Friday, June 25, 2010

Death of the Fanny Pack

I could start off this entry by simply listing the many reasons why I hate fanny packs with a burning passion. But, instead, I'd like to give you some more practical (and more fashionable) alternatives to the neon nylon crotch warmer.

The Backpack

It's simple! It's practical! It's... stylish?! You really can't go wrong with this option. Backpacks come in all different colors and sizes. With all of the variety you're bound to find a style that no one in the family with be ashamed to carry. Best of all, a backpack is your largest option next to a rolling suitcase. For big families this is wonderful.
I once owned a backpack that had two nets for water bottles and a super hip reflector that flashed when you pushed on it. 'Cause you know how hard it is to find people in the crowd after Wishes just finished and everyone is dashing for the exit on Main Street.

The only downside to a backpack is the way it's constructed. For those of you with a bad back (like me) the weight of a backpack seems to crush your shoulders and leaves you cranky at the end of the day. On that note, I move onto...

The Baggallini
These little babies have become quite popular on Disney forums. I first saw a family wearing them in a trip report and decided to look into it. They come in many colors and technically the brand does make different styles. I use the messenger bag style. Because of the single adjustable strap I don't have a pained back when the day is done.
The cool thing about this bag is all of the compartments that the average bag doesn't have. It looks like a relatively small bag but with all of the compartments you can really fit a lot! There is a net for your water bottle on the side. The strap has a flat zipper pouch that I carry all of our room key/park tickets in. It's SO handy to get up to the turnstiles and be able to whip out the cards in no time. I never have to worry about the cards falling out even if I forget to zip it back up because of the elastic band that holds them in tight. The construction of the bag is obviously genius. It's even machine washable!

If you're interested in ordering one of these beauties make sure to order from a place like If I remember correctly, you receive a discount for creating an account and another one for using Google Checkout. Also be sure to order when the website is having a promotion or you can find a promo code. Talk about steep discounts! Check out and as well because they also carry Baggallinis and have discounts now and then.

In the event that you're a solo traveler or aren't into carrying a lot of stuff with you into the parks, here are a few accessories that you might find handy.

The parks sell lanyards that have a plastic zipper pouch connected. It's a great, bag free, lightweight way of storing your park tickets and cash. Perfect for kids to store their spending cash in as well!

I've also seen canteen type things with a strap. They come in different colors and are quite large. If you're like me and you don't care if your water comes from a plastic bottle or a water fountain, then this might be a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day. There are also carriers that will fit your own water bottle inside. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Excitement Builds

In just under four months I will be boarding a plane that is en route to the most magical place on Earth.  While the trip seems really far away still, I know it will come fast. 

Today I seem to be really excited about the trip.  More than I have been at least.  It's really starting to set in that I will finally get to be sharing one of my dreams, staying at the Polynesian resort, with my family.

I'm sure some average Walt Disney World vacationers really could care less about staying at the Polynesian.  Then there are those guests that stay at deluxe resorts every trip.  We have to really save up to even be able to stay at a value resort so the fact that we are going to stay at a deluxe resort, let alone my DREAM deluxe is such a big deal. 

The Polynesian hasn't always been my dream resort.  Grand Floridan actually used to hold a very special place in my heart.  After stepping foot inside of the Polynesian for the first time when I was seventeen though, my mind had been changed forever.  The ambiance is breathtaking.  Disney did such a marvelous job with the Polynesian's theming.  I mean, they have a freaking ATRIUM with a WATERFALL that takes up practically the whole first level!

I can say with much confidence that I probably will never get to stay at the Polynesian Resort again in my life.  There is no doubt in my mind that my stay there will be nothing short of amazing.  Once in a lifetime experiences don't come around very often.  I'm so thankful that I get to share the Disney magic with my family that I love so much.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Heart Hollywood Studios

In honor of Hollywood Studios Awareness Week I've decided to talk about my favorite experiences at DHS.  Sadly, there are some WDW guests that don't expect a lot from DHS so they don't plan to spend a lot of time there.  It really is a park that you either love or hate.  In my opinion, it takes proper touring to really appreciate all that DHS has to offer.  It's personally one of my favorite parks in all of WDW. 

While visiting DHS back when I was a junior in high school, select members of my family were chosen to participate in the Backlot Tour's show.  My brother and sister-in-law joined me in putting on raincoats backstage and then heading out to act in a show that shows how some special effects are done in movies.  We were given cues as to how to act and react.  Being the theatrical family that we are we really hammed it up.  As we were taking our bows, the CM handed me the microphone so I could wish our mother a happy birthday.  It was a really special experience that I'll never forget.

