Why I started My Dreams of Disney

Welcome to those of you joining me from Makin’ Memories.  I am the 5th stop on our Magical Blogorail!

This past June, my wife Cindy, my daughter Sophie, and I took a trip to Port Orleans French Quarter for our annual trip to Disney World.  This time, though, we were able to bring my niece Stephanie with us.  Sophie knew we were going to Disney, but she had no idea that her cousin was coming with her, and when Steph showed up on our doorstep, Sophie was floored!

Our trip was one that we had been hoping to have for a long time.  Sophie and Stephanie were inseparable, it was like Sophie had a big sister for the week we were there.  Some incredible memories were made, and while I took a lot of pictures (712 to be exact), I felt like the memories would fade over time, despite the pictures.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided that it was time to take my passion for Walt Disney World, combine it with my love for writing and technology, and start a blog.  After I had decided on that, the next question became, what should I call it?  After a little bit of thought, and a few other names, I decided on My Dreams of Disney.

Since I have been to Disney quite a few times over the years, the first project I decided to tackle was to pull up the memories of the previous trips to Disney I had made throughout the years.  The progression of the blog was such that it became my online repository of memories; in writing each post I was taken back to the sites, smells, and emotions of each of the trips we have made to Disney.

As I have finished all of the early memories I have of Disney World, I have expanded the blog to include my reviews of each of the lands of the Magic Kingdom, each of the countries of the World Showcase, and different thoughts and ideas that we have talked about at home.  For a lot of people, writing is a job, something they do because they have to; for me, and I expect, for all of us on the Magical Blogorail, writing about Disney is something we do because we all have a love and appreciation for the things that Disney has done to enhance our lives.

Now that I feel comfortable writing my blog, I have been blessed to be included in some really great Disney sites.  I was added to the writers listing for Chip & Company right around Thanksgiving, and let me tell you, the other writers for Chip & Company are really nice and readily available for advise or suggestions.  Couple that with this new challenge of writing for the Magical Blogorail Red, and I have been blessed, indeed.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about why I started my blog.  If you have enjoyed it, and want to see more, I invite you to take a look at my Facebook fan page!  If you “Like” my page by February 20th, you will be entered into a contest to win a Disney Tote Bag!  Thanks for reading!

Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Magical Days with the Mouse.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ WDW Backstage
3rd Stop ~ Makin’ Memories
Final Stop  ~ Magical Days with the Mouse

Mickey is a Disney fan, and loves taking his family to Disney!  When he isn’t writing on his own blog, you can also read his exploits over at Chip & Company, and now on the Magical Blogorail Red loop!  In addition to the Red loop, there is also the Blue loop, the Green loop, and soon the Yellow loop!
You can also follow Mickey and the blog on Facebook and on Twitter.

This post is being featured on the new Magical Blogorail Series, “The Magical Blogorail Rides Again!” Click on the image to see all of the great entries, and thanks for stopping by!

Focused on the Magic

 

Thanks for the memories – Saying Goodbye to Mickey’s Toontown Fair

As everyone knows, tomorrow is the date that Mickey’s Toontown Fair will be closed to the public, a casualty to the expansion of Fantasyland (although on the Disney World website it says that it is closed as of February 12th).  Gone will be Mickey’s Country House, and Minnie’s Country House; gone will be the Judging Tent; gone will be Donald’s boat, the S.S. Miss Daisy.

While I am excited for the possibilities of what the Fantasyland expansion will bring, still, it saddens me to know that some of the best memories that Sophie had, especially in the early trips, will be just that — memories.

We are traveling to Disney World in June with my brother-in-law, his wife, their six year-old daughter, and his Mother-in-Law, and unfortunately, Anna Jane will not be able to see those things that brought such joy to Sophie when she was that age.  Has Sophie grown up?  Certainly she has.  Does Mickey’s Toontown Fair still hold a prominent place for her when we visit?  No, Sophie doesn’t need to visit the Fair like she used to.  But that’s not the point for me.  What saddens me is that Anna Jane won’t get the opportunity to experience those same things that Sophie did.  She won’t get to jump up and down because she is so excited to see Donald Duck, like Sophie did in this picture.

Sophie started jumping up and down, and that led Donald Duck to start jumping up and down also!

She won’t get to go to the Judges tent to see her favorite characters.

She won’t get to tour Mickey and Minnie’s houses, and press the play button on the answering machine, or try out the microwave, or hear the pots and pans rattle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what will happen with Mickey’s Country House, and Minnie’s Country House.  Those structures are so big, I just can’t see Disney just getting rid of them.  I am hopeful that a rumor, anything, will crop up that they are going to move them somewhere else, and until I hear that they are officially gone and will never be seen again, I’ll hold onto that hope.  For now, though, here are my best pictures of the houses.  I hope you enjoy them.

