Guest Blog: Walt Disney - Don't Give Up!!! Keep Working, Trying and Dreaming.

Lessons on perseverance from the life of Walt Disney.

Lessons on perseverance from the life of Walt Disney.

Disney Archaeology time...Here we go digging!
There once was a filmmaker who fell on such hard times that he was kicked out of his apartment.

Having no place to go, he lived in his office and slept at night in a chair. He did this everyday and then would continue working on projects. To bathe he would travel to a pubic bath and shower facility. Faced with this kind of living situation it would have been easy to give up and become a lost story of someone who never made it.

Yet his story is so well known that it is easy to forget some of the darker moments.

Of course, since you are reading this article, you already know we are talking about none other than Walt Disney.

An often forgotten page of his life was during the days of making the Alice comedies.

In 1923 things looked extremely bleak for Walt and his young studio.

Things got so bad that his landlady did kick him out of his apartment. (He was "asked to leave.")

The rent to live there had been $3 and Walt could no longer afford it.

He moved into the studio and slept in a sofa chair in his drawing room. He stayed there for quite some time trying to save money, squeeze out every penny he could to pour into production, and he struggled to survive.

Once a week he would take a bath at Union Station, which was located near the cities hospital district. He would walk from the studio, past the hospitals, and enter the station. It cost him a dime for soap, one towel, and a hot bath.
He lived this way, without complaint, and kept on working to make his dreams come true.

After years of struggle, hard times, and being on the brink of losing it all...the story becomes the stuff of legend.

Walt Disney not only survived but is remembered to this day.

If you glance at the paragraphs above it should be simple to see one of the main reasons he made it. It is the difference often between success and failure. It is what many people miss out on as they live life.

The reason he made it is that he just wouldn't quit.
If there was a failure or a setback he didn't stop working ,trying, or dreaming.

He did his best to push past the defeat, learn from the failure, and strive not to make the same mistake again. But he kept trying and kept chasing his dreams because he knew that one day, some day, what he was chasing would happen.

My fear in life for many is that we too often quit one minute before the game changes.

We quit knocking on doors one door short of an answer.
We quit trying one day before we would find the solution.
As a result many people live their lives by describing them as, "I almost...." "I could have..." or "I nearly...."

I am not sure what is going on in your world but I do know this...don't give up.

You may be one heartbeat away from a breathtaking dream coming true.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog: Walt Disney, Ken Wales and Encouraging Others.....

Ready to dig into a story from the life of Walt Disney?

It was in the 1950's when Walt Disney placed a phone call to Santa Monica High School and asked the drama teacher if there were any promising students that year in their graduating class. The teacher mentioned one, a talented actor, named Ken Wales. So Walt issued an invitation to Ken to come to the Burbank Studio and spend some time with the head of the studio. Ken did and for three days Walt Disney mentored him. He gave him a behind the scenes look at the studio and a personalized tutorial on every aspect of film making. They spoke of crafting a story, creating effects, and pulling all the elements of film together.

Ken Wales would later recall to author Pat Williams, "I spent three days with Walt and he was my friend for life. He didn't just teach me the fundamentals of film making, he taught me the fundamentals of creativity."

He explained that Walt did not just teach him to dream big but instead taught him to dream beautifully. He saw the reason that Walt Disney films have remained timeless...they contain imagination, values, warmth, and delight.

The three days with Walt changed Ken's life forever. On the last day Walt wrote Ken a check, a personal check , for $5000. Walt gave Ken a fully paid scholarship to USC to study filmmaking. Those years at USC directed the trajectory of Ken Wales' life.

After graduation Wales became involved and active in a variety of projects. He partnered with Blake Edwards and helped to create films like The Great Race, The Pink Panther, Islands in the Stream, The Prodigal for Billy Graham, and the highly acclaimed TV series Christy. He also became an executive with the Walt Disney Studio and The Disney Channel.

Wales went on to teach filmmaking at USC. According to Ken it is a "way to give back what I was given. Walt Disney mentored me, and now I mentor my students as a way of honoring Walt and repaying him for the kindness and generosity showed to me when I was a high school senior."

Please make sure you hear the important takeaways from the story just told. Walt Disney was not just dreaming of the future, he was helping to create it.

He leaned into the future...not just by making educational films and television productions (which he did), not just by endowing a school of the arts (which he also did), but most importantly he poured his life into the lives of people. He mentored, he trained, he led, he gave them opportunity, and he coached. He knew the most important resource for shaping, molding, and creating the future was in people.

Who do you pour your life into? Who is pouring their life into you?

We exist so that we can make a difference and impact the world around us. You are the product of others who have taught you, mentored you, and somehow poured their life into you. The world we live in is overly consumer oriented, we live in an entitlement culture where too often everyone is in it for what they think is owed to them. How about giving back and pouring your life into others. By doing so you are also leaning into the future and the life you impact...well...you just never know what might happen. Think about it.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Disney Road Trip - Podcast Recommendation: 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

Is a road trip to Disney World part of your vacation plans? Do any of your kids have scientific/inventor inclinations?   If so, an interesting podcast to enjoy on the drive is BBC’s 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter.   I find the segments interesting as an adult but it seems to be presented at about an upper elementary school or junior high level and the episodes are only about 15-minutes long.    The “Stenocara beetle and water collector” episode made me think of Spaceship Earth at Epcot.  In the case of the beetle, it has bumps that helps it collect and channel water from fog in the desert where water is scarce. The panels on Spaceship Earth are designed so that no rainwater pours off of the surface onto the ground but, instead, is collected through gaps in the facets and is channeled to gutters that carry it to the World Showcase Lagoon. The beetle lives in an arid environment and Florida gets lots of rain but there are still similarities in the way that these outer surfaces work to direct water to a desire location. You can download and listen to the Stenocara Beetle episode here or stream it through your favorite podcasting platform.

Click here for a 1-minute animated video about the Stenocara beetle collecting water.

 Learn more about Spaceship Earth and the way it channels water

May you have safe travels!

