Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy 6th Anniversary Growing Up Disney!

Growing Up Disney is 6 today.  In 2010, we took "Tink" to Walt Disney World to celebrate her first birthday.  We splurged on Disney Vacation Club points to book a Grand Villa at Old Key West.  I planned character meals for the whole group and a 5th anniversary date night.  My parents baked a Mickey birthday cake and smash cake and drove them down from Alabama.  Andy, Tink and I flew to Orlando from Oklahoma.  Even though I had been visiting the World since I was three, I had lots of questions when I first started traveling with my own children.  I went to many different resources to find the answers and when I returned home from our trip, I decided to share what I had learned and Growing Up Disney was born.

the Growing Up Disney family, Disney character meal photo
The Growing Up Disney family at 1900 Park Fare in April 2010

We have shared some really good kiddo tips over the years but I am glad the blog has grown well beyond that one focus.  DisneyDad offers his thoughts as a lifelong WDW fan, old school DVC member, and grandfather.  Ridge has entertained us with stories of his travel.  We have been honored that friends from across the United States, Canada, and England have graced us with their own memories and special travel tips.  

My own family has grown to include Minnie since we started the blog and the girls have been to the World 9 and 7 times.  My husband and I just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at Aulani.  So as often our busy real world life allows, we will continue to share our Disney adventures for many years to come.  

Many thanks to the Growing Up Disney family and all of the friends we have made over the last 6 years.  Our "World" is a better place because of you all.

Wishing you love and magical memories, 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Photo Flashback! We're Going to a New (to us) Resort with Lots of Palm Trees

Almost 11 years ago, this handsome guy and I said "I do" at Disney's Wedding Pavilion.  It was a beautiful April day and the setting could not have been better.

couple exiting Disney's Wedding Pavilion, palm trees, Growing Up Disney

Since then, we have had two babies, lived in 7 places in 4 states, and moved 8 times (long story but we moved into one house twice.)  We've been blessed with lots of joy and many tears of frustration. 

2015 was a rough year for us so a tenth anniversary trip didn't happen.  But now it's 2016 and things have settled down.  Our girls are old enough to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a week without us.  We haven't taken a trip alone since our first anniversary.  

couple at Disney's Wedding Pavilion, Disney Fairytale Weddings, Growing Up Disney

So when my husband asked if I'd like to go to Hawaii this year, I was thrilled.  We drug our feet on planning (no idea why) but now we have planned a trip to Oahu.  Aulani, here we come!  I am excitedly researching things to do and see and eat.  Our week's stay will be split with 4 nights at Aulani in the more relaxed area of Ko Olina and 3 nights at a resort amid the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach.  

If you have been to Aulani or Oahu, I'd love any tips you'd like to share!

Focused on the Magic
I'm so happy that Deb is back to blogging!  Please head over to Focused on the Magic and leave her some comment love.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Photo Flashback! My Calendar Shot

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World
Mom and DisneyDad
If I am putting together a calendar, it must include a shot of Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom at night showing Cinderella Castle.  This one just happens to have been taken of Mom and me last week at the 25 and Beyond Bash to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Disney Vacation Club.

Focused on the Magic

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Photo Flashback! Hall of Presidents

Every four years we have a national competition to select the next person we want to enshrine on the stage of The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World.  There is an addition every four or eight years. With this election year we will see a new addition to the cast on the stage.  It's been on TV a lot just in case you have missed it.  Once again it's an interesting competition to see who is added next.

Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents
George Washington

Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents
Abraham Lincoln

Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents
Andrew Jackson

Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents
George Washing delivering his inaugural address

Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents
Great Seal of the United States

The Hall of Presidents is one of the original attractions which opened in 1971.  It was the further growth of the 1964 Worlds Fair show Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln to include all 43 of the people to have served as president.  (Yes, President Obama is the 44th President.  Grover Cleveland served 2 non-consecutive terms as 22nd and 24th President.)

The pre-show atrium contains portraits of presidents as well as memorabilia from presidents and their wives.  The history on display is worth the few minutes it takes to look around.   I have taken lots of pictures here over the years.  These photo were taken in October, 2015.



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Friday, February 12, 2016

BIG Hidden Mickey

Any one half-way familiar with Walt Disney World knows that the Imagineers have put Hidden Mickeys everywhere. Usually in the familiar three circle icon shape, you can find them hiding out everywhere.  There are books devoted to help you find Hidden Mickeys as well as websites to record where they are found.  We find them all the time at home like when three onion rings end up on a plate in just the right layout.
Growing Up Disney
Mickey Mouse Onion rings??
 Or when Tink was playing with buttons and accidentally(?) laid them on the table, one large with two small buttons.  Hidden Mickey!
Growing Up Disney
Mickey Mouse Buttons??

Well this week I found a Hidden Mickey I had never seen or heard of before.

I was looking at a map of Clermont, FL on www.city-data.com.  Clermont is a town near Walt Disney World.  US Hwy 27 runs down the middle of Clermont and just south of town is Lake Louisa State Park.  We drive to WDW on most of our trips and I have been through there many times and watched the area go from being mostly orange groves to a large residential town.  While I've never been to the Lake Louisa State Park, I know exactly where it is.

Well this week, I was looking at the map and happened to zoom in just far enough... and what should catch my eye but a clear Mickey Mouse icon staring back at me just east of the State Park.  I had to research further to find out why this was there.

Growing Up Disney
I went to Google and searched for Clermont.  Once there I opened maps I found Lake Louisa State Park.  There was not a Hidden Mickey showing on the map.  So I opened the satelite view and this is what I found:

Growing Up Disney
Google Maps
So I had to zoom in closer to see what this Mickey Mouse was and you could see the trees.

Growing Up Disney
Mickey Mouse Forest
So back to Google and search for Mickey Mouse Forest.

The Mickey Mouse Forest was planted as a conservation effort on property that once held a orange grove killed by a frost.   Disney had bought the property and in 1992 in consultation with the Orange County Agent for the Florida Division of Forestry planted 50-60 acres of a frozen out citrus grove with 50,000 long-leaf pine seedlings.  Disney put out a call to its cast members to volunteer in this effort and the forest took shape. Now almost 24 years later the seedlings are now a forest, The Mickey Mouse Forest.

I've driven down Hwy 27 many times and seen the pine trees in this area but from ground level all you see are trees.  But from the air... or from Google Maps... its a different picture.  If you fly to Walt Disney World, when you leave, if you depart MCO to the west, the departure route called Epcot Two goes past the Mickey Mouse Forest.  Be sure to sit on the right side of the plane.

If you have a hard time finding this on the map, paste in 28°27'10.8"N 81°42'10.8"W into Google and it should take you right to the Mickey Mouse Forest.


Did you know about the Mickey Mouse Forest?

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