It was at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 when Yankee great and legend Lou Gehrig made his famous speech uttering the words “Today, I consider myself, the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Since being invited by Traci to contribute articles to the Disney Driven Life in January of 2010, I too have considered myself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” and being voted winner of the Disney Driven Life Academy Award Blogger of the Year for 2010 is an honor I will forever cherish. So it is with a heavy heart that I inform each of you that for now this will be my final contribution to the Disney Driven Life.
It doesn’t matter what religion or what beliefs you have; the holiday season brings out the Christmas spirit in most of us. It’s a philosophy Walt Disney embodied and instilled in his family, friends, and employees, not just during the holiday season but every single day of the year.
Most of us can attest to the fact that no matter what you’re feeling on the inside and no matter what bad news is going on outside, once you enter the hallowed gates of Walt Disney World, there is an uplifting spirit that overcomes you and remains with you until the day you have to leave. When you’re at Walt Disney World, every day is Christmas.
A long, long, time ago there was a dad who took his two little girls to an amusement park. While the dad was happy to see his two little girls enjoying the rides he was sad because he and all the other parents were just sitting around on benches watching their children have all the fun. The dad wished he could go on the rides with his children but the seats weren’t big enough for adults.
One day while in the amusement park sitting on a bench as usual, the dad had a dream. He dreamed someday he would to build an amusement park where both children and adults could spend time with one another and even go on rides together. This was to be a place for families to go where they could share each and every experience. So the dad set out to make his dream a reality.
Many of my blog contributions to the Disney Driven Life have been inspired by topics covered on the Inner Mouse vidcast, and this week is no exception.
With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, last week’s episode of the Inner Mouse had the cast of JL, John, Scott, Nicole, and Keith discuss what they are thankful for. It was an episode that really resonated and hit home with me, so I thought I would share with all of you what I am most thankful for.
I have to admit, being the over protective parent that I am, I was very apprehensive about letting my children wander the World by themselves during our last Disney vacation. When we arrived at Disney World, my teenage son Bret talked to us about how family was so important to him and how he wanted us to enjoy the vacation together rather than go off on his own or with his younger teenage sister Haley. That lasted until the middle of our vacation week. It was on one of our days touring Epcot, a particularly hot and humid day. (What summer day in Florida isn’t?) It was “Animal Kingdom hot” even in the shade. My wife and I wanted to take a break from the parks and rest up for dinner while our kids were still raring to go. My daughter wanted to do the Kim Possible Adventure while my son wanted to wander World Showcase. We told Bret that he couldn’t separate from Haley, and, that if the two of them wanted to stay in the park without us, they had to stay together. So, Bret agreed to do the Kim Possible Adventure with his sister. My wife and I headed back to our resort. After relaxing in our room for a short while, my wife went to do the laundry while I went spanning the internet globe. When the kids came back, they couldn’t get the words out fast enough to tell us how great the Kim Possible Adventure was.
Posted in Lifestyle, Parents, Relationships Tagged EPCOT, family, family stories, kim possible adventure, parenting, Relationships, sibling rivalry, siblings, teenagers, World Showcase
This past weekend I was listening to the incredible Betamouse Podcast, http://betamouse.net/, episode #37 Betapotter. At the beginning of the show, the Betamouse Team discussed Nate Parrish’s recent knee surgery. Their conversation got me thinking, if I needed to have surgery would I be better off with a medical doctor or an Imagineer performing the procedure?
I pondered this question for a few minutes. I thought about all the excellent surgeons we have here in the United States and across the globe. I thought of all the advancements in science and medicine over the last few years. Then I thought about the Disney Imagineers, both their imagination and their innoventions. I thought of the advancements in Animatronics since they first appeared and how lifelike they have become. I looked at their track record, and I said to myself, “Hands down I want a Disney Imagineer to operate on me!”
I feel very fortunate to be blessed with two wonderful and healthy children. My daughter Haley is 14, and I’m starting to believe she thinks the Disney channel is the only channel on TV because, other than iCarly, that’s all she watches. My 17-year-old son Bret acts like he’s too cool for Disney, but he really does love it. He’s what I call a closet Disney fan.
My son complains that all I talk about is Disney, Disney, Disney! Well, is there anything else worth talking about? The one thing that embarrasses him more than anything else is for me or for my wife to mention Disney in front of him and his friends. That’s when he acts like he’s too cool to be a Disney fan. Yet there are times, when he’s alone with us, that he shares his love for the place where dreams do come true.
Since 2006 my family has been going to Walt Disney World every other year with the last visit this past July. That is going to change at least for me and my wife as we will briefly visit the parks before and after Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio Show Dream Cruise.
Like so many others I feel very fortunate to have any time at all to spend in the parks and on property. While I am grateful for that time it’s never enough. Each time I visit Walt Disney World it becomes more difficult to leave. With each succeeding trip it gets harder and harder to be away from the most magical place in the world. I find myself longing for the day I can return and plotting my course of action to bring me back to the land of hope and dreams.