Annette

More Helpful Information:

Interesting Podcast about Light Sabers and Wands and our Search for Ritual

Hey there –

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, you might find the first part of The Holy Post, Episode 357 “Nones Love Nuns” very interesting in a weird Disney/Christian/Human Nature sort of way. The Holy Post comes from a Protestant Christian perspective and the show always starts with some humorous commentary on recent news or human interest stories. Their first story takes about 8-1/2 minutes and is about a woman growing a nose on her spine as a result of stem cell research but the second story, which starts about 8-minutes and 45-seconds into the episode, was very interesting because it was about non-religious Millennials moving in with old catholic nuns and it moves into a discussion of human yearning for rituals. Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, is one of the hosts and he compares this to the rituals surrounding building your own light saber in Savi’s Workshop at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the wand selection ritual at Universal Orlando. Then the story sort of pulls in elaborate Disney weddings where the wedding party dresses like Disney characters. I found it thought-provoking. That discussion ends at about the 25-minute point and then they have a guest interview which I have not yet listened to and probably should have before recommending the podcast. If this piques your interest at all, you can just search for “The Holy Post” on what ever podcast broadcasting platform you typically use or try http://thephilvischerpodcast.libsyn.com/ or ApplePodcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-holy-post/id591157388

The Holy Post, Episode 357 “Nones Love Nuns” -  interesting discussion that references Savi’s Light Saber Workshop at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the Wand selection experience at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter into the human quest for ritual and meaning.

The Holy Post, Episode 357 “Nones Love Nuns” - interesting discussion that references Savi’s Light Saber Workshop at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the Wand selection experience at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter into the human quest for ritual and meaning.

It was interesting to me because I was raised in a church context that rejected traditional religious rituals as without being aware that we we did not actually eliminate rituals at all, we just replaced them with our own practices. As an adult, I attended a Catholic funeral for a young person who died tragically in a car accident and could see where those rituals could help you find your footing again when the circumstances of life send you reeling. I was interested to hear how some non-religious Millennials were looking at the formation of rituals as away to sustain them as they pursue various causes. Since I am a travel agent who focuses on Disney and Universal theme park vacations, I was intrigued by the popularity of the wand or light saber rituals and it interesting that the experience is very meaningful to people.

Additional Information:

Thursday 3: The 3 Disney Springs Character Breakfasts

Disney Character Breakfasts at Disney Springs Area Hotels

I recently visited the Disney Springs Good Neighbor hotels that participate in Disney World resort benefits like Extra Magic Hours and the ability to book FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to arrival and thought you’d be interested to know about the three character breakfast locations available on select days.  It is important to note that these character breakfasts do not take place at restaurants within Disney Springs itself but are located in nearby Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, all within walking distance of Disney Springs. While the adult prices are comparable in price to the Disney World resort character meals, the child prices are significantly lower which is great for large families.  Another perk is that two of the locations do not charge for 3-year old children and also offer child pricing for 10 - 12 year olds whereas the Disney character meals start charging the child price at age three (3) and adult prices start at age ten (10).   None of these locations accept advance reservations and are a great option if you’re having trouble getting reservations at a character meal location found in the Disney reservation system.  You do not have to be a guest of these hotels to dine at the restaurants.

Which characters are offered:   Disney sends over the characters and they usually just list “Disney Friends” or “Disney Pals” but Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy seem to be fairly frequent visitors to breakfast.   Brer Bear and Brer Fox were making the rounds the morning we were at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista which I thought was neat because you don’t usually see those two outside of Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom.

How to Get There:  If you’re staying at one of the Disney Springs hotels, you can easily walk over.  If you’re staying at one of the official Disney World resorts, the free option is to take the bus or boat, where available< from your hotel to the Disney Springs Marketplace stop and walk over.   It may be easier to have a taxi, Uber or Lyft drop you off at the resort entrance.

For comparison purposes, here are the prices at three character breakfasts featuring classic Disney characters that are located in official Disney hotels:

  • Contemporary Resort - Chef Mickeys breakfast: $41 / Child: $25 (age 3 – 9)

  • Polynesian Resort - Ohana character Breakfast: $34 / Child: $20 (age 3 – 9)

  • Beach Club Resort - Cape May character buffet: Adult: $26 / Child $21 (age 3 – 9)

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area  

Character breakfast available Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings in the Lakeview Restaurant at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Character breakfast available Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings in the Lakeview Restaurant at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Lakeview Restaurant - this is the only character meal where we ate and I highly recommend it.  The Lakeview restaurant is a very pleasant setting with a lovely view and the buffet was delicious with fresh fruit, breads and breakfast pastries, breakfast potatoes, bacon, ham, sausage, made-to-order omelets, and other tasty options.  The children’s section delighted me because it included breakfast pizza and macaroni and cheese along with traditional breakfast items.   The person at tending the station explained that children need a good breakfast and energy when they go to the theme parks so you have to provide options that they’ll want to eat.  You can’t argue with that logic!

Character breakfast Buffet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 7:30 – 10:30AM
Cost: Adults - $26.95 (age 12+) / $12.95 children, ages 4-11
Disney Dining Plans not accepted
No advance reservations – first come, first serve
15% gratuity added to parties of 5 or more

Click here for the menu

Hilton Buena Vista Palace Hotel

Sunday morning character breakfast at the Letterpress restaurant in the Hilton Buena Vista Palace Hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Sunday morning character breakfast at the Letterpress restaurant in the Hilton Buena Vista Palace Hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Letterpress Restaurant – Letterpress is a bright and modern restaurant located on the lower level of the hotel’s main tower.  

Sunday Character Breakfast Buffet - Characters from 8:30AM to 11:30
Cost: Adult: $30 / Child: $12, ages 4 - 12
No advance reservations – first come, first served
Click here for the Menu

 Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Hotel

Sunday Morning Character Breakfast at the Covington Mill restaurant in the Disney Orlando Lake Buena Vista hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Sunday Morning Character Breakfast at the Covington Mill restaurant in the Disney Orlando Lake Buena Vista hotel / Disney Springs area - Walt Disney World Resort.

Covington Mill Restaurant – restaurant has a charming country feel with a faux porch and rocking chairs at the entrance; the buffet menu includes Mickey Mouse waffles, made-to-order omelet station and a nice selection of other breakfast options like fruit, cearls, yogurt, fresh baked breads and more.

Sunday Character Breakfast – Sunday 8:30AM – 11AM
Cost: Adult (age 10 & up) $30, Child: $10, ages 3 -10
No advance reservations – first come, first served
Disney Dining Plans not accepted

Click here for the menu

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Guest Blog: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln

Disney History: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln and the challenges of preparing for the 1964 World’s Fair.

