Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Photo Flashback! The Letter M

This week Deb at Focused on the Magic suggested we share photos that represent the letter M.  

Focused on the Magic

Monday, July 29, 2013

Five Photos: Princesses with Princesses

For this week's Five Photos I wanted to share some pictures of my little Princesses as they visited with Disney's Princesses on our May 2013 trip.  As we walked in the room with the Princesses,  Minnie who is two, saw Aurora and Cinderella standing together talking to one another.  She immediately began yelling "Aurora!!!! 'Rella!!!!" to the Disney Princesses obvious delight.  I wasn't sure she was going to wait her turn to see the Princesses.

growing up disney

growing up disney

growing up disney

growing up disney

growing up disney

growing up disney
OK, once again my Five Photo post has gone over my "5" limit.  :-)  I could have posted a lot more.  My little princesses had a wonderful time visiting with their Disney counterparts.

One question.... would you have known her name was Aurora, or would you have called her Sleeping Beauty?   Minnie knew her name.


Friday, July 26, 2013

My Favorite WDW Trip -- The Next one

 Photos from EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival October 2012

Growing Up Disney

What's your favorite trip to Walt Disney World?  Was it the first time you went, like my first visit in 1971?  Or was it a visit on your honeymoon, like when I took my wife to WDW on our honeymoon in 1973?  Or was it when you had some special event at WDW, like Amy’s wedding in 2005?  Or was it a trip where you were told your daughter is expecting your first grandchild, or maybe when she told you about the second one?  We heard about both of our granddaughters at WDW.  Or was it a trip when you just got to walk hand in hand with your granddaughter as she took her first steps on Main Street USA on her first birthday?  (Check out the Growing Up Disney logo.)

Growing Up Disney

What was your favorite trip to Walt Disney World?  After 40+ years of visiting what is my favorite trip?  My next one.

Growing Up Disney

I’ve enjoyed going to WDW over the years and look forward to going back over and over.  Our next planned trip is a family trip while the 2013 version of the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival will be going on.  This year the Food and Wine Festival will be September 27 to November 11.  Check out one of the posts on the official Disney Parks Blog by clicking here

Growing Up Disney

Expect over 40 new dishes and 80 new beverages at this year’s Food and Wine Festival plus a new cookbook so you can take home your favorite recipes from the festival.
Of course the Festival is just the backdrop for a vacation spent with family.  It makes a fun time with family even better.  And it gives me another “excuse” to visit.


Growing Up Disney

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Photo Flashback! Disney Breakfasts

Clockwise from top left:
Mickey waffles from Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus, Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe, Mickey waffles from my kitchen (who says the fun can't follow you home?) and Mickey pancakes from Kona Cafe

Focused on the Magic

Friday, July 19, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Favorite WDW Planning Resources

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

For this month's Magical Blogorail topic, we were asked to share our favorite planning resources, other than ourselves and our Blogorail buddies.

When it's time to plan my own Walt Disney World vacations,  I have a few sites that I always visit.  I check for the crowd calendar.  It's handy for choosing travel dates and getting input into which park to visit each day. is a great all-around resource and I'll double-check there for any special events we may need to work around. is also terrific for restaurant menus when we are choosing where to make dining reservations.  I'll also visit when planning meals.

Honestly, for years I barely referenced the official Disney site.  The large unofficial resources had so much more detail.  However is stepping up their game and now offers menus, resort photos, special event details and more.  My family used the new My Disney Experience website and app for our vacation in May.  It has some nice planning features, such as making reservations on the go (handy when you've had enough of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area and need to make sure you have a table waiting at Mama Melrose.  Oh, wait. maybe that's just me.) 

I listen off and on to a bunch of Disney podcasts but before a trip, I'll tend to catch up on WDW Today.

We have a Links tab here on Growing Up Disney, where we keep track of our favorite sites and blogs, podcasts, books, radio stations, and vendors.  It's handy for quick access to additional resources.  I know I am not really supposed to include them in my list for this article but my Blogorail pals and our own Minnie Moms are awesome for reviews, tips, ideas, and magical stories.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.

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
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Photo Flashback! Pooh and Eeyore - 40 years apart

Tigger, Pooh and the girls
Third in our series from the Wayback Machine is Pooh and Eeyore.  (see Mickey and Tigger posts)

 Tink and Minnie love Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore as I think you can tell from these pictures.  They were taken on our trip, May, 2013.  Eeyore doesn't appear to have changed a lot in 40 years other than he no longer has the "cape" around his neck.  Pooh... now that is a different story.  He has grown taller, gives out hugs, and lost the Honey Pot on top of his head.
Eeyore and the girls
 We recieved the slide below recently from my wife's aunt.  Pooh and Eeyore are part of a parade passing near the Tomorrowland Speedway in this slide from June, 1973.  Both have changed  over the years, but I think Pooh has changed the most.
Pooh and Eeyore 1973
Another thing that has changed in 40 years is the crowd level.  Behind them is a crowd of ONE person watching the parade.  Or at least he is watching something.  He doesn't appear particularly interested in Pooh and Eeyore.

In the background you can see one of the Skyway buckets over the trees.

(in my best Eeyore voice)
Thanks for noticing me.

