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He's Growing Up Disney!

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Embarking The Disney Dream for Sailing #8

Embarking The Disney Dream for Sailing #8

Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How The Most Magical Place on Earth Can Be Even More Magical and Memorable


For us, Walt Disney World is a magical place.  It’s a place where we can play as a family and make many memories.  It’s a place where we feel comfortable doing both familiar activities and trying new things.  It’s a place where we leave the real world behind and become immersed in Disney—in magic.

So, it’s no wonder that we have had some incredible experiences while visiting the most magical place on earth. 


We’ve been the Grand Marshals of the Family Fun Day Parade at the Magic Kingdom during one of our visits—click here to read more.


One trip, we were picked to be the Family of the Day and open EPCOT—click here to read more.

The husband has repeatedly been selected from the crowd to be a part of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular—click here to read more.

The boy has been chosen to play along with Phineas and Ferb—click here to read more.

The Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom has been an interactive attraction for the boy—click here to read more.

The boy has been a padawan in the Jedi Training Academy on more than one occasion, even when it was the random selection process to get participants—click here to read about his most recent experience.

The boy has played the part of Gaston during Story Time with Belle at the Magic Kingdom--click here to read more.  

The husband has been IN the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios—click here to read more.


Our family was in Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom—click here to read more.

And, many more, like when we were chosen to play instruments in the lobby at Mickey’s Philharmagic before the doors opened to the theater.  Or, when the boy danced on Hollywood Boulevard before Pixar’s Countdown to Fun Parade.  Or when I was in High School Musical at Hollywood Studios.  Or, when the boy danced with Disney Channel Rocks at Hollywood Studios.  Or, when the boy walked hand in hand with Peter Pan down the dock at the Contemporary.  Or when the boy was throwing a grape in the air for a bird to catch at Flights of Wonder in Animal Kingdom.  Or when the boy was on stage on the Disney Magic dancing with the dwarfs and Snow White during the Golden Mickeys.

All of our experiences might cause someone, like my friend and colleague, to ask, “So, how do you do it?”  I’m translating that question into “So, how do you get picked?” or “How do you take all of Walt Disney World and make it so personalized and memorable for your family?”

Let me try and answer.  Know that it is both a combination of luck, disposition, and strategy; a recipe that is not exact and contains secret ingredients such as pixie dust and Disney magic. 




I’ll begin with strategy:
·         Be in the right place at the right time. (I know, this is a bit of luck, too)  For example, when we go to Indiana Jones and know that the husband wants to be in the show, we sit where he can be seen—preferably under a light.
·         Be ready.  Any hesitation to think or consider whether or not you want to participate will take you out of the running.  When they ask for volunteers at Indiana Jones, the husband is one of the first to stand.  He anticipates them asking and already knows he is ready.  Same for the boy at Festival of the Lion King.  He knows what is coming and is ready to say yes.
·         Let loose!  Who cares if you are dancing in the street or crying at a show?  This is Disney.  Chances are, others are doing the same, and you’re probably not going to see these people ever again.  Be human, vulnerable, ready to accept the magic and experiences Disney has to offer.
·         Say yes!  When asked to do something by a Disney Cast Member, say “yes.”  Don’t think about it, even if you’re not sure what it is going to be.  Be willing to take a risk.
·         Wear matching shirts.  Well, they help.  But more importantly than the matching shirts, is the willingness to play.  (Click here to read more about our Matching Shirts.) Which brings me to disposition. . .

Disposition or attitude.  This one is a little more elusive to explain, but I’ll give it a go.  When we are at Walt Disney World, we try to maintain a playful disposition and positive attitude.  We call it Disney flow--when things are going like clockwork and in our favor.  We know when we’re in it and we know when we aren’t.  Being tired, hungry, hot, overwhelmed, confused, or not knowing where you are going can make the Disney flow or positive attitude go away.  Leave your troubles and your worries far behind. . . 

Now to the luck.  Hmmm. . . What we have found is that when our family is making its own kind of magic, Disney has a way of creeping in and making things even more magical!

We know families that have been to Disney and had a magical time and can’t wait to go back.  We also know families that have had, in their opinion, not so magical times and don’t want to ever return.  The husband would say, fine, makes more room for us when we go back in response to those who did not have a good time.  I just feel bad, as they may have missed opportunities for magic and won’t get to try again.  I attribute some of it to poor planning, etc. 

