Disney Trip Planning: The Search for a Countdown Calendar

Last time we took a big family trip was January/February 2011. My daughter and I plunked down in late December to make up a quick countdown calendar out of construction paper and yarn, which we strung up along her window in her room. It was very simple: she (just shy of 5 at the time) drew circles on the paper by tracing around a glass, and then I cut them out. Then she wrote numbers on them, 1-30, and punched a hole at the top of each, and I wrote a message or activity on the back and strung them onto a piece of yarn.
Every morning, she’d pull down a number – counting down to 1 – and read what was on the back of it. They were simple things like “do a Goofy laugh!” or “in 14 days we’ll be at Epcot!” or things.  I also got a fun surprise out of it – knowing that she would hardly sleep from excitement the night before we left, I made one extra circle. On the day marked “2”, the instruction on the back was “Take down the last number” and that one said “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

So yes – simple, and fun. This trip, I have two kids who are both older than four, and I’m also dying to be creative (I’ll admit it, I live in jealousy of some of the people who have crafty skills). So, because I lack design and idea skills of my own, I’m turning to Pinterest to show me what to do… as so many of us do in our darkest hours. 🙂

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Back to the Phineas and Ferb (Part 2?)

At long last I have an excuse to make a blog post about my OTHER true love, “Back to the Future”! It’s genuinely tragic to me that there is no true link between Disney and BTTF, because I have so many feels for BTTF. I could go on about it for hours. (I do, actually.) But I try to adhere to my own blog rules which means this blog is for Disney content. Even if there’s only a peripheral Disney connection… But BTTF has none!

UNTIL NOW. Mwahaha.  Last week I was home from work, and my son and I watched an episode of “Phineas and Ferb” that I hadn’t seen before that’s entitled “Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo”.  If you’ve never seen or heard of “Phineas and Ferb”, which is kind of unlikely but still vaguely possible, it’s a Disney Channel cartoon series about two brothers who do incredibly unlikely things on a daily basis throughout summer vacation, to the generally obsessive annoyance of their teenaged older sister who is intent on getting them caught by their mother.

…Admit it, that song is totally in your head now.

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Ghost Town Studios

I have a mug with the original MGM Studios logo on it. Collector's Item!

I have a mug with the original MGM Studios logo on it. Collector’s Item!

I love Hollywood Studios. I have said this before; it’s not my favourite park, but it is my First Day park and my fave to sit and people-watch. I also really love the atmosphere on Sunset Boulevard, the “sets” at Streets of America, and just various other little details.

I’ve defended Hollywood Studios in the past when people say it’s past its prime, but I am ready to admit at any time that it needs work. My love of the park has a lot more to do with its overall feel than with the attractions that are there… and, so far in 2014 and 2015, the existing attractions have begun to dwindle. With the rushed closure of The Magic of Disney Animation, it’s pretty obvious that the park is undergoing some kind of transformation. But although rumours abound, there’s no official word from Disney, so we’re left with guesses and a sort of sense that the park is dated and kind of collapsing in on itself.

Blink, and it's gone.

Blink, and it’s gone.

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Disney World and the Banned Selfie Sticks

So, after having enacted a ban on selfie sticks just this past Spring, Disney Parks have stepped up the restriction and just flat-out banned these items throughout the parks. As of June 30, guests who bring selfie sticks into the park will have them confiscated and held at Security until they leave, at which time they can pick them back up.

The ban occurred after the original attempt to limit their use ended up being impossible to enforce; the parks’ first effort was to prohibit their use on fast-moving rides. I’m sure they thought they’d never even have to do that; honestly, what kind of sense does it make to take a high-priced, breakable item like a smart phone and stick it outside of a fast-moving roller coaster attached to nothing but a flimsy pole?!  Nobody would do that, right?

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it's also possible that you might think it means "No square balloons" so I can see where it was unclear.

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it’s also possible that you might think it means “No square balloons” so I can see where it was unclear.

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Disney Trip Planning: Rebecca and the Accidental Upgrade

Like many Disney World enthusiasts, I have a likely-unreachable (for me, anyway) goal of staying at all of the resorts on property. If I lived closer and had the means to go twice a year or more, I’d probably be able to accomplish this goal, but as it stands over the past ten years I’ve stayed at four resorts.  So yeah. 🙂

In any case, because of this long-standing desire, I agonize a little too much about where to stay and I am not above an added hassle of doing a split-stay. For this trip, since it’s my first full LONG trip since becoming a travel agent, I planned on splurging and getting a room at Animal Kingdom Lodge using the Travel Agent rates.  I booked a package for the first half of the stay (more on that later) and then separately booked a Pool View with Bunkbeds room under the travel agent rates.  It was my first time booking under TA rates, and that process is different from general bookings, so I did it wrong (lol) and after some back and forth we cancelled my first reservation and made a new one.  I was told at the time that my deposit from the first reservation would be transferred to my second one, but in the end that didn’t happen. Things happened and long story short, the second reservation was cancelled too.

Bunkbeds! Solving life's problems!

Bunkbeds! Solving life’s problems!

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Head Games with Mary Poppins

A spoonful of sugar and some trust issues!

A spoonful of sugar and some trust issues!

So it’s no secret that Mary Poppins plays mind games. Most famously, she takes the kids out for a day trip in a chalk drawing, then when they return she tells them they’re making the whole thing up and she’s offended. She denies knowledge of the entire day’s worth of events and they’re flummoxed.
She also pulls a similar move on Mr. Banks:

Mr. Banks: Just a moment, Mary Poppins. What is the meaning of this outrage?

Mary Poppins: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Banks: Will you be good enough to explain all this?

Mary Poppins: First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear.

Mr. Banks: Yes?

Mary Poppins: I never explain anything.

This is like Mary Poppins's Troll Face.

This is like Mary Poppins’s Troll Face.

Why, precisely, Mary Poppins does this is never overtly explained. Does she honestly not remember the chalk drawing adventure?  Did it perhaps not even really happen, and she’s telling the truth?  Given how she departs at the end, that’s not likely.  Perhaps we can assume that she’s got a contrary nature and it amuses her to mess with people… right?

But the other day while going over these events in my head, it dawned on me why she’s got this character trait. She was hired for it! Mary Poppins used the advertisement written by the children (and torn up and tossed into the fireplace) to draft her position requirements.  One of the specifics: Play games, all sorts.

The kids don't really mind. They get it.

The kids don’t really mind. They get it.

Be careful what you ask for, I suppose. 🙂

Disney Trip Planning: 180 Days Out (Well, more like 177)

Howdy friends and neighbours!  It’s been a long time – I keep meaning to come back and get into the blog habit again, but things keep getting in the way. 😛 So here I go to try again!

That's the spirit, Ralph!

That’s the spirit, Ralph!

I figure maybe I can make weekly updates on my planning for my family’s upcoming Disney World trip.  This is our first trip as a full family since 2011; my daughter was just about to turn 5, and now she’s 9. (If you’ve followed at home long enough you know that my daughter and I took a trip together in 2013, which was awesome! but now it’s time for my son and husband to get to come too ^_^)

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Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was thinking “Gee, what can I write about this weekend in my blog?” because I’m trying to get at least one new post up on the weekends. (High expectations eh?) And then it occurred to me that HEY!  Captain America is a Disney movie! I can review it and be on-topic!

Except… this isn’t going to be a specially popular review, because I will say up front that I didn’t care for the movie.  And, I can’t really say all of why without revealing spoilers.  So I’m going to briefly touch on why I didn’t like it, and get that out of the way, and then discuss both the things I did like and a general overview of the film.

I'll say up front, he's not in it and I missed him, to be frank.

I’ll say up front, he’s not in it and I missed him, to be frank.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park in 2015

This weeked on Twitter I asked what my friends thought was the Best Disney News of 2014. The majority of the answers that I got were about Turner Classic Movies partnering on/sponsoring the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, which is indeed fantastic!  Some related news is the fact that TCM is also showing “Treasures From the Disney Vault“, presenting vintage Disney shows and other material that has not been replayed on the Disney Channel for some time now. YAY, TCM! (Also noteworthy: many people were happy about the recent announcement that the Sorcerer’s Hat is coming down – this is also at Hollywood Studios. Hmmm. Coincidence?)

I nipped this from a recent post at takingthefloridaplunge.com - go there for lots of constant content!

I nipped this from a recent post at takingthefloridaplunge.com – go there for lots of constant content!

This led into a general discussion about Hollywood Studios, what it could be, what it is, what we hope will happen.  Admittedly the bulk of this discussion was with LeBeau, of LeBeau’s LeBlog (yes, this is just an opportunity to plus his blog, but it’s worth it), but a few others joined in here and there!

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Disney’s “Atlantis: the Lost Empire”

You might remember this. You might love this movie!  Or you might be all “I have skipped that one” or even “That’s a DISNEY movie?!”

Yes, this is a Disney movie.  Released in 2001, this is a Disney movie that doesn’t really look like a Disney movie (and, I think, is trying not to feel like one either). I really enjoyed it in the theatre, but looking back, I’ve always been less sure.  At this point, 13-14 years later, I could remember a very small handful of things. Michael J. Fox. Kida glowing and enveloped in light. And my personal fave, Don Novello AKA Father Guido Sarducci as Vinnie.

I could listen to this man read the phone book and enjoy it.

I could listen to this man read the phone book and enjoy it.

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