Talking To Your Family About Theme Park Safety




Preparing for a Disney vacation is part of the excitement. The packing….the planning…the anticipation. Everyone in the household counts down the days and checks everything twice to make sure it is ready to go for a fun-filled week.

Vacation safety is often a topic that is left for those hurried minutes while running around a hotel room preparing for the day. Ensuring that the family is safe and prepared for most events can be  part of your planning process. Consider setting aside one evening before your trip to talk to your family about vacation safety.

Here are some of my suggestions for topics of discussion….

Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle at all times:

We have heard this phrase on hundreds of occasions at theme parks, but the warning is not simply Mickey Mouse trying to ruin your day.

There are real dangers in sticking a limb outside of a moving car or boat during a ride experience at the parks. Sure, that water on It’s a Small World looks tempting, but there are hidden tracks and moving parts under the boat that could cause some serious bodily harm. Talk to your family about the need to stay seated and keep their limbs in the cars of every ride, boat and transportation vehicle. Perhaps appoint a “safety expert” in your family whose job is to remind everyone of the rules before boarding each ride and keeps a close watch of the little ones.

Stay close to the family:

Crowds at Disney can get overwhelming. I have to admit that there have been times that I have gotten lost in a sea of people while looking for a family member. Talk to your family about sticking together; especially in largely populated areas.

What to do if you are lost:

Create a plan of “what-to-do” in case a member of the family separates from the party. Mobile phones are great for connecting; however for the little ones, it is important to tell them where to go if they become lost.

Cast members can be found at the beginning of each ride queue, in stores, kiosks and walking around the park. Instruct children to seek out a cast member if they should become lost. Cast members are recognized by their oval nametags and have training to handle lost family member situations.

The new MagicBand bracelets used in the parks identify family members and when scanned, gives the contact information for the family; including a phone number and resort information. Make sure when checking into the hotel, that you give the cast member a contact number for the mobile phone you will be taking into the parks.

Only go near the water when an adult is present:

There is water EVERYWHERE at Disney. Lakes, rivers, pools, lagoons….water is a plenty!  Instruct the little ones to hold the hand of an adult whenever they are around a body of water and to wait for the go-ahead before jumping into a pool.

The guard rail is there for a reason:

Balcony and guard rails look like a fun playground….especially at the themed resorts and lakes where the views are glorious. Talk to your kids about balcony and railing safety and instruct them to only go outside or go near a railing when an adult is present. The resorts have a security lock on the sliding glass door, but setting the ground rules prior to the vacation can be helpful in stopping unaccompanied balcony adventures.

Stay hydrated and cool:

The Florida sun is hot and standing in lines in the blazing sun can take a lot out of you. Make sure that each family member stays hydrated throughout the day. We take a backpack with water into the parks so when we need a quick drink, it is available. Monitor the little ones to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and instruct them to tell an adult if they are feeling overheated and need to take a break.

Cool down in an air conditioned theater or shop. I keep a list of attractions that are indoors or have ride queues that are housed inside that we can visit when the heat is unbearable.

Sunscreen is a necessity:

I am sure we have all witnessed a sunscreen meltdown. A child comes back from a splash ride and doesn’t want to put the fun on hold for another sunscreen application. Talk to your kids about the necessity of sunscreen and how a sunburn could ruin an entire vacation. Sunscreen should be applied every 2-3 hours or after a water ride or splash in the pool.


Stay safe…stay informed….stay connected…..and your vacation should be a magical experience!

Are there any tips that I missed?  Please feel free to share them.











Disney’s Forgotten American Classics


I am so excited to share that my friend, Paul Poole who has a wealth of knowledge regarding Disney Classic films and shorts will be contributing some posts to the blog.

 He has some great information about the history of Disney cinema and I am happy to welcome him to the Winnie the Stew team!

I know you will enjoy Paul’s posts as much as I do and I encourage feedback for future postings!