Disney History: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln and the challenges of preparing for the 1964 World’s Fair.

Walt Disney loved America. He loved the idea that you could dream, work hard, and make those dreams come true. The history of his life reveals a man who believed in his dreams, chased them with a passion, worked hard, risked it all (and lost it all)…and never stopped trying. Eventually, his dedication and commitment paid off and the things he created impacted the world and have left a legacy that continues to this day.

When Walt was working and designing attractions for the 1964 World’s Fair, the state of Illinois sponsored the featured attraction, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. By now, most know the attraction featured a life sized audio animatronic Abraham Lincoln that would speak to the audience, creating a moment to inspire and ignite patriotism. The attraction would eventually move to Disneyland and become inspiration for the even bigger stage show, The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

If we travel back in time to when this attraction was being prepared for The World’s Fair, what many people forget is that the technology was so new that it was being perfected right up until the last possible moment. The time had come for the show to be unveiled but the work was still being completed and many, many, many glitches were being fixed and improved.

The state of Illinois had spend a great deal of money to develop this attraction. Walt Disney had spent money as well, in addition he brought the expertise, the manpower, the man hours, and his reputation was riding on the success of Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. Two days before the show was opened at the World’s Fair, The Lincoln Theater was full. There were 500 invited guests from Illinois. There were members of the press on hand to report and give their review of this premier attraction. The governor of Illinois introduced what everyone was about to see. There was a buzz of excitement charging through the room.

But…there was a problem.

The show did not work. There was a malfunction, a glitch if you will, and the show would not perform as planned. So now the crisis was compounded by all the eyes watching and waiting in the theater. Should Walt let the show run? Did he allow people to see the show explaining that they would be seeing something that was not quite ready? or…..would he cancel it?

The pressure to let the show go on was tremendous.

So under all of that pressure, Walt did the only thing he could do.

He stepped out on the stage and addressed the crowd. He explained what the problem was, why the show was delayed…and then told them there would be no show for them this evening.

Walt Disney cancelled the show.

He promised it would be fixed. And of course, it was. The fix took a week and then…and only then…the show went on as it had been created. **

Walt Disney had done something that reminds us all of an important lesson about doing things well, leading others, and bringing a quality of excellence to work and life itself. Walt was willing to suffer the embarrassment and criticism for the moment because he knew what he was doing was worth it. The short term pain he went through was necessary for the long term gain that he achieved.

Walt Disney would not sacrifice the quality of the show. His name, his reputation, his creativity, his company, his vision, his dream, and his dedication to excellence were all on the line…and he would not take a shortcut to short-circuit the process.

In life, in our culture, there are many who are willing to take shortcuts, the easy road, or the less than the best pathway to get what they want. Usually it is for immediate gratification or short term gain. Sadly, most people have such a “live for the moment” view of life that they don’t understand there is a difference between “living for the moment” and “living in the moment.”

If Walt chose to “live for the moment” he would have offered his best excuses (and people probably would have understood) and let them see whatever portion of the show worked best. He could have saved some dignity and a little pride. If he would have been “living for the moment” his entire focus would have been on how to not look like a complete disaster that night. He chose something better.

Walt knew that “living in the moment” meant that he would take the heat, the criticism, and the responsibility for doing what was right and delivering what he promised…which was a great show and attraction. “Living in the moment” means that we take and squeeze every bit of life we can out of each moment, never forgetting that it is a moment that we need to use wisely…because this moment leads us to the next…and then next…and the next.

His wisdom, his patience, his leadership all were on display…because” living in the moment” wasn’t that comfortable, but when the show finally opened, living in that moment made it all worthwhile. Sometimes the moments we “live in” can be tough ,uncomfortable, and even embarrassing…but never trade the lessons that can be learned “in the moment” for the short term convenience of “living for the moment.”

The difference is huge…and the decisions you make will determine the kind of impact you will have in the world.

** The historical accounts of this event come from a variety of sources, Walt Disney-An American Original by Bob Thomas & Disney U by Doug Lipp. There are other accounts of this preview recorded in other places but both of these sources are excellent and worth checking out. The commentary and life application are the work of Jeff Dixon, author of The Key to the Kingdom series and The Disney Driven Life and The Disney Code.

Guest Blog: Walt Disney Valued People

Here is a little Disney Archaeology...our deep dig today takes us back in time. The place is the Walt Disney Studios. It is in the early 1960’s. The place is a beehive of activity and the studio is on the cutting edge of creating entertainment for television, film, and of course…theme parks.

In a story first recalled by animator Floyd Norman, there was an incident that took place on this particular morning.


A horse drawn carriage arrived at the gates of the studio. (Yes, you read that correctly…a horse drawn carriage) This horse drawn carriage was driven by a little white haired lady. Sitting on the perch of her seat on the carriage she leaned down and promptly told the security officer at the gate, “I am here to see Mr. Disney!”

“Do you have an appointment?” The officer asked looking at his registry for the day.
“No, I don’t. But I need to see him.”
“You can’t see him without an appointment,” the guard said. “He is a very busy man.”
Crossing her arms and rising up just little bit taller in her seat she declared, “I am not leaving until I see him!”

The guard placed a call to the administration office and eventually word reached Walt that there as a nutty and very stubborn woman at the gate who was demanding to see him. So Walt did what he thought was best. He walked out to the main gate to meet her.

As he stepped outside the gate he leaned against the carriage, talked about the horse pulling it, he smiled, he laughed, and engaged this strange woman in lighthearted conversation. He learned that she had written a movie script. That was the reason that she needed to see him, she wanted to give it to him, because she knew it was the perfect film for the Disney Studios to make.

Walt gladly accepted the script with the promise, “I will definitely read it.”

The woman left satisfied and Walt kept his promise and read the script.

Now, in writing this account of Disney’s life I would love to twist the story and tell you the script Walt was given that day became the biggest money maker in the history of the film industry, or that it became a classic Disney film, or that you will remember the movie that was made….I can’t do it. The reality is that the script wasn’t really that great and it was never made into a movie.

That of course, is not the point.

