Thursday, May 31, 2012

Staying Cool at Disney

As you know, a lot of visitors come down to FL in the summer, and some may not expect it to be so hot. Some people don't realize how sometimes it's not fun standing in the summer heat in long lines with cranky kids. Here are some tips on how to stay cool, keep your cool and still have fun at Disney in the summer...

 As FL residents, we tend to pretty much stay away from Disney during the summer months. To us, it's just to hot.
 For starters, how to pack. You know if  you are coming to Florida, for most months, you are going to pack shorts and t shirts. We are hanging our Christmas lights up here in shorts and T's, so how you dress you and the kiddies up is one major factor . Dress lightly and in light colors. Ladies, wear your sun dresses, little shorts, ect..

 To all the moms out there, the Disney Princess outfits are really cute, I know, but in the summer heat, they get really hot and itchy really fast, so please bring your little princess a change of clothes!!

 Shoes, now I personally am a croc girl, yes, I know they are so ugly to most people, but they are my life, especially with the many miles you will be walking in the parks during your stay. Most people complain they make your feet sweat, however I know this is gonna sound weird, I spray my feet with spray deoderant! Bam, no more sweating!!! Disney crocs are  even better, I have my crocs in a rainbow of colors, so they match most every outfit. But, if you are totally against the crocs, I suggest sandals ,like Tevas,or Keens they are great shoes!!

 For the little ones in a stroller, before you leave home stop at walmart and pick up a clip on battery fan and or a fan water sprayer, they are a lot of money in the parks, and if you are trying to stay on budget, that can take a chunk out.
 Bring a hat, it helps shade your head, and eyes in the bright sun!

Ladies, skip the major make-up, its just not worth it!!

 Small coolers are allowed to be brought in, freeze your juice boxes over night, and pack them up!
Bring a few washcloths or neck wraps, every so often dip them in the water fountains, for a cool off!!

 I know it's vacation, who wants to get up early? Get up early! Have a early breakfast and get to the parks as soon as they open. Beat the afternoon heat and leave around 12 or 1, go back to the hotel for a nice cooling swim. If you prefer to stay in the park, there are cool off stations. In Epcot there are the jumping fountains, the big Coke bottle, the car and a few other little fountain areas. The little kids love these and the adults can have a seat for a few minutes. Remember, you are on vacation, slow down!!! In Animal Kingdom you have Kali River Rapids, which is great for a cool down. In the Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain is also nice.

 Also, remember to stay hydrated!!!! This is very important. Many calls are made to EMS for folks that have overheated. Keep the kids well stocked with water and stay away from sugary snacks!!! Most walk up places to eat will give you free ice water, all you have to do is ask!!

Chaffing is a touchy subject but one I feel we should cover. It's horrible to have heat rash or blisters burning your body and still having miles to walk!! Bring baby powder in your pack or before you leave. There is also some stuff called Body Glide, you can find it in sports stores for about $7, it helps as well.

 The great thing about Disney is that almost all attractions under some kind of covering to keep you out of direct sunlight. If you really need a few minutes off your feet, check out a show. In the Magic Kingdom you have The Hall of Presidents, its a nice air conditioned room. At Animal Kingdom, you can see Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo show. In Disney's Hollywood Studios you can catch The American Idol Experience and over at Epcot you can sail through Living with the Land ride or the 360^ theater in China.
Downtown Disney also offers a stay cool spot for the kiddies to enjoy, and cool off!!
Don't forget to being a change of clothes for the kids,and maybe a towel or two!!!

 And of course, Disney offers 2 really awesome water parks for the most coolest day of your life!!!

 Don't forget the sunscreen!!!!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Foodie Friday: Casey's Corner

Casey's Corner at night!

