Walt Disney World Vacation Planning DVD

So you decided to visit Disney World, you’ve read the guide books and maybe even contacted a Disney World vacation planning specialist (like Mike here on this blog, using a Disney planner doesn’t cost you anything and often will save you time and stress during your planning process; if you haven’t reserved your vacation details, you really should reach out to Mike). However, I think that in order to envision the whole vacation, the Walt Disney World vacation planning DVD is one of the best tools available to you. The DVD brings life to the ride descriptions in a way a guide book never could.

I have been to Disney World 17 times and yet I order a vacation planning DVD every year. I love seeing everything that’s new at Disney World since my last visit. It also helps excite me for the upcoming visit (and is a great way to show younger kids some of the things to expect to see and do on your next vacation).

The DVD is broken up by theme park but it also covers the hotels, water parks, restaurants and other recreational activities. The basic feel of the DVD is fairly consistent year to year but how the information is presented usually changes regularly. For example, recently there were 4 people on the DVD. There was a mother that addressed the best Disney experiences for families, there was the “thrill seeker” who covered the thrill rides at Disney World, there was the “calm and relaxed” guy who shows you have best to rest and relax on your vacation and there was the general tips woman (she was also the host of the DVD) who covered anything else.

The DVD comes with written information as well which is a valuable planning tool as you can refer back to it. As everyone is different, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of what you want to see and do at Disney World as you go through the vacation planning process. Even the best vacation planner will be able to better assist you if you have an idea of the type of things you wish to see and do during your trip. So, make sure you get your copy of the Disney World planning DVD and help planning!

Prayers for the Week – June 30, 2013

Camp Don Lee Official logo


Today I’m opening up this week’s Prayers for the Week post to all of you!  Please continue to add your prayer requests and praises to the comments section of this post so I can post them for next week, when we will be back in the swing of our Prayer request post.  For last week, we had these requests, please know that, while I didn’t comment on all of them, I was thinking of all of you that commented, and praying for you also, and will continue to do so.  I hope that this week has been a good one for all of us, today we take our daughter to her first sleep away camp for the week!

Prayer Requests…

  • My friend Stacey needs some prayers, please. Here is what she wrote:I need some prayers too, Mike. Please pray for my family. My uncle has been on life support for over a month and they have given up. Please help pray that they let him go home so he can be surrounded by his family and he can go peacefully. He is one of the best men I have ever met in my entire life!
  • Alecia has a prayer request and a praise!  Here is what she wrote:I love reading your posts, all of them. Mine is a prayer request and a praise. I have cancer and am going through chemo. I’ve been fighting since April of 2012. Please pray that God continues to give me the strength to get through each and every day.Now the praise. Thank you God for my life! Thank you for my cancer. I have gotten so much closer to my parents and family because of it. I also made a new friend through my trials. A pure and Godly woman. God, I don’t know what you have planned for me but I bet it’s awesome. Thank you for everything.
  • Another set of prayer requests comes to us from Linda.  Linda wrote that she didn’t think her requests were all that much, but Lord, it certainly sounds like they are for me.  We all know that God puts in our path only things that He knows we can handle.  Here is what Linda wrote:Prayers to you and your family. Praying for the first 2 replies as well.In comparison to the first two, my prayers seem to be less needy, but prayers are needed still. I am a single mother to a teenager and have been disabled due to a rare orphan disease that took about 5 years and 25 doctors to diagnose properly–CIDP. It is similar to MS but attacks the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems instead of the central nervous system. It leaves me with severe chronic nerve pain 24/7 all over my body. It also causes spasms of my muscles, pretty much all over my body 24/7 as well. I recently has a flare that caused more damage due to a bout of the flu. So, I am in morepain as a result too.

    Additionally, I have arthritis in my back, hips, knees, ankles–most joints on my lower body due to long term undiagnosed Lyme Disease. It took 8 yrs to find out that I had a probable positive test from one of those 25 doctors to re-test and find that I had a severe long term case which left many other issues that contribute to my disability and cannot be cured at this point, but only put into remission. I pray that the remission remains as it has for the last 2 yrs. We were afraid that it had re-activated during my recent CIDP flare as my arthritis has become more painful since the flare of CIDP. Thankfully, the tests came back negative!