The point is that the executive of the studio left his office, came to the main gate, talked about horses, and made a promise (and kept it) to a crazy woman who demanded to see him. That was something that Walt understood. (I am not saying he understood crazy…keep reading) He understood the importance of people. He put a value on people. He treated everyone the same. It was said that it didn’t matter if it was a king, a president, or a ticket taker, he would always give them the same attention. He was humble enough not to always be talking about Walt Disney. He cared enough and valued people to put others first.

And that is a life lesson that would radically change many of our lives and ultimately change the world. Learning to put others first. Sometimes that is a value or a quality that is lost in our society and culture today. But it only takes a few people to remember what is most important..real people, like you and I, and if we are willing to put others first…learn to care…we really can change the world and make a difference!

Disney History - An account of an interaction between Walt Disney and a woman who drove up to the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in a horse-drawn carriage.

Disney History - An account of an interaction between Walt Disney and a woman who drove up to the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in a horse-drawn carriage.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Speaking of horse drawn carriages….

Did you know that there are lots of great horse experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida? There are free visits to the Disney horse barns to inexpensive wagon rides to trail rides and a variety more elaborate experiences. Click here to learn about Disney World for Horse Lovers

Guest Blog: Disney History - Iron Man Monorail Wrap

Disney History - Iron Man-orail: Disney World monorail with Iron Man 3 wrap / Stark Industries monorail

Disney History - Iron Man-orail: Disney World monorail with Iron Man 3 wrap / Stark Industries monorail

The Disney/Marvel film Avengers: End Game is shattering box office records this weekend, so I thought it would be good to take a little bit of trip back in time. The film was Iron Man 3 and the Walt Disney World resort unveiled their most spectacular monorail wrap ever when the Iron Man-orail made its debut. This Avengers themed monorail was sleek, fun, and gave Monorail Black one of the best makeovers ever. A golden nose on the train, branded with the familiar “Stark Industries” moniker and Iron Man flying down the side (Iron Patriot on the other) promoted the release of the movie.

The Stark Industries monorail took guests between Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) Due to restrictions with Universal Orlando Resort, the Iron Man monorail did not ever venture from the TTC to Epcot. The reason is because the Walt Disney Company had to fly Iron Man in restricted air space. Confused? Don’t be – this all makes sense in the world of theme parks and legal contracts.

Marvel is owned by Disney, but Universal (the little theme park just down Interstate 4 from WDW) has exclusive rights to use certain characters inside the East Coast theme parks. Island of Adventure prominently features the Marvel, now Disney owned characters as part of their experience and themed land within the resort. So in some ways, you can see Disney characters inside Universal Studios….but that is another story.

The reason that the Epcot line was restricted air space is because the monorail actually goes over the main entrance to the theme park and loops around Spaceship Earth and then stops just beyond the main entrance at the Epcot monorail station. So if the Iron Man monorail ever traveled the Epcot line it would actually enter and exit the boundaries of Epcot breaking the rule of law…and so it could make the loop around the Seven Seas Lagoon because the monorail never goes beyond the main gates of the Magic Kingdom.

But whether there were boundaries or not, the Iron Man monorail as you can see from the pictures was spectacular. And although there were problems in making this happen at WDW because of the restrictions, they really were just opportunities loaded with potential that had to be embraced so a solution could be found.

So it goes as you soar through life. Learn to see potential and learn to look beyond problems.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog: Disney's Rorex Tunnel - Carolwood Pacific Railroad

Here is a bit of Disney Archaeology for you…digging into the past and making discoveries that matter in the future…so let’s begin with a question…Are you familiar with Walt Disney’s Rorex Tunnel?

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad and the history of the Rorex tunnel - Dixon On Disney

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad and the history of the Rorex tunnel - Dixon On Disney

It is not surprising if you aren’t, but the tunnel and its creation are interesting chapters within the life of Walt Disney. The story unfolds at the Disney home in Holmby Hills. Walt’s hobby and interest in railroading had led to the creation of the Carolwood Pacific, it was a one-eight scale train, designed to run around the Disney home along 2,615 feet of track, with enough switching options to enable him to travel nearly a mile without running on the same track in the same direction.

The first circuit around the Carolwood property took place on May 7, 1951. As the plans for this extensive personal railway was being developed, Walt’s wife-Lillian noticed that the train was going to run right through her new flower gardens, which had been designed by Disney legend – Bill Evans. She approached her husband about this and was not at all pleased. Walt knew he had to come up with a solution to the problem. Unleashing his very creative imagination, it didn’t take Walt long to land on an answer. He would simply dig a tunnel and go underneath the flowerbed.

In a playful turn of events – Walt even had his lawyer draw up a legal agreement between Lillian and himself. “Lilly has made up her mind that I shouldn’t run right through the middle of her garden. She wanted to have a large window put in so her friends can look out at her flowers while they are playing Canasta. I just want the right to run my railroad.” Walt stated.

Now let’s dig into the tunnel - As you might imagine, this was not just going to be any tunnel. Walt always had a flair for the creative and wanted to create a moment for his passengers and of course, himself.

Walt’s plan was to create a 90 foot tunnel with a slight S-curve in the middle. As riders entered the tunnel they would not immediately be able to see the exit. As they went deeper into the tunnel, they would be plunged into total darkness. As always, in the world of Walt Disney, even in those early days – he was always figuring out a way to “plus” the experience. A foreman on the project approached Walt and suggested it would be cheaper if they made the tunnel straight. (Not to mention it would be easier to build as well)
This angered Walt and he snapped back, “It’s cheaper not to do it all.”
But in the end, Walt got the tunnel installed, just the way he had envisioned it.

The Carolwood Pacific Railroad introduced Walt to the notion of creating an attraction, an outdoor entertainment event. Eventually with the creation of Disneyland, Walt would get a full sized train that he could run after hours at the theme park. The beginnings of thinking through how that might work and what that might look like happened in his very own backyard.

The tunnel that Walt dreamed up that formed an S-curve below Lillian’s flower bed was officially named the “Rorex Tunnel.” The reason for the name was the construction supervisor. As Walt was chatting about what to do and discussing possibilities, the original idea that the problem could be tackled in this way was suggested by Jack Rorex. As a result, Walt remembered the conversation and the tunnel was named after the man who sparked Walt’s imagination.

