Archive for January, 2007

Disney Detours – Walt Disney World 30-Day Countdown!

January 2, 2007

A fun countdown to get you excited for your magical Disney trip.

by Blake

Originally posted January 2, 2007.

When the time comes where your Disney vacation is just a month away, the anticipation starts to kick in. Big time. How do you satisfy this urge for Mickey? How do you pass the days until it’s time to embark on your magical journey? I thought it would be a fun idea to create a little 30-day countdown calendar, filled with something small (yet exciting) to do each day in preparation for your exciting vacation!

Right off the bat: If you are thinking of visiting Walt Disney World, there is much prior planning in addition to this fun 30-day countdown. This includes hotel reservations, dining reservations, flight reservations, daily schedules, and so much more. All the information listed below would take place way after all prior planning. If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation and need any help, let me know. In the meantime, here’s a 30-day countdown to a Disney vacation!

Mickey signs an autograph in Magic Kingdom’s Town Square at Walt Disney World.

30 days left: Make positive that you are done with any prior pre-planning for your trip. Make daily schedules, make sure all reservations (for hotels, flights, dining, special events, etc.) are already made. (If they are indeed all made, you might want to call 407-934-7639 just to double-check everything. You’d hate to think you had reserved something only to have not!)

29 days left: Visit disneyworld.com. If you haven’t already done so, join “My Disney Vacation” by creating an account. After that, you will be able to receive free customized maps of the Disney World theme parks and a free promotional DVD, as well as have access to an online monthly newsletter called “Backstage Pass” informing you about the latest news from Disney World. Go ahead and order the free customized maps to arrive in the mail. If they are delivered before your trip, it can get you excited and if they arrive after your trip, they’ll serve as a fun memory to remember your trip by.

28 days left: Make a list of your top ten favorite Disney movies of all time. Make sure to add input from all members of the family as to what their favorites are. Compile family members’ favorites to make a top ten Disney movie list. It will come in handy later.

27 days left: Watch your #10 Disney movie pick with your family.

26 days left: Start thinking about souvenirs and gifts for family and/or friends to bring back home. Begin to save money – not only for souvenirs, but also for dining, recreational activities, etc. Plus, notify your children that they might want to help out around the house this month to earn some extra spending money (or to donate to a local charity)! If you plan on driving to Disney, now is also a good time to start saving your pennies for gas money!

The ride Soarin’ at Epcot.

25 days left: Watch your #9 Disney movie pick with your family.

24 days left: Dig out an old Disney CD from the closet, attic, basement, or wherever it is and listen to it and other favorite Disney CDs in your car on the way to work. Bring it out at dinner, too!

23 days left: Visit some unofficial Disney websites (meaning they’re not created by or affiliated with the Walt Disney Company). Some of them are quite reliable, and give up-to-date information sometimes before Disney officially releases the news. My favorite unofficial Disney sites are http://www.allearsnet.com/, http://www.mouseplanet.com/, http://www.laughingplace.com/, http://www.wdwinfo.com/, http://www.mousetimes.com/, and http://www.mouseinfo.com/.

22 days left: Watch your #8 Disney movie pick with your family.

Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

21 days left: If you have one, visit your local Disney Store. While you’re there, you can exchange your regular US money for Disney Dollars, a currency that may only be spent at The Disney Store, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, or on the Disney Cruise Line. It’s a fun little reminder of where you are when you use them at the parks.

20 days left: Have each member of your family draw a picture of a Disney character. No computers allowed! Must be hand-drawn.

19 days left: Watch your #7 Disney movie pick with your family.

18 days left: Make up a Disney-related game and play it as a family at the dinner table tonight. Try to make it original: Don’t use a previously bought board game or something like that. It can be trivia, “Who Am I?” or something similar, Charades, Pictionary, or you can make up something entirely by yourself! Make it fun.

Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

17 days left: Pick a favorite Disney character. Research that character and write a paragraph about him/her featuring their first appearance, their personality traits, their friends, their foes, what movies they starred in, or anything else interesting you may find out about them. Most importantly, don’t forget to include where you can meet your chosen favorite character at Walt Disney World! Share your entries with the family at the dinner table tonight.
16 days left: Watch a Disney program on television. It can be on Disney Channel or Toon Disney. It’s sure to get you in the Disney mood!
15 days left: Watch your #6 Disney movie pick with your family.
14 days left: If you are flying to Disney, make sure you have flight confirmations and vouchers. If you are driving to Disney, continue to scrounge up some gas money.
13 days left: Make a list of what family and friends you may want to send postcards to during your visit. Remember they don’t have to be tangible postcards – you can always send a virtual one in Epcot’s Imagination pavilion! (They’re hilarious!)

12 days left: Have a Disney “voice-off” competition amongst your family – see which family member can impersonate a Disney character the best.
11 days left: Make a list of what you think will be your favorite attractions during your Disney visit. What do you think will be the best ride? The best show? The tastiest restaurant? The best component about your resort hotel? Fill in each question based on what you think will be your favorites, then fill them in again after the vacation to see if your anticipations were on par with your results. You can always use disneyworld.com or a Disney guidebook to give you an idea of what some of the rides will be like.
10 days left: Watch your #5 Disney movie pick with your family.
9 days left: Call Disney at 407-934-7639 and confirm your reservations, including hotel & dining. Write down the confirmation numbers somewhere handy.

8 days left: Watch your #4 Disney movie pick with your family.

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.

7 days left: Start packing! It may seem a bit early, but you don’t want your suitcase packing to creep up on you on the last minute! You don’t have to literally start packing your suitcase yet, but you can start planning out what clothes or items to pack and what you will wear each day of your vacation. Make a list of what items you think you may need (such as sunscreen, tennis shoes, or other accessories).

6 days left: Watch your #3 Disney movie pick with your family.

5 days left: Continue packing your suitcase!!! Also, collect up your spending money you’ve been saving for meals, gas, or souvenirs.

4 days left: Watch your #2 Disney movie pick with your family.

3 days left: Whether you are flying or driving, start to plan or pack activities to keep children (or yourself) entertained during the ride (such as coloring books, stuffed toys, snacks, or other items). You may also want to make up some games to play along the way that will help you pass the time (especially if you’re driving!). Also, FINISH PACKING THAT SUITCASE!

2 days left: If you have not already done so, finalize your suitcase packing. Make sure you’re 100% packed and double-check everything on your packing list. Additionally, watch your #1 Disney movie pick with your family.

1 day left: HOORAY!!! Get plenty of sleep tonight! Tomorrow is the big day.

Hopefully this calendar will help you count the days if you’re planning an upcoming Disney vacation, whether it be to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or onboard the Disney Cruise Line. Just remember – it’s all for pure fun! Have a hoopla of fun while participating in the activities on this special vacation countdown, and may sparkles of Pixie Dust and Disney magic be spread into your home while you do so! 🙂

By Blake; originally posted January 2, 2007. All images (C) Disney.

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Disney Talk – A Look Ahead Into 2007

January 2, 2007

A sneak peek into some new and upcoming Disney magic.

by Blake

Originally posted January 2, 2007.

Filled with one of the most successful Disney Channel movies of all time (High School Musical), major television events (Hannah Montana and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), the #3 highest-grossing film of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), DVD smash hits (The Little Mermaid and Cars), a massive theme park thriller (Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and so much more, Disney has had a very successful and accomplished breakthrough in the year 2006. In areas such as film, theme parks, music, and television, the mouse has proved his power.

Fortunately, there’s much more magic getting ready to be unleashed in 2007!

Jump In (premiering January 12 at 8:00pm) is a new Disney Channel Original Movie. If it follows in the footsteps of High School Musical, which was released about this time last year, then it will eventually turn into a very successful franchise, producing sequels, DVDs, hit soundtracks, re-released DVDs, re-released soundtracks, and possibly a nationwide touring concert. Or not. 😉 Jump In stars High School Musical‘s Corbin Bleu and Akeelah and the Bee‘s Keke Palmer.