    I have 2 surgical procedures on my spine in the upcoming month to help reduce the pain of both. I have had these surgeries many times before. But, I have a new doctor in the practice performing these surgeries as the doctor who typically performs them is unavailable. I pray for wisdom and steady hands for the doctor performing these surgeries as they are directly in my spine and have major risks is something were to go wrong.

    Additionally, I have been waiting for 3 weeks for my Dept of Social Services case worker to process my paper work for Medical Assistance. I qualify for Medical Assistance every 6 months based on showing proof that a large percentage–probably close to half of it–of my income is spent on medical expenses. Once they deduct my medical expenses from my income of SSDI and Child Support, I then qualify for Medical Assistance coverage. I need this to finally be processed. I need prayers that it gets done this week.

    Without approval of my Medical Assistance, I cannot have my Personal Care Aide who typically comes for 2 hrs M-F to help me shower safely, blow drys my hair for me, cooks for me and assists with light housekeeping. I paid for her out of my own income for 3 weeks figuring that I would get the money back once she was paid by Medical Assistance since once it is finally approved, it is approve back to the date it lapsed – May 1st. I cannot pay her any further. Also as a result of paying her for the 3 weeks, I cannot pay my rent for this July.

    Please keep me in your prayers that my pain will reduce and my surgeries will be safe and successful, that my Medical Assistance will finally be approved so i can get my aide back and some of my major medical bills will be covered too. Finally, that somehow, the funds will come to me that I can pay my rent for July.

    Blessings to all.


  • Lord, quite simply, the biggest praise I have is for You!  Thank you for all that you have given to me and my family, and thank you for allowing me to be of service to you!  May my life be used even more for you and your will, and less for mine.  Thank you Lord!

Five Ways to Ruin Your Disney Vacation


There are countless things you can do to make a Disney vacation magical. We could spend days writing about the fabulous memories that a Disney vacation can bring. Today, we are not going to focus our attention there, rather we are going to discuss five ways you can turn a magical Disney trip into a mess before you can say Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (Hoo)! So, listen up, read carefully and take note…..these tips are written from experience.

Five Ways to ruin your Disney vacation

  1. Go to Disney without a plan. Don’t make dinner reservations, don’t decide what parks you’ll visit, don’t do any research at all. This is the first way to ensure your trip will be a total mess. Without reservations for meals you might as well kiss any character dining experiences goodbye and you can be sure you’ll never step foot in the Castle! If you don’t decide what parks you’re going to visit on the days you’re there you’ll put yourself and your family at a deficit. Make plans. And, for heaven’s sake know how you’ll tour the park. Don’t stand around pointing aimlessly without a plan as to where you’ll go next. Know what type of rides and shows your family wants to focus on and what you are alright missing so that you don’t waste valuable time in the parks wondering what to do next. The parks are HUGE so don’t walk to and fro without a plan!
  2. Make regimented plans that you aren’t willing to change. I know, this seems counter to number one on the list, but stick with me. I am a planner. My family’s joke is that on our Disney trip our bathroom breaks are planned out. While that is a bit of an exaggeration, I have been known to be a bit of a control freak at Disney- well, maybe more than a bit. So, I speak from experience when I say…..let it go once in awhile. While I would NEVER venture to Disney without a plan, I’ve learned to allow myself and family the flexibility to take the magic in. Let the plan take a backseat to the magic…..sit on a bench and people watch…..listen to Merlin’s talk at the Sword in the Stone…..watch a street performer….browse a shop. Just soak it in. You’ll thank yourself and your family will thank you.
  3. Wear high heels, flip flops, or other unsupportive shoe choice. Go ahead, try it. I mean if you walk the desert barefoot at least 15 miles a day then you’ll probably be alright. But, If you are just the average folks going on a Disney trip….for the love of Goofy, wear good, supportive, comfortable shoes. Tennis shoes are a best bet. I often wonder as I see a person walking around in high heels at Disney just what the end of their day is like. Are they actually able to walk the next day? I just don’t get those shoe choices. Take my advice, the best way to ruin a Disney trip is to have feet full of blisters by the afternoon of day one!
  4. Don’t take naps or breaks. Oh sure, there are folks that can go all day in the parks without heading back to their resort for a break or nap. I actually used to be one of those folks. Forget it now. There is actually a time at Disney when you can see the Disney villains take hold of people….it’s around 2:00 every afternoon….you see children crying, parents yelling, heck, you even see some parents crying and children yelling. Let’s face it, there is such a thing as The Disney Wall and when you hit it you are rendered worthless, like Tinkerbell without Pixie Dust, like Dumbo without a feather, like Lightening McQueen without wheels. You need a break. Trust me, not taking a break or a nap will make even the most amazing trip a wreck. Just give in and rest. Swim. Nap. You’ll be better for it!
  5. When it begins to rain, give up and go back to the resort for the day. Just stop right in your tracks, turn around and stay at the hotel. You entire vacation is over when it rains. This is a wonderful way to ruin your vacation, because it rains virtually everyday in Florida! My advice is to gleefully watch all the folks who didn’t read this blog run for cover and leave the park while you get into the shorter lines and ride till your heart sings! My favorite times in Disney parks are during or after rain showers. Very few rides at Disney close because of rain or storms so just keep swimming, swimming, swimming! Don’t leave. Wait it out. This too shall pass, and then you’ll be happy you are still there because everyone else will be gone!

