Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Tampa Bay Locals: Let's Give Blood to Meet Mickey

Over the years, many charities and advertising agents have urged us to donate blood - from celebrity advocacy spots to witty superhero cartoons PSAs from the Ad Council (including one when the superhero has toilet paper sticking out of his butt), but we have our own excuses, including the fears of needles and being dizzy and weak afterward. Hopefully, this is about to change when Florida Blood Services, my local blood bank, is one of the first organizations to participate in the Give A Day, Get A Disney Day campaign.

I know what you're thinking, worried parents - your children may be too young for that. Luckily, if they weigh less than 110 pounds and are under 16, they will be offered to help the donors with food and other things other than the actual donation. All you have to do is to sign up at the official Disney Parks site (make sure you search for Florida Blood Services and sign up for that), schedule your appointment via phone, participate on the day of your appointment, and print (via email) your verified confirmation voucher to be presented at the Will Calls. Have a multi-day ticket or pass? Either donate the voucher granting free admission through December 15, 2010, to a charity designated by Disney or get a Special FASTPASS. (I'll take the FASTPASS any day, mate!) As the Mouse states, there's only room for 1 million free admission vouchers, so this offer is at a first-come, first-serve basis.

For all you Tampa Bay denizens like me: if you like slower seasons and Disney magic, why not give a pint of your blood or your time, talent, and treasure to your participating donation locations.

http://www.fbsblood.org/html/promos/Disney.aspx

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Dream of Volunteerism!


Sure, I volunteered before - in National Honor Society, in Tampa General near home, and at church, but not in my dream, although I was asked to thanks to a disciplinary action I heeded.

So why did I got in trouble at school in my dream and was forced to volunteer as a punitive measure, even though I was out of high school since a year-point-five ago? I was heading home and I encountered an extracurricular jazz dance class (I was unsure whether it complemented an elective pertaining to it.) in a dance studio without any observation windows, I watched the dancers stretch once inside, and I retreated just outside the dance studio to see the dancers warm up. The real dilemma came when the dance instructor asked the class what a "zoo pose" was. A boy did a half-moon pose (a yogic pose) and I disputed that with another yogic pose, bird-dog, and they were not zoo poses! I had points added on my records a negative way, for a dispute with the instructor, trespassing school grounds without consent, and bringing my friends in! My aunt noticed this when she drove home , telling me that I had to volunteer for misconduct. I asked my cousin where to volunteer, but she told me that I can send an apology via email, and I woke up after that.

That dream did not foretold trespassing in a dance studio, but it portended the year-long campaign for Disney Parks starting next month (January 1, 2010) - Give A Day, Get A Disney Day. You don't have to gain conduct cuts and have community service as a punishment - just sign up to the designated volunteering activity, volunteer, and get your free voucher for your free admission to do Disney for a day. If you are a Passholder like me (already renewed my SP), you can get a spacial Fastpass for your fave attractions or some other reward.

Disneyphiles in North America, don't be afraid to help your community and get a free visit to the Mouse House - it's doubly as fun to give than to receive!

Triond Article: Disney Dreams of Volunteerism
www.DisneyParks.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to Tame Tantrums at Disney

Like the rest of the theme park domain called Central Florida, tantrums are a regular at Walt Disney World, just like Florida residents, the attraction illiterate, and turismos. I have recently written a Triond article about the whys and whats of them at the Vacation Kingdom, and it also includes my personal incident when I was celebrating Independence Day at Epcot. Personally, other kids' tantrums are annoying when I visit Disney, so I decided to give the parents pieces of my advice so that many people can enjoy their Mouse rendezvous without wishing for buldet-slapping.

Tantrum-taming at Walt Disney World 101

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Four Sundays of Turismos - Finale 2009!

On behalf of the Whiz Kid Forte and the turismos that either delight or annoy you - we wish everyone of you a feliz Navidad and a feliz Natal!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Four Sundays of Turismos - (Character) Breakfast with the BTG!

Catholics and other Christians embracing Advent know what the third Sunday is - it's Gaudete Sunday - and I'm starting my own tradition by featuring the famous turismo each designated Sunday of the year, Lagetur! If you Disneyphiles ever crossed paths with the herd from Sao Paulo, you have noticed their all-yellow (shirts, sweats, spanx, and board shorts) uniformity roaming about in the parks. Haven't seen them before? Here's a video of the popular-as-turismos Mickey Mouse and a little boy dancing with a couple of the all-yellow members of this epitome of the (in)famous Brazilian tour group, filmed on location during Donald's Breakfastsaurus in the Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom! 

Watch and be entertained!



(Note to my British pen pal Ade, your nearby city's now a twin town with the resort - too cool!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Does Disney Have An Age Minimum?

Even posthumously, Walt Disney conceived places where children and adults can have fun together, but despite your offspring's frequent viewings of moving image media, readings of books, or any crafts or activities pertaining to or made by the magic of his company, you (and of course many adults and travel experts) raise the eternal question: how young is too young for Walt Disney World?

