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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Water Proof Digital Camera--Finally!

 We did it!  We finally got a water proof digital camera.  After months of deliberation, the Olympus Tough was the top winner and we took it out for a test drive.

We wanted to see how well it did on photos indoors.  The husband and Phoebe, our dog, posed for the photo above.  Not bad.

Then, it was time to take it outside.  Here are are some of the photos from a trip to our local pool:

Very clear, crisp, and bright, even after cropping.  That's what 14 megapixels will do!  There is even a zoom function.

Being a cheap, I mean frugal person, springing for the $100 plus dollars for the camera was a stretch, especially since we already have a new digital camera.  But here is how it happened. . . .

I was changing purses and cleaning them out.  There were various gift cards still in the pouch along with other important cards.  I decided to check balances and found $105 and change!  It was like Christmas!  We decided to use our remaining Amazon.com gift cards earned through Swagbucks towards the camera along with some of the balance on one of the gift cards.  So, the camera was basically FREE! (Click here to get started with Swagbucks.)

So far so good.  Charging was easy as was taking the SD card out of the camera to upload onto the computer.  Oh, speaking of the SD card, we purchased it was Target gift cards earned through a program in our county where you are rewarded for attending cultural events like concerts, plays, art showings, etc.  Many of the events were free.  This made the SD card FREE!  Did I tell you I was frugal?

I can't wait to take camera to other swimming pools, water parks, and eventually on our vacation!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Planning Your First Disney Cruise

If you have been dreaming of a Disney Cruise and have decided to hop on board, where do you start with planning?  Do you use a travel agent or not?  Trip insurance?

All of these questions and more were posed on a Disney message board by someone who had no idea where to start when planning a Disney cruise.  At least they did know to ask on a Disney message board site, because those folks DO know where to start and gave some great advice.  It also got me thinking about our first Disney cruise and trying to remember how we started our planning. . .

A recommendation would be to obtain some sort of Disney Cruise Line guide book—or better yet, borrow one from a library or borrow one from someone who has cruised with Disney before and might have one available.  Personally, I prefer PassPorter’s Disney Cruise Line and there are many editions to choose from.  A new edition is coming out soon and I just may snag one as it will contain information about the Ports for our cruise next summer.  You can purchase on their website at www. PassPorter.com. 

Since gaining information is the key here, ordering a free planning DVD from Disney Cruise Line is another option.  The DVD has a great menu of choices and can be watched in snippets answering your questions for right now and then returned to later for more information.  It is also great to watch with your family so everyone is on-board, so to speak.

We love our travel agent, so I may sound a bit biased here, but find a travel agent that specializes in Disney and use them to help book your cruise.  There are many more details in booking and planning a Disney cruise, especially the paperwork, than there is with a trip to Walt Disney World and a well trained travel agent can help you.  And, there may be bonuses in it for you!  (Ironically, the actual cruise vacation is easier than Walt Disney World!)

For example, there are specifics about flights and flight options when sailing with DCL and they can book your flights for your, if you like.  All you have to do is tell them you want to fly the day of your cruise or the day prior.  We did this for our first cruise but haven’t since, as we prefer to pick our flight times—still knowing DCL’s expectations for arrivals and departures.  DCL can even book your overnight stay prior to your cruise.  Again, we did this the first cruise, but haven’t since.  Still stay at the same place, but for much less than the DCL price.  A travel agent can help navigate all of this for you.

After the research, comes decision time—or vice versa.  Timing can change your price here.  The farther away you book your Disney cruise, the better price you are likely to pay.  This again, is opposite of planning other trips when deals can be found closer to your travel dates or specials at Walt Disney World are announced just a few months ahead.  While making dining commitments 6 months ahead for a trip to Walt Disney World can seem strange, booking a Disney cruise 14-24 months ahead will pay off in the long run.  And, besides, you’ll just have that much longer to look forward to an exciting vacation!

Trip insurance?  You bet!  We purchase trip insurance for our cruises, and knock on wood, haven’t had to use it.  Disney cruises can be expensive and I want that investment protected.  Our travel agent prices different insurance options for us and we pick the one we want.

Our dreaming of a Disney Cruise Line vacation began when the boy was an infant and was fed, rocked, and soothed while watching/listening to the Travel Channel—how ironic given his life now!  Four years later, we were sailing! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

AAA Member Benefits for Walt Disney World Dependant on Dining Plan Being Included

We learned this week the AAA member benefits for Walt Disney World vary by what is included in the package, such as dining plans.

Here’s what happened . . .

When our Disney documents arrived last week (click here to read more), I looked through them and discovered that we did not have a voucher for Wishes reserved viewing, which is a AAA member benefit, even though we had a reservation and a confirmation number.  Our AAA Story Time (click here to read more) voucher was also missing, but we weren’t planning on that particular activity.

I phoned our travel agent and discovered that those particular vouchers are only included with packages where a Disney Dining Plan is also included.  Ah, didn’t know that!  This was the first time in 11 trips that we hadn’t included a dining plan. 

The mystery question still remains as to how we were able to get a reservation for Wishes reserved viewing and a confirmation number if we didn’t meet the criteria at the time.  Note, that when we booked our vacation I inquired about AAA member benefits and after hearing that reserved viewing for Wishes was one of them, asked for it to be reserved at the same time that our dining reservations were made and it was no problem.  We have before, waited until the vouchers arrived with our documents and attempted to obtain a reservation only to discover that it was either full or not available during our vacation.  Call and plan ahead is the lesson here.

This became a dilemma and a somewhat ethical one I might add.  Would we use our confirmation number to obtain admittance without the voucher and feign ignorance?  Would we watch Wishes from another location?  Would we add a dining plan to our reservation?  Which one would you do?

After much thought, deliberation, and calculation, we have now added the Basic Dining Plan to our package and reservation.  The Basic Dining Plan gives us 1 table service credit, 1 counter service credit, and 1 snack credit per person per night of your stay that can be used in any order.  It also includes 1 refillable mug per person.  (The husband said, “Oh great, we’ll have to squeeze 3 more mugs into our cupboard.”)

The math worked out—and possibly to our advantage after I checked menu prices for the time of our stay.  And, now I don’t have to worry about the food budget. 

While we have credits for 11 table service meals, we actually have dining reservations for 15 meals.  One is the Spirit of Aloha dinner and that is paid in full already including gratuity.  Two reservations are for T-Rex Café at Downtown Disney and Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  We will be using Landry gift cards earned through Swagbucks (click here to read more) to pay for these meals, along with a $25 voucher from Landry Select Club.  That leaves one meal in which we will need to pay for out of pocket beyond the Disney Dining Plan and I think our dinner at The Plaza or our dinner at Rose & Crown will be our out of pocket meal.  

Our counter service meal credits will be used for some breakfasts, lunches, and at least one dinner (arrival day).  And, we will have 33 snack credits to be used between all of us.  Can you say funnel cake or turkey leg?

After we made the decision about adding the Dining Plan, I told the husband that we just can’t go to Disney without it.  We tried to give it up and it didn’t work.  He corrected me in saying that it was me who couldn’t give it up, not we.  He was just an enabler.

Hopefully, the plans are all set.  The voucher for Wishes reserved viewing is on its way to us via mail.  And, we are looking forward to dining at ‘Ohana’s for both breakfast and dinner, Akershus with the Disney princesses, Nine Dragons in the China Pavilion at EPCOT, Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Tusker House with Donald and the gang at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, Teppan Edo at the Japan Pavilion in EPCOT, Mama Melrose at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Plaza in the Magic Kingdom, and Rose & Crown at EPCOT’s United Kingdom Pavilion. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Personalized Documents From Disney Cruise Line

We have to wait another year for our next Disney Cruise and yet Disney Cruise Line is thinking about us, just like we are thinking about them!

Along with our Walt Disney World documents, a pamphlet of sorts arrived via mail last week.  Inside the folder, was a personalized letter—it had Williams Family on it—with information about our upcoming cruise and how we could get started planning right now using Disney Cruise Line’s website.  Actually, I had already been on DCL’s web-site doing some “unofficial” planning.

Our next Disney Cruise (our 6th) will be on the Disney Fantasy, a new ship to us, for a 7 night Western Caribbean itinerary.  Stops include Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Jamaica, and Castaway Cay.  I have already started to look at Port Adventures in some of the stops.  Oh, tough decisions!