- Cara “Winnie”

Disney Classics

As a child lucky enough to have the Disney Channel back in the early 80′s, I’ve come to feel very fortunate. You see, I remember a time before The Little Mermaid. Back then without loads of new merchandise driven animated “Masterpieces” and “Classics”, we were treated to multiple decades worth of Disney History. Vintage Mickey Mouse Club, Zorro and of course lots of vintage theatrical shorts. Y’know, DISNEY CARTOONS! On the Disney Channel? Yeah, hard to believe! The point of this, hopefully the first of many articles on the rich history of a Disney long before little girls (and boys….and their parents) went around singing “Let It Go” at the tops of their lungs, is to share some Disney magic!

This first rambling feature will focus on Walt Disney’s “American Legends” type of output. Just the cartoons. I could be here all day discussing Zorro, Davey Crockett, Swamp Fox and the Reverend Dr. Syn. Since these cartoons don’t package quite as nicely as the Mickey, Donald and Goofy shorts, they can easily fly under the radar of the casual Disney fan. This is a shame since they’re a lot of fun!

Note: If you are interested in adding any of the following animated classics to your home DVD library, click on the title to be redirected to Amazon.

CASEY AT THE BAT (MAKE MINE MUSIC): Based on the 1888 poem written by Ernest Thayer, this 1946 short tells the classic tale of Mudville’s favorite ball player. A segment in the “Make Mine Music” film, and narrated by the distinctive voice of Jerry Colonna, this great old timey baseball story evokes Walt’s love of  “Mainstreet U.S.A.”. To say anymore would spoil too much.

Casey at Bat posted to YouTube by Reykjavik1992

JOHNNY APPLESEED (MELODY TIME): Walt Disney’s 11th animated film, “Melody Time” was released in 1948. The next two shorts I’ll discuss called this anthology film, home. Johnny Appleseed tells the story of real life, John Chapman. John Chapman traveled the frontier planting apple trees with only himself, a pot for a hat and his bible. Quite a delightful story with good messages for us all. What sets Johnny apart from the others on this list? He’s no obvious hero. He’s small, lanky, timid and makes a point to never hurt an animal. A historical side-note… The type of apple the real life Johnny planted were generally considered too bitter for good eating. They did however make fantastic hard ciders and adult beverages. Admit it, Johnny Appleseed just got a lot cooler in your book. He brought booze to the pioneers!

Johnny Appleseed posted to YouTube by Disney Educational Productions

PECOS BILL (MELODY TIME): Also appearing in Melody Time, Pecos Bill tells the story of a man who was, “quite a cowboy down in Texas. And the western Superman to say the least…”. A raucous, fun tale told and sung by Roy Rogers and the Sons of The Pioneers. An orphan raised by coyote’s, Bill grows up to be truly the West’s Superman. From riding tornadoes to creating the Gulf Of Mexico, Bill has done it all. Alongside his best friend and trusty steed Widowmaker, Bill easily stands shoulder to shoulder with any other hero of tall tales and legends. That is until a beautiful catfish-riding cowgirl comes between Bill and his jealous horse.

Sadly this is no longer available in an uncensored form. What’s so offensive to Disney? The portrayal of Native Americans? No, that appears to be OK. Bill’s enthusiastic love of the second amendment? No, lots of gun-play in this. So what then? In a 1948 cartoon about an 1800′s cowboy, Pecos Bill has the nerve to…gasp…smoke. Yep. One verse of the song has been completely removed showing him casually rolling a cigarette while lassoing a tornado. They’ve even digitally removed a smoke from a later scene leaving the casual viewer wondering why Bill’s mouth looks “off”. Seriously. That’s right kids, your parents may smoke. Someone in your family may smoke, but by golly a cowboy from over a hundred years ago MUST be censored. Unedited versions can be found easily on YouTube.

