Magical Blogorail

Sophie’s Magical Character Moments

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing some of the best Disney character interactions at the parks and on Disney Cruise Line.

Our daughter Sophie shares a secret with Princess Jasmine!

Our daughter Sophie shares a secret with Princess Jasmine!

For me, character interactions are the cream of the crop in Disney Magic for our family.  So many emotions can touch the heart strings when your Princess interacts with one of the Disney Princesses or other characters, and for me, we have been fortunate over the years to witness many such occasions.  Today, I’m going to share three stories with you involving my Princess, Sophie.  I hope you enjoy!

Sophie and Princess Jasmine

The picture above of Sophie and Princess Jasmine was taken in 2008, in the Morocco Pavilion over at Epcot’s World Showcase.  Normally, we don’t often venture all that deeply into Morocco because it’s primarily a shopping bazaar, but for some reason, on that day, we decided to explore the pavilion in greater detail.  Near the back of the pavilion, we rounded a bend in the walkway, and came upon Princess Jasmine and the Genie all ready to great Guests, but with no one stopping by to visit!  They were literally standing by themselves. Needless to say, we approached, and Sophie was able to visit with Princess Jasmine for what felt like 10 minutes.  During the course of that visit, I was able to capture this Magical Moment.  We found out later that Sophie was whispering to Princess Jasmine that she was going to get a Princess Jasmine costume just like the one she wears as her trip souvenir — and that’s exactly what she did!  It was the only thing she wanted that whole trip, and she wore that costume for days it seemed like!  What you don’t see here is the Genie doing everything in his power to grab Sophie’s attention to him — but on this day, she only had eyes for Princess Jasmine!

Sophie was so excited to see Donald Duck she started dancing!

Sophie was so excited to see Donald Duck she started dancing!

Sophie and Donald Duck

In 2007, we took a trip to Walt Disney World just prior to school starting back up.  In those days, Sophie was a huge Donald Duck fan, so much so that on that trip, we must have visited with Donald in different venues half a dozen times.  During this visit, though, we were over at the Magic Kingdom, back in the old Toontown Fair land, and Sophie wanted to visit with the characters.  So we waited in line, got our chance, and as we were visiting, Sophie got so excited that she started dancing and bouncing up and down to see Donald.  Well, don’t you know that Donald Duck had to do that too, so before we knew it, they were both bouncing up and down together.  It was a great moment, one that we will never forget!

Sophie and Cinderella and the Cast Member

This last story doesn’t have a picture associated with it, and truth be told, it didn’t result in a meeting with a character either.  It took place during the Year of a Million Dreams, when we were stopping at the Main Street Bakery one morning.  As we were finishing up our breakfast, a Cast Member stopped by and started talking with Sophie.  During the course of their conversation, the question arose as to who Sophie’s favorite character was.  Sophie answered, “Cinderella!”  At that moment, the Cast Member presented Sophie with a huge chocolate chip cookie, almost like one of those birthday cookies you get decorated, and told Sophie that Cinderella knew that Sophie was at the Main Street Bakery, and asked the Cast Member to give her this cookie from her.  To my daughter and her six year old mind, it was a cherished memory that she remembers to this day, usually when we are enjoying a good chocolate chip cookie!

Sophie is now 14, and actually started high school yesterday, so she is growing up before our very eyes every day.  It’s the memories of moments like these that help my wife and I as we see our daughter becoming the incredible young woman that she is today.  Thank you for sharing in our Magical Moments from over the years!

For more great Disney character interactions,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Best Character Interactions Loop:

Five Tips for a Great Disney Vacation

Is there anything more fun than seeing the WDW Entrance sign when you arrive at Disney?

You’ve been planning and planning, and now you are here.  Here’s five tips to have a great Disney Vacation!

{Editor’s Note: This post originally ran on my friend Kristen’s site Tips for the Disney Divas and Devos on March 24, 2014.  You can read the original post on their site too!}

Congratulations!  You have made it!  You are here!  Walt Disney World.  After all that time, all that planning, all the excitement of hearing “is it time to go to Disney yet?”, you are finally at Disney World.  But, how do you ensure that you have a great trip and make your Disney vacation as memorable as you want it to be?  Here’s five tips to remember to help you make the most out of your vacation!

Tip #1: Go with the flow

Far too often, people think that they need to see everything and do everything on this trip or it won’t be a success.  My response to them is this:  If you insist on seeing and doing everything, you’ll stress yourself out unnecessarily, and you won’t have nearly as much fun as you would have otherwise.  My tip:  go with the flow.  Don’t go all Disney commando; slow down, enjoy the scenes, the sights, and the experience of just being in Walt Disney World — you’ll have just as much fun and so will your family!