In 2008, my husband and I took a trip to WDW for our one year wedding anniversary.  About a week before we left Michigan I found out that Disney was looking for volunteers to be extras in the filming of promo spots for Toy Story Mania.  I signed us both up and we arrived that morning at DHS very excited.  Our small group was escorted backstage in a cast member area where we could put our belongings.  It was really cool to see Pixar Place before any guest had.  We were the first guests to ever walk through the queue line and the first guests to ride the attraction itself.  Matt and I did our best being animated all the while knowing we were being filmed.  We got to ride the attraction in its entirety five times.  Apparently we were pretty fugly people to Disney because we never saw our faces on any commercial for Toy Story Mania.  Still, we had a blast and would do it all over again if we could.

This past fall I took a trip with my mom to WDW and auditioned for "American Idol Experience."  The goal of the attaction is to give the guest the REAL American Idol walk through.  You audition with two seperate judges and then if they like your sound enough you move onto the big stage to perform in front of over a thousand guests.  You get vocal coaching, hair and make up, and a soundcheck all to prepare you to take the stage.  I had a blast performing at the 1:00 p.m. show and was lucky enough to win.  I moved onto the evening finale where I competed against the other preliminary show winners from that day.  The stage is amazing!  A true and honest replica of the real American Idol stage.  Even if you're not a big fan of American Idol itself, it sure is a high energy show that is not to be missed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dreaming In Mickeys

It's hard to believe my vacation to Walt Disney World is four months away.  This is the really hard part when it comes to blogging.  I really have nothing specific to write about as far as my vacation goes.  All the planning I can do this far ahead is done.  Until that wonderful pre-vacation package from Walt Disney World comes about a month before our trip, I'm going to just have to be patient and wait.

A co-worker of mine is going to WDW next week for just a day.  She's heading to Magic Kingdom with her family since they participated in this year's promotion, Give A Day Get A Day.  They made blankets and then donated them to Project Linus.  I had to make sure that she knew about WDW's Summer Spectacular that just started.  Wishes and Spectromagic are being replaced with Main Street Electrical Parade and a new fireworks show.  From the photos I've seen it all looks really cool!  I'm quite jealous that she gets to experience something different. 

Just read on that One Man's Dream will be down for refurbishment from August 16 - November 3.  Bummer!  I was really hoping that my mother-in-law would be able to appreciate Walt Disney's life accomplishments through that attraction.  It happens to be one of my favorite things to do in all of Walt Disney World. 

That's all for now folks!  Will update soon...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bottom 3 Attractions in WDW

It's time to list my not-so-favorite attractions in WDW.  Number one is the attraction I most dislike.  Unlike with my top 3 attractions, not many of these are interchangeable.  I have fairly strong feelings about the attractions that I could do without.  Go figure.

Magic Kingdom 
3.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
2.  Jungle Cruise
1.  Stitch's Great Escape

Winnie the Pooh is a very popular attractions... for toddlers.  I get that.  What I don't get is why they had to make it so trippy.  If I rode that attraction high as a kite I'm sure I'd love it.  I feel bad having Jungle Cruise on my list.  I really do.  But, there is a limit to the amount of times you can listen to the same corny jokes over and over.  I don't even have to explain Stitch's Great Escape to you if you've experienced it.  We'll let that one be.

3.  American Adventure
2.  Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment
1.  Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

American Adventure, I'm sorry.  You bore me.  Not that I don't CARE about the history of my country but I can't seem to stay awake for 30 minutes in wonderful air conditioning while sitting in cushy seats.  Let me say, Voices of Liberty ROCKS though!  In my opinion, the entire crapfest that is the Imagination pavillion can go.  Figment is very loud and not very interesting.  HISTA scares me a bit, I admit.  I don't like giant lions in my face. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios
3.  Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
2.  Sounds Dangerous
1.  Backlot Tour

These are all attractions that at one time were good.  Indiana Jones, in all fairness, still is a good show.  It's not all that good when it's the millionth time you've seen it however.  It's been the same show since God knows when.  I admit I really liked Sounds Dangerous the first few times.  Recently however, the attraction has been crapping out on audiences making it virtually pointless to try and experience it.  And finally, Backlot Tour.  *shakes head*  Why did they have to take away the backlot homes?  Why!?  And WHY must I stare at movie props that are from ancient movies that were once somewhat popular but not so much anymore? 

Animal Kingdom
3.  Triceratop Spin
2.  Primevil Whirl
1.  Dinosaur

Ironic that all of these are in Dinoland U.S.A.  I love dinosaurs, don't get me wrong.  But this section of AK is ridiculous.  My number three is simply a glorified Dumbo.  Primevil Whirl makes me feel quite sick.  I hate spinning around that much.  The ONE time I rode that I did NOT have fun.  Must I explain why Dinosaur is the worst attraction at AK?  Easy.  It scares the living crap out of me.  "RIGHT!  LEFT!  RIGHT!  RAWRRRRR!"  I did keep my eyes open on it once.  Just once.  That was because a cast member gave me a FASTPASS if I could come back with photographic evidence I kept my eyes open.  :)

Well, there's my bottom three attractions at WDW.  What are yours?!