Dec 31

I love it when dreams come true!

There are several reasons why I love what I do, but nothing makes me happier to know that someone’s dream comes true.  While I didn’t have anything to do with the cast members that made this dream come true for my clients, I am just happy to have helped plan this vacation.

This is from a recent client that went to Disney for their first trip in October……..

We had a blast on our trip. There were so many times that I felt like you were with us because I kept telling my family, “Tabitha said…”. I felt like you were our personal tour guide. Going on the dining plan was amazing! I can’t even imagine going without it. Now we are spoiled : ) We liked the room and the resort. And if/when we go back we will definitely go back during the same time of year. We hardly had to wait in lines and we rode everything we wanted to, some rides twice, and some (Dumbo) four times! It was wonderful! The cast could not have been nicer and just to explain what I mean here is the VERY BEST part of the whole trip:

Our first night there we went to have dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Did I mention that I am a HUGE Cinderella fan? HUGE. Cinderella wedding and all. Well, it MAY have been my VERY LARGE expectations of Cinderella, but when she came to our table we were disappointed. She was not overly friendly, but not at all mean. Just a let down from the very high pedestal I had placed her on. But alas, the night was not a total bust…the stepmother and stepsisters were a hoot! We still talk about them. DSC02483

However, I was determined that the next time we were at the Magic Kingdom we were going to track Cinderella down so I could see her, take pictures, and get pictures with my daughter in her Cinderella dress that we didn’t bring to the 1900 Park Fare dinner. A few days passed before we got back to the Magic Kingdom, but the big day was finally here. It was our last day of vacation and our last day at the Magic Kingdom. We each got to pick the one thing we wanted to do that day, my daughter and son both wanted to go on Dumbo again – shocker! My husband wanted to ride space mountain, and well, I wanted to see Cinderella. So, our day was set. We pack all the necessary Cinderella seeing equipment and were off. On the ride to the kingdom I told my husband that as soon as we arrived I would go to guest relations and find out when and where Cinderella would be that day and we could then plan accordingly. As we were walking in, the ever so friendly cast members were outside to great everyone when one lady noticed my daughter wearing a Cinderella shirt and said, “Good Morning Cinderella!” “Are you going to see Cinderella today?” We nodded yes, and she replied “She is right inside at the theater.” I am pretty sure I heard, “On you mark, get set, GO!” We ran right inside and headed to the theater. But as soon as I saw the big clock say that the princess line was a forty minute wait, I knew that was not going to happen. Did I mention that we were totally spoiled by this point and hadn’t waited in line for more than fifteen minutes for anything? Oh, but then the clouds parted and I saw the magical sign that said Fast Passes Available. Yea! We got our fastpasses and set out with the rest of our day.

We returned at the appointed time and got ready to see Cinderella (and all the unimportant princesses too). I got our daughter changed into her Cinderella dress, got cameras out and ready. Ooooo….the moment had arrived. We were the next group to be ushered into the room that held the best princess ever!!!! The door opens, we are ushered in and after a quick glance around…no Cinderella. What???!! What has gone terribly wrong here? I immediately and as calmly as I could possibly be at this precise moment asked a cast member if Cinderella was here. Maybe she had just stepped out for a moment, I thought. No. We were told that she hadn’t been in the theater all morning. Impossible, I thought. I, ever so sweetly conveyed to the sweet cast member what we had been told earlier in the morning. And asked if she knew where Cinderella would be the rest of the day because we really wanted to see her. Noticed I said wanted. I meant needed. This whole trip was riding on a wonderful Cinderella encounter for me. No one else, not my two year old – just me. The lady disappeared and while there was a slight line leading up to the other three (unimportant) princesses, I asked my husband if it was even worth standing here to get the autographs of three people my children really don’t even know. He said that we were there and we might as well. Fine. I’ll be nice to the princesses. We did it, we talked and got all the princesses autographs, and pictures. And wouldn’t you know, the lady that disappeared before was still no where to be found.  So I told my husband we would just go over to guest relations when we were done here.

