Archive for November, 2011

Impact of Christmas Parade Taping December 2 and 3

by on November 30, 2011

As many of you are probably aware, Disney is filming its annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3. This will only affect the Magic Kingdom, but here are a few things you should be aware of if you are planning on visiting the park on one of those days:

One last very important thing to be aware of is that the Magic Kingdom will be extremely busy all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. The extra crowds actually do not affect the wait times very much, which is why our Crowd Calendar ratings are not exceptionally high. The problem you will face will be simply maneuvering down Main Street to get to the attractions.

If you are not interested in the parade taping it is probably best to avoid the Magic Kingdom this weekend. If you decide to visit the park, make sure you get there early and use a Touring Plan. It also won’t hurt to sharpen your ‘squeezing through people’ skills.

Update on Computer-Optimized Touring Plans

by on November 30, 2011

More than 20,000 touring plans have been optimized since we launched the beta of our new software two weeks ago, and for that we’re thrilled! Also, many of y’all have submitted excellent suggestions for how to improve the user experience or the plans themselves. And while we’re keeping track of every suggestion, three things tend to get the most feedback. Today I’d like to update you on how we’re working on those areas.

First, we’re improving how we predict future show times for live performances and events. As many of you have recognized, the software needs show times if it is to build a touring plan that includes live performances. However, Disney only releases its full entertainment schedule about a week in advance. And that’s a problem if you’re trying to get an idea of what a good spring break plan is going to look like. Fortunately, we have a database of daily performance schedules going back at least three years. We’re going to use that to predict, for example, the most likely performance times of the Magic Kingdom’s Castle Forecourt show next February. It maybe off by a few minutes here and there, but it should be a solid first step. Keep in mind that you can re-optimize, too, when the official schedule is released.

Second, we’re re-designing the way you choose attractions. One of the great things about the software is that it can schedule up to 70 different things in the Magic Kingdom. We recognize, though, that sorting through a drop-down list of six dozen things each time you want to add a step, probably isn’t the best experience in the world. We’ve brought in a great designer to help re-imagine this part of the UI, and should have samples early next week for y’all to comment on. On a personal note, I’m really, really excited to see your feedback on how we can improve this aspect of the software.

Third, each plan will show the expected arrival times at each attraction, your anticipated wait, and how long it should take you to walk to the next step. This information has always been part of the plan, but we were concerned that showing it would cause undue stress if, for example, you ended up a couple minutes behind schedule. However, as some of you have pointed out, that extra information would be useful for knowing when you’re ahead of schedule, too, in order to repeat attractions, do some shopping, or grab a snack.

We expect to have the show schedules and arrival/wait/walk times available before the start of the busy Christmas holiday. The UI re-design should be done in January. Again, thanks very much for your feedback so far, and keep sending in suggestions!



New Discounts For Spring 2012 Rooms at Disney World

by on November 30, 2011

Details here. 

Terms are below.  Blackout dates around the holidays.

Book through January 22, 2012 for stays most nights February 21 to March 31, 2012.
Book through February 28, 2012 for stays most nights April 13 to June 14, 2012.


Holiday Storytellers Around World Showcase

by on November 30, 2011

Christmas time may be my favorite time of year at Walt Disney World. I’ve made trips to take in the all of the holiday festivities for about five years now, and I look forward to it every time. Since Epcot is my favorite park year round, it’s no surprise that it would be my favorite place to hang out during the holiday season. World Showcase is the place to be, with each country decked out for the most wonderful time of the year. While I love to stroll around just taking in the scenery, I also really enjoy catching some of the Holiday Storytellers when I can. In each pavilion, one or more performers share their country’s holiday traditions with kids of all ages. So this week I thought I’d take a closer look at each of storytellers to help you better plan your Christmas activities at WDW!

Let’s get things started in Mexico and work our way around World Showcase Lagoon.

Photo by Betsy Bates

Mexico: Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Kings) explain how the Mexican people celebrate the posadas (meaning inns) prior to La Navidad, or Christmas. They tell guests about how Mexican children center their festivities around the holy family’s journey to Bethlehem for days. They travel to family and friends’ homes each night from December 16-24 in a candlelight processional. To recognize the day the three kings brought their gifts to the baby Jesus, children leave shoes on their doorsteps to be filled for Día de los Tres Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day. The Christmas celebration is continued until February 2, when the Day of Purification officially ends that year’s festivities.