Pecos Bill posted to YouTube by George Harper

THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD: As J. Thaddeus Toad’s story is very British, we’ll leave his segment of this 1949 film for another time. The Disney studios’ 11th feature film adapts Washington Irving’s classic, “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” into animated form. Probably the most well-known of these, this classic became a Halloween regular on TV. You know the story… schoolteacher Ichabod Crane’s late-night encounter with the legendary Headless Horseman, who frighteningly turns out to be all too real for the cowardly pedagogue. Narrated, voiced and sung by the great Bing Crosby, this one has a lot of fans. Every one of them well deserved. If you haven’t seen this, good lord! Do so! If it’s been a while, treat yourself to another viewing.

THE BRAVE ENGINEER: Jerry Colonna narrates and sings this 1950 cartoon about the legendary railroad engineer, Casey Jones. Determination is the theme of this classic short, as nothing, not outlaws, floods,cows or other trains will stop the famous Casey Jones from delivering the western mail on time (Almost)!

The Brave Engineer posted to YouTube by Nuri Gokcek

BEN AND ME: Based upon the book of the same name, Ben and Me tells the story of how the famous Ben Franklin met the not at all famous, Amos Mouse. The interesting part of this 1953 cartoon is that Amos Mouse is actually the one responsible for all kinds of Ben’s famous inventions! Of particular note to classic Disney fans, listen for Disney veterans Sterling Holloway as the voice of Amos, and Hans Conreid as Thomas Jefferson. You know them better as Winnie The Pooh and Captain Hook.

Ben and Me posted to YouTube by Nikesh Gada

CASEY BATS AGAIN: Disney returned to Mudville in 1954. Taking up shortly after “Casey At The Bat”, this time it’s up to Casey’s daughters to redeem his name. If you’re a fan of A League Of Their Own, you may enjoy the women’s ball team’s story. For every guy who kept trying for a son, this one’s for you. Casey ends up with enough daughters to fill a team roster, with himself as manager of course!

Casey Bats Again Posted to YouTube by ToonDiz

PAUL BUNYAN: This 1958 short tells the story of the mightiest lumberjack of them all. Voiced by Thurl Ravenscoft, well known for voicing Tony The Tiger and singing, “You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch”, Paul’s voice looms large over the countryside, much like his “Sixty-three axe handles high” stature. From infancy to retirement, you’ll learn his story. Like an American Hercules, Paul creates mountains, straightens rivers, clears thousands of miles from land and all with the help of his giant blue ox, Babe. Paul seems unstoppable until he comes face to face with the one thing none of us can stand in the way of; progress.

Paul Bunyan posted to YouTube by Daniboi80

THE SAGA OF WINDWAGON SMITH: The Sons Of The Pioneers who sang their way through Pecos Bill earlier, returned in 1961 to lend their voices to the tale of Windwagon Smith. This western tale tells of a seaman who decides to ply his trade across the great plains. Building a cross between a wagon and a wooden tall ship and intending to haul cargo faster without horses, Smith sets sail out of Kansas, and into legend.

The Saga of Windwagon Smith posted to YouTube by ToonDiz

One of the common themes that I find so entertaining about these is the fun musical narration and quick wit about so many of them. Snappy banter and classic themes make these fun for all ages, but especially with older kids and parents who tire of Mickey’s sweetness and optimism. They are also all very American. This isn’t a bad thing. For the most part all the Disney Princesses are very European tales. Not surprising coming from their European roots. One thing all kids should learn at an early age is that for most of us, our ancestors came to the United States because they were fed up with Monarchies. In all the Princess films we’re shown that Kings and Queens are nice to have. I guess Snow White would disagree, but I think you get my point. This country was founded by people who couldn’t have disagreed more.

Mickey, Donald and Goofy are very classic “American”. Optimism, a dash of irreverence and sarcasm, hard-working, and very “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” characters. In that sense, Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan would feel right at home. It’s important to know that Disney tried all kinds of things. While I love most classic Disney, a step away from the intersection of Mickey Mouse and Cinderella can be a very rewarding journey. Don’t be afraid to seek out Disney’s Old West, Colonial America, or mid-western ballparks. You might just fall in love with Disney (and the USA) all over again.