We finished our goodbyes with Princess Jasmine when a man appeared to hold the exit door open for us and then looked at my daughter and said, “Come this way Princess, we have a surprise for you.” I looked at my husband with what must have been the biggest eyes I have ever had. He opened the door and there right before our very eyes was Cinderella! We were in a room all alone with Cinderella!! Again…(for dramatic affect) We were in a room all alone with Cinderella!! (Well, not really alone. A photopass photographer, and what we dubbed as the character handler was also there.) And this Cinderella – the real one in my mind – was completely wonderful! She danced with my daughter, took about a million pictures with us, taught us how to pose like a princess, oh, I could go on and on. It was just magical. We were in there for at least five minutes, probably closer to ten. Her (handler) finally told Cinderella that it was time for here to get ready for the parade. Which we probably made her late for, since we walked outside from there and the parade had already started. Even if that had been our first day at Disney and not our last, I could have left right then. Nothing could have topped that experience. Nothing. Dreams really do come true at Disney!DSC02478(rev 0)

And yes, we did report to guest relations after that to compliment the cast members who helped make that dream come true.

I LOVE it when Disney makes a dream come true – in this case for the mom!  Thanks for sharing this Julie B.  I am so glad to hear you ended up with a magical trip!  Have you had a magical moment happen?  Tell us about it.

 

Dec 17

Agent P anyone?

Do you have a Phineas and Ferb fan in your family?  We sure do.  Our son LOVES Phineas and Ferb and Agent P is one of his favorite characters.  We decided to do the Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure on our last trip.  As I have stated before, we went with friends and they, too, have Phineas and Ferb fans.  So we decided to do this adventure together. 

Kathie and I went to get Fastpasses to Soarin’ and let the husbands take the kids to the Agent P kiosk and sign up for their adventure.  We then met up to start the adventure.  Here is a picture of the phone the kids were given:

We started at the first destination which was Mexico.  It was fun to hear the clues and figure out where to go and see pictures of what you were suppose to find.  Pointing the phone at certain objects and watching things happen to those objects was fun too.  The kids really enjoyed the adventure.  It took about 30 minutes or so to complete one mission.  After a while the oldest lost interest and her and her dad went to ride rides.  My husband was getting tired of the back and forth and I told him to go sit down and wait for us.  We made it to the next mission which we got to choose from a list of lands and we chose the closest one which was Germany.  By the time we got finished with the Germany adventure, us adults were tired of the back and forth and told the 2 youngest we were going to ride rides and we could continue on later if we wanted to pick it back up. 

Here is a before picture and an after picture of what one of the things does:

 

All in all it was lots of fun but the only draw back that we saw as parents that it was a lot of back and forth.  You would literally just finish a clue and be sent to one spot to go right back to where you just were for another clue.  The other thing that we noticed was that it took up a LOT of time.  So, my suggestion is if you have Phineas and Ferb fans, do the adventure but limit it to 1-2 missions and then if you have time later on you can always go back and finish this up.  There is no cost to you, it is FREE.  You are able to keep the phone all day long and when you are ready to head out of the park you can hand the phone to ANY Cast Member – you DO NOT have to go back to the kiosk to turn it in.  That was a nice perk!

Dec 14

Be Our Guest review

On our recent trip to Disney World, we had the opportunity to eat at Be Our Guest restaurant.  I made these reservations way back the day they started taking reservations.  I was so excited to try this new restaurant.  The castle is remarkable, beautiful in every way.  Disney, once again, out did themselves.  The lions pillars at the front door give it a grand feeling and when you walk inside is just continues on.  We were seated in the ballroom. 

 I must say sitting there and looking out the window and watching it snow, awww…..made me feel like it was really snowing outside.