  My favorite resturant, the one that I have to eat at everytime I'm at Walt Disney World, is a simple one: Casey's Crorner. Located in the Magic Kingdom on Main Street U.S.A. at the end of the Emporium heading towards Cinderalla's Castle. It has a baseball theme, which comes from the animated film "Casey at Bat". It's a counter service restaurant that accept the Dining Plan. There is a small seating area in the back, a few tables, but mostly bleachers where you can watch old Disney sport shorts, which really adds to the theme. There is also ample seating outside and entertainment with a piano player throughout the day.
My wife and son having a "picnic" outside Casey's
  The food is inline with the baseball theme; hotdogs, french fries, nachos and of course cracker jacks, simple but effective. The hotdogs are bigger than most of the other ones you get at Disney and the rolls are great.They are made big to really hold all the extras. All the hotdogs come with french fries and their are 4 different types to choose from.
The Chicago Style is topped with tomato slices, dill pickle, Chicago-style relish and banana peppers.
The Barbecue Slaw Dog is topped with pulled pork, cole slaw and barbeque sauce.
The Chili Cheese Dog is topped with chili and shredded cheddar cheese.
You can also get a plain hot dog and add your toppings at Casey's topping bar. Toppings include ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, onions, jalapenos, salsa, melted cheese sauce and sauerkraut, which my wife loves! (see picture above.)
  Other offerings are Corn Dog Nuggets, which are bite sized corn dogs, Ball Park Nachos covered with chili and shredded cheese. For dessert options, they offer cotton candy, a brownie or the ball park favorite Cracker Jacks. There's your basic offering of soda, milk and bottled water, you can also get coffee or hot cocoa.
  All in all Casey's Corner is a must for me every trip. I would say in this case, Mighty Casey hasn't struck out. If you haven't been there give it a try, and if you have let us know what you think.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Disney Smartphone Apps


After many trips to Disney throughout my life, it was only the most recent trip that I took where I was able to approach the park as a modern tourist with a smartphone.  I had been to Walt Disney World and Disneyland and witnessed the phenomenon but I had never been able to participate.  I had very mixed feelings about whether the use of a smartphone would be worth using while in the park or something that would be a true distraction. 

My children who were four and six at the time had been intrigued by the use of the phone on a previous trip to a town that had an outdoor sculpture festival.  Each work of art had a plaque in front of it naming the work of art and a QR code.  The kids were able to scan the QR code with the phone and learn more about the artwork and artist.  This was a great way to spend an afternoon with two young children.  I think that it was the idea of scanning the information rather than the information itself that provided the entertainment.

Anyone who has been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland would know that a four and a six year old do not need any additional methods to find entertainment anywhere on property.  For the most part, we moved through the parks in the same manner that I had traditionally used even with a phone.  There would be different points while in the park that we needed to determine a general direction and we would use a wait time application for the phone. 

I tried several different applications while in Walt Disney World to compare the features.  I did like the idea of being able to check the menus at the counter service restaurants.  I have found that the choices really vary from place to place and each only offers about four to six adult options and two to three children’s options.  When travelling with a picky child, this feature does save the time of walking to a counter service that doesn’t have something of interest. 

The map features would be helpful to someone new to the park.  The ride wait times were only as accurate as the users of the app were.  If it was updated regularly it was much more helpful.  This is where I found the applications that I had heard of before travelling particularly helpful.  I think that many of the features were helpful overall but it is important to put down the phone and make memories.

Monday, May 21, 2012

More Speed: Ride Makerz

Start your engines ladies and gentleman, you are gonna be so revved up about Ride Makerz. This is another hidden gem in DTD in the Team Mickey Athletic Club store. If you have boys, and some girls(yes,they have pretty colors and decals even for girls), they will definitely wanna make a pit stop here! In Ridemakerz you have fun designing your own car or truck. You become the designer, which I think is a really cool concept. Start off by chosing your car or truck body, which come in a rainbow of colors, and range from corvettes, Mustangs ,Vipers, Hot rods, and even some cool looking Tow Maters from Cars.
 Once you have your body, it's time to pick out your insides and tires. The tires come in red, green, black or yellow and come in packs of 2. Time to make your vehicle look pretty, or pretty cool, from skulls and flames to hippy flowers. You pick the decals and rims. The rims are available in gold, silver and basic black and come in packs of 4. Sound effects are also available. You can make your car roar or purr. Wanna make it light up? You can even do that too with a cool light kit for the bottom.
 Now, the only thing left in decisions is are you gonna push your car or make it a remote control?

 Now that we got all that taken care of its time to take that baby outta the package and put it together. You stand at counters equipped with tools that are ready for your assembly. Moms and dads, don't worry, the Disney mechanics are there to help.

 Now, it's test time. There is an area on the floor to make sure your creation really works and you can spend as much time as you want testing it out.

 My kids fell in love with this hidden gem, I say hidden, because if you didn't know it was in the store, I didn't see any signage to let you know it was inside.

 Now, what is this gonna cost? The average take home price  would start at around $60 and that can go into the hundreds. If you return later, like your next Disney trip, you can bring the car back, and pick up more things, and sound cards, or have an upgrade from push to remote(for a price of course).