- Paul Poole


Get “Frozen” This Summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Anna and Elsa1


From July 5th through September 1st, characters of  the smash hit “Frozen” will be making appearances at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Some people are worth melting for….and the cast of “Frozen” surely is worth waiting for in lines out in the hot Floridian sun!

The Disney Parks Blog announced today that there will be some fantastic “Frozen” special events throughout Hollywood Studios which include:

Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome- Every morning at 11:00 AM, our favorite royal team (including Kristoff) will arrive in Hollywood Studios and ride down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. The procession will also include skaters and those famous singing ice cutters. The procession ends at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage with a welcoming ceremony.

Olaf on Summer Vacation- In order to celebrate Olaf’s first summer experience, guests can pick up their own Take-Along Olaf from various locations in the park. Snap pictures with our favorite snowman and post them to social media using the hashtag #OlafSummerVacation. Some guest photos from each day will be selected to appear during each evening’s grand finale celebration.

For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration- Can’t get enough of those ditties from the movie? Join characters from the film at the Premiere Theatre for a retelling of the history of Arendelle and special sing-along moments. This is an interactive show you are not going to want to miss.

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland- Soundstage One will be turned into a play area with cool weather activities, photo ops and even ice skating demonstrations. “Frozen” merchandise as well as foods and beverages inspired by the movie will be available for purchase.

“Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party- Every evening at 5:30 PM, a DJ and live band will be stationed at the Sorcerer Hat Icon Stage. Get your groove on as they play classic hits, contemporary tunes and medleys from the movie.

“Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular- Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf join at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a spectacular end to a day at the park. The fireworks display will be complimented by the incredible music from the film.

Disney did not give any details regarding the possibility of FastPasses for these events, so my best advice to you is to keep checking your My Disney Experience App for any “cool” new additions to the daily FastPass offerings.

Are you excited about the cast of “Frozen” appearing in the parks? Will this change your summer plans?





Build Your Disney Side Decal



Weeks ago, Disney announced via Facebook that they were offering free family decals as a way to promote the “Show Your Disney Side” campaign.

Guests can log in to the Build Your Disney Side website and customize a decal.

The website allows guest to choose their background; which consists of the famous icons at each theme park. You then select your family members (pets too) and add accessories and clothing.

Once finished, you are given the option to have a decal mailed within 4-6 weeks. Guests can also save the picture and use it on social media profiles.

After weeks of patiently waiting, our sticker arrived yesterday. I was like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” when he got the decoder pin…so excited that I was tearing open the envelope right in the driveway!

The contents were a personalized marketing brochure highlighting the Show Your Disney side campaign and it encourages vacation planning…along with ride suggestions that may be of interest.

The decal itself is not at all what I imagined. It is more like a bumper sticker, so guests cannot place it on the rear window of their car. I can’t say that I was disappointed (because it was free) but it just wasn’t what I expected.

I had some car magnets that were purchased from a craft store a while back and ended up cutting the decal and sticking it to the magnet. This way, if we decide to display it on our car, it can be easily removed when needed.

If you have not created a Build Your Disney Side family decal yet, I would highly recommend the process.
It is a lot of fun and makes for a fantastic Facebook profile picture!

Celebrating Donald Duck


Donald Duck12

Our favorite sailor suit wearing duck is celebrating his 80th birthday this month!

Donald Duck made his big screen debut on June 9, 1934 in Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies cartoon titled, “The Wise Little Hen.” Since then, he has undergone several makeovers and his lengthy career has delighted generations of fans.

In honor of this milestone event, I interviewed my good friend, Paul Poole who is both a movie buff and a Donald Duck enthusiast. He owns an extensive Donald Duck memorabilia collection and has an appreciation for his career in both comic books and film.

So without further ado….I give you my exclusive one-on-one interview with Donald’s number one fan.

Winnie: Donald Duck has appeared in over 150 theatrical films and cartoons. What in your opinion has been the pinnacle of his career?

