Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail: Avoiding the “I’ve got to do everything” trap!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we sharing tips for your first Disney vacation.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail look at tips for your first Disney Vacation!  You’ve been saving your money, you’ve been paying regularly on your trip, hopefully you have been working with a travel agent to help you plan your trip and save you money, and now, it is finally here!  Your Walt Disney World vacation is about to begin!

When you arrive, though, sometimes your thoughts get the better of you.  You think to yourself, I spent so much for this trip, I’ve got to see absolutely everything in order to get my money’s worth.  That line of thinking, though, is incorrect, and hopefully in this Magical Blogorail post, I’m going to share with you some things that will help you prevent the feeling of not seeing anything and keep you from falling into that trap.

Tip 1: It’s not all about the attractions, it’s also about the memories…

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Our daughter Sophie shares a secret with Princess Jasmine!

As great as the attractions are at Walt Disney World, what will really make or break your trip is the memories that you and your family create while there.  The picture above was taken way back in 2008, and to this day, it remains one of my all time favorite Disney photos.  Let me set the scene.  We were in Morocco just wandering through the marketplace, looking at things, just browsing.  When we got to the back of the pavilion, there was a meet and greet location, with Princess Jasmine and the Genie just waiting for someone to come visit with them.  Sophie had been talking about Princess Jasmine all this time, about how she was going to get a costume just like her costume, and she was able to talk with her for what felt like an eternity!  In this picture, she was telling her that she was going to get that costume, and sure enough, she did a couple of days later.

Tip 2: Take time to relax and slow down

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Far too often, first time guests — and yes, even those that visit more regularly — are way too focused on getting from point a to point b, from getting from their last attraction to their next attraction, and they don’t really slow down to breath.  Part of the reason you are taking your Disney vacation is to take a break from everyday life, from getting away from the rat race that is the world today.  Let your vacation be just that, a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and instead, take time to enjoy everything about your trip.  The picture above was taken back in 2010, when we were leaving Test Track and heading somewhere — I don’t even remember where.  Anyway, we weren’t in a very big hurry, and if we had been, we might have missed the perfect setting of the flowers, pond, TRON Monorail, and the Imagination Pavilion in the background.  I love this photo, and hope you do as well!

Tip 3: Enjoy the little attractions as much as the big ones.

As much fun as I have riding Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the other big attractions, I get as much fun out of the smaller attractions, the ones you can almost walk right on.  Carousel of Progress, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, it’s a small world, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, and so forth.  Don’t overlook the little attractions just so you can enjoy the big ones.  You will be doing yourself and your vacation a disservice, and you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities to let the child within out to play.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you as you plan your first Disney Vacation!  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by today!  Check out the rest of the posts from the Magical Blogorail writers, and then go out and make it a Disney day!


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music memories

Live Music Memories on Main Street, U.S.A.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing some of the best live entertainment at the Disney Parks.

music memories

The Dapper Dans share some of their talent with us on Main Street, U.S.A.

When it comes to Disney, for me and my family we have always enjoyed and thought that the music from the parks can lead to an even greater enjoyment of all that we see.  Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite music memories from Main Street, U.S.A. and even beyond!  The picture you see at the beginning is of the Dapper Dans as they performed for us on Main Street, U.S.A.  After they had finished, they were kind enough to share a picture with my daughter Sophie and niece Anna Jane, as you see here.

music memories

The Dapper Dans with Sophie & Anna Jane!

As you progress up Main Street, take a look at the piano situated over by Casey’s Corner.  The piano has a player, and they will appear at various times throughout the day, so check your times guide for the day you are there.  It’s a great way to sit down, relax, and let the music take you back in time to another age.  Simply put, it’s just one of the music memories you’ll experience on this journey.

music memories

If you haven’t heard the Main Street Philharmonic perform, then make sure you save some time for a listen.  Their music is really good, and among the best of any band you’ll hear anywhere!

Music Memories

Then, over in Fantasyland, one of my memories was when the Fantasyland Woodwinds Society (I think I have the name correct) performed Happy Birthday for Sophie and this other lady who’s birthday it was also.  Here’s a picture from that day.

music memories

Of course, not all music memories are created by the live entertainment. Some are the product of the incredible parades, including this one that was one of my all time favorites, but is now located at Disneyland:

What music do you like to see performed at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by today!

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Disneyland 50th Press Kit and Fact Sheets

While on vacation in Florida in 2014, we stopped by Theme Park Connection. This is a great place to find retired Park merchandise and props along with all sorts of Disney ephemera.

I ended up buying about a dozen pieces (yes, of essentially what amounts to just paper) for my collection. Among the finds was this great Disneyland 50th Anniversary Press Kit:


This kit contains single sheet and two or three page fold-outs covering each division of the Disney company, as they were defined in 2005. There are twelve in all.