If your family can make any other experiences fun, playful, and magical, then you can make a vacation to Walt Disney World, fun, playful, magical, and memorable.  Go head, make some memories!

28 comments:

  1. I randomly stumbled across your blog looking for the song played during the safari ride at Animal Kingdom (Hapa Duniani) and I just wanted to add one little bit of advice. Ive been going to Disney World for 2 decades now, more since I moved to Florida to be closer (I know, I'm in love) and for the first time ever my best friend and I managed to get picked for the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios (so hard for me to not say MGM). It actually took a lot of work and patience for us! We actually approached the cast members for help and they sent us on a 2 hour wild goose chase...which ended in us headlining one of the performances! We laughed the entire time leading up to it knowing that they were "testing" us but the moment we slapped on the giant rubber boots and raincoats we were ready for our time to shine! I was raised Disney and I love it!

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  2. Thank you for stumbling onto the Williams Family Blog and thank you for your tip of being patient! We agree! Hope you found the song you were looking for and keep the magic alive!

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  3. You are all incredible lucky and blessed- I think the CM's are choosing your family members for these special things because, magic looks like it's just beaming out of all of you in your joyful smiles. That magic is contagious- they know that you'll show everyone what it means to be a Disney Family. My family has been chosen to do a lot of special things too- and I think vivid matching outfits are a big plus!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment--it made my day! So much so that an entire post is dedicated to you: http://toddjodybrent.blogspot.com/2013/05/williams-family-blog-reader-made-my-day.html
      Thank you for reading the Williams Family Blog. Wishing you much Disney magic!

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  4. I'm planning our family's 1st trip to WDW for October 2014 and I am beyond excited! 15 years ago I was a cast member there and I never wanted to leave. Can you blame me? LOL!

    This will be a graduation gift to myself and my two children (ages 11 and 7) - I have spent four years pinching pennies and studying and working full-time in order for this to happen. Lord knows we can't afford it, but we deserve it!

    And a huge thank you for sharing your stories. I look forward to making memories of my own!

    Robin, Madison, and Aaron
    Kentucky

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    1. Robin, Madison, and Aaron from Kentucky,
      Congratulations on your family's first trip! Scientists say that anticipation is a more pleasurable feeling than surprise, so enjoy the planning! Have a magical trip!

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  5. I "fell" into your blog via Pinterest. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I have been to Disney twice and am planning a 3rd trip for next October(2014). My family and I have a similar idea to what you and your family do, wear matching clothes. However we will not be wearing identical tops. Our list includes: Magic Kingdom - classic Disney characters, Animal Kingdom - The Lion King, Hollywood Studios - "newer" Disney...Monsters Inc, Toy Story etc. We are even going to wear Hawaiian print to the Luau. However we have NO idea what to wear to Epcot!!! Any ideas?? We have even gone so far as to pick a theme when we go to Universal...Harry Potter at the Studios and Superheros at IOA.

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    1. Lee,
      Glad you found us and thank you! Congratulations on your upcoming trip. . . sounds like you have great plans! So, a theme for EPCOT. Hmmm. . . well, you could go with characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, or Chip and Dale. Another idea is Disney Princesses, since there are many to be found at EPCOT. A Nemo theme would also work. Good luck and let us know what you decide!

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  6. NEMO!! Oh my...how did I not think of this?!?! That would be wonderful, especially since I will be making an ADR for the Coral Reef. Been my dream to eat there since I saw it on Full House YEARS ago :)

    This will actually be my 5th time going. But will be my 3rd time as an adult, with my own children.
    This upcoming trip is our trip of celebrations, 14 wonderful days in Orlando in October.
    We will be celebrating: mine and my husbands 3rd wedding anniversary, our sons 10th birthday, our daughter 13th birthday AND our newest sons, who is still in my belly, first trip. We have an idea of where to eat, Be our guest, 50's Prime time, Coral Reef, and Tusker House. All for table service. Any other recommendations? Who has the best snacks?? Where to go for the best bang for your buck counter service?? My only stipulation is I MUST get a Dole Whip :)

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  7. Lee,
    Oh, lots of celebrations! Good for you!
    A trip to WDW would not be the same for us without a visit to Ohana's for dinner. Be sure to read our review of the Spirit of Aloha Dinner.
    Counter service. . . Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom is one of our favorites, as is Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney. Columbia Harbor House at Magic Kingdom has also become a favorite stop. As far as snacks go, anything is good.
    We have eaten at Coral Reef several times and loved it! If you haven't eaten at Mama Melrose at Studios it may be fun to give it a try.
    Happy planning!