I borrowed an exceptional book, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, recently, and even with Universal Orlando and other Central Florida flotsam thrown in it, it's a joy to read as it is to cite! They have a special section dedicated to the youngest members of your party on a Disney vacation. Most parents were offset and upset that the only thing appealing to their kids are their hotels, resorts, condos, and vacation homes' pools or that open space where they can play freely. The Unofficial Guide recommends that children reach the age of at least 7 to fully immerse themselves in the great-temp waters of the Disney pond, but most parents complain that many still start Disney young. My parents did - Muetti and the late Vatti had took me and did Disney and I didn't appreciate it as much as them, due to cloudy memories and my age (2, to be exact). I fully underwent the first real budding stages of becoming a Disneyphile on my next vacation at five. I met more characters, was able to ride most rides, and fully appreciated it. It was that age of five that I truly became a Disneyphile.

In my own opinion, the age of five is ideal for starting to appreciate the Mouse, but I agree with The Unofficial Guide that 7 is the ideal age for full pleasure - that's the age when I got a knack out of riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Tower of Terror, respectively in the MK and DHS (then named Disney-MGM Studios at the time), for the first time. If you do have children before that age, let me give you a great piece of advice - vacations are all about the planning!  

  • The Unofficial Guide recommends that four to six weeks before your dream vacay with Mickey you do daily family walks - as a member of a health club, I cannot stress that enough. Walking is a do-anywhere exercise, and with an hour per day of family walks, you and your child(ren)'s stamina would more than suffice to cover at least a half day at Epcot.
  • Choose age-appropriate rides - there are plenty of rides to choose from in the World, and it is best for you to forgo rides that look intimidating on the exterior or have intimidating names, like Expedition Everest and Splash Mountain, unless they meet or transcend above height requirements and find it fun at first sight. 
  • Although some parents advise them to skip character meets because they malign touring plans, I beg to differ with this piece of advice. If your children are into characters, I recommend sticking your children to solely face characters. I was not really bugged or intimidated by fur characters as a kid - I liked them as much as the face ones. (I will further explain character types in a future post.) 
  • Prepare for tantrums and meltdowns. Many children want this or want that in the shops or just cannot bear the long lines for their favorite rides or characters. (My fellow Triond writer has tips on the tantrum-taming.) Simply yelling at them or spanking them silly on their, er, buldets just wouldn't do, and that leads to the next tip.
  • Take a breather - do a park half-a-day and return back to your hotel, resort, condo, or vacation home to stretch out and nap before another half-day of walking. I can't agree enough with those travel agents and Disney vacay experts who stress the importance of this tip! This is so especially true with autistics, since the parks are overstimulating venues - just add in the turismos who chant profusely into the usual noise and other sensory overload and it will be the meltdown perfect storm.
  • Finally, speaking about turismos, please pick a cooler, less crowded time to hit the parks. Ask your child(ren)'s school administrators if they have a flexible school calendar. (I recommend November, especially for you New Jersey people!) You can learn more on annual and monthly crowds in my Hubpage, The Many Months of Disney Crowds.
With the right planning and how you do it, your children will get the kick out of Disney as much as you do - happy planning and touring, all you Disneyphiles!

Walt Disney World has a page on infant and toddler travel - visit it at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/traveling-with-little-ones




Monday, December 7, 2009

Avoiding the Crowd Clobber - Especially During The Holidays



I agree with a multitude of Disney/Orlando/Central Florida travel experts regarding theme parks: avoid peak times of the year. Well, beck in 1996, I had faced the worst crowds ever - and to make matters worse, I did Disney dead on Christmas Day, that's right, on the day proper.

On that fateful day, my ex-cousin, Muetti, and Vatti all decided to go to the Magic Kingdom to see the cake version of Cinderella's Castle (It was WDW's silver jubilee at that time - remember?), and little did we know that we were bracing for the worst crowd-wise. The park was packed to the brim - we tried virtually every ride (with the exception of Splash Mountain, which was unsuited for cold weather of the time), and had no luck save for Snow White's Scary Adventures and "it's a small world" to boot. Anyway, we had shows, two parades, character greets with princesses, and such (like arguing the validity of the cake-castle) to pass away the time. Even with that castle cake and all, it was pure crowd horror!


(with courtesy of the YouTuber who posted his experiences pertaining to the evils of Christmas Day capacity crowds at the MK)

Even the planning guide for the Mouse, the Dad (I asked him a question about turismos a while ago), had his share of high-capacity crowds too - on Chrismtas Day 2007, his family wanted another spin on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (which had a three-hour wait), but they had an hour to spare before they flew home. He experienced another set of them on New Years Day - he and his family were on Soarin' at Epcot, their last ride, and they waited 120 minutes for that ride! I wholeheartedly agree with him - no ride is really worth a 2-hour wait!