Since it will be our 6th cruise, we will be Gold Level Castaway Club Members and can reserve our Port Adventures 105 days prior to our cruise if paid in full.  Technically, cruise fares are due 75 days prior to any cruise.

As always, I am impressed with the classiness of Disney and Disney Cruise Line.  They didn’t have to send me the lovely, personalized pamphlet—I’m already sold—but they did.  That’s part of what makes Disney, well, Disney.  They do things that go above and beyond when they don’t have to!  It’s that “service” pillar that we have come to know, love, and frankly, expect. 

Just last week, our family bumped into less than stellar customer service at several local establishments one after another.  I got in the car and said to the husband, “Get me to Disney.”  He completely understood and reminded me that we are a few days away.  The boy even got it and tried to comfort me with the promise of a cold Diet Coke and a great movie.  Ah, my fellas!  They take good care of me! 

We are looking forward to be pampered with service in the Disney bubble for our upcoming trip, as well as a year from now when we sail.  In the meantime, Disney mail is welcome!

Monday, June 24, 2013

100 Disney Trading Pins--For FREE!

A very special delivery arrived last week. . . 100 Disney trading pins!   And, we got them for FREE!

How did we get them for free?  By using Swagbucks.  Both the husband and I have Swagbucks accounts that we use each day for searching—in place of Google or Yahoo.  Typically I earn or win Swagbucks twice a day through searches; once in the morning after 3-5 searches and again, later in the day.  There are many other ways to earn Swagbucks, too.

After earning Swagbucks, we then redeem them for gift cards.  The 100 Disney trading pins came to us from Amazon, so I redeemed my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, but there are other gift cards available too, such as PayPal, Target, Walmart, etc.  A whole store is dedicated to Swagbucks redemption.  Click here to read about how Swagbucks ishelping us eat for free while at Disney.

If you are already using Swagbucks, good for you!  If not, now is the time to get started.

I have been using Swagbucks for almost a year and have earned over 35,000 Swagbucks.  With a ratio of 500 Swagbucks = to about $5, I have earned over $350 in less than a year!

Now back to the Disney trading pins. . .  the husband was in heaven with his loot, but the boy and I skimmed through too.  The boy found Stitch pins—his favorite—and I found a Timothy Mouse pin which was interesting.

The pins and lanyards are about to be packed for our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World—our 11th!  Some people ask about whether or not pins can make it through security and the answer is YES!  Our pins and lanyards go in our carry-on luggage and actually come out of the bag as soon as we are through airport security as we like to wear our lanyards en route.  The lanyards along with the matching Disney shirts and Mickey suitcases leave no doubts about our destination to other passengers or flight crew.

The husband was joking about the number of times we are walking through a Disney park, or anywhere on property for that matter, and I turn around only to find him engaged in some sort of pin trade with a Cast Member.  The boy acts more like a pin broker or agent.  He scopes Cast Member lanyards for wanted or interesting pins and then brokers a trade using his Dad’s pins.  It is almost comical, but hey, it is how they find magic. . . and, “Can I see your pins?” has blossomed into other magical experiences as well.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Disney Documents Arrived For Our Next Trip to Walt Disney World!

Our Disney documents arrived for our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World!  Inside the quarter inch thick envelope is package information, luggage identity tags, and the famous, and colorful, Magical Express luggage tags.

Easy stuff first, the luggage identity tags—which have a new design.  We have many of these from our various trips that are already on our luggage, but have always found that we add a new bag or two and need the new luggage tags.  Find the paper insert to record your identity information inside the booklet—usually 2-3 pages in.  

We only write our last name and cell phone on this little card before putting it inside the luggage tag.  Why?  Well, if I put our address on it, folks know what house is empty, but with our name and cell phone, if the luggage is lost or misplaced, there is enough information for us to be contacted.

These tags work great on other bags as well, like the boy’s lunchbox that he is taking to his summer programs, the soccer bag, backpacks, etc.  I have even seen folks put the plastic cord through zipper pulls and use them for their children in case they become lost (think ski lift tag).

Now the colorful Disney’s Magical Express luggage tags—which have adhesive.  There will be one per person in your travel party if you have registered to use Disney’s Magical Express service—click here to read more. 