Paul: With that much screen time under his belt …wait, Donald doesn’t wear pants! With that much screen time you want me to cite his best?
I’m partial to “The Band Concert” from 1935. It’s most famous for being the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon, but I love it because throughout the short, Donald keeps one-upping Mickey. Donald’s a bit of a born loser, but in this early appearance he wins big.

That being said, 1942′s “Donald’s Snow Fight” has it all. It’s all about Donald getting into the most over the top snowball fight, make that snowball war with his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. The gags come fast, the nephews were front and center and Donald’s popularity was sky high during the war years.

Winnie: What is it that you love so much about him?

Paul: We can all relate to Donald. He’s got a temper. He’s a bit arrogant. He rarely comes out on top, and usually it’s his own fault. However at times he can be the hero, and I think that’s a reflection on all of us.

He was Disney’s workhorse. Most people forget how few Mickey cartoons there were. Once color cartoons began, Mickey was already losing steam. He’s too pure. Too innocent.
Most people also don’t know how often Disney was in financial trouble. Snow White was a huge hit. His next several films were not. We may consider them classics now, but at the time this wasn’t true. Throughout the lean times, Donald was Disney’s go-to star. Much funnier than the other characters and easier to write. Mickey sells T-Shirts. Donald sells cartoons. It’s easy to forget this now with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. They sort of push Donald aside a bit.

Winnie: Over the years we have been introduced to Donald’s nephews, girlfriend and even a grumpy miserly Uncle. Which character stands out as your favorite?

Paul: Easily Scrooge McDuck. By far the most fleshed out character in the entire Disney pantheon of characters, old “Unca” Scrooge made his debut in 1947. Created as a one-time character by classic Donald story-man, Carl Barks, it quickly became clear that the World’s Richest Duck could work as a springboard to send Donald and the nephews on adventures.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Scrooge became so tremendously popular that he spun off into his own comic book series that by 1960 was the best-selling comic book in the world. Outselling Superman, Batman and well….everyone else. Over a million copies of each issue were devoured by readers.

Carl Barks wrote and drew Scrooge stories from 1947 until his retirement in 1967. Barks left behind a legacy of over 500 Duck stories widely hailed by critics as the best comic stories ever written. Years later, his adventure comedies would inspire the hit DuckTales animated series.

The story of Scrooge is long, inspiring and complex, but to be brief, it’s an amazing immigrant story about a poor young Scot inspired to work hard and endure countless hardships and heartbreak on his way to become the richest man in the world. He gains it all and does so by earning it all honestly but in the process loses a bit of his soul….until his nephew and grandnephews come into his life to reignite his adventurous spirit and regain his family.


Winnie: Donald appears in comics and newspaper strips and has been drawn by several artists. Do you enjoy one artist’s rendering of Donald over the others?

Paul: Carl Barks is known as “The Duck Man” for good reason. From his early days as a story and gag man on the classic Duck shorts of the 30′s and 40′s to his retirement in 1967, Barks is the gold standard.

Barks helped in the creation of the nephews and was responsible for slowly transforming them from bratty little hellions into the wunderkind Junior Woodchucks. Other creations owed to Barks are Duckburg itself, the aforementioned Scrooge McDuck, Donald’s supernaturally lucky cousin and foil, Gladstone Gander, brilliant yet impractical inventor, Gyro Gearloose, sorceress Magica De Spell, relentless criminal family the Beagle Boys, and Scrooge’s dark mirror image and World’s Second Richest Duck, Flintheart Glomgold.

The only other creator in my opinion to truly carry on Barks’ brilliance would be Don Rosa. Beginning in 1987 and recently retired, Don Rosa took his love of Barks’ tales and finally told the full origin of Scrooge, his Number One Dim, the Beagle Boys, and even introduced Donald’s mother and Scrooge’s sister, Hortense. The story of Scrooge’s life, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck”, won the prestigious Eisner award… no small feat for a “talking animal book”.
Donald Duck3

Winnie: As you know, Donald has graced many products with his likeness. Which do you think are the strangest?