                                         The oldest found his..
                                           tires...
                                          Black Tow-Mater
                                         Decals

                                          Youngest trying his out

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Survival at Disney in a Large Group

Twenty people is the largest number that I have ever spent time with at Walt Disney World.  This includes three generations of the same family.  The youngest member of the group was a toddler and the oldest members were in their sixties. 

Traditionally, we have an Advanced Dining Reservation before we leave for Walt Disney World.  In the past few trips, we have also stayed on property.  One of the benefits of staying on property aside from the proximity and theming, is the option to be able to travel by Disney transportation.  This includes the buses, monorails, and the boats.  From each of the resort hotels on property you have the option of taking one of these forms of transportation to any of the four theme parks, the two water parks or Downtown Disney. 

The reason that the transportation is important is that it allows guests with different interests to spend their vacation enjoying different parts of Walt Disney World.  A group as large as twenty encompasses many different needs.  There might be people who need to nap, simply get out of the sun, or a request for a mid-afternoon swim back at the hotel.  Some people in the group might also want to head to different parks to enjoy different types of rides. 

When making the reservations for meals, it is important for everyone in the group to be able to understand where in Walt Disney World the restaurant is.  For example, when dining within the World Showcase at Epcot, a guest needs to leave time to travel to the park, wait to be admitted and then walk around the World Showcase Lagoon.   It is worth leaving at least an hour to get from a hotel to the Advanced Dining Reservation if you need to take transportation to get there. 

Meeting up at the location of the Advanced Dining Reservation allows everyone to move through the resort at the pace that best fits their needs.  People have the option to either get up for a particular park’s rope drop or get a slower start into the parks.  Being on vacation allows everyone to do what they want to do as opposed to real life when you are told when to be where for work or school. 

When the Advanced Dining Reservation is for dinner people have the option to stay together for a night performance, fireworks or a parade or head back to the hotel for an early night.  Freedom and flexibility allow a large group to keep the peace throughout the entire trip. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Happy 60th Birthday Mr. Potato Head!

Mr. PH waddles through Disney Hollywood's Pixar Place.
http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Potato_Head

Mr. Potato Head was born on May 1, 1952, after the Hasbro toy company bought the rights to Mr. PH from a food company who put the collection of pieces in cereal boxes.

Invented by George Lerner, Mr. Potato Head began when George made his younger sister dolls by sticking various fruits onto vegetables: grapes for eyes, pea pods for mouths, etc. He developed the idea and created plastic eyes, ears, mouth, nose, shoes, hat, pipe, and so forth with push pins to insert directly into vegetables, supplied by the customer.

So, from the start, Mr. Potato Head was a great toy: lovable, adorable, edible!

The original Mr Potato Head toy set: sans plastic head.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mr_Potato_Head_1952.jpg

Complaints about wasting food (from the parents who still remembered WWII food rationing), rotting fruits and vegetables, and government safety regulations (making the sharp push pins dangerous) resulted in Hasbro changing the design and supplying a plastic potato head/body.

Mr. Potato Head enjoys a number of remarkable achievements:

1952
  • Mr. PH becomes the first toy to be advertised on television, on April 30, 1952, days before his official birthday.
  • His is also the first advertising campaign aimed directly at children, and not their parents. 1 million Mr. Potato Heads were sold in the first year, so Mr. PH's pitch revolutionized advertising.
1986
  • Mr. Potato Head became the "spokespud" for the annual Great American Smokeout, and surrendered his pipe to Surgeon General C. Everett Koop
Mr. PH gives up smoking.
http://www.skippydawg.com/Archive/2010/July%202010/7-27/Index7-27.html

1995
  • Mr. Potato Head makes movie debut in Toy Story, and becomes a movie star!
Mr. PH basks in the lime light.
http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Potato_Head

2000
  • Mr. Potato Head is inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, NY.
Mr. Potato Head's Fame officially recognized!
http://www.toyhalloffame.org/toys/mr-potato-head

2008
  • Mr. Potato Head becomes the first Disney animatronic to be able to remove and replace one of his own body parts as "Mash-ter of Ceremonies" in the line leading to Toy Story Midway Mania in Disney Hollywood.
Mr. PH can't hear you!
http://land.allears.net/blogs/mikescopa/walt_disney_world/theme_parks/disneys_mgm_studios_1/toy_story_mania/



Well, there's even more to this remarkable tuber, but you get the idea: Mr. Potato Head is no slacker. He revolutionized advertising, entertained millions (or billions!), starred in TV and movies, helped the Surgeon General promote quitting smoking, and daily entertains the lines to Walt Disney World's most popular attraction!

