Feeling Thankful Disney Style

Castle-PictureThanksgiving is for counting blessings and I’m not sure I can count that high!  Of course I’m thankful for my family and friends, my work-family, and my home and health.  I’m also incredibly thankful for you.  Yes, YOU.  You regular visitors and those of you who stop by from time to time.  Most of you are fellow Disney fans, some are young parents, many are understanding empty-nesters (like me), others are co-mid-life-experiencing people who share in my confusion – how did we get here so quickly?  Where did the time go?

Why do I appreciate you?  That’s easy – Life’s full of ups and downs.  We don’t always know what’s going on with strangers we encounter, often we’re unaware of difficulties and challenges our own acquaintances and casual friends are dealing with.  I’m like you and my life is full of unexpected twists and turns.  Being able to share my little corner of the word and my love for all things Disney with you has been rewarding beyond measure.  Your comments, feedback, kind emails, good-natured debates, and constant support have kept me going during some stressful times over the past two years.  You get me in a way many people, who don’t share our Disney passion, can’t.  For that, and your friendship, I’m indescribably grateful.RM-Mickey-Heart-Ornament-Front

I appreciate the fellow Disney fan bloggers and podcasters who came to my rescue when I was saying goodbye to my mom in June – their support and guest post contributions kept me and this blog going – I’ve said it before and it’s absolutely the truth – the Disney fan community is a loving and caring place to be a part of.IMG_3869

I’m thankful for those of you who lend me your ears – The Disney Exchange Podcast as grown over the past year to encompass a humbling number of regular listeners, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends.  I’m so fortunate to have Nick and Dave to be my friends and co-host the show with me…we talk Disney and have a great time every single week.IMG_2293

Happy Thanksgiving, Disney Friends!  May your blessings be bountiful and your home be filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after…Lisa


Disney Collectibles for Me!

RM-Junior-SnugglesRecently, right on schedule, I again celebrated the anniversary of my arrival on Earth.  You’d think after so many years, my birthday would have become less of a thing.  It would be just another day, ho-hum, yeah, yeah, I’m another year older. But NOT in my family!!!  That’s one of the best things about us, we love a good birthday and know how to make each and every one unique and special.

Some things are always a given on your birthday at our house – you’ll be treated like royalty, you’ll receive gifts that are complete surprises, you’ll get at least one serious card that will make you cry a little, and you’ll be celebrated and made to feel loved.  Oh, and you’ll get food.  And cake.  Not so different from other families probably, but this is how we do it.

Disney Collectibles for Me!

So, my birthday rolled around and as usual, the first words I heard upon waking were “Happy Birthday!” from Raymond.  This year, I took the day off so I could enjoy a 3-day weekend and have some relaxing time hanging around with Junior while everyone else was working.  That was my gift to myself.  I ended up cleaning house and giving aforementioned canine companion a much needed haircut and bath.  That probably doesn’t sound very special or relaxing, but I knew I could expect a family gathering and Junior and I were ready, looking our best, when the time came.RM-Junior-New-Haircut

As expected, later that evening, folks showed up with food and presents.  Megan, Grant, Joseph and Raymond put dinner together while I sat on the couch, munching on appetizers and watching TV.  We ate, we laughed, we caught up and then it was time for birthday cheesecake and presents.  Let’s talk about the presents!!!

Raymond’s gift was something I’d wanted for a long time and wouldn’t buy for myself.  He initially didn’t think it would be a good idea to give his wife this item as a present.  He was afraid it would be saying something negative about me and that’s not his style. Ever.  Anyway, since I’d been dragging him to look at Fitbits every time we were in a story that carried them, he knew I really wanted one and he made the potentially risky decision to buy me one.  I was ecstatic!  He was relieved.  RM-FitbitSo far, so good since then – I’ll give it a couple more weeks and then do a full review on how Fitbit changed my life (I hope).  You know I’ve been carrying around a few extra pounds and I’m ready to tell them goodbye.  I also got a couple of pairs of my favorite running socks – THE most wonderful running socks in the world! (Balega Socks)  Good job, Raymond!!!

Megan, Grant, and Joseph went in together on a joint gift – I should say GIFTS! How exciting it was to unwrap each treasure – and treasures they were.  All vintage Disney collectibles!!!  Here they are:Birthday-Vintage-Mugs

Milk Glass Mickey and Donald Mugs!Birthday-Winnie-the-Pooh-BankWinnie the Pooh Bank!Birthday-Vintage-Snow-White-Play-Kitchen Birthday-Vintage-Snow-White-Play-Kitchen-Sink Birthday-Vintage-Snow-White-Play-Kitchen-Stove Birthday-Vintage-Snow-White-Play-Kitchen-FridgeSnow White Play Kitchen – Sink, Stove, and Fridge!Birthday-Vintage-Metal-Walt-Disney-World-TrayWalt Disney World Metal Tray!Birthday-Goofy-DAK-BoatGoofy and one of the original Animal Kingdom Boats!

Softens the blow of turning another year older, let me tell you – Great company, good food, fantastic gifts – all in all, being 51 is fantastic!!!  Best family EVER!