These tags go on your checked luggage, prior to checking.  Forgetting to tag the bags almost happened to us one time when the husband got a head start at the airport and I hadn’t put the tags on the bags yet.  Yikes! 

When adhering the tags, pull them through the luggage handle prior to removing the adhesive on both ends of the tag.  Once through the handle, remove the adhesive on both ends and then press together.  The whole tag does not have to stick together, just the ends.  And, trust me, you only want the ends sticking together as even those are tough to pull apart when you remove the tags for the trip home.

Once you check your bags with the colorful tags, you will not see them again until they are delivered to your room at your Disney Resort.  There will be a delay in their arrival, up to 5 hours, so pack what you need right away in your carry-on luggage.  We pack swimsuits, park necessities, jammies, and close for the next day in our carry-on luggage just in case.

If your flight arrives after 10:00 pm, most likely you will not receive tags, as you will retrieve your luggage from baggage claim and proceed to Disney’s Magical Express counter.  The luggage handling portion of Disney’s Magical Express ends at 10:00 pm each day.

Now for the booklet full of important information and vouchers!  Most important, put this booklet in a place where you can find it easily as it will be needed at the airport, Orlando International, at Disney’s Magical Express Counter.  You will also need it again when you arrive at your resort.

I put mine either on the outside pouch of my purse or bag, or if I am traveling with several travel documents, it is inside a folder which I can easily get to in my shoulder bag.

Inside the booklet are the tickets that get scanned for Disney’s Magical Express—you don’t have to pull them out, just turn to the page in the booklet and have them ready and visible.

Your reservation information is also included in the booklet and may be helpful at your resort in case there is confusion.  Most of the time this is all in Disney’s computer system, but there have been glitches at times.  Better safe than sorry.

Our favorite parts of the booklet are the vouchers!  There is a voucher for arcade points that can be used at any arcade at a Walt Disney World Resort.  I say “any” arcade, as during our last trip, while we were staying at Disney’s Coronado Springs, the boy used the arcade points at the arcade at the Contemporary as we had made a stop there for some exploring.  Just make sure the voucher is handy when going to the arcade.  (I give this voucher to the husband he puts it inside his lanyard wallet.)

There is also a AAA Diamond Parking certificate that allows for parking in special AAA spaces when available at three of four theme parks—Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not have special parking spaces available.  Guests still have to pay for parking, it just allows access to special parking spaces.  We have yet to ever use this perk, as we rely on Disney’s transportation system.

My favorite is the AAA Diamond Savings Card which allows for discounts for dining, shopping, spa treatments, and even special tours.  The best discount I have found is 10% off at World of Disney with a $75 or more purchase.  We wait until we are at Downtown Disney to purchase our “souvenirs” and take advantage of the discount.  I put this card in the pouch at the end of my lanyard with my Key to The World Card so I have it just in case. Other vouchers include discounts for boat rentals, child care, and miniature golf. 

A new voucher that was included with our package materials was for Disney’s Photopass + which I will need to exchange for our Photopass + card at any Photopass location in the parks or at Downtown Disney or at select deluxe resorts.  I also understand it can be exchanged at the restaurants that participate in the dining photo with Photopass +.   This voucher will too go in my lanyard pouch.

While it is important to have the package booklet handy when you arrive in Orlando and to your resort, it may not need to be carried with you throughout your Disney vacation.  Just make sure you have wanted/needed vouchers with you prior to leaving your resort for the day.  If miniature golf is on your agenda, grab the vouchers, or even if you think it might be on the agenda, take the vouchers.

This also brings me to another important point, be sure to read through your materials.  When ours arrived, we were missing a particular voucher—I’ll explain more another day—so I contacted my travel agent.  We are still working on solving the issue, but it is better now than after we have arrived in Orlando.  Also, if this is your first vacation or your first one in a long time, reading through the package information can be beneficial. 

It is exciting when the Disney Mail arrives as it means your magical Disney vacation is not far away!  That’s how we feel anyway!  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

We Saw The Premier of Monster's University!

Monster’s University, the prequel to Monster’s Inc. premiered yesterday and we enjoyed the evening at the movies.  We celebrated the occasion by wearing our matching t-shirts with a tribute to Mike.  Suffice it to say, they were a hit, just like the movie!