So, Mr. Potato Head, on your 60th birthday, "This spud's for you!"





Monday, May 14, 2012

"Speed. I am Speed." Part 2

  Welcome to Part 2, if you missed the first part check it out here.
                       Project Exotic
  The Exotic Driving Experience is also at the Walt Disney World Speedway. It utilizes the tri-oval backstrech and turn two, and then takes you into an interior section that includes fast right and left turns on a street style course. Their are 5 supercars to choose from. You take 6 to 10 laps, and it starts at $169. The car you choose and number of laps determines price. The cars available are:
  Porche 997 S, 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds, MSRP $99,900+. You can get 6 laps for $169, 8 laps for $219, or 10 laps for $269.
  Audi R8, 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds, MSRP $150,000+. You can get 6 laps for $239, 8 laps for $309, or 10 laps for $379.
  Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds, MSRP $220,000+. You get 6 laps for $299, 8 laps for $389, or 10 laps for $479.
  Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds, MSRP $234,000+. You get 6 laps for $389, 8 laps for $499, or 10 laps for $609.
  Ferrari 458 Italia, 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, MSRP $295,000+. You get 6 laps for $419, 8 laps for $549, or 10 laps for $679.
 Also there is a $35 release fee applied at checkout. It's basically insurance to the car incase something goes awry. Souvioner photography, merchandise and in-car video is available at the end of your day so you can relive it for years to come. For more information or to book and experience call 1.855.822.0149 or check out www.exoticdriving.com. So with Test Track down this summer be sure to check out the fast and fun things at the Walt Disney World Speedway.
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Foodie Friday: School Bread

My favorite snack in Disney besides the Dole Whip has got to be School Bread. I get this snack everytime we are at Epcot, it is sold in Norway in the Kringla Bakeri Og Cafe. I could live off these perfectly not too sweet little treats!
 Ever since I can remember I have had to make the trip back to the bakery just to get this treat. Supposedly the story goes in Norway kids took the skolebrod in there packed lunches to school, hence the name school bread. This pastry is like soft yet bouncy, filled with a vanilla custard all the way to the bottom, and then there is a light icing on the top, and then its topped with toasted coconut. Now, the funny thing is I am not a huge fan of coconut at all, yet, for some reason you can barely even taste the coconut, its like all the flavors in this thing balance themselves out. It is even more perfect when paired with a Viking Coffee!!!
Besides the school bread this place offers many other yummy things to choose from.They also have sandwiches, pretzels, and even have special sugar free items. The prices in the Bakery are really cheap, which makes staying on your Disney budget even better. All items sold here are on the Dining plan, and most items are a snack credit. There is a nice shaded area outside ,perfect for when its really hot here. This place is booming right before the fireworks show, so get there early.

Viking coffee is really good, its a strong coffee with spirits in it, and were not talking the Viking spirits that they cursed you with on the ride...






Pastry
Ingredients
2 pints water
3 ounces dry yeast
3 1/2 ounces sugar
2 1/2 ounces butter (melted)
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 pounds flour
1 whole egg
8 ounces shredded coconut
12 ounces vanilla custard


Vanilla Custard
Ingredients
1 2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon corn starch


Heat water and butter to 95°.
Mix flour, sugar, cardamom, yeast, and egg together for five minutes until dough is stiff. Form it like a ball and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out like a sausage and cut into five ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and put them on a non-stick sheet pan and let them proof for 30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes in 375° oven. Let cool.
Mix powdered sugar and water (use small amounts until proper consistency is achieved) to make icing and place in shallow pan. Form hole in bread using finger. Dip bread in icing (hole side down) and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
Using pastry bag, squeeze vanilla custard inside of hole and swirl at top for decoration.

Viking Coffee recipe-
1 part Kamora coffee liqueur, 1 part Bailey's, 6 parts good coffee.    






                                          Inside the case..
Enjoy!!!!



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Aluminum Foil and other Things.....