Cory in the House (premiering January 12 at 9:30pm) is a new Disney Channel Original Series. The network’s very first “spin-off” series (piggy-backing off of That’s So Raven), the show will follow Raven’s brother Cory traveling to Washington, D.C. to live in the White House when his father becomes the president’s personal chef. Meanwhile, Cory’s mother is at law school and Raven (along with friends Eddie and Chelsea) is away at college. However, we hear nothing of them, only Cory and Mr. Baxter, along with of course a few new characters.

Cinderella Castle Suite (opening January 24) offers guests a first-time-ever opportunity to stay overnight in Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. Designed by Disney Imagineers, this one-of-a-kind suite will provide one (very lucky) family each night with a breathtaking view of the Magic Kingdom. One family will be awarded a night in the suite by Disney Cast Members as part of the new Year of a Million Dreams. Winning guests will be tapped randomly on the shoulder as they’re delivered the good news at any given Walt Disney World theme park or Downtown Disney district.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends (opening January 24) is an all-new attraction located in Epcot at Walt Disney World. Although it has operated since October, the ride won’t “officially” open until January 24. In the ride, guests hop aboard “clam-mobiles” and enter the ocean wonderland as they help Marlin and Dory search for the, once again, lost Nemo.

Finding Nemo: The Musical (opening January 24) is an all-new musical spectacular at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Although it’s been open for rehearsals and sneak preview performances since November, it will “officially” open on January 24. The musical includes music by Tony award-winning composer Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez plus costumes and puppets designed by Michael Curry of The Lion King on Broadway fame.

Cinderella III: A Twist In Time (premiering February 6) is a new direct-to-DVD animated sequel to the 1950 Disney classic Cinderella. What is the slipper didn’t fit? What if Cinderella didn’t become a princess? These questions and more will be answered in yet another Disney DVD animated sequel, yet this one actually looks worth at least trying, unlike most of them.
Bridge to Terabithia (premiering February 16) is the movie inspired by the award-winning novel by Katherine Paterson. In it, two children use their imaginations to create a make-believe land. The film’s two main roles are played by Josh Hutcherson (of Zathura and RV) and AnnaSophia Robb (of Because of Winn-Dixie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – she was Violet, the blueberry girl).
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (opening Spring 2007) was originally set to open in January with the other new Walt Disney World attractions that were previously listed. In the new attraction, which takes place after the 2001 Disney/Pixar film Monsters, Inc., Mike Wazowski has reverted from screams to laughs to gain energy for “Monstropolis” and gathers audiences to laugh their socks off in an effort to make lots of energy at one time. This attraction uses the same technology as Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot to bring Mike and some newly created monster characters to life in front of guests.
Peter Pan Platinum Edition (available March 6) is a new 2-disc DVD set devoted to the classic tale. One of my personal favorite Disney animated films, Peter Pan follows the adventures of Peter and the Darling children in the fantastical Never Land, as they encounter mermaids, a crocodile, and, of course, pirates, led by the nefarious and cowardly Captain Hook. The 2-disc Platinum title is sure to have plenty of bonus features to satisfy fans.
Meet the Robinsons (premiering March 30) is the second computer-generated animated film created solely by Disney that has been released theatrically (the first was 2005’s Chicken Little). The story follows Lewis, a 12-year-old orphan who longs to reunite with his family. He soon conceives a new invention that, in an effort to find his family, will take him to the future. The film will be presented in Disney Digital 3D in select theaters.
Although not much information can be retrieved dealing with other upcoming Disney attractions, we do know that Disney will be releasing the following projects in 2007:
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End in theaters May 25, 2007.
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland in May 2007.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, opening June 11, 2007.
Ratatouille, a new Pixar movie in theaters June 29, 2007.
High School Musical 2, on Disney Channel in August, 2007.
The Jungle Book Platinum Edition on DVD October 2, 2007.
Tinker Bell, a new movie on DVD*.
The Little Mermaid III, a new movie on DVD*.
That wraps up this year’s overview! As Captain Jack Sparrow would put it, “Bring me that horizon.”
By Blake; originally posted January 2, 2007. All images (C) Disney.
*At the time that this article was written, these two films were supposedly set to debut in 2007. However, they both were delayed and ultimately The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning was released on DVD on August 26, 2008 and Tinker Bell was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 28, 2008.