Each page gives detail about the division being covered, the special things that division will be doing for the 50th celebration, along with some cool statistics about the history of the division. Let’s look at them one by one:

Happiest Celebration on Earth

This page starts with an overview mentioning that the 18-month-long celebration was to begin on May 5th, 2005 and would run until 2006. Then it lists the new and exciting shows and attractions to be added for the Happiest Celebration on Earth, in Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Fun Fact

Diane Disney Miller, Bob Iger, Michael Eisner, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Art Linkletter were on hand to rededicate Disneyland on July 17th, 2005.

Disney Cruise Line

At the time of printing for this page, there were only two Disney cruise ships. The Disney Magic and Disney Wonder traditionally sailed out of Port Canaveral in Florida, but for the Happiest Celebration on Earth, sailings were added from the port of Los Angeles.

Fun Fact

Castaway Cay, Disney’s private Bahamian Island, is the only private island in the cruise industry where the ship docks alongside so Guests do not have to tender to land.

Walt Disney Imagineering

This page reminds us of the tremendous contributions that this division of the Disney company makes! It promises enhancements to existing rides and attractions during the Happiest Celebration on Earth. One special feature was the debut of Lucky the Dinosaur in WDW, after which he moved to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005.

Fun Fact

Behind the Magic, an exhibit developed by The Henry Ford Museum and Walt Disney Imagineering, showcases the legacy of Disneyland and WDI’s commitment to innovation. The exhibit traveled to museums throughout the U.S. until 2007.

Disney Vacation Club

Although the DVC didn’t do anything special for the Happiest Celebration on Earth, this page highlights all of the properties available as of 2005. Started in 1991, this division of the Disney company had grown to employ over 1,300 Cast Members by 2005!

Fun Fact

In 2005, a special room at The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge housed a collection of train memorabilia and artwork, including an exhibit featuring two of Walt Disney’s personal scale-model railroad cars.

Disney Regional Entertainment – ESPN Zone

At the time of the printing of this page, ESPN Zone had eight locations. There is a full-page chart listing the locations/contact information for each along with the square footage and opening dates. The location in California has 36,000 square feet and opened in January of 2001.

Fun Fact

All ESPN Zones feature television monitors in the restrooms so you will never miss a moment of the action!

The World of Disney Store, NYC

 This store opened on October 5th, 2004, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in the heart of New York City. In 2005, this store had 23,600 square feet of merchandise on three floors. I’ve been there, and it was quite the place to visit! With such a size, no wonder it takes over 230 workers to run it, including guards at the doors. Hey, its New York!

Fun Fact

The World of Disney Store is operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts merchandise team, who also operates World of Disney Stores at the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

The first of the triple fold-outs, it starts with an overview of the history of the Disney theme park. It touches on the global celebration that is the Happiest Celebration on Earth, and hints at some of the new shows and attractions to come. This page concludes with a full-page fact sheet from 2005 giving the opening dates, sizes, number of hotel rooms, and approximate Cast sizes for all of the resorts operating at the time of printing.

Fun Fact

Do you know which resort has the most hotel rooms after Walt Disney World? If you guessed Disneyland in California, you’d be wrong! It’s actually Disneyland Resort Paris with 5,760 (over twice that of Disneyland).

Disneyland Resort

This page starts with a history of the park, and then moves on to list the new features available during the exclusive Happiest Homecoming on Earth, Disneyland Resort being the only resort in the chain to use that tagline.

Fun Fact

Each year, Disneyland Resort Guests consume 1.6 million servings of popcorn, 3.2 millions servings of ice cream, and 2.8 million churros.

Walt Disney World Resort

After the obligatory overview, the page launches into a detailed listing of every feature to be found in WDW. As of 2005, the page lists the workforce count at 57,000!

Fun Fact

There are enough of the famous “Mouse Ear” hats sold each year to cover the head of every man, woman and child in Portland, Oregon. There are enough Disney Character T-shirts for every Chicagoan.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Opened in 1983, the Resort just marked its 20th anniversary in 2003. So it’s from one party directly into the next! The Tokyo Disney Resort would mark the 50th anniversary of Disneyland with a fabulous salute to the 1950’s called Disney’s Rock Around the Mouse.

Fun Fact

Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney park built outside the United States.

Disneyland Resort Paris

This Resort honored her sister park in California with the addition of Wishes, a dramatic combination of glittering fireworks and Disney music. This ran from July 16th until August 28th, 2005. This Resort is perhaps the most multicultural with Cast Members coming from more than 95 different nations and speaking 19 different languages!

Fun Fact

Disneyland Resort Paris is the number-one tourist destination in Europe.

Hong Kong Disneyland

At the time of this printing, Hong Kong Disneyland had not yet opened. It was slated to open on September 12th, 2005. So ‘Happy Anniversary!’ Disneyland, we’re giving you a whole new Park!