Monster's University toys that we got at Target
No spoilers here, just in case you haven’t seen the movie yet.  But look forward to the Pixar short of The Blue Umbrella before the movie which is a test of new technique and technology.  Pixar has been treating movie goers to these wonderful shorts since the premier of A Bug’s Life.

Mild mannered me before going to work on Friday
What movie goers do learn is how the rivalry between Randall and Sully came to be which is an “ah ha” moment during the flick.  Roz makes an appearance with her distinctive voice which is a delight.  And, that IS the voice of Helen Mirren!

What was REALLY under my jacket!  I smiled all day!
Just like any Disney movie, there are values and morals lessons throughout—cheating is bad, honesty is good even it has consequences, hard work is good, teamwork is better than working alone—and don’t leave anyone on your team behind, and your dreams really can come true.

Disney and Pixar have done it again with Monster’s University which is sure to be a classic.  The animation, story, humor, and great characters make Monster’s University a hit!  I can’t also help but notice a few nods to Harry Potter.  Let me know if you see them too!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quarter Million Hits For Williams Family Blog

The Williams Family Blog hit a milestone sometime yesterday—a quarter of a million hits on the site.  I am humbled and grateful, but not surprised.

Through comments on the blog or in person, I know the site has helped people. . . either plan a vacation, or build excitement for their next vacation, or overcome the post trip blues.  And, that is exactly what it was intended to do—help people. 

Here are the questions I get asked most frequently about the blog or hosting a blog, including a conversation I had yesterday morning with work colleagues:

Are you surprised by the blog traffic?  At first it was surreal that others would be reading what I wrote, but that is the intent, so no, not surprised.  Others are finding our information helpful and linking the Williams Family Blog on their own web-sites or message boards.  Obviously, word is out.

Why?  Well if the question is “why do I write” the answer is because it gets the words out of my head and onto “paper” so to speak.  Writing gives clarity.  If the question is “why a blog” the answer is because it was an easy, fast, and efficient way to get information “out there.”  If the question is “why write the Williams Family Blog” the answer would be to inform people the way I want to be informed.  If I am going somewhere new, vast, expensive, unfamiliar then I want to be armed with the most recent and up to date information that will allow me to have the best experience.  I write to be informative and helpful.

Is it mostly Disney stuff?  Yes. . . but, we also do features on local swimming pools and water parks.  When I bump into “locals” they say that the information is most helpful, especially now that summer is upon us.  The rest is some tidbits about our family and then mostly Disney and Disney Cruise Line.  There are some posts about Universal, SeaWorld, etc.

Do you have a life? (this question was asked just yesterday)  I am going to translate into asking about time.  Yes!  I write early in the morning and most of the time, wake up with words in my head ready to go on paper.  For example, I knew this post would be coming as I was keeping an eye on the stats, so it was already percolating.  Add that to the conversations I have with people and then mix. . .  I work full time, am a wife and mom, volunteer for community activities, teach coupon classes, and plan family vacations.  Yes, I have a rich and full life. . . that I, hopefully, bring to the writing!

Where do the ideas for posts come from?  Well, mostly from our experiences.  The husband also chimes in with “you could write about that” or “that could be for the blog” and I appreciate his thinking and planning. . . that manifests into me “doing”!  Williams Family Blog readers have also contributed ideas or asked questions that prompted posts.  I also troll Disney themed message boards and get ideas for posts when I see various questions—that’s where the idea for the Disney misconceptions post came from—click here to read more.  Typically, I don’t have trouble coming up with ideas for posts.  The next 2-3 posts are already in my head, waiting to come to life on the screen.

What’s next?  Great question!  Some folks have mentioned a book, which seems daunting to me and the fact that Disney changes at such a pace, even seasoned publishers have a difficult time keeping up.  An e-book was also suggested.  Then there’s the elusive Disney Mom’s Panel. . .

Any final words?  Thank you!  Thank you to my family who gives ideas, suggestions, and feedback, who wait to talk to me in the morning until after I am finished writing,  wait for the computer until I am done, and who are willing to embark on so many adventures.  Thank you to the readers, followers, and commentors—you make the words come alive!  Thank you to Walter Elias Disney for creating the magic and vision that makes dreams come true.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience all of the things we have been able to experience.  Thank you!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our GardenGrocer.com Order Has Been Placed For Our Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World!