Tip #2: Schedule some Dining Reservations for Character Dining

When you are traveling with your kids (and sometimes even without your kids) to Walt Disney World, one thing that they always seem to want is to get autographs and pictures with their favorite characters.  Fortunately, Disney has several Character Dining restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal and get photos and autographs with your favorite characters!  This is such a win-win for me; you don’t have to stand in line to see them, they come to your table for photos and autographs, and you and your family also get to recharge for the rest of you day too!

Tip #3: Take a lot of Photos

I know that this is a no brainer for many of you, but you can never take too many photos of your vacation in my opinion, especially if you have a digital camera.  So many of my favorite memories have been cemented in photos that I took of the event that all I need to do is look at them and I’m right back to that moment in time.

Sophie and Princess Jasmine at the Morocco Pavilion

Sophie and Princess Jasmine at the Morocco Pavilion

Tip #4: Stop to smell the roses

The road less traveled — at Disney, that can be hard to find, but if you slow down and look at things instead of just moving past them at light speed, you’ll have a more relaxing trip, a better vacation, and you might just find that those memories from the slower time might just be the memories that you cherish the most.  I know that this ties in with tip number 1, but it’s that important to me.

Tip #5: Experience more than just the parks — check out some resorts

During our last trip to Disney World, we took some time and went and explored Saratoga Springs and Old Key West resorts.  That was so much fun, it was a relaxing time, we got to see a lot of the things there that we had never seen before, and it was a great time spent looking at possibilities for future trips.

Thank you for joining us today!  What are some of your great tips for making your trip a great Disney vacation?  Let us know in the comments, and thanks!

45 Years

Disney Magic — It’s Why We Go to Disney!

Disney Magic

Walt Disney World features thrills, rides, shows, and something known as Disney Magic!

You know, every so often I get asked, “Why do you always go to Walt Disney World?  Why don’t you go to other places on vacation?”

Well, as you can see in the title, there’s one simple answer — Disney Magic.  While those two words don’t necessarily mean anything to anyone who hasn’t been, or who didn’t get it, some of the stories that I’m sharing with you will hopefully give you an insight into what Disney Magic is all about.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy.


Disney Magic

Image ©Jennifer

My friend Jennifer shared a story about her daughter and Merida, and how they interacted, and how Merida turned a tearful little girl into her normally bubbly self, and in doing so, showed what the famed Disney Magic is all about:

Let me tell you about my friend Merida. You know my daughter (name omitted by editor)…sometimes you cannot even tell she has aspergers, and then sometimes, like today, things get tricky. She gets something set in her mind and it must happen. Today, she wanted to finish coloring her picture for Merida because she LOVES her. Her turn came to meet her so soon, though, and she couldn’t finish the picture. Tears. Meltdown. And usually that means the end of the day for us. But Merida saw this and took my daughter to the side so they could finish the picture together, like friends. And she wiped her tears and pushed her wild hair off her face (Merida knows about wild hair) and listened to her. That Merida. She’s so beautiful, inside and out.

What Merida did for her little daughter, in my opinion, is truly what Walt had in mind for Guests of his parks.  He wanted anyone — and I mean anyone — to be able to come to Disneyland (or, in our case, Walt Disney World) and to be able to put aside, to forget, if you will, what their problems are, what their aches and pains and maladies might be, and in doing so, to remember what it is like to be a kid.  Jennifer’s story touched my heart because my daughter suffers similarly to her daughter, and there are times when she has trouble like Jennifer’s daughter does.  So when I read a story like her story, I shed a tear, and I give God thanks for people like Walt Disney, who opened his heart and shared his imagination, his skill, his creative genius, and his heart with all of us.

Donald Duck

Disney Magic

2007: Sophie (age 6) and Donald Duck dancing with excitement!

The year was 2007 — it was the first trip we took where we stayed on property.  Sophie was 6 years old, and was absolutely in love with Donald Duck.  We must have a 100 pictures of Sophie and Donald Duck in various outfits from that trip.  This particular picture was taken in Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and Sophie was so excited to see Donald Duck that she literally started bouncing with anticipation!  That started Donald Duck bouncing, and the end result is a whole set of dance moves that they did together!  I wish I was better at joining them all together, I’d post it for you.

Princess Jasmine

Disney Magic

Sophie was sharing secrets with Princess Jasmine in 2008!

We were at Epcot in the World Showcase.  For some reason we decided to explore the Morocco Pavilion even though we almost never stop to look.  We were at the back of the pavilion, and came around a corner, and there she was — Princess Jasmine and the Genie — with no one in line to see them!  It was pure Disney Magic.  Sophie was able to spend probably 5 or 10 minutes (it felt like an eternity to me) visiting with Princess Jasmine, and the Genie — he was doing everything in his power to get Sophie to acknowledge him, but she would have none of it.  Out of that time, this picture emerged, still a favorite after all of these years.

