Tag: magic kingdom

Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

I’m going to take a brief moment today to remind you of one of the most important Cast Members at Disney – and one of the ones you don’t often actually see or think hard about – Mousekeeping!

Without Mousekeepers, the resorts would be a mess. Think about it – they come in, clean up the rooms we’ve left messy, remade beds, restocked the soaps, emptied the trash, and a hundred other jobs I wouldn’t want to do, in HUNDREDS of guests’ rooms. Every. Day. They also make sure that all those gorgeous lobbies and restaurants and shops stay sparkly clean.

So if you’re planning a trip to Disney, don’t forget about your Mousekeeper. Leave them a tip. It doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve heard that you leave a dollar a person, per day. That’s not so bad, considering how much they do every day. For our trip, I started saving my dollar bills and fives months in advance. I put them all in one envelope until I had enough set aside. That way, it wasn’t coming out of the vacation budget right before the trip (or during).

Now, you can just leave the money on a nightstand and write a little note on the pad they leave (which is what I do in a normal hotel, usually). But this is Disney – why not help spread a little magic and make something for the Mousekeeper?

You can (or the kids!) decorate a simple envelope with stickers and crayons. You can make something super fancy with a cutting machine. You can find tons of printables online. Whatever makes you happy!

I’ve tried to make some printables that you can download that are both something you can print, but also allow you to personalize them a little. They’re just the line art – made for you to color in! Markers, colored pencils, crayons, whatever medium suits your fancy! You can print them on regular computer paper, or make something more substantial from cardstock (though it really isn’t necessary – regular copy paper holds up just fine once it’s all glued and folded.)

If you want to access these (and there are more things already there, and in the works) you will have to subscribe to the blog. Hopefully since you’re already here reading this, that won’t be a problem! Once you subscribe, you’ll be given the password, and you can click on the “Resources” tab, enter the password, and download the PDF files for these envelopes!

Mousekeeping Envelope Dole Whip Mousekeeping Trader Sams PatternMousekeeping Envelope - Epcot Style

 

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

I have to apologize for being a little late with this post. I’m a teacher, and this past week was the last week of school. It’s CRAZY. But I’m back now, and I have lots of great posts planned! Mexico Margarita Cupcakes are coming – and they are fantastic!

But I want to talk about something different today. About magic.

©VanessaEdwards Cinderella's Castle

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World or any Disney park before, I want to ask you to take a moment and close your eyes and remember walking into the park. Stroll through your memories. There were, I’m sure, a lot of fantastic images there. But I want you to see if you can remember something that most people overlook – the Cast Members (CM).

We talk all the time about magical moments and how to have a magical Disney vacation. Many times it’s a Cast Member who makes that magical moment or memory possible. Usually when you think about it, they blend into the scenery. They are there in the background taking care of serving customers, or picking up a piece of trash, or helping a family find something or do something. Many of the memories where something awesome happened, a cast member was involved in providing that boost of pixie dust for your family.

So today I’m going to suggest something – rather than just being a recipient of the magic, maybe we should help encourage it as well.

Cast Members deal with a LOT of guests every day. They do it with a smile, and in costumes and temperatures that would make lesser mortals melt into puddles of goo. Seriously. I’d die if I had to work outside in Florida in August in those costumes!

They help make all that magic possible, and I believe that you can’t do a job like that unless you have a real passion for it. And while going to Disney World is like nothing else, most people don’t think about making magic themselves. But there is no reason a guest can’t make a little pixie dust for a Cast Member.

Next time you’re there, take a moment to thank a CM. Maybe they helped make your day – maybe they are making magic for another guest and you saw it. But take a moment to acknowledge what they’ve done.

They do a hard job – Disney is supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth, and working there means that even if you are having a terrible day, you are expected to act like everything is amazing. They work in a service position, and as someone who also works in a service position (sort of – all these things are true in education) where a lot is expected of you every day, often the most attention happens when you are doing something wrong, not when something is going right. It’s always a nice change to have someone tell you thank you for doing a great job. And in a CM’s position – where they deal with hundreds of guests a day, not all of them pleasant, I can see where a simple thank you and smile may go a long way.

