We always tend to do back to school at the last minute, and not because I’m lazy. It’s more that I can’t possibly bear to let go of summer.
Nothing like Valentines Day to announce to the kids that we are off to Disneyland! I was honoured with an invitation to Disney Social Media Moms in April and decided to do a reveal to the kids on a romantic Valentine night.
We showed the kids our #DisneySide with Mickey hands, sparkly red heart balloons and mouse ears.
They ate Mickey Grilled Cheese and extra special cookies. I am such a kid!
Have you done a special Disney reveal for your kids? Tell us about it!
Every time I enter DisneyLand, Walt Disney World or one of the Disney cruises, pixie dust fills my lungs, families get giddy and stress is stomped like a marshmallow. This year I have been showered with love and good fortune and yet I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t always recognize the blessings around me. I allow myself to get stampeded by work and *gasp*, complain sometimes. In travels to California and Florida, Disney has taught me several things, and my goal for 2014 is to incorporate as many of the lessons into my own life as I can. Here are my 12 Disney-inspired New Year’s resolutions.
1. It’s good to be scared sometimes. A little push to boost the adrenaline can remind you that you always survive risks. At times we forget to truly ‘live’ and ‘feel’ when we get bogged down with the day-to-day. The Radiator Springs Racers in Disney’s California Adventure, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom and the Test Track presented by Chevrolet at Epcot will all get your heart going again.
2. Even if you can’t travel you can still explore cultures. Epcot features countries from around the world and the people working at each pavilion are actually from the countries represented. You can create cultures and experiences with your kids at home by exploring foods, languages and styles of dress – even if you can’t hop a jet to China.
3. Stimulate all of your senses. My favourite ride in both parks is ‘Soarin’. The magic happens when you soar over California in a simulated hang glider and odours pumped into the air correspond to the images you are seeing on-screen. Orange orchards,the pacific ocean and cedar forests bring all of your senses to life.
4. Learn from the animals. Of all of the experiences I have had with Disney, the Animal Kingdom is still a favourite. I like to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in a room that allows me to watch the animals in the Savannah all night long. The kids are given special checklists so they can find and learn about the animals during breaks from the parks. Giraffes rarely sleep and the interactions between the antelopes and other animals is mesmerizing. On the Kilimanjaro Safari in the Animal Kingdom you learn about habitats of the animals and see something different every time.
5. Don’t complain. One of the joys of being at Disney is that the staff are smiling and happy all the time. Even after long days and hot hours they treat each person like it’s the vacation of a lifetime. I’m going to try and do this every time I get gas, have a parking spot nabbed or am in the grocery checkout line.
7. It’s ok to make mistakes. Whether it is the Beast being nasty to Belle, Ariel agreeing to give up her voice or Woody being jealous of Buzz – we all make mistakes. Realize them, apologize, sing a song or two and move on. You’ll be much more fulfilled in life.
6. Dance often and spontaneously. The parades and dancing never stop at Disney and even the least co-ordinated visitors find their feet tapping. Every time there’s a show a whole community is created through the arts. Everyone is equal and experiencing something together.
8. Lighten your plate. Disney has taken a strong stance on healthy eating over the past year with their Mickey Check icon on nutritious menu choices and they even have healthy downloadable recipes to try. And squirt the ketchup in a Mickey shape once in a while.
9. Be a kid. Go ahead – pose with a princess, try to win a stuffed toy and go to Cinderella’s Castle for brunch. It’s ok to have fun and recreate the innocence and playfulness of childhood.
10. Go all in. If you’re going to do it, give it everything you’ve got. As an actor playing a role I’d have the proper coins in my pocket even when the audience would never know. But going all in made me more authentic. This is what Disney does at every turn.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post though UrbanMommies has been invited to Disney Parks in the past. All of our opinions are our own.
I had a solid strategy. Focus. Spy-talk. Going dark on Twitter, Facebook and email. The camera could also wait. The Mission. Step 1: Get into the park, go straight along the Red Car Trolley route and bear left at Carthay Circle. Step 2: At the Radiator Springs sign announcing the new Cars Land at Disneyland Resort in Southern California, head straight to the back to get in line for the Radiator Springs Racers. The highly secretive ‘cast members’ (Disney employees) who experienced the new attractions a full week prior to the general public had glimmering eyes and sly grins when I asked about this particular ride. My plan would have been stellar had my first experience been in daylight. On this particular evening – the grand opening ceremony of the new California Adventure Park – I was so struck by the neon signs and ambiance that I froze in my tracks. There was Flo’s V8 Cafe! The Cozy Cone Motel! (which serves goodies and snacks exclusively in cones.) I may need to wax poetic. Wouldn’t that be a shocker. The hum of the neon. The tunes wafting from the band. The giggles of guests on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying Tires. This would be a good night.
And it was. But not nearly as good as the next day, when my two boys joined me in the park. Despite a string of temper tantrums by the 4 year-old (witnessed by Andy Garcia), the giggles he allowed escape during Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree were priceless. On this ride, you sit on a tractor and get spun around every which way as square dance music plays and Mater welcomes you to his yard. With a height minimum of only 32 inches, very young kids are able to experience the magic. We just lined up over and over again. You giggle as much in line watching others as you do on the ride.
Then there are Luigi’s Flying Tires. I must admit that I was a bit dubious at this. Air blows up through holes in the floor and lifts huge tires off the ground. Hovercraft Tires. The floating monoliths are controlled as the 2 riders lean side to side, front to back, allowing the tire to skim across the floor amidst bouncing beach balls. A jaunty Italian song plays and Luigi coaxes you to have a ball. So to speak. First thought? Do not wear a full skirt as you walk across the platform with air blowing upwards. I failed this first test. Second? Another ride where the minimum is 32 inches – Disney sure knows their demographic! And finally, Totally fun. We giggled as we bumped other tires, made caches of beach balls fly into the air and watched the faces of our fellow riders. Laughed so hard I cried. How very Italian of me. Not very spy-like though, as I was clearly wearing my heart on my sleeve.
The Radiator Springs Racers turned me back into the Bond Girl I am. (ok. Think I am.) 6 People in each car go for a leisurely ride through Ornament Valley, including a drive by the valley’s famous plunging waterfall, Radiator Falls. As you prepare for the big race, Luigi gives you whitewalls, Doc Hudson supplies some racing tips, and Mater tries to coax you into joining him for a cow-tipping escapade. Suddenly, you’re off, racing fast around high-banked turns and camelback straightaways, past spectacular red-rock formations. The entire ride spans a huge space through the towering Cadillac Range mountains. “Car aficionados will notice that the 6 mountain peaks resemble the tail fins of classic Cadillac models from 1957 to 1962.” Cool. One more thing. Best. Ride. Ever.
There are a few tips for when you go:
1. Check it out at night. The Neon is incredible.
2. Buy a pylon drink. You can later give it to the worst hockey player on your team.
3. Do the Radiator Springs Racers at least twice. make it your first stop and grab a Fastpass.
4. Get there early and study a map so you know the fastest beeline.
5. Watch the movies just before going. You’ll be floored (oh I love my car jokes) at the level of detail that will surround you.
6. Get a photo taken in front of the Radiator Springs sign. (You’ve got to do it). The Photopass photographers are amazing.
Tickets are $81-$87 per day, or $119-$125 for a park-hopper pass that allows you to walk across to Disneyland in the same day. Other options are available for multi-day passes. The Disneyland website is informative and allows you to select various packages.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was invited to experience the opening of the revamped California Adventure Park and as always, our opinions are our own.