What are your family’s birthday traditions?

Commemorating Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary

Happy Saturday, Disney Friends!  Sometimes when I’m pouring over articles at the Disney Musings Blog, looking for one to share with you, happy memories are triggered – today is one of those times.  This item from Nick’s Disneyana collection (and doesn’t he have the most amazing collection?) reminded me of the first time Raymond and I took our children to Walt Disney World.  It was in 1996!  Megan was five and Joseph just 13 months – it was July.  And we had such a magical time!  In a magical place!  I’m betting you’ll also have some happy memories when you read about this particular treasure, too.  Have a great weekend!

Commemorating Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary

By: Nick

I bought this great ceramic commemorative figure of Genie, Simba, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy back in 1996 during Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary.

A Magical Time in a Magical Place. This figure measures 7 inches tall.

An interesting collection of characters. It works for me though.

It’s time to remember the magic!  Made in Thailand.
Original price: $45.

This is reminiscent of the “group hug” scene in Aladdin, after Al has made his third and final wish, freeing Genie. I love that scene, and actually have a sericel of the “Group Hug” that I’ll share in a future post.

For more Disney awesomeness, be sure to follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.  You can listen to Nick, our friend Dave and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about…well, you can probably guess.

Headed to Walt Disney World in 2016?  The Disney Exchange Podcast will be having a meet-up in February during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  Details will be available on The Disney Exchange’s Facebook Page and also on Twitter.  We’d love to see you there!!!


Things You Don’t Have to do on a Disney Vacation

RM-Main-Street-USA-Magic-KingdomDo you go on vacation for a little rest and relaxation?  Do you vacation to experience new and special things you can’t find at home? Do your travel plans include NOT cooking or cleaning?  Are you hoping to find fun, adventure and quality time with your family?  Us too!  We are all about getting away from it all and taking a little break from work, stress, and yes, the previously mentioned household chores.

There’s been a lot of negativity going around on the interwebs lately via message boards and the like.  Disney vacations are gaining a bit of a reputation as not being the magical family fun they were once upon a time.  There are a lot of “too’s” attached to those criticisms – it’s too crowded, there’s too much planning and research involved, there’s too much to know, too much technology – the fun is gone.  RM-Fantasyland-CrowdNot true, I say!!!  Disney vacations are our family’s favorite – and have been for many years.  Sure, getting used to the newest developments in customer care may take a minute or two, but new does not necessarily mean bad.  There’s still a lot to recommend about Disney parks & resorts and Disney Cruise Line.  Mainly I’m talking about…

Things you do not have to do on a Disney VacationWalt Disney World Summer Crowd

  1. Plan Every Minute – It’s simply not true that you have to plan too much too far in advance.  Prioritize and decide what’s important to your family.  Sure, if you want to eat at a super-popular table service restaurant or dinner show, you will need to make a reservation 180 days in advance for the best chance to dine there.  Citricos-WindowIf you don’t want to spend (possibly) an hour or more waiting in line for headline attractions, you’ll want to book FastPasses as far in advance as you can.  Planning some things in advance is very helpful, but planning every minute would eliminate spontaneity and be detrimental to the whole “rest and relaxation” part of vacationing.  Which brings me to the next point.RM-Tower-of-Terror
  2. Hurry All The Time – NO!  Sure, if this makes you happy, you’re welcome to hit the ground running and rush all day from attraction to attraction as fast as you can.  Just thinking about that makes me tired!  Better to take the most offered advice around – get up early (see #4) and beat the heaviest crowds of the day.  Then slow it down so you don’t miss the amazing Disney magic all around you.Epcot-Statue
  3. Sweat The Small Stuff – Yes, Disney details (sometimes the tiniest ones) are often the most fantastic parts of a Disney vacation.  BUT, there’s no reason to obsess over what you might be missing if you decide to detour from time to time as the mood strikes.  It’s about being together as a family for us – and maybe, if it’s that way for you too, it’ll be okay to not worry about being a super-parent.  You may think you know what will thrill your little one and it turns out to be 180-degrees the opposite – don’t worry about it!  Go with the flow, eat dessert first, change your plans suddenly – it’ll be okay.Bay-Lake-Tower-Sunrise
  4. Stay Up Late – Early to bed and early to rise does not negatively impact a Disney vacation!  I know this from personal experience – I’ve never taken advantage of any late night Extra Magic Hours and I’m perfectly happy about it.  We go to sleep early and appreciate that early morning is sometimes the most special (and productive) time of the day!Entrance for Toy Story Midway Mania
  5. Do It All – There’s just no way to do it all in one trip.  Here’s where research helps a lot.  Knowing what’s important to you and your travel party can help you prioritize.  Don’t think about what you might be missing at the expense of what you’re enjoying at any given moment.  Weather, heat, distance between activities or attractions can take a toll.  Go in with realistic expectations and a willingness to be flexible – nobody wants you to be a bossy, crabby vacation dictator.  Do what you can & come back again if you want.  Don’t mar your vacation memories by putting unnecessary pressure on your family.  Don’t do it!

What are your favorite “don’t have to do’s” on a Disney vacation?