Goofy being Goofy

Disney Magic

Sophie and Goofy checking out pigtails and ears!

This picture, which takes us back again to 2007, was taken at Restaurantasaurus.  At that time, the restaurant was a character dining restaurant, not a counter service location like it is now.  We had a reservation for breakfast, and during that time, when Goofy came to visit us, Sophie took Goofy’s cue of pulling his ears out and did the same thing with her pigtails!

Stephanie and Shane

Disney Magic

Shane proposes to Stephanie in front of “her” Castle.

Of course, no exploration of Disney Magic would be complete without sharing once again the story of Shane and his bride Stephanie.  As Shane wrote in his own words, his dreams came true in 2012 in front of Cinderella Castle when he proposed to his wife Stephanie.  We all were in tears, and the Disney Magic was so thick you could slice it with a knife.

Walt’s dream when he created Disneyland was to be able to create a space where parents and children could go together, where they could ride the rides together, where they could be a family together, and where they could let their imaginations take them back to their childhood.  The stories I’ve shared today are proof to me that his vision has been achieved, and that Disney Magic, even today, is alive and well.  What stories do you have to share that prove that Disney Magic exists?  Please share in the comments, and thanks!

Disney Magic

23 Days: Celebrate Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic is found in seeing Mickey & Minnie riding Dumbo with special guests!

Disney Magic.  The stuff of legends, Disney Magic is, quite likely, the biggest reason why so many people come back to Walt Disney World and Disneyland each and every year.  It is found in so many different ways, that I thought the best way to share what it means to me is to show you with my photos.  I hope you enjoy!

Disney Magic

…can be found in the joy of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party…

The joy on Sophie’s face is a site to see!

Disney Magic

…is having your picture taken with your cousin and Snow White!

The picture of Snow White was taken on September 30, 2011, the day before the 40th Birthday of Walt Disney World!

Disney Magic

…is being first in line to see Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar!

Disney Magic

…is the joy of seeing your favorite character, Donald Duck, and dancing with him!

Disney Magic

…is telling Princess Jasmine a secret, and being able to chat for 5 minutes with no one waiting to see her.

Disney Magic

…is celebrating your 7th birthday with your best friend.

Disney Magic

…is seeing your niece proposed to in front of her Castle by her Prince.

Disney Magic is the reason I have this blog, the reason I help families plan trips to Walt Disney World, and the reason why we love going to Walt Disney World and Disneyland so much.  For me, no two words have more meaning at Disney than that.  What do you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

Wordless Wednesday – My DisneySide


For us, our Disney Side all starts with Mickey & Minnie Mouse!

Hello everyone, and welcome to our Wordless Wednesday post for this week!  Today we are taking a look at our DisneySide, that side of our personalities that just screams Disney!  I actually wrote about this in a post I wrote for the Magical Blogorail back in January, and in that post, I shared these words that I think truly sum up my #DisneySide the best:

I think you can see that my DisneySide has blossomed into what some would call an obsession!  As for me, though, I think it is just a true love for all that Walt Disney brought to this world that we live in, and the legacy that he left in 1966.  In a nutshell, I guess my DisneySide is my attempt to keep the ideals that Walt Disney lived his life by in my life, and to instill that love of life and the simple things into the life of my family so that they can continue to pass it along.  Thank you for stopping by, and remember to make every day a Disney Day!

Rather than rehash that post, though, I’m going to expand on that closing paragraph, and share in photos what my DisneySide is truly all about.  I hope you enjoy these photos and can feel the Disney Magic that went into these shots as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.  Tell me, what does your DisneySide entail?


Our daughter Sophie is the true embodiment of our Disney Side. Here she is dancing with Donald Duck!


Sophie enjoying the day with her Meemaw and sitting on Minnie’s Couch!


My Disney Side shined when Sophie and I danced at Biergarten!


Sophie and her Disney Side shine through and through with this picture of two of the Dapper Dans and her cousin Anna Jane!


Our DisneySide was in full force on June 19, 2008, the day that Sophie and her BFF got to spend the day together at the Magic Kingdom!


Lastly, Sophie’s DisneySide was in full force when she spoke with Princess Jasmine. Here she is telling her a secret about a certain costume she wanted to buy!

Thank you for stopping by today!  Please click on the button below to head over to Focused on the Magic so that you can check out the rest of the entries, and thank you to my friend Deb for hosting this great series!  Tell me, how do you show your DisneySide?

Focused on the Magic