Even those visiting foreign theme parks (Disney ones, of course) must have been feeling the pain each New Year's holiday. A few months after Hong Kong Disneyland opened, the park promoted their tickets that were discounted for mostly mainland visitors, and that caused them trouble - big trouble. Along came Lunar New Year 2006, and the evil faces of the discounts manifested themselves in that peak season, causing capacity in the park. Even if the would-have-beens purchased their tickets on time, many had to be detoured away from the park, causing tears for their children. The holidays are what the park dubs them as "special days," or their terms for peak seasons, and the tickets can be used for six months with the exception of them. The Lunar New Year of 2006 came as a surprise for them, as well as a curse.







And that's the lesson learned from those horror stories - avoid the most crowded times of the year. Recently, I have published the whens of going on Hubpages, The Many Months of Disney Crowds, and I found the TouringPlans.com's calendar on crowd levels uber-useful and a slice of nirvana. (Make that two, Mickey!) Oh, and didn't I mention that breaks and the all-important Fastpass are essentials?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Four Sundays of Turismos - Everybody CRAB DANCE!!!

Marching band or drum and bugle corps members or instructors who know their terms know what a crab step is - a horizontal walk. In Brazil, there's the crab dance (Port. dança do siri), which is as popular in the nation as waxes and sambas! Well, the turismos of the nation flocked to Disney in recent times and brought the dance to either enchant, amuse, or (for those who loathe them) annoy the heck out of Guests! Here's one video of them doing their national dance craze and bringing it here in the grand old USA!!! 



That's it for the posting - I'm trekking onward to the Magic Kingdom to check out Space Mountain!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Celebrate This Year, If There's Some Cake Left!!!

If you haven't entered for free admission on your b-day for the World (one of the theme park quartet members, that is), you're out of luck for most of you! If your birthdays fall on that month, work fast - the "What Will You Celebrate" campaign ends this year, on December 31! There's a lot of great treats for you folks out there, like cakes! I'm laughing at the idea, because I am a subscriber to my fellow Blogspot blogger Jen Yates's blog, Cake Wrecks! (She's a former Cast Member there - a Jungle Cruise Skipper, to be exact!) One of my favorite cakes relevant to the company and the final days of the celebration is what Yates calls, "The Disney Princess Explosion!"

The pastry chefs down at Disney wouldn't do that - use garish airbrushing, pipe rosebuds the wrong way, and pipe greenery up a waterfall - that would be against Uncle Walt's vision! (I'm featuring it just in time for the remainder of the campaign, folks!) If that Cake Wreck were a specialty cake made in the Mouse House bakery, I'd wish that I would have a My Mini Surprise Cake in the same motif instead - it's merely decorated with white buttercream and sprinkles, but it's worth the relief from sore eyes. The same is true with the Spaceship Earth cake - which offends me a bit since Epcot is my favorite Walt Disney World park!

Don't forget to register for your b-day free admission, folks - and don't forget to order yourself some cake! As Corbin Bleu says, "In everything you do, celebrate you," but make sure Disney does it right!

Cake Ordering:
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/celebrations/customizations

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Week of Glenn Scoby's Scholars!

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why...

No, Virginia - Santa Claus isn't the only person to be prominent this Christmas season; throngs of cheer and dance teams and football players in their youth flock to the World for their big events - the Super Bowls and dance and cheer competitions. Those herds of kids, without a doubt, are the Scholars, hailing from their respective Pop Warner teams, and each early December, they rule the World.

Yes, that time of their prominence is ideal for the vacationer, providing that crowds are fairly light, but I have read many discussion boards (I'm a member of many of them!) detailing fellow Guests' horror stories pertaining to this period. Many stayed at either one of the All-Star resorts and had to endure them, loudness and all. On a lighter note, their season is shorter than the turismos', if you ask me, and at least they rarely, if not, never have those pendant flags held by guides!

For frugal travelers who want quiet, try Pop Century, but if the Scholars are booked, stay at a moderate resort with fewer legions of them (Ask if there's a room further away from them!) if you want some peace while staying in the middle of the Disney magic. If you want to go the extra mile and have some extra R&R, stay offsite - I did it several times in the past. The last time I stayed offsite was at the Vacation Village at Parkway, which is just five minutes from the World and just down I-192 from it (cue the late Paul Manz's God of Grace), and I recommend it for the nocturnal peacekeepers and those Disneyphiliac RCI timeshare holders! Also, consider renting a vacation home - they're more spacious and there's less chance of hearing those sprouts running up and down the halls at night! (AllEars, a Disney planning site, highly recommends All-Star Vacation Homes, their partner, and you can read more at http://allears.net/acc/vhomes.htm.)

Pop Warners do not have to be a pain in the rear by a little planning to earn your peace of mind. My next vlog will include them, as well as the new Space Mountain and maybe the first few turismos!

See ya real soon, folks!