I used that title to strike your curiosity to check out my tips for hitting the parks and restaurants with children. Here is my story. Earlier today, I was putting away some aluminum foil that I had purchased at the store and started thinking about a trip to Disneyland that I took a few years ago. This drawer might not evoke a memory like that for everyone but it did for me. When my daughter was seven months old we took her to Disneyland for the first time. She had started eating baby food as well as some finger foods. The idea of her eating at a table on vacation didn't settle well with me. What we decided to do was to bring the Cling Wrap in our diaper bag. We learned that Cling Wrap sticks to the table and we could set her food out for her as if we were at home. I am not a germophobe but with the quick turnover of the tables at the parks and hotels I thought that this was a better choice than the paper placemat that some of the restaurants provided. The placemats would be sent to the floor along with anything that had been placed in front of her on the table. The Cling Wrap tended to stay on the table for most of the meal.
Another thing that we learned to do was to use the small items that hung down from the baby carrier/ car seat. We had three small bugs that were attached by Velcro to the car seat. We would wrap one of these small “bugs” to her wrist during the meal. This would allow her to play with something that she couldn’t simply drop to the floor. I was never a big fan of the drop and fetch it game and being in a restaurant was certainly no exception.
A third item that I came to count on was the disposable bib. I always washed and reused bibs when I was home. When I was on a vacation that had no immediate access to a washer and dryer I found this to be a quick and easy solution to what could have been a sticky smelly mess.
The final thing that is kept with the aluminum foil in my house to this day is Ziplock bags. I always travel with a large number of both sandwich bags and the gallon size bags. I am able to put dirty clothes and other items in these bags without worrying about where in the diaper bag they might go. I felt as if I benefited from these tips and wanted to pass them along.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Who's Who: Disney's First Star!




Walt Disney liked to say, "I only hope that we don't lose sight on one thing -- that it was all started by a mouse.

But, was it?

When Disney's Laugh-O-gram Films, Inc., went bankrupt in 1923, Walt used an unfinished print of "Alice's Wonderland" to land a contract for six Alice comedies from Margaret Winkler.

The star of those first  13 Alice comedies was a child actress named Virginia Davis.



The Alice comedies were Walt's "reversal" of rival cartoon maker Max Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" cartoons, where Koko the clown climbed out of a bottle of ink to interact with live actors. Disney gave it a "twist" but putting Alice (Virginia Davis) into the cartoon world. The scenes were filmed in front of blank backgrounds (including billboards draped with white canvas), and then cartoons were drawn directly onto the cells. Walt's brother, Roy Disney, was the original camera man, while Walt directed Virginia (yelling instructions to her on how to act, since his voice was not recorded as these were silent films) and then drew the cartoons.

Alice was accompanied in her adventures with a cat (who strongly resembled Felix the Cat) named Julius. 


Alice and Julius in cartoon land.  (http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID509930.asp)

Virginia Davis and her mother actually moved from Kansas City to Hollywood so Davis could continue to appear in the Alice comedies -- a condition of the contract awarded Disney by Margaret Winkler.

The Alice comedies had very little capital funding, but Walt's enthusiasm and Virginia's love of being able to "be a tomboy" and play act exciting adventures, as well as the novel animation / live action combo, made the films popular at the theater.



Walt Disney's signing of the contract to produce the Alice comedies for Margaret Winkler on October 16, 1923, is recognized as the founding date of The Walt Disney Company. Certainly Disney's vision, skill, daring, imagination, and ceaseless desire to "plus" his product (every film was an improvement over the previous ones) were essential to the success of the new company, but the whole enterprise was built around a little girl just six years old, who is recognized as Disney's first real star: Virginia Davis. Other girls played Alice in later films, but Davis was the one who started it all.




In 1988, Virginia Davis became a "Disney Legend" for her contribution to the Walt Disney animation.



From all of us who love all things Disney, thank you to the woman who, as a very little girl, helped Walt Disney bounce back from bankruptcy and failure to begin the empire which continues to thrive and delight people of all ages to this very day.

Thank you, Virginia Davis!

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Speed. I am Speed."

  If you have a taste for speed, then head over to the Tomorrowland Speedway. Ok I'm just kidding, at up to about only 7mph, speed is not the first word that comes to mind. The place you'll want to go is the Walt Disney World Speedway, located next to the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Here, you have the Richard Petty Driving Experience and Exotic Driving Experience. This article will go into detail about the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
  The Richard Petty Driving Experience is where you have the option to drive or ride on a 1 mile tri-oval track, in a 600hp NASCAR at speeds of up to 140mph. Ride-alongs are 3 laps around the track for a fee pf $99. This experience is available from 9am to 4pm on any day the track is open and reservations are not required. Check times guides for hours of operation. If you choose to drive yourself, there are four (4) different driving experiences, these include: Rookie Experience- 8 laps for $449,
Kings Experience- 18 laps over 2 sessions for $849,
Experience of a Lifetime- 30 laps over 3 sessions for $1299,
Speedway Challenge- 50 laps over 5 sessions for $2099.
  Each experience includes a personalized itinerary that goes a little something like this; check-in 30 minutes prior to slotted time, 5 minutes of orientation, 20 minutes of driving instruction, 25 minutes of mechanical and safety instruction, 10 minute mandatory driver's meeting and then it's time to "Start your engines". You get approximately 1 to 2 hours of driving experience. In the experience, you drive an equal number of laps per session, with a break in between to receive feedback that will help you reach your full driving potential. At the end of the experience, there is a 15 minute closing ceremony, where you receive a graduation pack that includes a lap time sheet and a graduation certificate.
  So if you've ever wanted to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR, check out the Richard Petty Driving Experience. For more information call 1.800.237.3889, or check out www.drivepetty.com. Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 where I'll give you the info on the Exotic Driving Experience.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dine With an Imagineer: Heather's Experience