There is not a lot of selections on the menu – the adult menu consisted of Pork, Cornish Hen, Salmon, Shrimp & Scallops and Ratatouille for the main course.  The kids menu was even smaller to choose from so if you have a picky eater, you might want to take a look before you go.  I have a picky eater and there really wasn’t anything that he would eat.  The kids menu has Grilled Steak, Fish, or Chicken and Whole Grain Macaroni.  We went with some friends and one of the girls has food allergies.  So, I got to experience first hand Disney with food allergies.  The chef came to our table and asked what kind of allergies she had.  He then told her parents what she could eat and what she needed to stay away from.  They took great care of her and she was even able to have dessert fixed for her.  The women (my friend and I) decided to order the Rotisserie Cornish Hen and the men ordered the Grilled Strip Steak.  My son and our friend’s one daughter ordered steak off the kids menu and the other daughter ordered French Onion Soup (she is the one with food allergies – she has nut allergies and the chef made sure she had no bread in her soup).  Kathie (this was my friend) and I both said the chicken was different.  Parts of it was good and parts of it was just ok.  We both tasted our husband’s steak and we both agreed that if we came back we would order the steak.  It was delicious!!  My son didn’t like his steak, but as I said he is a picky eater.  The other child who ordered steak loved hers and ate it all.  I believe the french onion soup was tasty too.

Now on to dessert….I ordered the Triple Chocolate Cupcake and my husband ordered the Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake.  Those were the two desserts that were ordered all around our table too.  They were both very tasty!

And of course, we can’t forget The Grey Stuff.  Since I had told them weeks before we arrived that my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary, we got to taste The Grey Stuff.  The waitress brought it to our table and said it was delicious!  It is a small portion of Grey Stuff but we passed it around so everyone could taste it.  It is kind of like a chocolate mousse (I am guessing here) with silver crispy balls on top.  Now with all the hype over The Grey Stuff, and from what our waitress said, I expected this to be “To Die For”.  However, it was just o.k.  – THIS IS MY OPINION.  It was good but I wouldn’t say I HAD TO HAVE IT!  So, if you don’t get The Grey Stuff, you are not missing much.

To end our evening we were invited to look around the other rooms and then before we left we were told that Beast was accepting Guests in the Library.  We made our way over to the Library but he wasn’t there because periodically throughout dinner music starts playing and Beast is introduced and he walks through the Ballroom and then storms into the West Wing.  We waited for a few minutes and Beast returned to the Library where we were able to take pictures with him.  The restaurant originally stated that there was no character dining here so we were pleasantly surprised to find Beast.  I do not know if this is a permanent thing or not.

I would definitely recommend dining here.  You also need to make reservations VERY EARLY on because this is another one like Cinderella’s Royal Table – it is booking fast and FAR in advance.  Have you eaten here?  What did you think?  I was unable to try it for the quick service lunch because it was closed the next two days for the Press – we went a couple days before Grand Opening Celebration.

 

Dec 12

Art of Animation stay, the good and the bad.

I need to start this article with the fact that we have never stayed in a value resort.  So we did not know what to expect.  But I just had to stay at the Art of Animation on our last trip.  I wanted to be able to tell my clients what it was all about and whether or not I would recommend it or not.  Let me first start by saying that the theme of this resort is AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe it when we stepped of the Magical Express.  My husband kept asking me “This is a value resort?”

So let me start with the good…..  Wherever you step on the Art of Animation you are immersed in the movies.  This is a kid’s dream come true.  We stayed in the Lion King suites and our son LOVED it.  He couldn’t have been happier. 

We ate at the food court on a few occasions and we found all the food to be great.  We had nothing bad that I remember.  The resort is spread out but not so spread out that you feel like you are walking forever to get somewhere.  There are several pools to choose from and of course they are themed like the movies too.

As I said above, we stayed in the Lion King Suite.  I had reservations about this particular room because it looked VERY BUSY to me.  When we stepped into the room it was amazing.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed with all the colors going on and I didn’t feel it was too busy once I was there.  I will say that it was a little smaller than what it appears to be in the pictures.  Even our son said he thought it was going to be bigger.  It was still perfect for our family – we could stay up while he went to bed – we didn’t have to have all lights out so he could sleep.