Focused on the Magic

Monday, July 15, 2013

Five Photos: Fun Wedding Pictures with Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie Mouse crashed my Disney wedding.  Just kidding, my dad invited them as a surprise to me.  And boy was it!  As a Disney kid, I was thrilled to have the Main Mouse as a part of our big day.  Today I'd like to share a few of the fun photos my husband and I took with our honored guests.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Check Out Our New Mobile App!

To make it even easier to connect with us on the go, DisneyDad has created a Growing Up Disney app.  We'd love it if you'd take a look and let us know what you think.  You can download it from the link above and it will be available on app stores soon.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Photo Flashback! Tigger - Then and Now

Growing Up Disney
Amy, Tink, Minnie and Tigger

Today we have more photos from 2013 and 1973.  This time it's photos of Tigger taken 40 years apart.   I don't think he has changed as much as Mickey and Minnie ( see Photo Flashback! Mickey, My how you've changed ).  The photo above was taken at The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World this past May when we went to breakfast there.

From the Wayback Machine is a slide that was taken in 1973 we recently received from my wife's aunt.  This is one of a series that was taken of what appears to be a parade near the Tomorrowland Speedway.  Tigger is bouncing along as usual.

Growing Up Disney
Tigger - June 1973
Behind Tigger you can see the sparse shrubbery.  If you look carefully, in the background you can see one of the Skyway towers.  What's missing?  BIG CROWDS!  Tigger may not have changed much but the crowds sure have.


Focused on the Magic

Monday, July 8, 2013

Five Photos: Topiaries at EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival

Topiaries from May 2013 at EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.

Growing Up Disney
Mickey and Minnie
Growing up disney
The Lion King
 growing up disney

growing up disney

growing up disney
and Monsters!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Photo Flashback! God Bless America, Land That I Love

Liberty Bell, Walt Disney World

Today we are celebrating Independence Day at Walt Disney World and beyond.
Our flag flying proudly over Main Street USA
Super cute little girls in red, white and blue

I'm venturing beyond "The World" today with some photos to honor other parts of this great country. 

Tomb of the Unknowns, 2004

I thought the crane made this fitting since every shot of Cinderella Castle includes the same.

Washington Monument

Declaration of Independence!

World Trade Center, 2006--Never Forget!

Many thanks to all of our nation's military members and their families.  We can never honor your sacrifices enough.  

Focused on the Magic

Monday, July 1, 2013

First-Timer Tips: Disney's Magical Express

Complimentary airport to WDW transportation and luggage service for Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests

Disney's Magical Express: Complimentary airport to WDW transportation and luggage service for Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests

I love Disney's Magical Express.  Once you've booked your flight into Orlando International (MCO), call Disney or your travel agent with your travel dates and flight numbers.  A few weeks prior to your vacation, you will receive a booklet and some luggage tags in the mail.  Attach the tags to the handles of your suitcases and pack the booklet in your carry-on bag.  Check your luggage at your home airport and you won't see it again until it appears in your room a few hours after your arrival in Orlando.  How cool is that?!?  The Disney team collects all of the tagged luggage and delivers it directly to your room. You don't need to be there to receive it so you can start having fun right away.

Back to the booklet in your carry-on, that is your ticket to get on the bus to Walt Disney World.  After you arrive at MCO, follow the signs to Terminal B, Level 1 and go all the way to the end of the hall.  Check in there with the Magical Express Cast Members and they will direct you to the proper waiting area for your resort.

You'll wait a few minutes here.  I've never waited very long but I suppose it could be up to 20 minutes or so.  From here you board a motorcoach (think comfy seats) and head to Walt Disney World.  The overhead screens will show a Walt Disney World informational movie.  Ok, let's be honest, it's a commercial but I still always enjoy it. The bus will stop at several resorts but they are located near each other and people will only be exiting the bus so the stops are reasonably quick.  

Be sure to pack anything you'll need for the first few hours in your carry-on since you won't see your luggage for a while.  The Disney information says 3 hours but I'd be prepared for longer than that, just in case.

On the day before your departure, you'll find envelopes hanging on your door handle.  Read the enclosed letters carefully and make sure to note the time to catch the bus back to the airport.  They are typically pretty punctual and won't wait for you for long.  Pack this letter and your Magical Express booklet in your carry-on again, as you'll need one of them to board the bus.  

For domestic flights with most airlines, you can check your luggage at your resort.  Simply take your bags to the airline check-in desk, usually located near the front desk/entrance of the resort.  You'll need the same information as if you were checking bags at the airport.  The only difference is you'll be more likely to be greeted with a smile here.  They can accept bags up to three hours before your flight, after that, you'll need to take them with you to the airport.

If you have a little time to kill on departure day and need to keep the kids occupied, check out the coloring and/or TV areas available at your resort.  Old Key West has a nice room called Community Hall with arts & crafts, games, and movies playing, as well as cartoons on a continuous loop near the check-in desk.  

At your designated time, board the bus to Orlando International Airport and head home.  There is another movie as you leave to help pass the time.  I've seen the security line wait as long as 30 minutes at MCO, but Magical Express gets you to the airport about two hours before your flight so no worries.

I hope this information helps as you plan your Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney pros, do you like Magical Express or do you prefer to rent a car? Please leave a comment below.  I prefer Disney transportation and letting someone else do the driving.