Podcast Episode 170: Planning a First Trip to Disney – An Interview

Join us this week as we talk to our guests, Jennifer and Ryan, about planning their first trip to Disney!  This family of four has never been to a Disney park before so we’re discussing all the different aspects of their late December 2017 trip including resorts, dining, tickets, and planning!  And watch this space in the coming weeks as we have Jennifer and Ryan back with us to find out how their trip actually went, including what they loved, and what they might changes for future vacations!

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 163: Disney Cruise Lines Specialty Cruises

Disney Cruise Lines has some of the best cruises in the industry, but did you know they also do specialty cruises at certain times of the year?  If there’s a holiday, there’s a good chance Disney has a cruise for it!  If you love Star Wars and Marvel, listen up because we have good news for you too!

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 152: 2017 D23 News

Every few years, Disney holds their D23 Expo in Anaheim where they announce their plans for parks, movies, resorts, and more for the coming years.  This year’s expo had some amazing announcements!

Happy listening!

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Trip Report Day 4: Second Day at Sea with More Waves and More Fun

015de0749fdaa818ef121ace7b752ce807ed4ab852So, yes this is the most drawn out trip report ever but it is keeping the memory and magic alive for me as I revisit each day we had on one of my favorite vacations ever. I hope the anticipation for each new day is not too much for all of you readers! I would love to hear from you about your trip or about your questions and how you are enjoying reading this trip report. You can comment or email me at dolewhipped@gmail.com (just think I may be able to write quicker with a bit of cheerleading!)

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Okay, so now on to day 4 of this trip which is our second full day and another full day at sea. If you remember from Day 3 (or want to remind yourself click HERE) we were going around a tropical depression and the seas were a bit rougher than normal. So, today the 01db60955c588ca699a92207ee53a17fd26a53d611_00001ship was rocky. I did not mind it. It was not crazy rocky and did not disturb walking or anything just made you feel like you were being rocked in your sleep type thing. I would say 99% of the guests had no issues with it and the 1% that did were maybe a tad dramatic (I heard stories afterwards on our cruise Facebook page that someone who had an interior room on a lower deck had slept on a lounge chair by the pool). Now, that is a bit non-productive as the higher you go the more it rocks but if it makes you feel better and they let you – why not sleep by the pool? So, it was a tad overcast but that did not stop the fun. We actually had one of the best days on the ship.

First, we started off with some room service for breakfast. We had decided with our friends the night before since the weather was not going to be as good as it was the rest of the week this would be the perfect day to sleep in, have room service and all huddle up in one room and watch a movie. It was the perfect morning.

Since we had built up an appetite (sea air and all) we headed to Cabanas for lunch and had a vast array of choices as always at Cabanas, along with several glasses of POG
juice. Excellent way to kick off the afternoon.01ed5e7e03650d8ced6764d4afe0c9d77cc2491f7f_00001

When we finally decided to join the rest of the ship we did something I had never done on a cruise ship in the past. We played BINGO! Bingo was in the D Lounge (though note the Navigator schedule had a mistake and said the Buena Vista Theatre so note to everyone if you are somewhere and no crew is around it may be a printed mistake). We figured it out though and we had a blast playing BINGO. Now, couple of BINGO things to note, the crew that runs it makes it fun. BINGO is not free and there are a few packages to choose from and you can do 0132759c33e725450fa4d4870285c1b448c4d7d9ab_00001one card or many and you can do it electronically or the old fashion where you poke the chad out. We decided to save our money and do it the old fashion way and bought two cards (one for each of us because on the first day we played BINGO only myself and one other companion thought it was worth it – this quickly changed and by the end of the week the whole group was playing!) So two cards were $40 and they had six games on each card. The ball scrambling machine is named Betty and when someone is having bad BINGO luck they yell out “SHAKE IT UP BETTY” and all the kids laugh (and a few adults). So, you hear “SHAKE IT UP BETTY” a lot. Oh, by the way, BINGO is open to all ages but because actual money is won if your kid is under 18 and wins you, as the adult, gets to take the winnings. If you want to give it to your child or if you want to keep it, well that is up to you. They also will randomly between games do a random name draw for prizes and though we did not win BINGO we DID win the random name. All of a sudden on the screen was my sailing companion and BINGO partner’s name! He graciously gave me most of the prize because I was more excited than probably I should have been. It was a tote bag that had several branded Disney Cruise Line gifts such as a hat, pen, lip gloss, and a phone charger. I never win anything so even though I did not win, I got the winnings and felt like a true champion.

The main show in the Walt Disney Theatre that evening was “Wishes” and I was looking forward to it and it did not disappoint. It was about three best friends that were graduating and each going their own way in life and before they do they go on a magical journey down a wishing well. Very cute and had a great message for everyone.