When faced with the problem of upsetting his wife and destroying all the work that had gone into her flower beds, it would have been easy to decide, there was no way to fix or conquer the problem. However the tunnel ended up being a bit of an engineering masterpiece. The problem was nothing but an opportunity in disguise.

Walt explained his approach to chasing ideas and experimenting in an interview with Pete Martin in the Saturday Evening Post (June-July 1956) when he said, “You never know what will happen. That open mind and that hope that one thing will lead to another.”

Today you may find there are problems that you are facing that seem to have no answer. Don’t stop looking for solutions, don’t be afraid to be creative. The problem that seems so insurmountable may actually be an opportunity in disguise.

(The story used in this post is taken from The Disney Code)

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Have you thought about visiting Universal Orlando?

If you haven’t been to Universal Orlando lately, you are missing out! Universal Orlando is full of amazing and innovative experiences that try for yourself. This is not a theme park - it is a full-fledged resort with hotels to fit most budges, two incredibly fun theme parks, a beautiful water park and the CityWalk entertainment district with shopping, dining, and the Blue Man show.

Guest Blog - Hunt chameleons, not eggs, this Easter

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Since it is Easter – here is another Disney Easter Egg Hunt – another chance to find hidden surprises within the world of Disney. This particular Easter Egg Hunt is one you can take for yourself the next time you visit Walt Disney World. Believe it or not, the details in WDW are so amazing that you can even make a trip to the restroom an adventure – especially if you visit the Tangled themed restroom area in the Magic Kingdom.

This is actually a chameleon hunt and he appears first in the movie Tangled, but has more frequent appearances in the Tangled themed follow-up films and series. As we meet Rapunzel her one true friend is her silent, color-changing sidekick, Pascal. Although just a small chameleon, he plays a big role in Rapunzel's life. Confidante, coach and cheerleader, Pascal is a driving force behind Rapunzel's decision to leave her lonely tower. This supportive and encouraging companion's true colors held a key to solving an amazing mystery.

When you visit the Tangled themed bathrooms there is a sign that alerts you that there is something to look for…and if you look closely, you will begin to find Pascal hidden throughout the carefully and creatively themed area. Included in this post are a few pictures…if you really want clues, here are a few…but not all you need to find them all

Egg Hunt or Pascal Hunt spoiler alert follows….
Find the “Look for friends of Pascal in the scenery” sign and turn your eyes to the bridge on your left. You’ll see something looking right back at you on the rock!

Look in the other side of the water, notice the rock with an indentation…there you’ll discover a set of eyes that blend in perfectly to the moss surroundings.

Look at the sign again. Straight across from you, you’ll see a boulder…on the right side is a boulder-colored Pascal hiding from everyone.

Find Momento Mori, look carefully and search until you find three flower boxes. Someone’s hiding underneath the second one.

Take a look at one of the light posts and you guessed it – Pascal is there.

On this Easter weekend, remember that each of us need friends who stick beside us, encourage us, help us, and motivate us to be more. We all need them in our lives and whether you realize it or not, you just might be the very person to make that kind of difference in the lives of others. Sometimes it is subtle, and you can bless and encourage others without being flashy, maybe even blending into the background…but never underestimate the value that you have in the lives of others and take the time to thank those who bless you!

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Click here for a list of places to see or meet Rapunzel from Tangled

Guest Blog - "Easter Eggs" in Disney Movies

It is Easter weekend! Hopefully you are planning a fun-filled Spring weekend loaded with surprises and excitement. The tradition for many is to participate in Easter Egg Hunts, if you have been a part of one, you know how much fun they can be. In the world of Disney, an Easter Egg Hunt can take on a whole different meaning. Most, if not all Disney fans, know that the animators and designers of Disney films hide “Easter Eggs” in each feature. These are things that you don’t usually expect to find and are usually carefully hidden. Usually after a feature is released and enjoyed, then fans start searching for the hidden surprises that make the films even more fun.

Big Hero 6 is one example. Look closely at the picture below. It gives us a glimpse of events that we should have been paying attention to when Frozen was released. The rat Hans, actually showed up on a wanted poster in the police office. If Elsa and Anna would have known, the story line could have been so different.

Hans, the villain from Frozen, on a Wanted poster in the police station in Big Hero 6.

Hans, the villain from Frozen, on a Wanted poster in the police station in Big Hero 6.

Next time you watch 101 Dalmatians, look to the shadows. You can see this is the second picture. You'll notice some dogs wandering the streets of London in the background. Look closely and you will see that two of these pups are none other than the title characters of Lady and the Tramp.

Lady and Tramp hidden in the shadows on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

Lady and Tramp hidden in the shadows on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

In Beauty and the Beast, Maurice and Phillipe become lost in the woods and come upon a faded road sign. If you look closely, you can see that two of the cities listed on the sign are Anaheim, where Disneyland is, and Valencia, where California Institute of the Arts is located. Look closely at the third picture and you can make out what they saw.

Anaheim and Valencia road signs in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated version).

Anaheim and Valencia road signs in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated version).

Many will remember the film, Finding Nemo. The film is about a search of a father for his lost son, who is in trouble. Eventually they are reunited, but little did we know that the little clownfish Nemo was actually hiding in Monsters, Inc. – watch the film and see Boo hand a Nemo plush doll to Scully when he is in her room.You see that in picture four.

Boo holding a Finding Nemo toy in Monster’s Inc.

Boo holding a Finding Nemo toy in Monster’s Inc.

There is one more. You can find it in A Goofy Movie, everyone is jamming out at the Powerline concert — and Disney makes sure their most famous character of all is there - Mickey Mouse himself is in the audience. Those are all fun Easter Eggs – Disney style.

Mickey Mouse in the concert crowd on A Goofy Movie.

Mickey Mouse in the concert crowd on A Goofy Movie.

Easter Egg Hunting (look for real eggs) began in Germany and is said to date back to the late 16th century, where Martin Luther, organized egg hunts for his congregation. Men would hide the eggs, while women and children went to find them. Communities all over the world include some form of Easter Egg hunting as part of the Easter season… and the laughter, fun, and smiles of children and families finding a special egg, getting an unexpected gift, or discovering an extra ordinary surprise are all a part of the Easter celebration. Finding the unexpected can bring joy in life but you have to take time and look for it. May you find some time to go on the hunt over the next few days, discover joy, and share it with others.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Guest Blog: Disney and Notre Dame

It is with great sadness that we watched as so many did, the Cathedral of Notre Dame burn in Paris, France. This iconic structure was a part of the fabric and lore of the city and the loss is tremendous. In the aftermath of this loss, our hearts and prayers are with the people of France, who have lost a part of their culture and a landmark that was a hub of activity within the city.

