Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail – Your most Magical Disney Memories

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Red. Enjoy the ride as we share our most magical Disney memories!

Midnight, June, 2010 -- that was when we saw Mickey and Minnie riding Dumbo with two very special guests!

Midnight, June, 2010 — that was when we saw Mickey and Minnie riding Dumbo with two very special guests!

Disney Memories are such an integral part of our trip, if we didn’t get the memories, we wouldn’t go as often as we do!

The picture above is from one of my all time favorite memories — the extra magic hours that we celebrated back in 2010.  Here is how that night went.

We had never stayed out that late with Sophie before, so this was almost like a right of passage for her, and we had a great time. The highlights of the night were many, with the best being when we were able to get some great late night shots of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse riding with some park Guests on the Dumbo ride. Even though they weren’t riding with us, just seeing them make some children excited beyond their wildest dreams really made it a memory that all of us will treasure for years to come.

In addition to that awesome memory, there was really something tranquil about being in the parks past the witching hour. There had been rain during the day, so the ground was wet, but the rain had stopped by that time, and I think the bonus was that the crowds were lighter than they normally would have been. Sophie and Stephanie were inseparable, it was almost like Sophie had a big sister for the trip, even though there is 11 years between them, and as a result, Cindy and I were able to enjoy our own company, even as we walked with them. All of those reasons add up to one of my favorite Disney memories.

In addition to that memory, we had another Disney memory just a little over a year ago — one that happened in front of Cinderella Castle

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Red Map 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 ~ My Dreams of Disney
2nd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
3rd Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom
4th Stop ~ A World View
Final Stop ~ Growing Up Disney

Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail – Favorite Character Dining!

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Normally when we travel to Disney parks, we travel to Walt Disney World — so I was all set to write about my favorite character dining restaurants there.  But then, when I started thinking about it, I decided that I would write about the two character dining restaurants that we did at Disneyland.  Those were Ariel’s Grotto and Storyteller’s Cafe.

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Magical Blogorail – Disney Online Planning Resources!

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Today’s topic is about our online planning resources.  Other than our own sites or those of the Magical Blogorail Red line, what are some of our favorite social media or other online planning resources for planning our Disney vacations?

You know, it’s kind of funny to me, when I really sat down and started thinking about my online planning resources, it was kind of hard to come up with a concrete list.  I have a TON of Disney sites I read — including my teammates here on the Red line — but generally speaking, I’m reading their sites more for their trip reports, incredible pictures, and unique stories that they tell us than I am for planning tips.  In fact, and I’m sure that I’m being short-sighted in my trip planning — but I can probably narrow my online planning resources down to three sites — or less!

Online Planning Resources

Walt Disney World’s main website

I’ve been using the Walt Disney World website for several years now, really ever since we first started staying on Disney property way back in 2007.  This site, while it does have it’s technology hiccups — and being a TA and and IT guy, I know all about them — also has a wealth of information about so many things related to the Walt Disney World resort. Here are just a few of the things you can find there:

  1. Detailed information on the resorts, the parks, and the dining options.
  2. Incredible customized maps that you can have printed on special paper and mailed to your house — and they are free!
  3. The park schedules for knowing when they are open and when they close, and what time some of the shows are going on.
  4. The new My Disney Experience section — which, while it is still quite buggy and full of hiccups, will get better in time.

Touring Plans

I recently started using the Touring Plans website to create customized touring plans for my clients.  This is one of the free services that I provide for my clients.  It is a useful tool in helping you see as many attractions as possible while spending as little time as possible in lines.  As a site goes, it feels a little wonky to navigate, but it is stocked with many touring plans that you can customize for you and your family, and there are plans for all situations, all times of the year, and more, so I highly recommend you check them out if you are interested!

The MouseChat.net Podcast

There really aren’t a whole lot of podcasts that I listen too — but one that I really do listen to, in many cases just for the sheer entertainment I get out of it — is the MouseChat.net Podcast.  I listened to it before I started my endeavors as a travel agent, and I listen to it now as well.  The gang of Chris, Steve, Lisa, Lauren, and Bob never fail to make me smile and crack me up when I listen to them!

That about wraps it up for me — not that many things to research, right?  But somehow, we seem to be doing okay none-the-less!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Red Map 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 ~ Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom

Magical Blogorail Red – First Time Planning Tips!