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Dinner that evening was at Animator’s Palate and I was looking forward to it because though we were assigned there twice during the week, I knew the second time we were scheduled there we would be eating at Palo’s – so this was my one time at AP. I started my meal with the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup and one of their specialty drinks a Bora Shake (Piña Colada, fresh Bananas and Blue Ocean). For my entree I had Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus beef Tenderloin with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with 014bea22c2aab625799283d2f14002210198c5d4c0Bok Choy and a Tamarind–Barbecue Reduction. I can not recommend this dish more if I tried. I challenge you to not love it. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and nothing like anyone expects from meals on a cruise ship. Bravo Disney. For dessert I went with a classic Mickey Bar. The entertainment and interaction was great and I enjoyed almost every moment. The moments I did not enjoy were unfortunately we were seated next to a large family of about 15 people and several small children. We choose late dinner, on purpose, as early dinner is usually better for the little ones. These little children were definitely tired and cranky and were throwing a fit. There were 3 or 4 that were throwing things off the table and screaming and running around and into the servers and it was quite the scene. But, luckily for the parents and grandparents of these kids, they were able to ignore it and continue their good time without worrying about anything or anyone else. For the rest of us seated near them it was not as easy. I felt really bad for the little ones because they were just tired, so you know, note to self maybe try early dinner if you have lots of little ones in your group or rotate one adult to watch them sleep each night. I am sure there is a better option for them and everyone else. SIGH. Moving on, but you all know what I am saying.

Next, we went to an adults only show! Ooh La La. No, nothing like that as this is Disney but it was in The Tube and it was the Ventriloquist and she was great. It was very crowded and hard to hear and see at points as it is an active bar but we got to see her again later that week as well and highlight of the week was her act.

So, though the day started slow and lazy it definitely got going and we did a lot that day! We did lots of new stuff like BINGO and adults only late shows (as usually I am zzzz’ing pretty early on cruises – again the sea air) but had a great time doing it all! Tomorrow Tortola and another GREAT day on the Disney Fantasy.

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Want to catch up?

Check Out

Day 1: The Who, What, Whens and Hows of our Disney Extravaganza Trip

Day 2: It Begins…With a Bang and a New Restaurant Experience

Day 3: First Day at Sea and It Was Filled with Fun, Food and Some Waves

 

 

Podcast Episode 122: 2017 Disney Resolutions

2016 is coming to a close and now it’s time to look forward to what the new year has in store for us.  To help make sure we make all our Disney dreams come true, we’ve come up with some Disney resolutions we hope to keep in 2017!  Listen in and see if you want to make some Disney resolutions of your own!

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 113: Jamie’s Disney Dream Cruise Trip Report

Recently Jamie sailed on the Disney Dream with her mom and daughter and she tells us all about her experience on board, especially how she experienced cruising with a toddler!

Happy listening!

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Castaway Cay Excursions for the Adventurous!

Did you know there is more to do on Disney’s Castaway Cay than is shown on the map? Well, there is! Disney also offers excursions for their adventurous cruisers. Here are some of their offerings:

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  1. Fishing Disney offers four different types of fishing excursions, including fly fishing and fishing by troll boat. You’ll see barracuda, snappers, groupers and more during these catch and release fishing excursions for ages 6+ (several are for 8+ but there are fishing excursions for 6 and 7 year olds to enjoy too!). Prices vary.
  2. Snorkeling You’ll board a boat for a 30 minute ride to a coral reef abundant with fish. You may even see sea turtles, whales and/or dolphins (though not guaranteed). The cost is $102 for ages 6-9 and $113 for ages 10+. Cost includes a mask, snorkel and snorkel vest.
  3. Parasailing Adventurers aged 8+ (children 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult, ages 13-17 must be escorted by an adult) are able to parasail for approximately 5 to 7 minutes at heights of 600 to 800 feet over the waves enjoying a breathtaking view of the open water and Castaway Cay. Cost is $102.25.
  4. Kayaking A one hour kayaking adventure follows a 45 minute walk through the rural terrain of Castaway Cay. The kayaking trip will bring you to an exclusive deserted beach where you’re free to swim and explore for 30 minutes before kayaking back to the launch. Cost is $67 for guests aged 10+.
  5. Waterskiing For 45 minutes you’ll pilot a Wave Runner while following a guide to two stops where you’ll learn about the history of the region. You’ll even pass right by the Disney Cruise ship you sailed in on! Cost is $100.25 for a single rider (aged 18+) or $168.75 for double (age 8+ can ride as passenger with an adult, age 16/17 may drive with adult as their passenger).

