Tis’ the Season for Giving

Thanksgiving is over and the Holiday season is among us. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and giving takes precedence over selfishness for one brief moment in time. I believe Walt Disney lived his entire life putting himself last. In creating Walt Disney World, he gave us fans something to enjoy eternally. So it led me to think: what were the greatest things (or attractions) Walt Disney World has given us?

1. Firework Shows: Disney World has a knack for the extravagant, but these fireworks are beyond that. Every single night, Disney World is illuminated by the most intricate displays of lights. Each show has a purpose, each show tells a story. There’s a reason thousands are still at the party, with crying babies and tired parents. The reason is that for those 10-15 minutes that the fireworks are shown, everything is forgotten. If you haven’t seen a Disney firework show, you must in your lifetime. Magic Kingdom is not the only park that has a must-see show, check out Epcot’s Illuminations as well.

2. The Resorts: What began as a few high-class hotels turned into a plethora of top-of-the-line resorts that cover DIsney World. From the cheaper All-Star Sports, Movies and Music, to the luxurious Grand Floridian and Bay Lake Towers, Disney has a room to offer for any budget.

3. Six Parks: Disney began as the Magic Kingdom, but has since expanded to include three more theme parks and two water parks. There simply is no way that you can go wrong choosing a park at Disney, for each features a variety of different attractions. With six parks, one would think there would be enough magic to go around, but the great aspect of Disney culture is that it never stops building.Disney Souvenirs 3

4. Souvenirs: Yes, you will spend money at Disney World. This is one of the biggest givens that you can find, but what you are buying at Disney will remind you of the great times for years to come. There is nothing quite like capturing Disney is a snow globe, but any piece of the magic works. Every time you go to Disney, you will feel compelled to enter the gift shops and… well shop. I mean, just check out my collection if you want to know how many times I’ve been.

5. Memories: A Trip to Disney World is a trip of a lifetime, I always say. Whether you go as a couple or family, Disney World will prove to be a memory that lasts forever. There truly is some type of magic that exists within the confines of Disney, where the memories become a part of you. If you haven’t been, you may not understand. However, you’ll figure it out soon.

What are your thoughts? What are the best things that Disney has given you?


Disney will be home for Christmas

Christmas time is approaching us quickly and I, like any child, am giddy with excitement. I’m not alone, as blogger Chris Queen was in the Holiday mood when he wrote his installment about Christmas on the PJ Lifestyle blog. Queen gave us the top five Christmas traditions at Disney World, which I’ve heard is an even more wonderful place during the Holiday season. However, not everyone has the money or the time to head down the most magical place Earth during the most magical time of the year. How can you bring the Holiday spirit and Disney spirit at home? Gifts, of course.

Here’s my top five Disney-themed gifts for this Holiday season:

1. Tickets to Disney Pixar’s newest creation, Frozen: $10-15. From what I hear, Frozen will line up with the Pixar greats, like Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Starring Kristen Bell, Frozen tells the story two sisters in the kingdom of Arendelle, but one has the power to turn anything into ice. After a few events find her by herself, she must journey through a winter wonderland to find her way. I can’t give anything away, but it seems like a Holiday classic for years to come. The movies comes out November 27.

2. Monster’s University on DVD: $15-25. The prequel to Disney’s Monster’s Inc. has gotten rave reviews. In fact, Rotten Tomatoes even gave it at very high rating. If you know anything about Rotten Tomatoes, a rating that high has to mean something. Monster’s University is already out on DVD, so you can pick it up as soon as your shopping self desires.

3. Disney Infinity Video Game: $59.99. I’m not the one for advocating for video games, but this is a definite exception. This game features each Disney character, even some non-Pixar ones, going through adventures en route to the final goal: having fun. Game informer even gave it a 9 out of 10 rating, so I’d trust them.

4. Disney Parks Christmas Train Set: $129.95. Every Christmas village needs a train set, so if you are in the market for one, this would most likely make your children scream and jump around. Although it is expensive, anything from Disney has the potential to be extremely authentic. This gift mixes both Christmas and Disney, and isn’t that what we’re shooting for here?

5. A trip to Disney World: A lot. Well, I had to do it. If you’ve ever scoured YouTube in search of children’s reactions to getting a trip to Disney, you know why this makes the list. There is no gift better than a few days in Disney World, I would still have a fit if I got this for Christmas, so I can only imagine how amazing it would be for a child. If you want to make your son or daughter’s Christmas, send them to Disney World. They’ll act like this:

Disney Parenting 101

Disney Matt here, and I have some news for you:

The Huffington Post, known for its ability to break news ahead of media powers like the New York Times or Washington Post, gave me something a little less hard-hitting. I was surprised when the Huffington Post presented to me a few excerpts from a Disney employee Reddit page. I had a few good laughs with the stories that were told, children being children, and then some that left me flabbergasted that the stupidity of visitors. Regardless, after the reactions were finished, I came up with the next idea for this week.

Does Disney ever tell visitors how to act when enjoying their park experience? If there is some sort of civility code for Disney World visitors, I have not found it. I guess it just makes sense for me to present one to you, so that your story does not make it onto a Disney employee Reddit page. No one wants that fate.

Firstly, before you even make it to the park, make sure you have been properly fed and rested. Hungry kids, or parents for that matter, make quite grumpy guests to the Disney parks. Eat some hotel-provided breakfast or simply bring bagels, pop tarts, etc. with you to the park. I’ve never had kids, but I know what one sounds like when it is hungry. It goes something like this: “waaaaaaaaaah!” I, nor any Disney cast member, wants to here your child shriek. Feed your children and yourselves, please.

While you’re still packing up, make sure you bring proper fluids. If you are traveling over the summer, which I do every year, you know that it will be hot and humid throughout the day. Bring water so that you do not have to spend 10 dollars on it inside the parks. Also, thirst is a lot like hunger when it comes to whining. Don’t make me quote crying babies again, please just bring some water.

If you have children under the age of five or so, you should invest in a stroller. A day at the Magic Kingdom will give you energy, but not enough to sustain a whole day of walking. Small children will have trouble keeping up, and as much as you say you love giving piggy-back rides, I have a strange suspicion that it’s not something you want to do all day. With a stroller, you can move faster and more efficiently throughout. The good news is that Disney rents strollers out to you, so you are free to leave the contraptions at home.

Now, to the actual park etiquette. Don’t lose your children. This may sound like a given, but your children will be darting off in many directions, so you must keep an eye out for them. Disney casts member can only do so much in helping find your child, so you need to be aware at all times.

The woman on the left is forever cemented into the Disney Matt family photo.

The woman on the left is forever cemented into the Disney Matt family photo.

Yes, there are picture-taking opportunities everywhere, but don’t act like you are the only family taking pictures. Don’t walk through another family’s picture, because that moment is one they will remember forever. You don’t want to be remembered as the mom who walked through their picture. When you take pictures, as much as you want to cherish the moment, try to use the in-and-out philosophy. If you take to long posing and yelling at your children to smile, you’ll create a logjam of visitors that may create problems spanning hundred of feet.

Lastly, on a hot day like many in Florida, make sure you use the A/C to your advantage. Your kids will whine and cry if hot, and none of us want to hear that. I get hot walking around all day, but what keeps me going are the indoor rides. Each indoor ride at Disney has air conditioning, so ride as many as you can to keep your body temperature down. Hot children and sad children, and sad children make sad parents.

These are just a few of the many cautions parents should follow at Disney World. I could write an entire novel on the subject, but I simply do not have the time. However, I want to know what you think. What other tips do you have for first time parent visitors?

Breaking News: Disney Matt takes over

Disney Matt here, and I have some news for you:

Forbes Magazine is known for their powerful knowledge in the field of business. With that said, it seems like Forbes would be the last news outlet to take on Disney World. Yet, Forbes used Disney in a Nov. 7 article, but it actually had nothing to do with Disney. The article, through many policies and numbers, brought to life the possibility that Barack Obama and the U.S. Government could own Disney. Now, this is extremely unlikely to ever happen, but Forbes went through hypothetical situation. It got me thinking, if a news outlet like Forbes could make up hypothetical situations about owning Disney, I surely could.

Let’s change the plot a little bit; I’m going to take over Disney World in this hypothetical situation.