Whenever Lou Mongello, host of the WDW Radio Show, offers a new product for sale, you know its top quality at a great price. So, I can’t tell you how excited I was to download and start listening to Lou Mongello’s Audio Guides To Walt Disney World Volumes 4 and 5 for Liberty Square and Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
Rather than stay on my computer or watch TV, I decided to lay down in bed just so I could give the audio guides my undivided attention. I clung to each and every word spoken by Lou Mongello when all of a sudden I realized I would have to get up for work in a few short hours. I tried and tried to put my iPod down but I couldn’t stop listening to the majestic and ever so detailed narration. For over an hour I kept saying to myself, five more minutes. Finally, the rational or irrational side of my brain, depending on how you want to look at it, won out and I turned my iPod off!
Every time I go to Walt Disney World, I buy a t-shirt. On our last trip, I bought two t-shirts, a golf shirt, and a sweat shirt, so it’s not unusual to spot me in Disney gear on any given weekend. Well this past weekend, I was in a local store wearing my Disney golf shirt minding my own business when a woman approached and asked me which Disney store I bought it in. I told her I bought the shirt at Mouse Gear in Epcot. When I said that, her eyes opened real wide, and she had this silly grin on her face. She said she’s a single mom to a young boy who is thinking about taking him for his and her first ever Disney vacation.
After vacationing with my family at Walt Disney World in July 2001 it wasn’t until November 2006 that we returned to the “Holy Land.” I was already a big fan of the mouse but it wasn’t until that 2006 trip that I started to really explore my passion for all things Disney.
At this point I was still a closet Disney fan. I feared speaking about my passion with family and friends would only result in mocking and ridicule. So, I turned to the internet for answers. Although I was familiar with some sites like http://allears.net/ I wasn’t yet familiar with podcasts nor did I have any clue there was an online Disney community.
One of the events I’ve always wanted to attend at Walt Disney World is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party not just to see the special events but to get my hands on all that delicious Disney candy. Unfortunately for me this will not be the year I finally get to attend one.
The name of the party tells you the theme for this separate admission event. It’s a friendly fright fest where guests are allowed to dress up in costume and join the Halloween havoc. There are candy stations set up throughout the Magic Kingdom awaiting guests who are out to trick or treat.
This time of year has been a particularly difficult one for me ever since September 11, 2001. It is this time of year we remember and mourn all those who were suddenly and cruelly taken away from their family and friends.
In a September 13, 2009 article I posted to my own blog I mentioned how in early 2000 my then employer temporarily relocated our company to the 106th floor of tower two in the World Trade Center as our mid-town headquarters was undergoing a major refurbishment. The plan called for the construction to be completed and for us to return to the mid-town location in late September 2001. I was never comfortable in the World Trade Center but I was able to block out and put my fears aside. Fortunately for us things didn’t go as planned and after returning from a vacation to Walt Disney World with my family in early July 2001 I was back in my mid-town office.
Let me start off by stating this is not a review of the Inner Mouse video podcast. Although, I do personally think it’s an excellent show that less than halfway through the beta test really hit its stride and ascent to greatness. Rather, the inspiration for this article came from the beta test show family stories told by John, JL, and Scott. And no, this is not my story, I wrote that during my early days of blogging on my own blog site. This is what I believe our “inner mouse” is.
My first reaction when asked if I would be interested in reviewing a book for my blog contribution was it couldn’t have come at a worse time. My wife was already on my case for spending too much time on my Disney obsession, also I just started working on a project, and I’m preparing to begin a brand new job. I didn’t think there was any way I could find the time to read and review a book. Then I found out it was a poetry book and the only poetry I know are in the lyrics in rock ’n’ roll music. So, I did a little bit of research on the author and it was that research that made me change my mind. What I found was someone whose every word has substantive meaning. I found someone who has a love for his family, humanity, and Disney. Someone we all would and should be honored to know.
It’s always a thrill for me to visit Walt Disney World and my last trip was no exception. My entire family had a great time sharing new experiences and making new magical memories that will not only last until our next visit but will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, I also experienced guests behaving badly.
As perfect a place as Disney World is sometimes guests can make it not so perfect. I contemplated long and hard whether or not to write about this because I know I am preaching to the choir. However, this bothered me enough that I had to get it off my chest.
Most of us are familiar with hidden Mickeys and whether or not you avidly search for them I’m sure you have spotted one or two every time you visit Disney property.
Started by Imagineers, a hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse found in many different forms that have been discreetly placed throughout Disney locations most notably their theme parks. The most frequently used hidden Mickey is three circles representing a head and two ears. Other variations of Mickey can be more difficult to spot and one must have a keen eye to find them. No one has a keener eye than renowned Dr. Steven M. Barrett celebrated author of “Hidden Mickeys A Field Guide To Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets” now in its 4th edition.
Many consider the moment they step on Disney property the start of their vacation but it really starts months earlier when you begin your preparations for your trip and continues from the moment you leave your home to travel to the place where dreams come true. This is my family’s story from the day we left our home to the day we arrived at Walt Disney World.
What started out as a normal work day for both me and my wife Michele ended up as anything but. We were already packed for our long anticipated Disney World vacation. My son Bret (17) was out and about in his brand new used car and my daughter Haley (14) was at a friend’s house. I worked half a day and went home to wait for my wife to pick up our car rental for the trip.