Disney Cruise Line Packing Tips

Dear highly intelligent reader, we know that you can choose your clothes with no problem for your cruise.  That part is usually tricky to be general, because you have to dress for your cruise.  We know you wouldn’t dress for an Alaskan sailing the same way you would a Caribbean cruise.  So here are some other items you may want to consider packing, what to leave at home and what you should carry on for your cruise.

What to bring on  your cruise:

USB plug- This is a simple 2 prong plug that can charge multiple USB devices.  A true must have for the modern family especially on vacation with limited wall outlets.

Refillable Mugs- if you are coming from Walt Disney World bring your mug along.  If you aren’t then consider packing an insulated mug or cup for each person.  I found this nice to carry around since mine had handles which made it easy to carry multiple cups at the same time.  Plus I could carry around a hot beverage and it would stay hot longer, same with the iced drinks too.  What else can the cups do?  Well if you have extra glasses or sunglasses these mugs are perfect for transporting the glasses while you are in transit.

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Soapy Sponges- I know, I know.  You will want a dry sponge and coat it in dish soap.  Let it air dry a day or two then cut it into smaller pieces.  The pieces can go in a baggie and you have something to clean those refillable mugs, or sippy cups or whatever else you bring along.  Then when you’ve used it up, go ahead and toss it.  This is a must for me because I switch from coffee in the morning to water later so I need to get the cup washed out.

Sunscreen- You can purchase on the ship but save yourself big bucks and bring your own.

Bug Spray- You will probably not need it on the ship but if you are getting off the ship you will want to make sure you are covered in this area too.

Sweater/Jacket- this applies more to the warm weather cruises, but the temperatures can drop at night and the dining rooms can be downright chilly at dinner.  I like to stick with basic black, navy or white so I can wear it more than once saving room in my luggage.

Beer or Wine- Yep you can bring that too!  Check out the alcohol policy first but it is pretty nice to be able to enjoy a beverage or two while you relax on your verandah.

Dressy Clothes- You may not have a formal night on your cruise, but you can get some great family picture when everyone is relaxed and having a great time.  The dressier clothes just add some classiness to the cruise.

Gum- if you are a gum chewer you will need to bring your own!

Highlighters- Ideally you will want one color for each person in your party.  You can use these to highlight activities in your Daily Navigator that you want to do.  The colors can help you all differentiate who wants to do which activity.  Much easier than circling then trying to figure out who want to do that (not that I would know anything about that, ha).

Extra batteries- you will be taking a lot of pictures!  If you are using a camera other than your phone you will want to make sure you have plenty of juice to take those amazing photos.

What to pack in your carry on when getting on the cruise ship:

If is it before the time when stateroom are open you may have some time where you will be unable to access your luggage.  It is always a good idea to have a small bag, backpack or carry on luggage until the time when the staterooms are open.

Swimsuit- The best time to get in the pools and on the water slides right is as you get on the ship.  Or even better wear your swimsuit under your clothes and take extra clothes in your carry on.  Towels are provided by the pools.

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Medication- VERY important, always keep this in your carry on.  You never know when luggage services may be delayed so it is key to keep this with you!

Valuables- Jewelry, electronics and any other thing of value should be in your carry on just to be safe!

Sunscreen- It might be worth packing this into your carry on baggage especially if you are hitting up the pool areas.

Extra clothes- Especially with children it is nice to have a change of clothes available in emergencies. Or if you an adult like me who seems to spill things at the worst possible times.

Chargers- Whether you have an external battery source or plan to plug into the outlet this is something that can be helpful to have.

What to leave at home:

Hard liquor- Sorry friends, Disney no longer allows this.  And we wouldn’t recommend trying to sneak it on.  They will find it!

Power Strips- This is on the banned list from DCL.  Go ahead and bring that USB outlet and leave this one at home.

Hanging Organizers- These can damage doors, so unless you have a large party with a lot of small items in tow, this is something you can leave behind.

Snacks- No reason to bring food unless you are on a special diet.  You can get food at all hours of the day and night in the many dining rooms, quick service areas, and room service.  You will not go hungry!

Beach Towels- Disney provides beach towels at each pool area and they are always plentiful.  Of course if you find you want the really oversized towels then by all means bring one.  But this is definitely a waste of space.

Too many clothes- Disney Cruise Line has washers, dryers, laundry soap, irons and large sinks available for guest use.  I believe I paid $3 to do a load of laundry which is downright cheap for Disney.  Just know that you can do a quick load and not waste any time of your vacation and save you the headache of over packing!

As always we want to hear what you think is important for packing for a Disney Cruise!

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Education on a Disney Vacation

We all know that taking kids on a vacation will lead to a lot of fun, but sometimes we encounter some education along the way.  Walt Disney said “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” All of us agree with that philosophy that you can learn a lot and still have fun.  Some of us have done this and probably will again but sometimes we have to take our kids out of school for a vacation.  While you have the make this personal decision based on your own situation we are not here to judge either way!  But we do know that when kids miss school they sometimes have to make up that missed time with what they learned while away from school, so I wanted to give some ideas of where your kids could learn while on a Disney vacation.

You will be able to do some first hand research and experiencing and then when you are finished with your vacation your student will be able to do the research that will help them put together a report.

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Disneyland
California Adventure Park: Learn about the history of California on the basis of the different lands such as Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peaks, Buena Vista Street or Hollywood Land.  These lands are themed around real places in California.

Disneyland Railroad: Check out the original steam trains and Presidential Train Car the Lilly Belle.

Sleeping Beauty Castle: Enjoy this walk through attraction of the story of Sleeping Beauty.  A fun way to compare would be to read other versions and see how they compare

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln: This attraction has nothing but history in it from the 1964 World’s Fare to the subject itself, Abraham Lincoln.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters: If you want something really modern check out this trackless attraction.  How do the cars move?  Where do they get commands?  These are just a couple questions you can find out on this attraction.

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Walt Disney World
Animal Kingdom
Wilderness Explorers: Learn all about different animals and explore the entire park with this fun scavenger hunt!

Rafiki’s Planet Watch: You can watch veterinarians at work here, not to mention get up close to a few animals. This is a great opportunity for those kids that are wild about animals.

Kilimanjaro Safari’s: This is another obvious choice, but you can see so many unusual animals that could spark an interest in one and then lead to a fact finding mission about a species.

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Hollywood Studios
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular: It will give you a very basic idea of how movies are made.  This is great for young kids since they will love the special effects and they way you feel like you are looking backstage.

Epcot
World Showcase: This entire part of the park is a learning experience.  Talk to Cast Members from all over the world, try new foods, listen to new music.  The possibilities are endless whether you choose one of many countries to explore.

The Land: Take the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land Pavilion and you can find out some really interesting things about greenhouses, growing crops and even where those plants grown there end up!

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The Seas: This pavilion is similar to the Kilimanjaro Safari as you can learn to much about many types of fish or larger sea life.  If you are old enough you can even swim with dolphins!

Spaceship Earth: This classic attraction takes you through communication in world history from caves to computers.  You are sure to learn something new along the way.

Magic Kingdom
Hall of Presidents: Like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln this is definitely the place to get a presidential history lesson.

The Haunted Mansion: Pepper’s Ghost is the main attraction here, not it isn’t a real ghost but an effect that is used and it is really fascinating.  If your student is one who always wants to know “how do they do that” this is a great subject to study.  You’ll need to ride more than once of course.

People Mover:  Did you know this has a real life application at the George Bush Airport in Houston?  That is the only other place in the world this technology is used for the people mover.

Sword in the Stone: Do you have a kid interested in stories and fairy tales?  This a great place for them to research the stories of King Arthur.  And if you have to rewatch Sword in the Stone that wouldn’t be too bad either.

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Swiss Family Robinson and Tom Sawyer’s Island: Again if you have a reader they will love to do a report on either of these stories and how they are portrayed at Walt Disney World.

Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel: This carousel is something special.  Originally called Liberty with an Americana theme it was lovingly restored by the Walt Disney World Company.  Check out the history of carousel and you will have plenty of research fodder to write a paper on!

Adventures by Disney
This entire vacation will be a learning experience, particularly if you are traveling to a foreign country.  So many new things to experience even if you travel on an Adventure by Disney within the United States.  New cultures, foods and experiences will be everything here.  For instance if you travel to Italy you can learn to make pasta, in Germany, pretzels. You will tour castles and historic sites.  Meet amazing local guides who can tell you anything you ever wanted to know about the country you are visiting.

Disney Cruise Line
Like Adventures by Disney this entire experience can be one big learning experience while having so much fun.  In port you can take excursions of the historic, foodie and adventurer types.  Or you can check out local museums, forts, ruins, or cultural centers.

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There is plenty of edutainment to be had on any Disney vacation so we hope this article can help get the creative process moving in choosing something to research.  And who know, this may be the start of the next Disney Imagineer career!

 

 

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2016

Do you consider yourself a Disney expert with fantastic writing skills? Have you ever considered applying for the Disney Parks Mom’s Panel? The search for the 2016 panel begins September 8, 2015 at 10am.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel was launched in 2008 as a resource for park guests to ask questions and receive answers from people who love Disney.

The panel is made up of more than just moms, it includes dads and grandparents too. They answer questions in four languages.

It has since been expanded to Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, runDisney, and ESPN Wide World of Sports.

There are 3 rounds of interviews to pass and in order to qualify you have to have visited the park or taken a cruise, or take part in a runDisney event within the last year to date.

If you have applied before please let us know in the comments your experience!