Even in the world of Disney, this great cathedral was a part of the storylines of many films.

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Of course, we remember The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To stay consistent to the architecture and details of Notre Dame, animators spent several weeks in and around the actual cathedral. This building in the picture serves as a home to the main protagonist, Quasimodo. He viewed the cathedral as a home as he rings and cares for its bells, each of which he has bestowed a name. In return, the cathedral shelters and protects him

The cathedral also is seen in the Aristocrats, as Edgar Balthazar drives past Notre Dame while taking the cats into the countryside. In Ratatouille, we see the cathedral on two occasions. More recently it was seen in Cars 2, as a street musician performs music in front of the cathedral after Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell's arrival in Paris. In the live action film, Beauty and the Beast, the Notre Dame Cathedral appears as a background in the backstory of the lead characters as they are being developed.

Sometimes it is easy to take for granted those places that become the backdrop for the stories that create the memories that define our lives. For the people and city of Paris this is a great loss - it is also a loss for citizens of the world. Never take for granted the places and more importantly the people that help create the moments that define our lives. In the days ahead remember to pray for Paris as they have lost a piece of their history as well as a place that was so much a part of the heartbeat of the city.

About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.

Did you know? The Hunchback of Notre Dame was featured in two live shows in Disney parks? The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was presented at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1996 to 2002 and The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Festival of Fools ran at Disneyland from 1996 to 1998.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

Disney is donating $5 million towards the work to restore Notre Dame Cathedral. Disney CEO Bob Iger released this statement, '“ Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architechture and for its enduring place in human history.”

ABC Commissary Now Accepting Reservations - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Up to this point, Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom – Breakfast & Lunch only) has been the only quick-service location to accept advance reservations but you can now book dinner reservations at ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I love this for a few reasons:

  1. ABC Commissary is one of the few indoor quick-service locations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  2. Reservations ensure guaranteed seating which is wonderful for weary guests and families with small children.

  3. They have a new and much improved menu

  4. Fantasmic and Fireworks make it difficult to fit in dinner at this park; reservations will help you fit everything into your evening.

Book dining through your MyDisneyExperience account or by calling 407-WDW-DINE

More Helpful Information:

New Disney Policies for Strollers, Smoking & Ice

STROLLERS:

2019 Updated Disney Policies concerning Strollers, Wagons, Smoking, and Ice.

2019 Updated Disney Policies concerning Strollers, Wagons, Smoking, and Ice.

Beginning May 1, Disney is adjusting guidelines on stroller sizes, which will require them to be no larger than 31" (79cm) wide and 52" (132cm) long or smaller. The good news – many of the strollers on the market, including many double jogging strollers, fit within these size guidelines. Also, just a reminder that wagons are not permitted in the Disney parks. Beginning May 1, stroller wagons will also no longer be permitted. These updates are designed to help guest flow and ease congestion, making the parks more enjoyable for everyone.

TIP: The smaller your stroller, the easier it is to navigate and maneuver the parks. At Walt Disney World Resort, you can rent a single or double stroller once you arrive, and they can be rented each day. Or, they can choose a Length of Stay Rental, which will save them time and money. While Walt Disney World already offers a double stroller rental, Disneyland Resort will soon offer one too.

SMOKING:

Also beginning May 1, smoking areas will no longer be present inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California.

TIP: Designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances to the areas listed above, and at Disney Springs in Florida. For guests who have room or dining reservations, smoking areas are also available at Disney Resort hotels.

LOOSE ICE

Beginning today, if you plan to bring a cooler or cooler bag to store snacks and drinks for theme park or water park adventures, it’s important to know that loose or dry ice are no longer permitted.

TIP: We recommend you use re-useable ice packs instead. Complimentary cups of ice are available at Food & Beverage locations inside the parks if needed.

Click here to request your no-obligation Disney vacation quote.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Opening Dates Announced

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open on May 31st at Disneyland and August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open on May 31st at Disneyland and August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Disneyland California – Phase 1 opening on May 31, 2019

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Phase 1 opening on August 29, 2019

Hey, Star Wars Fans -

Today Disney announced opening dates for the first phase of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.   In this first phase, the shops, restaurants, and the new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction will be open.  For an extra cost, you can create your own lightsaber or purchase your own droid modeled on R2-D2 or BB-8.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not open until later this year (dates not yet announced).   This is going to be an amazing, immersive Star Wars experience!

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will put you in the seat of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as either a pilon, engineer, or gunner where you will blast off, jump into hyperspace and face danger at every turn.  This thrill ride features small drops, darkness and loud noises so guests must be at least 38-inches (97cm) to ride.   Guests age 7 years or younger must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older and it comes with all the usual warnings that riders should be in good health without high blood pressure, heart troubles, back or neck problems or other conditions that could be problematic.  Expectant mothers should not ride.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the first land designed to interact with the Play Disney parks app. Click here to learn more.

Important Information

Disneyland (California) – This is going to popular because it opens during summer vacation.  

  • Reservations required May 31 – June 23.   The no-cost reservation system has not been implemented yet but guests visiting Disneyland from May 31 to June 23, 2019 will need to purchase theme park admission prior to booking a no-cost reservation (one per ticket) to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Guests staying at one of the 3 Official Disneyland Hotels will get a designated reservation during their stay.   Book your trip now so that you make your reservation to enter at the earliest opportunity.

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will not be included in the Disneyland Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning at Disneyland

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not initially be included in either FastPass or MaxPass.

  • Capacity is limited.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World:

  • Reservations are not being offered to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Entry will be first come/first served and capacity is limited.

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not initially be included FastPass+

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be included in Extra Magic Hours which is a great benefit of staying at one of the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels or the select group of Good Neighbor hotels that qualify for Extra Magic Hour benefits.

WARNING: Availability at the official Disney World hotels is already EXTREMELY limited in early December – around Dec. 6-14 – because of the Pop Warner Super Bowl and Cheer & Dance National Events taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Most of the value resorts and several room categories at the moderate resorts are already booked to capacity.Good Neighbor hotels might be a good option.Contact us as soon as possible if this is when you want to visit.

