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Matthew and Mickey

Hurricane Matthew is obviously a huge concern for anyone in the Southeast US and Caribbean right now.  Legacy US carriers like American, United, and Delta have announced the usual *free* changes to anyone flying in/out of Miami International Airport (MIA), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), and Orlando International Airport (MCO), plus many airports in the islands of the Caribbean.  Contact your airline if you are scheduled for any connections or flights to or from that area in the next week.

hurricane-matthew

Walt Disney World (the Theme Parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex ) will be shutting down early today, and 5p EST, and will be CLOSED on Friday, October 7th.  CLOSED!  And the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties scheduled for today and tomorrow at the Magic Kingdom are cancelled, obviously.  I keep thinking back to last October, when we attended this party during the exact same time frame.  We had no weather issues and no disruption to our plans.  And today, vacationing families are probably pretty concerned about their safety.  From what I’ve read, Disney does an excellent job of communicating with its Resort Guests and providing supplies, assistance, etc.  I would feel good in their hands.

Stay safe, everyone!

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Guest post: DH’s reflections on Disney

Editor’s note: These thoughts are DH’s!  My comments are in RED.

I’ve been putting this blog post off for a few months now. My DW, your host, asked me to talk about my half of the “kid-split” day at Disney this October. She also asked that I recount how she “Disney-fied” me. That’s the part that made this difficult. You see, I am old. (LOL, true) When I was a kid, along with Disney’s terrific TV show, wonderful cartoon features, and nature documentaries, there was also Walt Disney’s ever-increasing right-wing backlash against all thing counter-culture. And I was nothing if not one of the most enthusiastic inheritors of the counter-culture. I say inheritors because as a teen in the early 70s I was one of the millions who watched and learned from the first wave of Boomers who made glorious music, love, not war, etc. And Old Walt (not to be confused with the Genius Walt who invented Mickey, Fantasia and theme parks) was one of the captains of Reaction with a capital R, against all that thrilled me about the 60s. Right up there with John Wayne. It didn’t help that in the late 60s and the 70s Disney products were unfortunately milquetoast and out of touch not only with the times, but with what had made Disney great until then… leaving aside the racism in many Disney films, the jingoistic nationalism, etc. that had always been there.

So I had no love for Disney (sob) and had never set foot in a Disney park (despite having lived in both Florida AND California!), until I met and married a crazed Disney fanatic. I say crazed, but only in the sense that her personality demonstrated real and phenomenal changes when under the influence of Disney culture. Happiness! What a concept. (Readers: my husband makes me very happy, but I don’t jump for joy on a daily basis when at home). As a cynical child of the Nixon era, I was more than suspicious, until she came into my life and began to share that bizarre notion (of complete and utter joy for a capitalist enterprise) with me. From the Katzenberg era on, Disney features had become not only the height of excellence, but even allowed for an adult point of view, within their childlike joy. So I was open to persuasion. Plus, the presence of the 3-year-old DD helped enormously to allow me to experience Disney Magic differently (awww).

We went to Walt Disney World in 2008. For 14 days!!!! I was frightened of staying that long, but the super planner we all know and love set up an itinerary that made it pass so quickly I was anxious to stay longer, not raring to leave. When DD caught the jewel in Mickey’s PhilHarMagic, that was the last straw. I was crying. And haven’t stopped since. This magical fortnight was followed in 2013 by the awesome Disney Cruise to Alaska, where our little DS, just 2, completed the picture. And as DW has written here, the last night at IllumiNations on our recent visit, where we group-hugged, made the full Disney-fication complete. On to the next trip, ASAP!

dark side

Haha.

 

And now, on to my recounting of my half of “kid-split” day:

The morning was Dad and Daughter time. DD had no idea where we were headed. Getting there was an adventure. We had to go to the Magic Kingdom first, then get a van to the Tri-Circle D Ranch, where horses awaited us. I think, after the initial joyous awakening to our destination, that her first reaction was to the gross/wonderful smell of “horse hockey” (in the immortal words of Sherman Potter on M*A*S*H).

ranch

Fun trivia: Andy can be seen wearing a Tri-Circle-D Ranch shirt in Toy Story.