In my experience, doing little random acts of kindness helps the giver just as much as the receiver.

So when you’re at Walt Disney World next, and you want to spread a little magic of your own, I’ve made up a couple of free printables that might work. I’d recommend printing them on cardstock or some kind of fancy paper (but that is just me). Have your kids hand them out. Carry one in your park bag and decide as a family that you’re going to give one away every day. These two designs are available to everyone. On June 12, I’ll have uploaded a few more designs that are for blog subscribers only. If you’d like access to those, just subscribe to the blog!Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates

Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates
Click on photo to download PDF.

 

If you aren’t comfortable walking up to a CM and handing them this and explaining, that’s okay! I’m not the most outgoing of people either. But if a CM or Mousekeeping or other person needs some recognition, maybe try social media. I’d suggest heading to Twitter. Send a shout out telling what the CM has done that was so awesome. Make sure you say where you are, and the CM’s name (if you can), and tagging the WDW twitter account. I’ve seen several times where WDW has seen those tweets and has gone back and recognized the CM for their work.

You can also take a moment to help make a little magic in another guest’s day. If you have an extra set of dollar store glow sticks you’ve brought in, share it with that family with small children next to you. If you’re playing a game in line while waiting for a ride, invite the family in front of you to join in. You never know – that may end up being the highlight of their trip.

Several years ago I went on a roadtrip with a friend. We met up with a group of her friends, and they were going to Harry Potter World at Universal, on opening weekend. I am not that big a Harry fan, so they dropped me off at EPCOT in the morning. I stood in line for Soarin’, and the wait was well over 45 minutes. A CM came by asking for “single flyers” and I got to jump to the front of the line.  I ended up at the end of a row with a large family. When we got off, they asked if I was alone. When I said yes, they were so concerned. “You can be part of our family for the day!” I declined, but it was one of the nicest things I’ve had someone do in a theme park. She genuinely wanted to make sure I had a great day in Disney World.

That kind of attitude is what helps spread a little kindness. Like Cinderella says, “Have courage and be kind.” In the world we live in, it never hurts to help spread a little pixie dust – whether in everyday life, or the Happiest Place on Earth.

If you do this, please comment and tell me how it went – or even send a photo! I’d love to post it on the blog. And if you’ve had a magical experience at Disney World, I’d love to hear about that too!

10 Ways to Deal with the Heat at Disney World

10 Ways to Deal with the Heat at Disney World

10 Ways to Beat the Heat at DisneyI am a teacher. My parents are teachers. As such, we have always had to schedule any trips to Disney around school vacations. Because of this, we’ve always gone in August. Now, I’m sure you know that Orlando in August is a sauna, to put it mildly. I have always had issues with the heat, after getting what my parents think was a minor case of heatstroke as a kid. It doesn’t take much to make me want to melt into the pavement.

But I love Disney World, and I’m not going to let the temperature stop me. (Though someday, SOMEDAY, I’m going to go when I can wear jeans and a sweater.)

These tips are useful, and they usually help me when I’m getting to my limit.

Drink water. A lot of it.

This one is a bit self-explanatory. You have to stay hydrated, even when it seems like its oozing out your pores as fast as it comes in. Bring bottles of water with you, buy them, or ask at any quick service for ice water. Just make sure you’re drinking.

Take advantage of the AC.

Disney World, as a whole, has a lot of places where you can get out of the heat. The only park where I find this a challenge is Animal Kingdom, and I must admit that while I love the animals, I frequently opt for a shorter visit in the park just because it seems hotter than all the others. Regardless, take a break inside a shop or restaurant and cool off a little when you need to.

Use a mini fan, folding fan, or misting fan.