So, there you go. If you want to ruin your Disney vacation that you’ve saved 3 years for….go ahead, don’t plan, be rigid and not flexible, wear crummy shoes, stay till you drop, and run for the hills when it rains. Oh, you’ll thank me!

Here’s to the Magic!

Prayers for the Week – Praising God!

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Hello my friends, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week!  This week, my family and I are enjoying our vacation at Disneyland, so I don’t have a whole lot for you.  Instead, my friends, I’m lifting this post up to all of you — please comment here or on our Facebook page with all of the Praises that you have in your life, and give thanks to God for all of our Blessings! Try to remember that Praising God is a very important thing to do; so many times we give all of our concerns to God without remembering to thank Him for all of the Blessings that he has given to us.  As my Church sings in the Doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”  In fact, enjoy this rendition of the Doxology that I found on YouTube:

I know that, unfortunately, we all have as many problems as we have praises.  God wants to hear all of our concerns, as it is written in 1Peter 5:7:

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Write your concerns here, my friends.  I implore you to do so!  If you do, others will pray for you, I will pray for you, and God will hear us. In fact, it is my belief that just typing the words on your computer is, in itself, your prayer, and God hears that prayer also!

My friends, I do not pretend to know what this world has in store for us; I know that many of us suffer daily, and pray to God to free us from some of that suffering.  I do know, however, that God sent His Son Jesus to us to save us from ourselves, if we but ask Him to save us.  Have you asked Jesus into your life?  Have you confessed to Him that you are a sinner, that you see that you are, and that you need Him to forgive you so that you may be closer to Him?  If you do that, Scripture tells us that your sins will be forgiven as far as the east is from the west.  I am reminded of the wonderful words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as written by the Apostle John in John 16:33:

“I tell you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I would like to close, my friends, by sharing with you one of my favorite songs of all time, sung for us by one of my favorite musical groups — Celtic Woman.  This song, You Raise Me Up, may be performed by these musicians, but my friends, let me tell you, the words, the melody, and the beauty of this song is given to us by God Himself.  Listen to it for what it is — God reaching out to us, reminding us that He will take care of us, that He will raise us up when we are down, if we but ask Him for help.  That, my friends, is my closing prayer.  Please pray along with me:

Lord, please lift us up, for all of us in some way, some form, are struggling and falling short of Your Glory.  Lord, in times of struggle, give us the thoughts, the words, even, to call out to You for help, and allow us to give ourselves over fully to You so that You would take care of us.  Starting today, Lord, please instill new hearts in all of us, hearts that are fully dependent on You.  It is in the name of Your wonderful Son Jesus that we pray with Thanksgiving, today and everyday!  Amen!

Paradise Pier in Pictures


When we arrived at the Grand Californian Resort & Spa for our stay during our trip to Disneyland, I had no idea that we were going to get the view that we got! When our room was ready and we went to it, after looking at all of the incredible detailing in the room itself (look for a more detailed post about that later) we were amazed by the view of Paradise Pier from our balcony, which you can see in the picture above. In addition to that view, I thought you would like to see some other pictures I’ve taken from the balcony. These were all taken with my iPhone, so please forgive the quality. Thanks!




Thanks everyone for following along with us! I hope that you are all well, and that these posts get you excited about your own Disney vacations to come! When is your next trip to a Disney Park? Let me know in the comments, and thanks!