 

We were fitted with helmets, sized up, and, with a half dozen others, led to the mounting platform. DD loved her horse, though it will never receive the affection of her favorite horse ever at Gunstock Ranch on Oahu. My horse was more massive, but very tranquil. We were led onto the trail and into the woods of central Florida, through the Live Oaks and conifers, Spanish Moss and tall reeds. There was a hint of a stream nearby, and I had hopes we might run into a gator (Go Gators!), but no such luck. We did hear, but missed seeing, some deer. And I caught sight of one opossum, though DD missed it. The ride was beautiful, but was over way too quickly. I had hoped for one gallop, but we never got above a trot (which I hate, because even though I rode a lot as a kid, I never mastered avoiding the unfortunate “down-bounce”). After a quick pit stop for a wash and some water, we went back to Magic Kingdom, caught the monorail toward the Grand Floridian and found ourselves stuck mid-route. Turned out DW and DS were on the monorail in front and also waiting. I honestly can’t remember why this happened, but I’m sure our Editor will insert comment. (They were adjusting something on the track).

Once we arrived it was all about finding DW and DS, which happened within two minutes. DS waited with me, while DD and DW changed into their lovely High Tea clothing. We kissed goodbye, and DS and I set forth by way of a boat ride to the Swan Resort for Fantasia Gardens mini-golf. We chose the traditional mini-golf themed to Fantasia (the other course is a putting only version of a real golf course). I decided we’d have more fun with the old-school course and boy was I right!

fgardens

The holes were in 5 groups based on five scenes from Fantasia. DS put his ball down on this first hole and promptly got a hole-in-one! We were off to a great start. DS befriended the English couple playing just ahead of us, who then became his rooting section as he went on to shoot another two holes-in-one and several birdies. I did alright, even had one ace myself, but the kid was the champ of the day. After drinking some sodas, we walked back across the road to the Swan, got the boat across to Magic Kingdom for a few rides, and then headed home to the Art of Animation.

This wonderful day only helped cement my above-mentioned Disney-fication, for which I will be eternally grateful to our faithful blogger and super-vacation-planner. (Woooooooo!  Thanks for writing this, honey!)

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Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 8: DHS & MK

We’re approaching the end of the trip report 😦  2 full days plus the travel day is all that is left.  But let us not be prematurely sad, for there is still Disney fun to be had!  Hey, that rhymed!  I’ll see myself out…

OK, another early morning today.  We had finished our packing the night before, so we could drop our bags at the Art of Animation Bell Desk for the Cast Members to transfer them over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Naturally, I also wanted to make Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios, which began at 8am.  Like I said: early.

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Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 6: Disney Springs and MNSSHP

After several consecutive days of early wakeups to hit the Parks, sleeping in on this day was lovely.  I drifted awake at around 9:30am and was immediately excited for the Halloween Party that evening.  We had a long list of things to do before then, so I got everybody into their bathing suits, and we went down to the Big Blue Pool again, with a load of laundry.  DD wanted to keep sleeping, so she stayed in the room with strict instructions to be ready to walk out the door by 11:45am.  The water was a little chilly in the pool!  I guess because it was so early in the day.  But we had a lot of fun in the main pool, and especially in the splash area 🙂

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Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 5: Animal Kingdom and more MK

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Jambo!  This morning, we did our usual thing, and got up in time to make Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom.  Something that makes me feel good- the Cast Members (aided by the technology of the MagicBands) were consistently enforcing the rule that only Disney Resort Guests are allowed into the parks during EMH.  Several times, offsite folks were turned away and had to wait outside the tapstiles until the Park officially opened to all guests.  It is nice that the perk is not diluted by lax enforcement.

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Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 3: Magic Kingdom/Epcot

Note: Terrorists are cowards, and I hope they are brought to justice in every way possible.  I feel for all victims and their families, and have renewed my determination to take my children all around the world to learn and grow.  I will not be made afraid to travel, and I hope none of you will be, either.

Trip report, continued…

I woke up on Monday, October 5th with a pit in my stomach.  All the time spent daydreaming, planning, and anticipating my little boy’s first visit to a Disney Park was about to happen, and here I was, a bundle of nerves.  I was apprehensive.  Not that he wouldn’t like WDW, but that he wouldn’t LOVE it.  What if he didn’t find it fun, or cried and asked to go home, or screamed when we tried to take him on rides?  I could kiss my whole rosy picture of future planned family vacations goodbye.  DD and I would have to leave the boys at home, or be forced spend half our Orlando time at Camp Jurassic and Seussland on every trip.  Now, we HAD had fun at Universal, but remember when I said that just 1 full day was enough for several years?  I was serious.

On the other hand, I was happy to the point of bursting.  I was about to walk down Main Street, USA, toward Cinderella Castle and all kinds of Disney fun.  There is nothing like the atmosphere of a Disney Park, especially in the morning.  The sidewalks are freshly washed, the Cast Members (CMs) are smiling, and something wonderful is in the air.  I put aside my worries about the little guy, strong in my belief of Disney Magic, and we all got ready for the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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