This is the fourth in a series of “do-over” posts that are being created to make up for the mobile blogging errors that occurred during my last trip to Orlando.
The next morning, I did something unconscionable; necessary, but unconscionable. Through the miracle of the hotel wake-up call, I arose at 6:00 am, struggled into some clothes, and stumbled down to the lobby for free coffee. Back to the room I went, fixed myself an organic apple smeared with peanut butter, and sat down at the computer to work for two hours. That’s right, work. I’m currently an independent consultant, and I was on a deadline, which would not be met if I didn’t put in a few hours each day slaving away on an epic technical report. So I worked for two hours, hit the shower and then hit the road, with a stop in between for another free cup of coffee (it’s actually not bad for free coffee – also, free-trade!).
It was past 9:30 AM when I arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but apparently it was still too early for some. Here in the Oasis, the black swan slumbers persistently, despite a throng of gawkers passing by on their way into the park.
As I made my way along the path that goes up the right side of the Oasis, I spotted these tiny lantern-like flowers blooming on a shrub. I tried to find the plant in my Audubon app, but I’m not too good at that yet so I don’t know the name.
As it turns out, there’s construction happening on the right side of the Oasis, and the path proved impassable. Blocking the way were those familiar walls that declare activity on behalf of our future enjoyment, peppered with Walt quotes. Here’s one of my favorites; I’m a do-er, just like Walt 🙂
I texted my friend Joy, who was already in the park. We agreed to meet by It’s Tough To Be A Bug, and I found her there, waiting in line to have her photo taken with Flik. We proceeded to Expedition Everest. I have video of our terrifying trip through the wilds of the Tibetan mountains. We both screamed quite a bit. The amazing thing is that I was able to hold on to the phone the entire time. I will upload the video to YouTube; in fact, I think I shall go start that now. Hold that thought…
Although we had met earlier at It’s Tough To Be A Bug, we did not actually partake of the show until Joy’s husband Al showed up in the park. Joy and I spent some time stalking the otters for a bit; they seemed to be taking their cue from the black swan, and remained in a snoozing pile while we pleaded and cajoled for them to come on over and play. At some point, one of them looked up when I whistled, but he wasn’t interested in abandoning the pile and soon settled down again. *sigh*
Why does Disney choose festval time to refurb? So far, I am halfway around World Showcase and two countries (Japan and Cananda) are enshrined in walls of Walt quotations. Who makes these decisions, anyway?
Walt Disney was a smart dude. He questioned the conventional. There is proof of this at MouseGear, a shop in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT. Just go through a rack of t-shirts there and you will probably find this one. Here, on this shirt, Walt asks perhaps the most important question he ever came up with – “WHY do we have to grow up?” Why, indeed? I’ve often wrestled with that one myself!
Well, the truth is, my friends – and I suspect Walt knew this – we do NOT, in fact, have to grow up. Evah! Wanna know how I know? I found evidence! Yes, irrefutable evidence, right in the same store. Check it out –
Now, I ask you – if growing up was an absolute requirement, would they make Mouse ears in adult sizes? I think not! See?
The L.A. Times Hero Complex blog reports that The Disney Archives are about to be made viewable by the public at a new museum in Glendale, California. Apparently, when Walt Disney died, his office was sealed as is. Years later, it was unsealed so an archivist could go in and catalog everything. That is how the Archives were born.
It’s much more today than just the contents of Walt Disney’s office – and definitely enough to entice me out to L.A. to visit the Disney parks on that side of the country. I haven’t been there since 2001, when I spent a day at Disney’s California Adventure. I think I’d need several days devoted just to the archives. And many return visits!
So how about you – is this enough to get you out to California for a Disneyland vacation?
I never knew that Disney actually encourages the “wild” feral cat population that lives at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Apparently, these cats serve a very special purpose… you’ll have to read the article to find out!
Long but worth it, this article touches upon one of the first things I learned about the making of Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
[pullquote]“When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point; mine wouldn’t be”. – Walt Disney[/pullquote]
I’d read a while back that Walt had taken his girls to an amusement park one day and it occurred to him that it could be cleaner, more child-friendly and more adult-friendly too. It could be a place that would appeal to everyone in the family, a place cut off from the real world, where guests could literally step into the story and really be there and interact with the characters. Walt decided that since the place he was thinking of didn’t exist, he would make it happen himself. “If you can dream it, you can do it,” he’s quoted as saying. “Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”
Every so often, a reader sends an inquiry asking how I can manage to go to Walt Disney World so frequently. “What do you do for a living?” they demand. “You must be rich!”. Well, no – but a girl can dream, so hold that happy thought 😀
Seriously – first of all, I live in Southwest Florida, three hours away from Walt Disney World by car. Three hours worth of gasoline, even in these challenging times, is a whole lot cheaper than airfare! But I think the thing that saves me the most money is that I haven’t actually paid to stay in a hotel at Disney World in a very long time. I use Starwood rewards points and stay for free. The only thing I pay for under the rewards program is hotel taxes and fees (and if I valet my car, I pay for that too). So, the last time I stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan, which is a 4-star hotel, I paid something ridiculous like $90 for three nights. No, not $90 per night – $90 for the whole THREE nights in a FOUR-STAR HOTEL. See? I told you it was ridiculous!
Starwood Preferred view Sheraton Safari, just outside Downtown Disney Orlando, Florida
The credit card that gives me this rewards program is the Starwood American Express. I basically use it to pay for all of my expenses – cable bill, phone bill, gasoline, groceries – you name it, I pay it with Amex (believe me, if I could pay my mortgage with it, I would!). I pay off the card in full at the end of each month, so I never pay them any interest charges. I get one point for every dollar I put through the card. The year I moved down to Florida from New York, I racked up some serious points – you know how it goes with moving expenses. 10,000 points will get me a free night at the Swan or the Dolphin. About 3,700 points will get me a free night at the Sheraton Safari right outside Downtown Disney, or else at the Sheraton Suites in Tampa, just up the road from Busch Gardens, or else at the Sheraton Yankee Trader on the beach in Fort Lauderdale… well, you get the idea.
Sunset from the balcony of the WDW Dolphin – a Starwood resort
I just got a notice in the mail that says “Introduce your friends to the card…” – it says if I “invite a friend” and the friend is approved for the card, the friend (that’s YOU) will get a sign-on bonus of 10,000 points (hey, a free night at the Swolphin!) and I will get a 5,000 point bonus. The notice also says that the the first year’s American Express membership fee will be waived (My own current fee is $45 annually).
If you want me to “invite” you to apply for this card, you can use this secure form I’ve created (see CLICK HERE, below) for you to use to send me your email address. I promise not to sell it or to spam you – the only purpose is for Amex to be able to email your invitation to apply for the card. Good luck with the application – I hope you’re able to get the bonus points and enjoy the Starwood program as much as I’ve been enjoying it!
CLICK HERE to fill out the “Introduce A Friend” form…
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Life-changing Lessons from Walt Disney
We’re on a roll with “Walt wisdom” this week. This article comes from an unusual source as it is not a Disney-dedicated site or publication. Walt Disney’s business acumen really boils down to a set of values and a unique approach to work. You might say Walt is the anti-Puritan when it comes to work. He never would have ended up in a “survival career” – he insisted on doing what he loved to do and getting paid for it. Good for you, Walt! This article is full of some of the better Walt quotes.
I recently found some of these very Walt Disney quotes decorating the temporary walls that had been erected around some construction at EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom. These signs were a delightfully welcome change from the typical “We’re Building The Future EPCOT for your enjoyment” (I saw just one of those). I took pictures of these inspirational messages while I was in the World in April. To accompany this article, I’ve made them into a little presentation using Flickr. Enjoy!
[Subscribers: if you do not see a FLICKR slide show just below this sentence, then click through to the blog HERE]
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That’s it for TINK’S *~*~* LINKS this week
Hope you’ve enjoyed 🙂
It’s a story after my own, geeky heart. The Orlando Sentinel’s Daily Disney blog reports the existence of a sooper seekrit high tech initiative to incorporate a great deal more wireless technology across the spectrum of the Walt Disney World experience, including the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. Enshrouded in confidentiality agreements and references to “next generation” technology, there are definitely pluses and minuses to any application of this technology you can think of as it relates to theme park resorts. The minuses give me much food for thought. It boils down to an essential question: QUESTION: Will Disney’s Guests be OK with the use of technology that enhances their experience, but also tracks their every move, all day long?
Come and leave a comment, let me know what you think.
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Upcoming Mobile Adventures!
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Naples Southwest Florida Date: unknown!
We got rained out last Sunday – and I mean it practically MONSOONED, so we were grateful we’d had the good sense to call it off. Unfortunately, it looks like it might rain again this Sunday too; as of right now, there’s only a 20% chance, but that could change over the next couple of days. And seriously, who wants to be in a SWAMP when it’s pouring? 😀 So you can see why I’m not precisely sure when I’ll get to this Southwest Florida attraction – which is run by Audubon, by the way – but I WILL get to it! One of the “ghost orchids” bloomed down there last month, and April is typical for ghost orchid blooms, so I’m hoping to be in the right place at the right time to see it. I know I want to get there before Florida becomes hell-hot. Can’t go the following weekend, because I’ve got another adventure planned for then…
Le Petite Moose Meet Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida Dates: Saturday 4/24 – Sunday 4/25
Yes, you are correct – those are the “pearly gates” and I’m going to Disney World! Last month we were there at just the beginning of the Flower and Garden Festival; not everything was assembled yet, and more importantly, the magnolias were not yet in bloom! So I need to get my fix. But the most important thing is that a small (hence “petite”) herd of “mooses” will be converging upon Walt Disney World that weekend. The “mooses” are a clan of Disney-lovin’ folk who met on the internet initially but now all that internet stuff is just filler between play dates at The World. Look for people like @DisneyMoose and @badelves and her family to be tweeting and blogging along with me. I think we’re going to have a blast!
MOBILE BLOGGING happens with unique content in three different places:
[Subscribers: if you do not see a video just below this sentence, then click through to the blog HERE]
Here’s an interesting piece of “Walt Trivia” that I found this week, again in the Daily Disney. Apparently, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction reflects more than just one of Walt’s personal fascinations. We all know about his love of trains – how he worked one summer selling newspapers on a railroad, and how he grew up to build the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in his back yard when he lived in California. Well, not only are trains incorporated into the Big Thunder attraction, but the attraction itself was allegedly inspired by the time when Walt Disney had owned a home in the vicinity of Sedona’s red rocks. In fact, there’s a rock whose official name is Capitol Butte, but people now call it Thunder Mountain in honor of the Disney attraction.
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That’s it for TINK’S *~*~* LINKS this week – hope you’ve enjoyed 🙂
POST SCRIPT: I was googling around for a picture to go with the “Walt Trivia” piece. I searched PicApp for “submarine rock” and much to my surprise, I saw that familiar, three-orb silhouette. I never expected to get this “Hidden Mickey” photo out of “submarine rock”!. I have NO idea who or what that is behind Ringo and George, but I’m grateful because I needed to laugh and laugh and laugh like that 🙂