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  8. My family is planning a trip to Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day for my mom's 60th birthday, which just happens to be on Christmas Day! there are 12 of us going and we are all wearing matching birthday shirts. We would LOVE to add a special event such as being chosen for a parade or such. Do you know if magic kingdom picks people for special things on Christmas Day and if so, what's your advise for us? By the way, my parents last name is Williams too. :)

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    1. Congratulations on such a magical trip! It is my understanding that families or groups are chosen each day the park is open--even rainy days! Our advice? Arrive early. Enjoy the magic as it is all around. And, talk to Cast Members. You never know what might happen.
      Good luck and have a magical trip! Keep us posted. . .

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  9. So Kewl that you and your family have been able to participate in so may different events. we will be there in 11 days! I have our t-shirts all ready and hope we get some pixy-dust sprinkled on us. My one concern is that my daughter is a cast member (she is taking vacation time while we are there) - would that be a mark against our family getting picked???

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    1. Wow--your trip is getting close! At Disney, anything can happen, whether or not your daughter is a Cast Member. Enjoy your magical vacation! And, here is a bit of pixie dust for you "sprinkle, sprinkle"! Thanks for reading the Williams Family Blog!

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  10. Hello guys! We are from Brazil and we are planning on taking our six y/o daughter to disney for the first time! We are putting a lot of efforts to make this trip happen and to make it special. How can we have the honor of opening MK´s park? this is absolutely AWESOME and from now on, my dream lol.... Thanks for sharing! Rachel

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    1. Rachel,
      Congratulations on your upcoming trip! Your first time is sure to be magical. How can you make it happen? Well, I don't know that you can. But keep dreaming as a dream is a wish your heart makes and Disney has a way of making dreams come true. We are wishing for you as well! Have a magical trip!

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  11. I LOVE Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line. My family and friends try to get me to vacation somewhere else, and right now Disney is my vacation HOME! My daughter and I do Disney every year and we love it! I love seeing and meeting other people who love Disney as much as me Kudos's to you and your family! Go Disney!!!!!!

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  12. WE are going on the Disney Dream and then to Disney World in 12 days!!! Woo Hoo!

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  13. I cannot quite explain how I feel, but reading your blog has made me feel so emotional (in a good way!!!) - I love that there are fellow Disney fans out there, and I especially love the true family spirit that I can feel when reading each post, it's beautiful! Thanks for a good read :) - plus, I'm going to WDW next year with my family for the FIRST time (we live in England so it's rather expensive) so it's great to get some inspiration.

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    1. Zoe Victoria Green,
      Thank you so much. . . your comments touched my heart. Congratulations on your trip which is sure to be magical! Thank you for finding and reading the Williams Family Blog!

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  14. Wow you guys must make a ton of money to be able to have so many Disney vacations. So many have never been there once, so many will never be able to go.

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    1. Taxandria,
      Thank you for reading! Yes, we are very fortunate to have been able to travel to Walt Disney World multiple times. It's not about how much money we make/have but more about what we do with it. It took us years to upgrade to flat screen TV's and we drive older-paid for cars. I use coupons when grocery shopping and we do not go out to eat--even for fast food. If we need to eat outside our home, we pack a cooler. When our son asks for the latest toy that he wants/needs, he, too, has to consider whether or not to put money towards that or to apply it towards a Disney vacation. Disney also offers a variety of affordable options and special saving opportunities throughout the year, making it affordable on almost any budget.
      Again, thank you for finding us!

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  15. I have been ready your blogs for some time now, and it's like...WOW!..I want to do that, too! You are bless but, like you said, you all worked for that! Not many men are willing to do DISNEY or any other theme park like your hubby and son! Your family is one of a kind. Congratulations

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    1. Janita,
      Thank you--your words touched my heart. Yes, my family are troopers when it comes to our vacations adventures!

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  16. Do you have a source for specialty family shirts - our family is going for the first time in November - 2 kids and me and my husband. one child is 4 and one is 15 - and I would absolutely love for them to be selected for a parade or something -

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    1. Congratulations on your first trip! We have found several places for matching shirts for our family. Disneystore.com, Zazzle.com, Target, and even JCPenney. You can also get custom made shirts on Etsy. Good luck and have a magical trip!

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