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More information about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

What Is A Dole Whip?

Dole Whips at Disney World and Disneyland

Imagine yourself miserably hot and humid - you dread moving because that'll just make you even hotter. Then someone (maybe an angel) hands you a dish of a cheerful yellow, softly frozen pineapple (flavored) treat. From the first bite, your outlook brightens while visions of hula girls dance in your head. Okay, that might be a little bit of over-sell but Dole Whips are just plain wonderful! My whole family loves them and we'll use any excuse to get one.

If you prefer hard facts to hyperbole, here is the official (though uninspiring!) description: "Dole Soft Serve Mix is a lactose free dry mix that is reconstituted with tap water and frozen down in a soft serve machine. Marketed under the popular Dole brand name, this unique product delivers an intense, natural pineapple fruit flavor, yet is fat free and cholesterol free.". That may be technically accurate but it certainly fails to capture the joy your taste buds experience when introduced to a Dole Whip

Where To Get A Dole Whip at Disney World

Aloha Isle - Magic Kingdom Theme Park - Adventureland Area :This refreshment stand carries both pineapple and vanilla Dole Whip. You can also get pineapple spears, pineapple juice, and Dole Whip floats here. If you're on a Disney Dining Plan, you can use one of your snack credits to get a Dole Whip. There are those - even in my own family - who get sprinkles on their Dole Whips. Sprinkles!?!? Yuck! Click here to learn how to skip the line at Aloha Isle using mobile ordering.

The floats have Dole Whip floating in pineapple juice - very refreshing.

TIP: If there are multiple lines, check to see which server gives the bigger servings and get in that line.

Tamu Tamu - Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Africa Area: This location sells a cups of Pineapple Dole Whip suitable for children and teetotalers like myself but they also offer a very popular option that includes dark rum or coconut rum for those who can present photo ID proving that they are at least 21-years old.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a seasonal event usually held from early March to Early June. The festival’s Pineapple Promenade usually features both regular Dole Whip and a pineapple float made with Coconut Rum.

Marketplace Snacks at Disney Springs also sells Dole Whip.

Everything Pop at Disney’s Pop Century sells pineapple soft-serve and pineapple floats from 6PM to 11PM.

Pineapple Lanai, at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Hotel - located just outside the Great Ceremonial House (main building), sells Dole Whips but doesn't carry as many items as Aloha Isle, in the Magic Kingdom. No sprinkles here but you can buy a souvenir tiki bowl or sipper.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, sells a drink called Spikey Pineapple that features Barbancourt Pango Rhum blended with Dole Whip. Must be 21 or older.

TIP: My family loves to buy a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai just before going out to the Polynesian resort's "beach" area to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant (floating parade). This is one of life's simple pleasures.

Where to Find Dole Whip at Disneyland

Tiki Juice Bar - Disneyland Theme Park - .Did you know that the Tiki Birds were the first Disney Animatronic figures? It is a quaint show and the line for Dole Whips is often shorter on the show's courtyard side than on the Adventureland side. You can use Disneyland app mobile ordering to skip the line at this location.

Tangaroa Terrace - Disneyland Hotel now serves Dole Whip soft serve, Dole Whip floats and Dole Whip floats with Rum.

The Coffee House - Disneyland Hotel sells Dole Whip and Dole Whip floats.

Dole Whip at Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii

Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa on beautiful Oahu Island in Hawaii has Dole Whip available for purchase at the Ulu Cafe.

Of course, you might also want to visit the Dole Plantation while you’re on Oahu and try a Dole Whip there.. The Plantation Grill offers Dole Whip cones, cups, waffle cones, waffle bowls, a float and Dole Whip cups with topping.

Does Everyone Like Dole Whips?

Strangely enough, there is a small minority of people who think Dole Whips are terrible. There are also some people who think Dole Whips are entirely over-rated - they aren't bad; they're just not amazing. I'll admit that nostalgia may be part of the attraction since many people experience these for the first time while on vacation.

Disney sometimes goes a little crazy around Christmas, serving Dole Whips that are tinted green or red and some people find that just a little weird.

What Is In Dole Whips (Ingredients)

Water*, Sugar, Dextrose, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Coconut Oil**, Stabilizers (Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean, Karaya Gum, Pectin), Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking), Corn Syrup Solids, Citric Acid, Sodium Caseinate (A Milk Derivative), Artificial Flavor, Potassium & Sodium Phosphate, Mono & Diglycerides, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 & 6), Soy Lecithin.

*This ingredient statement was written with water added according to the recommended preparation instructions. Product is sold without water.

**Adds a trivial amount of fat.

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Calories: 80 per 1/2 cup serving

Calories from Fat: 5 per 1/2 cup serving

Nutrition: Clearly you're confused about the purpose of a Dole Whip...this ain't about nutrition. (there are trace amounts of vitamin C)

You Can Make Dole Whip at Home

If you have a sorbet maker, you can purchase a 4-pound bag of Dole Whip mix from Amazon for about $25 and enjoy a Dole Whip at home any time you want. The video below tells you what to do. Click here to order Dole Whip Mix - they even have other flavors.

Similar to Dole Whip - Recipes to Try at Home

It may not be convenient for you to head to Disney World for a Dole Whip or to purchase a bag of Dole Whip mix so here are a few look-alike recipes that might get you through a Dole Whip craving. These include dairy products but they're probably more nutritious that the real Dole Whips.

Dole Whip (Easy Version)

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Pineapple Chunks

  • Juice of one fresh lime

  • Coconut milk, other milk, or pineapple juice

Put the pineapple chunks, lime juice and enough coconut milk to keep things moving in your blender and blend until smooth. Try not to add too much liquid, if possible, but you can just put the mixture in your freezer for a little while before serving if the mixture is too soft. We tried this first without lime juice but we find the lime juice actually enhances the pineapple flavor.