Photo by Betsy Bates

Norway: Sigrid tells the story of Julenissen, a mischievous gnome who visits the homes of Norwegian children. The Christmas celebration lasts three days in Norway! It begins on Christmas Eve when bells ring in all of the chapels in the afternoon to mark the beginning of the holiday. After a large feast, children leave a bowl of porridge for Julenissen to enjoy during his visit. They may leave this in the hay loft after they have fed their animals with the finest oats. The houses are lit only by candlelight in the evening when the Christmas tree is unveiled! This performance is one of the more humorous with Julenissen picking on Sigrid and making mischief.

Photo by Betsy Bates

China: Sun hou-kong, The Monkey King, tells his story of Buddhist enlightenment and helping others achieve it. The new year is the focus in China since many of its people practice Buddhism rather than Christianity and therefore do not celebrate Christmas. The Monkey King explains that though different cultures celebrate different holidays all of their traditions are based in love and we can all relate to that. His story is one of hope and good will with the coming new year. All of us wish for those at this time of year, no matter our faith.

Photo by Betsy Bates

Germany: Helga is the storyteller in Germany and she entertains guests with her examples of German Christmas traditions which have been passed on to other cultures. She starts by discussing the Advent calendar where children open a door each day in December until Christmas to get a small prize. The tradition of the Christmas tree was started in Germany when Martin Luther saw an ever green in the starlight. Since parents would decorate the tree with candy and nuts, the nutcracker was created so children could eat those nuts. As Helga gathers the children in the audience together to imagine the nutcracker coming to life he emerges to greet them! Even if you don’t catch Helga’s performance be sure the visit the German pavilion in December. I think it is the most festive of them all at this time of year!

United States: Here is the place to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus! Also a storyteller tells guests all about Kwanzaa, a holiday which originated here in America. It was created in the 1960s to celebrate African-American culture with seven principles called Nguzo Saba. A candle represents each of theses principles including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. The storyteller tells a fable about these principles and how they came to be so important to the African people. Kwanzaa is observed from December 26 – January 1, when 18 million people all over the world to celebrate their African heritage.

Since the U.S. also has a considerable Jewish population, a presentation on Hanukkah is given at the American Adventure. The storyteller shares how Jewish families celebrate this holiday commemorating the miracle of light when a small bit of oil burned for eight days. The storyteller then explains how families light the menorah and gather together for meals and gift giving for eight nights. Jewish families sing, play games, and make memories to celebrate the festival of lights. They celebrate their people’s perseverance against a much stronger army.

Italy: La Befana tells the story of how she brings gifts to children on the eve of Epiphany. She is a witch who flies on her broom from house to house, climbs down the chimney, and looks at the children to see if they are the Christ Child. She always leaves a little gift before she leaves. She does this because the wise men came to her and asked her to join them on their journey to Bethlehem, but she turned them down. By the time she changed her mind it was too late for her so now she treat each child as if they are the Baby Jesus.

Photo by Betsy Bates

Japan: A Daruma doll vendor tells the tale of how the daruma came to be when a Buddhist monk meditated for nine years after a long, hard journey. The daruma is now a good luck charm for the new year. When one is received you make a wish and paint the left eye, and paint in the other when that wish comes true. The Japanese celebrate the new year from December 31 until January 3 with family and friends. The sentiments of hope and good luck are celebrated at this time of year for the Buddhist people of Japan. They wish to start the new year with a clean slate. Bells ring on New Year’s Eve to announce the new year in temples throughout the country. New Year cards are sent, friends visit, and people go to their temple to pray for blessings for the new year.

Morocco: Taarji is a drummer and storyteller gathers people around to tell them about the holy celebrations of the Muslim people. Ramadan is a month long holiday to celebrate when Allah revealed the Quran. Devote Muslims all over the world fast during this month-long holiday when they fill themselves with reflection rather than food. He tells guests of the three day celebration at the end of Ramadan called Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking) filled with music. Ashura is the Muslim new year when traditional Moroccan dishes are served and children receive gifts. Bonfires are made throughout the country and kids dance and sing around them to observe Ashura while visiting with friends and family. It sounds like a beautiful occasion!