Some people may argue against this one, but several years ago, I was too hot, and my Dad was concerned and bought me one of the misting fans at Epcot. They’re expensive, but I’ve still got it, it still works, and I’ve pulled it out to pack and take with us this year. You can buy mini ones that clip onto your bag, you can just buy a little battery operated fan, or even a folding fan. (In the China pavilion, they’ve got lots, and they’ll personalize it!) They really are useful for moments when you can’t get into air conditioning, or your waiting in line for a ride, or you just need a little extra air. And as a bonus, when you eat lunch, ask for a cup of ice and put it into the mister bottle to keep the water REALLY cold.

Know your limits.

Maybe I should have made this one the first post, because it really is important. You have to know when to quit. There’s no point in powering through the parks, only to collapse somewhere between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Be Our Guest just because you didn’t say you needed a break. These people you’re likely with are your family and friends. They care about you. If people in your group want to go do their thing, let them. Having someone get seriously ill because of the heat will be way worse than slowing down and having to postpone a ride or two. My husband can handle heat far, far better than I ever could. He can go for hours. I can’t. I’ve learned that I have to say when I need a break, because he won’t always know. (Though he’s pretty good at realizing.)

Pace yourself.

This goes with the last one. Take your time. Its Disney! Don’t run through the parks (unless, of course, you’re doing a marathon or something. Then, by all means, run.) – enjoy yourself. Along with this, if you are staying on property, make sure you look up the Extra Magic Hours for the days you are staying. If a park opens earlier in the day, it might be a good bet to try that park. Same thing with staying open late. Nighttime is so much more comfortable!

Take a break midday.

This one really applies the most if you are staying on property (and I totally recommend you do. But that’s another blog post.) because otherwise it isn’t necessarily worth the loss of park time. If you are, however, I recommend taking a midday break back at your resort. You can go back, get a drink in the food court, and then relax in the air conditioning. You can nap, take a swim, or just freshen up a little. Even just an hour back at the resort will help you get cooled off and recharged for the rest of the day.

Morocco Pavilion at Night
One reason for a midday nap? Extend your visit into the evening. Its cooler, and things just look beautiful!

Wear a hat or visor and use sunscreen.

For myself, I am not really a hat person. I think they make me hotter. However, a visor is perfect for this. It will help keep your face shaded (and therefore not so sunburned) which is much more important than you think. Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to withstand some sun, but I go from pastry to crispy critter in less time than it takes Pooh to eat a jar of honey. You don’t want to be sunburned. It hurts, and it doesn’t help you stay cool. Not to mention all the other things it can lead to. Let’s just put on the SPF and prevent all that.

Get a cooling towel.

Okay, so maybe this is a personal preference, but I really like these cooling towels. I bought one when I still rode a motorcycle occasionally, and when I bought it, I was super skeptical about what it was going to do for me. And then I tried it, and it really did help. So well I went out and bought my dad and brother each one. They’re pretty simple, and you can get a small one that doesn’t take up too much space. When you want to use it, just soak it in some water from a sink or fountain and drape it around your neck (or wherever.) I’d bring a small baggie to put it in when you don’t want to use it anymore, that way it can’t get things damp in your pocket, purse, or bag.

Wear appropriate clothing.

This should be a no-brainer, but I’m putting it here because I’m so guilty of doing this. If the temperatures are forecast to be in the 90’s (or higher) choosing to wear denim capris may not be the best choice. And let’s not even think about jeans. Wear light colors and light fabrics. Cottons, things that breathe. And while I say light colors, don’t wear white. The Florida afternoon summer thunderstorm will come. And if you’re a lady and you’re wearing a white shirt, things could be a little more…transparent…than you’d like.

Know the warning signs.

You and those you are traveling with (not just those who are sensitive to it) need to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I was once at another theme park near my house in Virginia. I watched a teenager go from smiling to passed out in her friend’s arms in about three seconds, and when the park medics came, she revealed she hadn’t had a drink in hours. It was almost 100 degrees that day. Its no joke. You don’t want to be ill ever, but definitely not on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth. Drink fluids, stay cool, and take care of yourself and each other!