This page gave a great preview of what was to come by featuring each Land and its signature attractions. Guests could look forward to traveling to Hong Kong Disneyland in style, aboard the Disneyland Resort Line Train, complete with vibrant interior and exterior colors and Mickey-shaped windows.

Fun Fact

Hong Kong Disneyland has signage in three languages to accommodate the many cultures that will visit: Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.

I hope you enjoyed this exhaustive look at the Disneyland 50th Anniversary Press Kit. These great pieces of ephemera are an education to read, helping to preserve the history of the Parks and Resorts!

Five Years of My Dreams of Disney


Different My Dreams of Disney Views!

On September 8, 2010, I started this Disney blog.  It’s initial purpose was to document the memories I had of trips I had taken to Walt Disney World, so that I could use this fun medium to keep a historical record of my visits.  My introductory post is linked here, for those that wish to read the drivel I was writing back then!  Five years is a lot of posts — this is post number 1,655 since that first day — so I hope you enjoy a look at some of my favorites!

As the years have progressed, my journey into the world of Disney Fan Sites has led me on some incredible journeys, and I’ve met some incredible people, some of whom are my friends to this day. On this special 5th Anniversary post, I am taking a little time to introduce to you some of my favorite posts, but these are also some of your favorite posts as well, at least, based on some of the feedback I’ve received over the years.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy our look down memory lane, as we explore My Dreams of Disney through the years.

Tanya’s Tips for being selected as First Family at Disney

On April 29, 2013, my friend Tanya, who responded to a post I wrote to see if anyone had an interest in writing for My Dreams of Disney, wrote an incredible post about the time that her family was selected to be the First Family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  It was — and still is — a very popular post, because being the First Family at one of the parks means that you are selected to open the gates for the day, and it’s a fun adventure that your whole family can enjoy.  It takes some luck, and it takes some thought out processes to make this happen, so check out Tanya’s post to learn her tips on what it took for them.

The Disney Apps I roll with

On March 30, 2013, I was asked what my favorite Disney Apps were for my phone.  In thinking it through, I came up with a list that, while certainly is in need of an update, is still pretty good in my opinion.  Have a look at it, and see if any of those apps are on your phone.

The Lands of the Magic Kingdom

One of my first projects on the site, after I documented my early trips, was to start a series of posts about the different lands in the Magic Kingdom.  Of course, when I started this, there were 7 lands in the Magic Kingdom — but now, there are only six because of the Fantasyland expansion.  However, I still have pages about the missing land, so go check out the page and let me know which one was closed!

Disney Music on #YouTube — Frozen

For me, one of the best things about the hit Disney movie Frozen was the music.  It struck such a chord in me that I wrote several posts about it and the impact that it had in my life.  All of that culminated in this post, which drew a lot of interest.  In case you missed it, go check it out and let me know what you think of it!

Why Walt Disney World is better than Disneyland — or Why Disneyland is better than Walt Disney World

In July 2013, my family made our first trip to Disneyland — and had an incredible time!  Out of that trip became an endless debate — which is better, Walt Disney World or Disneyland?  To try and answer that question, I wrote two posts — one on why Disneyland is better than Walt Disney World, and another on why Walt Disney World is better than Disneyland.  These are certainly polarizing posts, with each of us having our favorites, so check them out and tell us which is your favorite!

Throughout the years, a lot of things have come and gone — and in some ways, the Disney focus on our blog has waned a bit at times.  However, throughout all of that, one thing still stands — we love the incredible legacy that Walt Disney built, and my family to this day, loves going to Walt Disney World.  I don’t know exactly when our next trip to a Disney park will be, but until that time, we’ll spend some time here on the site sharing with you our favorite aspects of the world of Disney.

Until next time, I wish to thank each and every one of you, my dear readers, for visiting with us, and for choosing us to help you get your Disney Fix.

Tough to be a Bug

12 Days: Tough to be a Bug

Tough to be a Bug

Within the Tree of Life is the Tough to be a Bug show.

Hello everyone, and welcome to #Day12 in our #DisneyWorldCountdown!  Today we are taking a look at the show Tough to be a Bug — a show that I will readily admit I do not like, nor does my wife or daughter!

I know a lot of people that like this show, but for us, we didn’t like the stink bug, nor getting stung by the wasp, and when our daughter saw it, she was much younger and didn’t like the dark ride aspect of the show.  So, for us, it’s one show that we just don’t have any need to see.  That’s okay, though, because it leaves those of you that like the show able to see it with much less wait!

Tough to be a Bug

Tough to be a Bug is not a favorite of mine!

The best thing that Tough to be a Bug has going for it, though, is it’s location.  Located in the center of the Tree of Life, the incredible tree is a great structure, well worth looking at and exploring all of it’s incredible details even if you don’t want to take part in the show.

But you tell me, what do you think of this show?  Is it worth it to see it for you, or do you skip on past it and go see something else?  Let me know in the comments, please, and thanks for stopping by!