The suite has 2 rooms – the living room with a table (that pulls out to make a bed) and a small bedroom.  There are also 2 bathrooms – one with the living area and one in the bedroom.  There is a microwave, sink, refrigerator area also.  There were 2 TV’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom.  The bathroom in the bedroom had a shower only (and a very cool one at that) and the main living area bathroom had a bathtub.  These suites have interior hallways – so you have no outside doors like all the other value and moderate resorts.  The Little Mermaid building has NO interior hallways, just so you know.  All of the cast members that we encountered were super nice.

Now for the bad, yes there was a little bad with this resort.  It was super loud!  The walls were paper thin so we heard our neighbors very well.  There were kids yelling up and down the hall and doors slamming.  Now mind you, we ALWAYS have the luck of getting stuck next to loud people or something not quite right on our vacations.  We kind of find it amusing – after the fact.  When you are trying to get your child to sleep at a decent time after you have been up since about 5:00 in the morning and been traveling all day, the last thing you want is loud people that keep your child up.  The hallways seemed to echo.  Now I know there are no sound proof rooms anywhere but I did expect it to be a little quieter.  I would say that was our only complaint.  It was so bad the first night we had to call the front desk to complain about the people next to us.

So would we stay there again?  I would, however, my husband on the other hand?  Well, if he had a choice of going to Disney and staying at a value resort or staying home, he would stay home.  That is just my husband though – Disney isn’t his favorite place.

Dec 11

The Reaction!

Many of you are waiting to hear how our son responded to his “Surprise.” Let me just re-play the morning for you. He totally messed us up. To begin with I was planning on getting up at 5:15 and getting ready and finish packing my last minute stuff that morning. Well a little after 4 a.m. he walked into the room – he had had a bad dream and wanted in bed with us. I put him in bed with us and I was afraid I would wake him up since it hadn’t been too long since he had fallen asleep. So, I decided to get up about 5:00 a.m. (since I never did go back to sleep) and get ready. I wanted all the luggage in the car before he woke up. Well, I took my suitcase into his room and just finished zipping it up (my husband had gotten up shortly after I did and was in the shower) when out walks our son. He asked “Why are we up so early?” I told him we needed to get an early start to make it to the zoo and to the Lego store. I also said we were going to a different Lego store that we hadn’t been to in a while so we needed to travel a little ways and we were going to spend the night.

I told him to go back to bed or he could get up. He said he would get up. At this point I am starting to panic because the plan was that my husband would be downstairs to video all of it and he was still in the shower. I told my son to go brush his teeth and he could ride in this pajamas. While he was brushing his teeth I told my husband to hurry up. He hurried and got out and finished getting ready. He went on downstairs and took my luggage (the one that I had just finished putting the Magical Express tag on – that I shoved out of the way and put my pillow on top when my son saw me) to the car. I was stalling our son to give my husband time to get downstairs and get his phone on. I told “E” to go put his toothbrush in his bag that I already packed and was downstairs.

He went downstairs to put it in the bag and don’t you know he starts to put it in an outside zipper part of that bag. I said “No, not there, inside the bag!” I know he was thinking his mommy was CRAZY! I helped him unzip the bag and he just watched the balloon pop out. He looked into the empty suitcase (which had his Elf on the Shelf in it) and back up into the air to the balloon. Then back again to the suitcase, then back to the balloon. Finally he stood and read the sign attached to the balloon and said “We are going to Disney? Today?” Then he started jumping up and down! The look on his face was priceless! I will never forget it.

Was it hard to keep it a secret? You bet it was. Was it worth it? Oh yes it was! Thankfully we were able to talk about it because our son thought we were saving for next year. That did help things. So will you surprise your child(ren) with a Disney vacation? Have you ever? Tell us about it. What was the reaction you got?