What does a long stay at Walt Disney World plus baggage fees and weight limitations equal?  A GardenGrocer.com grocery order!  GardenGrrocer.com is an on-line store that allows guests to order various groceries and have them delivered to their Walt Disney World Resort (except the Swan and Dolphin).  Ordering is fast, convenient, and the service rivals Disney’s.

We placed our GardenGrocer.com order yesterday for our upcoming trip.  Since we have used GardenGrocer before, I just logged into my account with an email and password.  If you are a first time customer, create an account with an email address and password.  I then put items in the cart, just like I would at a brick and mortar grocery store.  

The prices are a bit higher than I would normally see (or spend) at local grocery stores but not outrageous.  And, by having the items delivered we will save money by not purchasing at even higher prices at our Disney resort.  

There is a $14 delivery charge for orders between $40 and $200—the minimum order is $40 and orders over $200 are charged $2 for delivery.  Sales tax is also added and there is an opportunity to add a trip or gratuity that is divided into thirds for the three people who handle your order.

When checking out, you get to select your Walt Disney World Resort and then the site pre-populates the address and phone number for your resort—pretty smart!  Next is the selection of a delivery time.  Two hour delivery windows are available starting with 2:00-4:00 pm.  (The last time we used GardenGrocer.com earlier delivery times were available as we were coming off the ship and were at our resort by 10:00 am and our items had already been delivered.)  Click here to read about our previous experience with GardenGrocer.com.

Paying was also easy with choices of credit card, PayPal, or print and phone which means the guest would call to place the order if they were uncomfortable shopping on-line.

I got an email confirming the order AND a phone call!  The phone call confirmed the order, explained that I would receive a text message when the items were delivered at the resort, that we did not need to be present for the delivery, that the resort would hold (and refrigerate if necessary) the delivery at Bell Services,  until we picked them up or had them delivered to our room.

There are a limited number of delivery slots per day available and the GardenGrocer.com web-site indicates how many delivery slots are available for each day.  That is part of the reason we placed our order even though we are still weeks away from our trip—I didn’t want to wait too long and not have a delivery available for our arrival day.  If that happened, you could always choose a different delivery date for later in your trip.

Our order consisted of sunscreen—both lotion and spray.  Reason being that these items cannot be packed in our carry-on luggage and since we plan on going to a water park first thing (before our checked luggage gets delivered to our room) I wanted sunscreen available.  And, while I plan on packing some, it will be nice to have extra on hand for our 12 day stay.

Mountain Dew—twelve 20 ounces bottles to be exact—was also in our “cart.”  This is the husband’s favorite flavor of soda and since Disney is a Coke only consumer, Mountain Dew cannot be found on property.  I have packed bottles before—one for each day of our trip—but since we are staying longer I was concerned about baggage weight limits.  It was easier to order the Mountain Dew for delivery.  He will put the bottles in the refrigerator in our resort room and each morning enjoy his caffeine fix and flaunt it in front of other guests at the bus stop.

Fresh pears, 100% orange juice boxes, applesauce, and plastic spoons round out the rest of our order.  As you can tell, the items are mostly for breakfast or snack consumption.  I already have various bars, PopTarts, and cereal (which we prefer to eat dry) packed for the trip.  These are lightweight and will give us more room in our luggage for the trip home after consumption.

When I told the boy about our order, he inquired about peaches.  I told him I would pack some in my shoulder bag as they are our summer travel go to fruit (and clementines in the winter).  We love to indulge with a juicy peach while on a flight or at the airport leaving other travelers to wonder why they didn’t think of that.

I can check GardenGrocer off the pre-trip “to do” list.  Oh, and the moleskin as I purchased it at the store the other day.  The misting spray/fan bottle is still hiding as is the husband’s glasses strap and waterproof watch (which he had for December’s trip). 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Do You Get Your Mickey On?

Williams Family Blog reader Michael gets his Mickey on wearing his socks

How do you get your Mickey on?  Williams Family Blog reader Michael gets his Mickey on with his socks as shown in the photo above. 