DOLE WHIP (VERSION 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 quart pineapple juice (Dole)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 3 cups cream

  • 3 cups sugar

  • milk

Directions

Mix the pineapple juice and sugar -- make sure that the sugar is dissolved. Next add the cream and vanilla. Pour the whole mixture into a 4-quart Ice Cream freezer container. Add milk to finish filling to the "fill line". At this point simply follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. When the ice cream is ready you can serve it as is or you can stick it in the freezer for a while and let it set up a bit. Makes 8 Servings

DOLE WHIP (VERSION 3)

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (20 oz. each) DOLE crushed pineapple

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp. lime juice

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

Directions

Drain pineapple: reserve 2 tbsp. juice. Set aside.Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender. Cover and blend until smooth.Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags. Store bags flat in freezer. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until slushy. Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended in large bowl.Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve.

Monica's Review of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate Rooms

Review of the Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

Review of the Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

My daughter and I recently in the pirate rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. These rooms are which are all in the area farthest from the feature pool and main services. I didn’t think it would be a big deal being so far from the lobby and food court, but on the first night, we needed to get some food and during check in, they told us the Spyglass restaurant was open until 11pm so we decided to get to our room and then run down there to eat since it was right outside our room. By the time a van took us to our room, and we got down there, it was 10:10pm and they had just closed! I told the lady that worked there that we were told they were open until 11 and she said no, just until 10. So as tired as we were, we had to walk all the way back to the restaurant in the main lobby to eat because we hadn’t eaten all day and were starving. If we had known before we left, we would have grabbed something before heading to our rooms!  Then we had to walk back in the cold. Being the last on the bus line wasn’t too bad. There was always room on the buses but sometimes it took forever for a bus to come.

Pirates Ship Beds: The room was absolutely charming, but those beds were awful! They weren’t thin, like I’d heard….they were thick like regular mattresses, but when you laid in them, you sank down to the box spring! I guess sinking in a pirate bed is a good thing!!??!  Lol… Of course, pirates are probably used to sleeping in the gallows or on wooden planks so the beds might be fine for them! The ships beds are full-sized where the non-pirate rooms at the resort are queen-sized.

Practical considerations: The buildings at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort do not have elevators and the stairs could be pure torture after a full day at the parks! Definitely get an Accessibility room with guaranteed ground floor access if you have anyone in the party with stamina or mobility issues or parents carrying sleeping children. Because this resort is SO big, I really do recommend the preferred location rooms which aren’t pirate themed but they are a lot closer to the feature pool and main services areas. These rooms have a maximum capacity of four guests plus child, age 0-2, if they can sleep in a Pak ‘n Play style crib.

Note about the author:  Monica is our most experienced travel agent and has been to the most training events of anyone in our office.  She is a whiz at helping people plan fantastic Disney vacations. 

Click here to read Monica’s Bio

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Early Morning Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Review of Early Morning Magic at in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

Review of Early Morning Magic at in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

My daughter and I just spent got back from our Mother-Daughter trip to Disney World and I highly recommend the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Early Morning Magic.We had a blast!! Yes, I know you can arrive at the park early to get back to ride Slinky Dog Dash, but we rode it 9 or 10 times, plus did Alien Swirling Saucers (not as fun) and Toy Story Mania. We just rode the rides and walked around before the park opened and once the floodgates were opened. I’m not kidding when I say floodgates, hat’s exactly what it looked like! We could see the crowds coming back while we were on Slinky Dog! Once it was 9am and the park opened to the general public, the wait time almost immediately went to 85-minutes and the line stretched back to the Star Wars Launch Bay area outside of Toy Story Land. It was CRAZY! For the record, Slinky Dog Dash is now my 2nd favorite ride at Disney World.

Breakfast: The breakfast was at the ABC Commissary (one of the park’s quick service restaurants) and had some delicious choices. It was nice that they kept serving the breakfast until 10:00am so we didn’t have to waste any of the pre-park opening time eating. You could order whatever you wanted from the menu and they had a continental type buffet. We ordered a couple of the different menu items so we could see if they were good or not. I loved the charcuterie plate! This was Emily’s favorite day so well worth the money I paid for it.

Early Morning Magic is a separately ticketed event that is different from Extra Magic Hours, which are open to all guests at the official Disney World hotels (admission required). This is offered on select Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 to 8:45AM. There are a limited number of tickets sold and only the Toy Story Land attractions are open. You must have valid theme park admission ticket in addition to the Early Morning Magic ticket.

Cost:

  • $79+ tax per person age 10 and older

  • $69+ tax per person age 3 to 9

  • You must also have valid theme park tickets

Disney World has a similar Early Morning Magic Event on select mornings in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom.

Note about the author:  Monica is our most experienced travel agent and has been to the most training events of anyone in our office.  She is a whiz at helping people plan fantastic Disney vacations. 

Click here to read Monica’s Bio

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Places to Meet Santa at Disney World

Where to find Santa at Disney World - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney Springs.

Where to find Santa at Disney World - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney Springs.

Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses are great, of course, but sometimes we just need to get a word in with Santa before he checks the naughty and nice list for the last time before making his rounds. Here are the places you can meet Santa Clause at Disney World:

Magic Kingdom - Meet Santa Claus in Town Square daily from 10AM to 5PM daily during posted times, typically at 12. Santa also appears in the Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.

Epcot - Meet both Santa and Mrs. Claus daily in the American Adventure pavilion during posted 70-minute intervals, typically at 11:45AM, 1:45, 3:45, and 5:45PM.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Meet Santa Claus from November 9 to December 24 and Santa Goofy from December 25 to December 31, 2018.

Santa’s Chalet in Disney Springs - November 8 - December 24, 2018 from 11AM to 11PM. You’ll find Santa’s cottage near the Christmas Tree Trail close to the Once Upon A Toy store in the Disney Springs Marketplace area. Here’s how it works:

  • Check in at the podium.

  • Give your mobile phone number to one of Santa’s helpers

  • Shop, eat and enjoy the hustle ‘n’ bustle of the Marketplace

  • Upon receiving a text message from Santa’s helpers, return to the podium within 10 minutes

  • Take your place in line to meet Santa!

  • Photos with Santa are included in the Disney PhotoPass Memory Maker package or you can bring your own camera.

Disney Springs - Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Clause at T-Rex on December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16, 2018 with seatings at 8AM, 8:15AM and 8:30AM. Cost: $32 for age 10 - Adult, $20.50 for children ages 3 - 9; price includes tax and gratuity. Call 407-939-3463 to make your reservation.

More Helpful Information:

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