Paul: One of my favorite items in my personal collection are the 1950′s Sunshine paper drinking straws. The most bizarre items I have were both found by my wife at dollar stores. One is a hand warmer the other a washrag. Have to keep those tail feathers clean!

Winnie: When were you introduced to Donald and what about him sparked the idea to start your collection?

Paul: I really have no idea when I was introduced to him! I was born in 1976 and I know I received a 1977 Hasbro Romper Room Dancing Donald Duck doll for Christmas in ’77. So I guess somewhere around there! When it comes to collecting Ducks, I actually started out collecting Uncle Scrooge items and it exploded into all the Ducks soon after.

Winnie: How many pieces of Donald memorabilia do you own?

Paul: Between movies, figures, statues, pencil sharpeners, comics and art, I lost count after 400.

Winnie: What is your prized Donald keepsake and why?

Paul: My most prized Donald item would be the previously mentioned Dancing Donald Duck doll. I had honestly forgotten about it until I stumbled onto one on EBay and the memories came flooding back.

My most prized Duck item in general though would be the 8×10 photo of Uncle Scrooge signed and personalized by Alan Young, the actor who provides Scrooge’s voice. He’s in his 90′s and still providing the voice. That’s pretty amazing!

Winnie: Where do you find the pieces for your collection?

Paul: I find things on EBay mostly. Craigslist a few times. Friends seem to find things when Christmas or my birthday come around.
My wife, Dawn, finds lots of it by searching the local flea markets with my son while I work most Sundays. She’s great like that. I’ll come home and she’ll have a plastic bag filled with stuff and I’ll ask how much. Somehow she never seems to spend more than 5 bucks!

Winnie: Are there any figures that you wish you could add to your collection?

Paul: YES! Donald and family are extremely popular in Europe still. Short attention spans seem to be an American thing.
In Europe the ducks have always been the most popular Disney characters, and that popularity has never waned. In Italy they released a large series of Disney figurines designed by Disney comic artists and strictly stuck to Donald, Mickey and Goofy and their friends and enemies. They aren’t too pricey, but the cost to ship them over here is often more than the figurines themselves.

I stick to the Ducks of course, and for some reason I have never been able to come across a Magica De Spell. Oh! And in Italy she’s known as “Amelia”. Go figure. I guess that one was popular. Perhaps because she’s Italian despite the Russian voice June Foray gave her in the DuckTales cartoons.

As a side note, Flintheart Glomgold isn’t Scottish like Scrooge. Nor was he supposed to live in Duckburg. He’s from South Africa.


I want to thank Paul for taking the time to share about his collection and some really cool facts about Donald Duck.

Here are some additional photos that Paul shared of his memorabilia and art work that he has collected over the years.

What a collection!

What a collection!

Donald Duck4Donald Duck8

Frozen Inspires Norway Tourism



Not only has “Frozen” sparked a merchandise frenzy, it has also increased travel to the homeland of Anna and Elsa.

Norway is a beautiful country that boasts bustling cities as well as indescribably scenic landscapes in the fjord regions.

Time Magazine reports that tourism is up 37% from 2013 and tour operators are seeing a 40% sales increase.

Disney is also taking advantage of the Frozen fury by introducing Adventures By Disney tours that are inspired by the film.

Tourists will be treated to a rafting trip, folk dancing and tours of sites that inspired the film. You can get more details on the experience here.

Those who do not want to make the trek across the Atlantic can always visit the Norway pavilion at Epcot.

The Maelstrom ride allows guest a tiny glimpse into the history and folk lore of the country.

The Puffins Roost shop offers wares that include keepsakes, quality Norwegian sweaters and even trolls!

Dine at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and experience a character meet and greet inside a castle with cathedral ceilings and Norwegian inspired cuisine.

Will “Frozen” inspire any of your upcoming vacation plans?

Can I Take Snacks Into The Disney Parks?


Disney allows guests to bring in snacks, meals and beverages into the parks and this option can be helpful to the wallet. Even if you are taking advantage of the Disney Dining Plan, you may still want to consider taking snacks into the parks for when those hunger pains hit between meals.