As Disney World’s owner, I would first jack down the prices of admission, so that more people could make the trip. Disney’s Magic Kingdom offers a single-day ticket for a hefty sum $95, so 21-year-olds like myself would have to work a whole day or two simply to gain admission. Not to mention, the prices for food added onto the ticket. In this hypothetical situation, I would raise the prices of food and beverages at the park, so that visitors can bring their own, healthier meals. The prices for food would be so outrageous that families would have to carry with them some very handy fruits and vegetables. I’m only looking out for your health, people.

Next, I would establish more fan interaction the many Disney shows. Everyone loves watching Mickey and the gang dance around, but we would love it so much more if we were involved. I’m sure if Disney can choreogrpah those numbers, they can add a personal touch to it. Dreams can come true at Disney, and I would make even more with this idea.

Just imagine, Pluto waves to you and asks you how you're doing. Wouldn't it be just great?

Just imagine, Pluto waves to you and asks you how you’re doing. Wouldn’t it be just great?

Next, I would install voice boxes in each of the Disney characters, so that children could have the dream of speaking with a Disney mascot come true. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about at Disney? Children could have full-length conversations with Goofy, Pluto and Donald, something I know I would have loved to do. Heck, I’d do it now if I could.

If I ran Disney World, I would bring the Disney characters to the various resorts. If children only get one chance to see the Disney princes or princesses at the park, they may lose out on the opportunity. If families did not have to worry about the time constraints binding them at the parks, the encounter with a character may be that much more magical. A visit from Cinderella at Disney’s Polynesian Resort could be more intimate and enjoyable for Lilly (my future daughter’s name) on her first trip to Disney World.

Lastly, I’d used the name to make this world the best it can possibly be. This means countless charitable events and projects that directed the efforts and proceeds to organizations that give back. I am aware Disney has launched a new charitable giving initiative, but I would intend to take it further. Disney is one of the most powerful companies in the world, so I believe more can be done. This is not a shot at Disney World, though, rather an idea to raise expectations higher. With Disney acting charitably, our world can only take steps forwards.

Well, there’s a reason I don’t head Disney: I’d have no clue what to do. Good thing George Kalogridis has that task, for I would be overwhelmed. However, maybe you’d like to take a shot.

What would you do with Disney World?

If you can’t get enough of Disney, live there.

Disney Matt here, and I have some news for you:

I was scanning the internet for all things Disney this week and I came across some very cool things. However, none could top the Wall Street Journal report on October 30 that gave me the idea that, if I ever get rich, I could own a piece of Disney World. Yes, Disney fans, you heard me correctly: DIsney is now offering homeowners a chance to buy real estate in Disney World’s new community, Golden Oaks. Even the name sounds like it would be a utopia of all things Disney. The houses were gigantic and the Disney-themed home decor was simply amazing. The report also went into detail about some residents could see the famous Magic Kingdom Fireworks from their homes.


Magic Kingdom’s holds daily firework shows, like the one you see above. The colors and sound can be heard and seen for miles.

This news comes as a surprise to many Disney fans, knowing that the Disney Corp. has been known to close Disney World from the rest of the “real world.” Heck, you can’t even see the parks, hotels, etc., from the highway. I wonder if this decision will open the door to other communities or activities that would involve the “outside world.” Disney has been secretive about its plans for over 30 years, but this decision may ring in a new era of Disney. What other secrets could it be hiding?

Here’s what I hope Disney shares with us:

1. There is a seventh park in the works based on each Pixar Movie.

2. It will introduce Princess Generation 2 (like Pokemon) to separate the originals from the new princesses.

3. It will actually build a Monsters University for children living in Golden Oaks.

4. It introduces a new Steamboat Willie Ride, similar to It’s a Small World, but chronicling the history of the character Mickey.

5. Disney will build its own airport, so that visitors do not have to take a shuttle from Orlando’s airport (no offense Orlando).

Chances are that I am completely wrong on all accounts. However, it would be lovely to know what the colossal has up its proverbial sleeve. I guess I’ll just have to sit back and wait, like I have for the past 21 years. It hasn’t disappointed me yet, so why try anything different?

As my good friend Mickey put it: “Don’t stress over anything you can’t change.”