Mickey’s Country House

 

Minnie’s Country House

Whatever the future holds in store for the Magic Kingdom, one thing I know is that Mickey’s Toontown Fair, while gone, will not be forgotten.  Thanks for the incredible memories!

Reclaiming my nickname: Say hello to Mickey!

Remembering the past, I’m working on “Earning My Ears”

When I was a kid, my parents gave me the nickname “Mickey”.  I never understood why they did this.  Perhaps it was because my Dad was such a fan of Mickey Mantle when he was a kid.  Or perhaps they liked the work of Mickey Rooney.  I don’t know.  Maybe it was because my Mom liked Mickey Mouse?  Who knows?  But here is what I do know.  When I was a kid, I hated the nickname!  I thought it was a case of dumbing down a perfectly good name, Michael — or Mike for short, and calling me Mickey was just not something I really liked.  But, being a kid, I endured it, even when other kids in school would sing the Mickey Mouse song to me.

When I was ten, my Grandma and Grandpa took my Mom, sister, and myself (my Dad was home working) to Disney World.  It was my first trip to Disney, and as excited as I was with the trip, somehow it still didn’t sink in that I was in the home of the Mouse.

Even as I continued my visits to Disney, ironically, I became a teenager, and surprisingly my Grandparents were finally able to start calling me by the name I wished to be called: Mike.  Finally, even my Mom and Dad were able to change their thoughts and started calling me Mike.  My “lifelong” (funny that I say that as I was only about 15 years old when this happened) ambition to be known as Mike, and not Mickey, was realized.

In the year 2000, I met a wonderful person, the woman who would later be my wife, Cindy.  She is everything to me; my heart, my soul, my best friend, the person I can and do tell everything to.  In July of 2000, the month before we got married, we spent two days at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  It was Cindy’s first visit to Disney World, and we had a great time.  Funny, but while she called me “Mikey” (side note: my nephew Brett, when he was a baby, called me Mikey, and it stuck.  Funny I didn’t mind that for some reason), still I didn’t think about Mickey, and she didn’t call me Mickey very much.  Usually just when she was teasing me.

The following year, 2001, was when we had Sophie.  At that point our Disney hiatus began.  Although I wouldn’t realize it right then, looking back, it occurs to me that the softening of my dislike of the nickname started to soften around the time that Cindy and then Sophie came into my life.  I can’t really pinpoint when I was okay with the nickname; it hasn’t been all that long ago, but recently, I realized that there are certainly worse names that I could be called.

I started My Dreams of Disney on September 8th, 2010, and since then I have gone from having very few readers (mainly just myself), to having some of the Moms Panel read my blog, then branching out to other blogs, and finally, to becoming a writer for the Chip & Company site!

After forty-two years, many Disney trips, and meeting some really incredible Disney fans, I have come to the following conclusion:  Being called Mickey isn’t a put-down, it isn’t a way of turning a man into a kid or a way of keeping a kid from becoming a man.  Being called Mickey is an honor.

You can call me Mickey

 

My favorite Disney World Roller Coasters

As a roller coaster fan, I’ll admit that I grew up a self-proclaimed roller coaster CHICKEN!  In fact, it wasn’t until I went to a theme park in Virginia that I became a fan.  But that’s another story for another time.
Over the years, I have become a huge fan of the roller coaster genre, and Walt Disney World, in my opinion, has some of the best roller coasters on the planet.  A lot of my friends will disagree with me, saying that this roller coaster, or that roller coaster is better, but to me, there is a whole lot more than how many loops a roller coaster can do, or how far the drop is.  To me, what sets the roller coasters at Walt Disney World apart from all of the others is the theming that the Disney Imagineers put into planning the attraction.  I believe that Disney spends more time on the theme of an attraction than any other “theme” park in the world, and it is the theme of their lands, attractions, shows, and other things that really sets the parks apart from all of the others.  Now, after all of that build-up, I am going to give you my rankings for my favorite roller coaster rides at Walt Disney World.