I get my Mickey on with earrings and a watch.  I also have several necklaces and scarves.  If it is winter, my Mickey is on my gloves.  And, a bag I typically carry every day also helps me get my Mickey on.  Then there’s my iPad cover. . .  The list could go on and on.

Disney fans have a tendency to show how they feel about the icon by donning some sort of apparel or accessory.  I know someone who has Mickey tennis shoes!

The rest of the Williams family will sport Disney shirts of some sort every once in a while.  The boy has some Disney themed pajamas.   And I noticed the husband using a Nemo beach towel when he went to the local pool the other day.

If you were in our kitchen you might discover that we get our Mickey on there as well with our salt and pepper shakers in the shape of Mickey and Minnie (they were gifts), the soap dispenser (also a gift), various utensils such as measuring cups, glasses, spatula, and ice cream scoop.  I do have a Mickey apron, too.  But the silverware drawer is my favorite as it contains Mickey silverware.  The iconic 3 circles are found in the handle of each fork, spoon, and knife.

When we travel in a few weeks, we will get our Mickey on with our luggage.  There will be no doubt as to where we are headed!

Someone once asked me if our house was Disney themed and I told them “no.”  Our whole house isn’t Disney themed, but there are sprinkles of Disney throughout with accessories and art work.

So, how do you get your Mickey on?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Got Free Tickets to Schlitterbahn!

Adventure Bay--where you pay to park and use tubes
We have added to our Summer 2013 trip plans!  Since we are flying out of Kansas City, I was able to score 2 free tickets to Schlitterbahn, a water park in Kansas City, using MyCokeRewards points.  (Yes, we will have to purchase a 3rd ticket.)

Schlitterbahn historically has built water parks in Texas ( 3 locations) so Kansas City is its first location outside of Texas.  The water park offers free tubes and free parking!  Guests can also bring in coolers minus glass and alcohol of course.

If you aren’t familiar with MyCokeRewards, it is an on-line (also an app) rewards program.  Registering is easy.  Then, login and enter the codes from Coke products to earn points.  There is a maximum of entering 120 points per week.  Points expire after 90 days of account inactivity.  Then, use the points to redeem rewards.  The Schlitterbahn tickets were my 3rd reward.  Previously I had used points for a free Coke 12-pack coupon and a magazine subscription.

After a day at Schlitterbahn, the next day we will be at Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World, so the juxtaposition of two water parks in two days will be quite interesting and advantageous to make comparisons. 

We will keep you posted!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day Disney Dads!

 Happy Father's Day to all the dads and especially to all the Disney dads.  It takes a special kind of dad to embrace all that is Disney and because of that, I would like to wish our favorite Disney Dad a very special Father's Day!  Here are some pictures that capture the husband in all his Disney glory:
 Embracing all the pools, hot tubs, and water attractions make him a wonderful Disney Dad.  He's never met a water ride he didn't like. . . except Kali River Rapids.  You'll have to ask him why.

He wants to fight Darth Vader, too.  Being over the age limit for Jedi Training Academy by just a few years, he has had to find his own way to take on the dark side.

For finding the full indulgence of a bucket of beers in paradise.  It is the only special treat he asks for on a Disney Cruise, other than the various alcohol "tastings" that he has now discovered.

 He is willing to wear many hats while at Disney and usually wants me to take a picture, too!

He is appreciated for all the times he says "Schnooks, take a picture" of some scenario or pose.  Only a Disney Dad would be willing to stage all of these photo opportunities.

And, I can count on some sort of "sleeping" photo.  He has "slept" at The Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and other numerous locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.  As you can see, the boy has gotten into the act, too.

Oh, and I can also count on at least one "self portrait" photo from any trip or adventure.  It is my little surprise when I upload the photos into the computer.  The photo below is a self-portrait from our most recent Disney trip and I believe was taken in the Lego Store at Downtown Disney.

Our favorite Disney Dad puts himself in the show and enjoys every minute of other shows and attractions.

 He is willing to wear just about anything for an adventure and a photo including snorkel gear and Mickey Mouse flannel pajamas. 

And, through all of it, he shows us that he loves us very much.  Happy Father's Day to our favorite Disney Dad!  We love you!

Do you have a Disney Dad you want to appreciate this Father's Day?