MBRed Logo 2013 Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

When it comes to Disney planning, we have all been first time Disney trip people at one time in our lives.  I remember the first trip my wife, daughter, and I took to Walt Disney World and stayed on property, back in 2007.  We were originally going to stay at one of the Value resorts, probably one of the All-Star resorts, but we didn’t like the idea of sharing a bus stop with the other resorts, so we decided to do a moderate resort, Coronado Springs Resort, and had the best time.  So, with all of that being said, here are my top five first time planning tips!

Top Five First Time Planning Tips!

Number 1: Take plenty of notes from Disney websites you frequent.  When we were planning our trip back in 2007, we looked at the Disney website constantly for information.  We looked at all of the different resorts, decided quickly which ones were out of our budget range, and took notes on the pros and cons for the various ones.  In the end we chose Coronado Springs Resort because of the theming, the pool, and because it felt far enough away where we thought we would have our own space.

Number 2: Get plenty of input from everyone on what they are most looking forward to.  Unless it is a surprise trip, you will want to get input from everyone about what they want to do on your vacation.  It’s important to remember that it is everyone’s vacation, so while you may be the one doing all the planning, bring the others into the group as well so that you can make them excited for the trip as well!  If you have a lot of generations going on your trip, I have a special multi-generational trip planning post that I wrote that may help as well.

Number 3: Decide what restaurants you want to eat at, and decide if you want to invest in the Disney Dining Plan for your trip.  Part of the magic of Disney for us is the character interactions we can get with the special Disney characters.  A lot of the time we take advantage of making character dining reservations so we can enjoy our meal, meet our favorite characters, get their autographs, and not have to wait in lines to see them!  It’s the best of both worlds!

Number 4: Take time to stop and see everything!  Far too often people think of Disney World as a place for great rides and shows, and forget that there are thousands of other things to experience and enjoy at the parks.  Take time to stop, slow down, and experience the magic that is created just by being there.  Don’t be in such a rush to go from attraction to attraction to try and get as many thrill rides in as you can that you miss out on the wonderful moments that often last in your memory far longer than remembering your trip on Space Mountain.

Number 5: If you still find yourself stressed out, worried about your vacation and feeling like you are going to spend a lot of money and not get the vacation you want out of it — if you are at that point, feel free to reach out to an Authorized Disney Travel Planner for help.  The beauty of a travel planner is that we will do as much or as little for you as you need; even if it’s just to be there to calm you down.  If you need someone to help you with your planning, a Disney Travel Planner is the right way to go.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Red Map 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 ~ Growing Up Disney
2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
3rd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
4th Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom
Final Stop ~ A World View

Magical Blogorail Red – Favorite Disney Souvenir!

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail. Welcome aboard the Magical Blogorail Red line!  I am your pilot Mike, here to navigate you around the world of my favorite Disney souvenir!  As you can tell by the picture above, I am a huge fan of Pin Trading!  I first started trading pins in 2008, and it is a fun and enjoyable thing that I like to do during my Disney vacations!  My daughter likes to trade pins also, but unlike me, she is into it more for the enjoyment of trading, and less about collecting special pins.  That is what I enjoy about it.  Last year, for the 1st Anniversary of my blog, I gave away those two special pins in a  contest that also commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, but don’t worry — I bought two of them so that I could enjoy them as much as the person that won the contest!

Pin Trading is just a fun little hobby for me.  I don’t really do much with it outside of our vacations, but it’s nice to take a look at all of the different pins and select ones that you want to add to your collection.  Here are some of the pins I have on my lanyard right now.  Enjoy!

The world of Pin Trading is yours to explore.  It doesn’t take a whole lot to get started — you can purchase your own lanyards at places like the Dollar Tree or other dollar stores, and you can go online to eBay and buy pins for a significant reduction per pin versus what you would pay if you bought them at Disney.  After that, all you do is trade and look for the best pins to start your own collection!  It’s that simple!

Thank you for joining me today. Give it up for your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop: Disney Donna Kay!

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 ~ Colorado Mountain Mom

2nd Stop ~ A World View

3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney

4th Stop ~ My Dreams Of Disney

Final Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay