"Mom 30 Years Later" Photo Credit: Kaylene J
Back in January, a concept was born. Our very own NDM#203, Kaylene, felt that writing a parenting column for The Disney Driven Life would be an incredible way to express how Disney influences the lessons that she teaches her children. She conceived the idea of singling out a quote from a Disney movie as the inspiration for the posts she envisioned, but she didn’t stop there.
It’s not always easy to get through this thing we call life. Day after day we are bombarded with constant negative images. We are told we are too fat, too lazy, too dumb, too old, too ugly, too far behind the rest of the world, and so on and so on. And sadly, there are people in this world who derive pleasure from keeping others down. For those who allow it, the world can be a scary, cold, and unwelcoming place. A place where we are afraid to take on challenges, try new things, express who we really are, or act like ourselves. As a result, it is important, imperative even, that each of us takes an active role in determining how our life is going to play out, and specifically, what role we are going to play in it…a starring role, a supporting role, or that of a spectator.
I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest since I first watched Toy Story 3 and now that Tink loves the trilogy, I just can’t take it any more.
Lotso is obviously set up as the main evil character in the movie. He has turned heartless thanks to losing the love of his life, Daisy. Yes, he snapped and went over the edge but Daisy wasn’t to blame. It was her parents. Seriously, I know it’s a cartoon where toys go on grand adventures so I should just let this go, but any good parent knows you have to keep up with a child’s favorite toys. Leave behind the lovees? Only if we are running for our lives. And Daisy’s parents would have had to do quite a snow job to convince her to accept a new Lotso in place of the one she had loved so much.
When I was a young girl growing up in Havana, I often overheard my parents talking about leaving the country. These conversations were conducted in low hushed tones. The words coming out of their mouths were barely whispered. Most of our relatives resided in the United States while my parents had remained in Cuba after the Revolution. We were not allowed to leave the country, not even when my paternal grandmother died in Chicago. At the time, leaving the Communist island-nation was almost impossible. It wasn’t until I was fifteen-years-old that I was able to immigrate to the United States. After that, it would take several more years before my parents and I would be reunited again. My parents’ dream of seeing the entire family together again didn’t become a reality until I was a young adult. But they never gave up on their dream and neither did I. Growing up in Cuba wasn’t easy. I used to escape the harsh realities of daily life through avid reading. Greek mythology was by far my favorite genre during those early years. I was thoroughly acquainted with the tale of King Midas’ golden touch, the story of Pegasus the flying horse, the amazing feats of mighty Hercules, and Odysseus’ fantastic and thrilling adventures.
photo credit: Dannee Neal
Hakuna Matata is Swahili for “no worries,” and it is a song from one of my all time favorite Disney Movies, The Lion King. I went to see this movie in theaters the summer after my sophomore year in College. I purchased it immediately when it became available on VHS, and I would watch it with my college friends often our junior and senior years. My very good friend and I would quote lines from the movie all the time, and Hakuna Matata was always applicable. It was then, it is now, and perhaps it always will be.
When I was fourteen years old, I was booed by over 500 people. This occurred during my first year of high school, and my class was in the throes of Student Council elections for the following year. The gymnasium was the battleground for speeches, and in all likelihood, wasn’t the most conducive environment for civil political discourse, but because the school was new and still under construction, we were unceremoniously disposed to that echoing chamber of adolescent combat.
Posted in Children, Lifestyle, Parents, Psychology, Relationships Also tagged Buzz Lightyear, Children, courage, parenting bloggers, Pixar, Toy Story, toy story 2
As a working mom, I often feel guilty about not staying home with my boys or being there when they get off the bus. I miss being the parent to take them to after-school practices, or in Reagan’s case, therapies. As hard as it is, I know that I am doing what I have to do to provide for my family. I’m blessed with a good job and a great boss who lets me have the time I need to go to their school functions, doctor’s appointments, and yes – Disney World!
But guilt has often found me trying to make up for not always being there, and I find myself giving them material things or overdoing the simple things. For example, I plan over-the-top birthday parties for them – you know the kind – where you take care of every minute detail and elaborate decorations, only to see them having more fun playing tag. Or buying them an awesome Hot Wheels track with loops, bells, and whistles, only to see them pulling the wrapping paper tube out of the trash and using it for a tunnel. (By the way, cardboard tubes also make cool swords that make a great sound without the pain when you whack your opponent.)
Posted in Children, Leisure, Lifestyle, Parents, Planning, Relationships, Special Needs, Vacation Also tagged Children, Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Kids, parenting bloggers, planning, quality time, simple life, special needs, stress, Time Management, Vacation, Walt Disney World, working moms
Photo Credit: Serena Skretvedt, NDM 332
For many Neurotic Disney Moms and Dads, the idea of going to Disney World without their children is a pleasant thought. For all parents, the idea of going to Disney World with their children and suddenly finding one or more of those children unexpectedly missing is a panic-inducing thought. I don’t think there is really anything that can be done to prevent the rush of adrenaline that comes with realizing that your child is missing, but there are ways to mitigate the panic as well as ways to minimize your chances of your children becoming lost.
A cute, little, smart, Disney loving one, but a monster no less.
Tink has been getting her regular dose of Disney her whole life (just under two years). She insists on her Mickey, Minnie, Eeyore, and Ariel dolls for naps and bedtime. Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Yesterday, after she saw a little bit of a Tinkerbell movie, she was saying, “I’m Tinkerbell.” (Well, yes, Baby, you are.) She travels like a champ and went to Walt Disney World for her first birthday and at 18 months.
I consider myself an optimistic realist when it comes to parenting. I admittedly set the bar high for my five children. I believe kids will strive to attain whatever goals you set for them. In other words, if I expect very little, that’s exactly what I’ll get. If I tell them to shoot for the moon, they may miss… but they’ll still land amongst the stars. I’m not talking about expecting straight A’s and perfection. I’m referring to the really important things… like honesty, integrity, and treating others the way you want to be treated. I believe you get what you give. If children live with honesty, acceptance, encouragement, and love… they learn to be truthful, confident, kind-hearted people. This is my optimistic side.
photo credit: Dannee Neal
Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever been disappointed? Have you ever given something 100% and failed? You probably did not want to hear these words at the time, but Keep Moving Forward is what you needed to do and what you had to do. This is a line from the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons, and it is a motto that I have come to live by.
Have I ever doubted myself? Of course – I’m human! But I still believe that “Nothing’s impossible”! This is a line from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and it’s one that I can relate to on a daily basis.
When Alice first falls down the rabbit hole, she tries to enter Wonderland through a small door. Due to her size, she is unable to
During my mid twenties, my Doctor informed me that I would have a difficult time conceiving. I can still remember the gut-wrenching pain that I felt in the bottom of my belly as the Doctor was giving his diagnosis. I never accepted my diagnosis. I simply believed that “Nothing’s impossible”. Six years later, I gave birth to my little Princess. And three years after the birth of my little Princess, I gave birth to my little Prince – which was just a year ago. Imagine if I had just given in to “It’s Impossible”!
Photo Credit: Chris Kolb
You may think visiting Walt Disney World with a person with special needs would be hard, but, as a result of great Disney service, it is easier than you might first think. When traveling to Walt Disney World with someone who has special needs, you should get a Guest Assistance Card. This card lets cast members know that someone — and up to 5 other members of their party — should be permitted different access than is provided for an average guest.
In part I we discussed good mental health and your child on vacation. In part II we continue that discussion on the mental health benefits.