The rules of the park state that you must be able to carry your bags; so no coolers with wheels are permitted. Guests who bring in their lunches may wish to rent a locker for the day so they don’t have to carry it around the park. Lockers are available inside the parks for a fee of $9-$12. You will have unlimited use of your locker for that day, and can come back as often as you wish. There is a $5 deposit required for the locker key that will be refunded once your key is returned.

What should you bring into the park?

Do you have items that you want to keep cool? Bring along a cooler bag. They are easy to carry and many fold easily for travel. If you have a fridge in your hotel room, freeze some water bottles overnight and use them as your ice packs. Once you have enjoyed your lunch, you then have some water to enjoy for the rest of your day.

A family of 4 could easily pay $12 or more for one round of soft drinks or other beverages in the parks, so you may want to consider bringing your own. Be sure that any milk products or perishable juices are appropriately cooled with ice packs or those frozen water bottles…..because it gets hot pretty quickly in those parks.

Snacks that cannot melt in the heat are your best choice for a Disney Day. Goldfish crackers, pretzels, cereal and popcorn are just some of my suggestions. If a member of your party has a food allergy, bring some snacks along that they can eat. While Disney has some incredible options for all types of dietary requirements, the items may be on the other side of the park when you are ready to grab a quick bite and run to a ride.

When bringing lunch into the park, make it a simple meal. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy and can be prepared quickly in the morning. If you do not wish to make your own lunch, you could visit the quick service restaurant at your Disney resort hotel, pick up a few sandwiches, salads or snacks and put them in the cooler for later.

Bringing in your own food and drinks can be a significant money saver. During our last trip, my husband and I brought our own water and soda into each park and saved about $60 for the week… that was used for souvenirs at the end of our visit!

Money saving while in the most magical place is always a welcome treat!

Cinderella Teaser Trailer


Disney’s highly anticipated live-action Cinderella movie is due in theatres March 2015. A stunning teaser trailer was just released that simply reveals the famous slipper that seals the fate of the film’s main character. It is the perfect way to begin the mania of what appears to now be a trend of recreating Disney favorites into live-action films.

Cinderella’s director, Kenneth Branagh is bringing the story to life with legendary Hollywood actors and actresses.
Helena Bonham Carter, who has been typecast as a sinister character in the past will be commanding the role of the Fairy Godmother. Cate Blanchett known generally for her ingénue roles will become a Disney Villain as Lady Tremaine. Downton Abbey’s Lily James is breathing new life into the role of Cinderella.

The trailer is just what we need to get our Disney hearts fluttering…

Happy Star Wars Day


May the 4th1

Every year on May the 4th, fans of the Star Wars franchise celebrate their love of the series.

The Disney Store locations throughout the US are getting in on the fun today and offering some family friendly events.

The first 100 guests at each store on May the 4th will receive a limited edition Star Wars Pin. New Star Wars merchandise will be also be introduced, including talking action figures.

Children 3 and up can participate in some “Ways of the Force” activities that include:

* Lightsaber training
* How to use the Force for good like Obi-Wan
* Assist Luke Skywalker in defeating the Death Star on an interactive wall
* Participate in a medal ceremony

These are all fun activities in which Yoda would definitely approve.

If you cannot make it to a Disney Store, here are some ways that you can celebrate at home:

* Put on some music from the film and have a lightsaber battle. If you do not have the lightsaber toys, pool noodles work as excellent stand ins.

* Costume fashion show! Dress as your favorite characters and have an in-home parade!

* Host a movie marathon. Make some popcorn and dim the lights for an evening of pure Star Wars magic!

*Get out those Star Wars Lego kits and build your own movie set. Film some scenes with your phone and create your family’s own version of a Lego Star Wars movie!

* Support your local comic book stores. Most are holding their own May the 4th events today. Check to see if there is one near you and have a family day.


Wishing you the very happiest May the 4th.