting them all morning. Again she was good as gold while waiting and it was just magical to watch her with them. She kissed and cuddled them, showed them her Mickey bag and got their autographs all while I had a few tears.
Pocahontas had just left so we headed off to our fave meal in Animal Kingdom, Pizzafari which was just up from Camp M-M. DH and I got pizzas and salads with coke hoping DD would share but she didnt want anything and suddenly announced she needed to go to bed. Now not everyone will agree with our parenting style but DD doesnt sleep in her buggy, and we didnt want her screaming as she was so tired, so we ate up fast and left AK ASAP.
She was straight to sleep at the hotel and after a nice nap/rest for us we decided to head off to The Mall at Millenia. It was about a 20 min drive from Lake Buena Vista and very impressive. We got our first Pumpkin Spice fraps from Starbucks using a gift card Id got in the UK which was great and they were really yummy!
We had a good look around and Tink enjoyed playing in Pottery Barn Kids which was all done up with Fall and Halloween decs. I got a really nice sweater in American Eagle and some cards in Hallmark. DH got some CDs then we headed back to LBV for dinner. We decided just to pop into Crossroads and went to Taco Bell as this is DHs fave fast food. I enjoyed my veg fajita, DH loved his taco pizza but DD was not too impressed with her cheese roll up but ate it in the end with the persuasion of the free toy.

Tiredness then kicked in and we had our first public total meltdown so we quickly took her back to the hotel. We intended to let her have a little play in the park but it was shut! We checked out the kids zone in the pool and she was quickly soaked and cold, a nice warm bath and early night soon sorted her out, along with some TV and milk.
Tomorrow is the big one … Magic Kingdom!

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