Last August, we had the opportunity to Dine with an Imagineer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are two options for this experience. One is at the Brown Derby where a lunch is served. The other opportunity is dinner at the Flying Fish Restaurant at the Boardwalk Resort. This is a special experience that has limited opportunities for guests to enjoy. I would recommend making reservations far in advance for this. There are only ten people allowed to participate at the event.
Guests are welcomed with their own nametag that is designed to look like the traditional cast member name tag. The guests are brought to the Bamboo Room of the Brown Derby, which is a private dining area, or to a section of the Flying
Fish where they are introduced to their guest imaginer. A personalized four course menu is offered to the guests that was developed in conjunction with the restaurant staff and the Imagineer. The day that we were there, we had the option of select soup, salad, main course and dessert. The main course included the option of a beef, chicken or vegetarian meal. All of the meal was well paced and delicious.
The Imagineer started by introducing himself and then having us go around the table and introduce ourselves and ask about any specific questions they might want addressed during the experience. Our Imagineer was very kind to us with his answers and the time that he spent with us. At the end of the meal, we were given a souvenir picture of our group and a commemorative plate that the Imagineer signed. It was truly a memory that will last a lifetime.
I would recommend that if booking this event, you clarify that you want to Dine with an Imagineer and not simply eat at the Brown Derby or the Flying Fish. Be sure that you leave plenty of time for this and I would not suggest that you bring children much younger than ten. Also note that you are unable to use the regular dining plan for this event.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Disney Date, what to do with the kids?

  To me, Walt Disney World is about family. However, it is nice for my wife and I to have some alone as well. We have had two Disney dates.
  Our first date was to Downtown Disney. We went to the AMC theater, we wanted to go to a Fork & Screen showing but we were running a little late.We didn't realize that you pick your seat when you buy your ticket. There weren't two seats together left in the theater, so we just saw one in a regular theater. After the movie, we walked around the West Side before calling it a night.
  On our second date, we went to Epcot. We got there early in the evening so we toured some of the countries in depth, got some adult beverages and had a great night. One of the best things was getting to see Illuminations from what the Cast Members call "The Wall", over in the U.K. pavilion. This was also when my wife really started to like Epcot. She had a "few" drinks in her and was telling everyone how much fun Epcot was at night with no kids.
Tigger and Pooh in the U.K.
  We have been lucky enough on our trips to have my parents with us to watch our son, but what do you do if this isn't an option for you? Disney offers a couple of options for you. For children ages 3-12 they offer the Children's Activity Centers at select deluxe resorts and you don't have to be staying at the resorts to use them. Animal Kingdom Lodge has Simba's Cubhouse, the Polynesian has the Never Land Club, Wilderness Lodge has the Cub's Den, Beach Club has the Sandcastle Club, the Grand Floridian has the Mouseketeer Club, and the Dolphin had Camp Dolphin. Dinner and snacks are provided, and there are activities that include: arts and crafts, video games, puzzles, board games, and of course Disney movies. They open at 4:30, except Never Land Club which opens at 4:00 and Camp Dolphin at 5:00,  and remain open until midnight. The fee is $11.50/hr with a 2 hour minimum charge. Reservations are recommended, except at Camp Dolphin where they are required, to make reservations call (407) WDW-DINE.Walk-ins are welcome though subject to availability and are on a first come first serve. Another other option is the in-room, one-to-one childcare service provided by Kid's Nite Out. They provide service 24/7, call (407) 828-0920 for details from 8am to 9pm daily.
  So have you ever had a Disney Date? Have you used the Activity Centers or the Kid's Nite Out service? Share your experiences with us, and remember, your Disney nights can be just as magical as your Disney days.