6)  The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm

I know what you are thinking.  I am absolutely insane by including The Barnstormer in my listing of my favorite coasters.  I have now lost the two readers that come to Chip & Company to read my material.  I can’t be serious.
However, my friends, I am serious.  The Barnstormer was the very first roller coaster that my daughter Sophie ever rode, and the moment she got on that coaster, she was addicted.  There is not a single roller coaster that my daughter will NOT ride.  My wife and I enjoyed it too!  It was a quick ride, certainly, but when we went that first year, the park wasn’t very busy, and Sophie wanted to ride it again, and again, and again, and again, so we ended up riding that thing probably eight times in a row.  You know why we did?  Because there was no line.  We walked off, turned around, and walked right back on.  It was fun.  It was quick.  It provided excitement for us.  It was great.
Today, we don’t ride The Barnstormer as much, simply because Sophie has moved on to many other fun and challenging rides, but I have a soft spot in my heart for those days when Sophie was excited beyond compare by the simple joys of that roller coaster.  With the closing of Mickey’s Toontown Fair, I’m not certain what the future holds for The Barnstormer.  I hope it stays to be enjoyed for generations to come.

5) Primeval Whirl

When we first wanted to ride Primeval Whirl, it continually amazed us that you had to be 48” tall in order to ride this roller coaster.  For the first two years, Sophie wasn’t tall enough to ride it, but in year three, she was.  The Whirl is not your typical roller coaster, in fact, I’m not sure if it should be classified as a roller coaster at all.  But for our discussion, that’s what I’m calling it.
The Whirl is a fun ride because it takes you fast through some turns, dips, climbs, all sorts of things that spin you around and almost make it seem like you are going to fall right off the edge of the structure.  In fact, in some ways Primeval Whirl may have more thrills than some of the other coasters because it is a completely different experience.  The circular car really makes a difference, especially when it is turning you around this way and that as you make one of the 90 degree turns on the track.
The Primeval Whirl is located in Animal Kingdom at DinoLand U.S.A.

4)  Space Mountain

Space Mountain is a ride that I enjoy, but I haven’t ridden it for a few years.  The first time I rode it I kept trying to anticipate which way the coaster was going to turn, and since night vision isn’t my thing, I was anticipating completely wrong!  By the end of the ride I had a headache from the jarring.  However, I did ride Space Mountain again after that, and when I decided that the key was to just go with the flow, I really enjoyed the ride.
Sophie isn’t a big fan of it because it is in the dark, but she has told us that she is going to try it again when we go in June.  However, while the appeal to Space Mountain is that it is in the dark, I feel like it takes away something from the ride.  We haven’t ridden it since it was renovated, so I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the ride.  Space Mountain is the signature attraction in Tomorrowland, located in the Magic Kingdom.

3) Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is one of those rides that I, for whatever reason, never seemed to ride – until this past June.  Then we all rode it, and I liked it!  For me the most gut-wrenching part (I say that literally) was when we rode backwards down the track.  I did feel like the speed of the coaster was a little slower than I would have liked.  But I liked the coaster, and will ride it again.  Last time I was in the very back of the train, so this year I’ll see what it’s like at a different location!
For me, I really like the mountain.  Additionally, the Disney Imagineers have done a great job in theming this attraction.  In so many ways, the theming of an attraction also helps to make the wait in line seem shorter because you can look around and see all the little details of the ride.
Expedition Everest is located in Animal Kingdom, not far from the Kali River Rapids.

2) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

I absolutely LOVE Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  It is one of my favorite roller coasters anywhere, not just at Disney World.  There is so much to experience with BTMR that it is easy to ride it over and over again just to pick out the things you missed before.
Have you ever ridden it at night?  If you haven’t you absolutely must experience that at least once.  It introduces a totally different dynamic into the ride.
Have you seen the dancers dancing above the saloon?  If you haven’t, look for it.  BTMR is one of those attractions that delivers – over and over again!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom.

1) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

I wonder where I have been all my life – six years in a row we have gone to Disney for at least one day, and in the previous five years, I never rode the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  How stupid have I been?!
Last June I made the distinct decision that I was going to ride this roller coaster, and when we were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios we did just that.  We had a Fastpass for it, so we walked right on.  In fact, we walked in the queue so quickly that I didn’t even pay attention to the limo leaving with the previous group of riders.  You know what?  That was better, because I had NO IDEA how quickly that limo was going to take off!
The initial start is from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, immediately propelled into the dark with the music of Aerosmith blasting in your ears!  The ride contains a corkscrew, a loop-de-loop, and several high speed turns, all with the music playing.  The ride is in the dark, but there are several neon signs to look at, so it really is cool!  The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster immediately became my favorite roller coaster anywhere, not just at Disney World!

But tell me, what are your favorite roller coasters at Walt Disney World?  How do they compare in your eyes with roller coasters at other theme parks?  Tell me in the comments below, and thanks!