 

I hope these tips help you on your vacation. Its certainly been a good reminder for myself, and I’ve added a few items to my packing list. (Where did I put that cooling towel?) Do you have other tips for beating the heat? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

*Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links. By clicking on any of these links and purchasing the product, I receive a small commission from Amazon.

Top 5 Reasons to Love Disney as an Adult

Top 5 Reasons to Love Disney as an Adult

 

Disney World is an amazing place. But there are some people who will look at you and wonder, “Why bother going to Disney as an adult? Isn’t it just an overpriced place for the kids, with no real thrills?”

Clearly, they’ve never looked at it the right way.

There are lots of reasons a Disney fan can give as to why they love the parks. As this is one of my first blog posts, I thought it would only be appropriate to mention a few of the reasons why I love it so much.

At Disney, it’s okay to release your inner child.

Do you remember the excitement you felt as a kid when the newest Disney movie came out? Or when you got to go to a theme park for the day? Or come home after school and watch cartoons? Of course! Being a kid, you were allowed to geek out over a cartoon character, or play with stuffed animals, and daydream about how the movie would have been if you were the princess (or prince!). At Disney World, you can let go of all the adulating for a while and just let yourself enjoy being a kid again. You can get your picture taken with Mickey, you can laugh at the jokes in the Enchanted Tiki Room, and you can generally let yourself believe in a little magic again. Or just ride Space Mountain for the nth time. There’s plenty of time for the real world. But at least for a little while, you can let it go (pun intended) and just soak up the magic.

There is more to see and do than standing in line for Mickey and buying a stuffed animal.

Spend real time walking through the World Showcase areas. Morocco has some really amazing views and things to look at and enjoy!

Disney World was built as a place for families to be entertained, and kids were the biggest portion of that vision. But don’t let think the adults have been left out! There are lots of opportunities for adults to enjoy themselves. For me, EPCOT is the most “adult” of all the park. I can see where a kid might think the countries of World Showcase boring. But as an adult, they are pretty awesome to wander through, look around, and enjoy the taste of another culture and country. Beyond that, there are lots of things sprinkled in the park that you will appreciate as an adult that may go over the kids heads, and there are many things that only an adult who has seen some of the older movies and Disney shows will appreciate.

The Food.

This blog is food-centered. So it’s no surprise that the food makes an appearance on here. In my experience, most kids are pretty mundane eaters. Don’t get me wrong – some are adventurous, but as a rule, kids just want food so they can get back to the park. Adults, on the other hand, more often can appreciate the joys of a great meal in an awesome setting. No matter what restaurant you pick, the worst meal at Disney is still likely to be miles better than the normal chain restaurants from home. The themes are amazing, and the food is made with great attention and care. It tastes good, looks good, and there are so many restaurants to choose from, you should be able to find something you like!

As an adult, you can appreciate the detail.

Come on, not too many kids would find this as entertaining as I did.

This kind of goes with #2, but adults can appreciate some of the inside jokes in things (Jungle Cruise, anyone?). The Imagineers dropped little things all over the park. Some of the labels on boxes in the Agrabah area of Magic Kingdom, for instance, may seem familiar to an adult. And only someone who isn’t on overload with sugar and Mickey and OMG another ride, will be able to see it. As an adult, you can take your time, breath, and enjoy yourself. No one will mind if you buy a dole whip, take a seat on a bench next to the castle and people watch for awhile. (And you totally should!)

There is always something new.

This one goes for everyone – not just adults. Unless you’re going to Disney World every day (and even then you may argue that it still applies) there is always something new to see. It may not be new to the park, but it may be a feature you missed, a show you haven’t seen, or a new world added since the last time you visited (Anyone else excited to see Pandora?). As adults, sometimes we have a tendency to check off a place we’ve visited on our mental list, crossing it off as being “done.” But I’ve never had a trip to Disney where it became boring because I knew what to expect. There are always hidden secrets, an inside joke, or a new attraction to pique my interest. And on the subject of food, there are so many great restaurants with so many dishes, I’ll never be able to get through them all!

 

What do you like best as an adult at Disney?