Disney provides a safe environment filled with fantasy that sparks the imagination. Safety, high on the hierarchy of needs, can be reinforced on scary rides, thrill rides or by learning to greet a character that seems massive and strange. Take this opportunity to insist that your child act in ways that are safe by wearing the seat belts or keeping their legs and arms in the vehicle and all other safety precautions. If your child is frightened of rides or characters take this event to build trust and to encourage them to take a chance while accompanied by you. Take this chance to remind them that you would not put them at risk. Prepare your child for what’s ahead. If the ride is dark, then tell him so and let him hold your hand or sit close. Holding your child close in a doombuggy and keeping the haunts at bay can strengthen trust with your child, a trust that is invaluable when they are teens and you want them to come to you with problems or trouble. Remind your child that Mickey wants them to remain safe, too, and that he will keep all pirates and ghosts out of harm’s way. Seize this opportunity to allow your child to express her emotions. Take pride that your child trusts you enough to say “I’m scared” rather than be embarrassed because he is fearful of the Haunted Mansion. The benefits of teaching your child to express fears like “I’m afraid to ride Dinosaur” or “The Haunted Mansion is scary” far outweigh teaching your child to “bottle up” emotions. A child who learns to express emotions freely may be more apt to express fears to a parent.
Posted in Children, Parents, Psychology, Relationships Also tagged adventures, attractions, Children, dining, Disney, EPCOT, mental health, NIMH, psychology, travel
Walt Disney World Adventure: A Field Guide and Activity Book for Explorers, by Tracie A. Cook, Vacation Field Guides, 2010, 173 pp.
In an earlier review, I wrote that it had “been a very long time since I toured Walt Disney World with preschoolers.” The same can be said about 8 to 12-year-olds, the target audience of Tracie A. Cook’s Walt Disney World Adventure: A Field Guide and Activity Book for Explorers. And, as I whined in that previous review, Cook’s Walt Disney World Adventure would have been pretty useful had it been published when I was traveling with children that age.
Posted in Children, Disney Reviews, Education, Literature, Media, Parents, Relationships, Riddles, Teens Also tagged adventure, Book Review, Children, education, Explore, Field Guide, learning, literature, Walt Disney World, walt disney world adventure
Remember the game Perfection? The little yellow pieces had to be fitted into their places before the red plastic board popped up. And always, the ticking of the built-in timer, the incessant “click-click-click” that grew louder every second until the finale:
the board springing up, scattering little yellow pieces all over the table or the floor. Perfection was a game well-suited for a party of one.
Until I was almost eight years old, I was an only child. I played a LOT of Perfection. And jacks. I read a great deal. I built block towers and didn’t have to worry about some baby trashing my work with one swipe of its chubby hand. I put my Rescue People in peril all around my house, without the fear of some baby eating Ranger Sue’s head.
Posted in Children, Lifestyle, Parents, Relationships Also tagged adoption, cooperation, Disney, High School Musical, perfection, siblings, team, teamwork, troy bolton, woring together
Q. Do all Walt Disney World restaurants provide high chairs and booster seats?
A. Walt Disney World restaurants are fully prepared for small children so getting a high chair or a booster seat is not a problem. At table service restaurants, simply request one when you check in for your reservation. The Cast Members will take care of getting a seat for the little one(s) to the table. Counter service restaurants will have a stash somewhere, but they can be harder to find, particularly in the sprawling locations like Pecos Bill’s, so simply ask a Cast Member for help. Carts or stands will not have anything available, but I have a few tricks I’ll share below.
Posted in Children, Dining Tips, Lifestyle, Relationships Also tagged afternoon break, booster seats, Children, dining, Disney Lifestyle, highchairs, planning, pre-schooler, restaurants, toddler
Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers, by Lisa M. Battista, MRB Ventures, LLC, 2010, 186 pp.
It has been a very long time since I toured Walt Disney World with preschoolers, yet my recollection of the challenges involved in such an undertaking is as fresh as if it was yesterday. Had it been published back then, Lisa Battista’s Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers would have been an integral part of my vacation planning arsenal.
Posted in Disney Reviews, Lifestyle, Literature, Media, Planning, Vacation Also tagged Beyond the Attractions, Book Review, Children, literature, media review, preschoolers, Walt Disney World