Photo by Betsy Bates

France: Père Noël is the French version of the beloved Santa Claus and he is skinny! He reads a letter from a little girl named Babette who would like a new “little saint” for her creche or nativity set. He explains the creche is the most important symbols of the season for the French people. Babette also complains about her brother, Francois, who does not believe in Père Noël, but changes his mind when Babette’s shoe left by the fireplace is filled with three “little saints” on Christmas morning. Père Noël also explains other French customs such as le reveillon, which is a traditional feast served after midnight Mass on watch night (Christmas Eve).

Photo by Tom Norton

United Kingdom: Father Christmas is the star in the UK where he tells the audience about Christmas traditions which originated in his country. For example, the first Christmas card was sent in England! Kissing under the mistletoe also came from Britain and started with the Druids who would pluck a berry after each kiss until they were gone. Father Christmas even has a bit of mistletoe on his walking stick! While American children are used to Santa in a red suit, Father Christmas wears green, but still brings children presents on Christmas Eve if they have been good all year.

Photo by Tom Norton

Canada: Here a lumberjack named Nowell who looks an awful lot like Saint Nick sits on a stage surrounded by a Christmas tree, snowshoes, and other wintery items tells guests about various celebrations among the different cultures in Canada. While many of their traditions are similar to those of American and European children, they have a few customs of their own. For example, the Inuit children must sing Christmas carols to appease the Naluyuks who are small stick carrying creatures sent to question the children about their behavior. Belsnickles are also mysterious creatures who may tie you up and take you away if you haven’t been good this year! French Canadian children enjoy a dinner served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve before Père Noël visits them. Many Canadians also celebrate Boxing Day on December 26 as a nod to their British heritage. As he tells his stories, he eventually puts on his red coat and hat to transform into Santa Claus!

Our Lines mobile app lists performance times for the Holidays Around the World Storytellers. Alternatively, you can pick up a Times Guide to see when the various storytellers will perform. Each pavilion also has a sign posted with show times as well as a sign posted discussing the country’s traditions.  The international holiday stories are told from November 25 through December 30 this year, so be sure to check them out!

Disney Capacity Closures – Looking Back and Guessing the Future

by on November 29, 2011

It’s that time of year again. Sometime between now and January 1 every person on this planet will visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland. It’s true. I was there last year and I know I saw every woman ever born in line for the ladies’ room on Main Street.

We have gotten a few emails from readers wondering about capacity closures in Florida and California. Walt Disney World’s procedures are explained on our web site. Disneyland’s procedures are different – first they stop selling tickets, then they close the turnstiles to incoming guests. I took a trip on the WayBack Machine and looked up what happened in 2009 and 2010. Here is a table of the closures:

Magic KingdomPhase 3 (2010)Phase 3 (2009)Phase 3 (2009)Phase 2 (2009, 2010)Phase 3 (2009, 2010)
Hollywood StudiosPhase 2 (2009)
Animal Kingdom
Disneyland Park10AM (2010)10AM (2010)
Disney California Adventure1PM (2010)1PM (2010)


All parks eventually reopened to new guests on these days. You also check out our historical crowd levels for last December here on our site.

This information was pulled from several sources, so if I missed something let me know in the comments and I’ll update the chart (list your source if possible).

We hope this helps with your planning. Remember, even on the busiest days, getting to the parks early (REALLY EARLY) and using a touring plan will make things bearable.

In Search Of A Rental Car Discount

by on November 29, 2011

I thought I knew all the tricks for renting cars at the best price…

  • I joined multiple rental car clubs to get their discounts.
  • I search online for discount codes.
  • I get a feel for the going prices with these discount codes, and I check online travel sites.
  • Once I know the going rates I place a lowball bid on Priceline. If my bid is not accepted, I make a reservation (most agencies don’t require a credit card guarantee, so it’s easy to cancel).
  • I check back a few weeks before my trip to see if prices have gone down. If they do, I rebook and cancel my old reservation.

These techniques have worked well for me. However, this week I added a new tactic to my repertoire, and it paid off!

Last month I went through all my usual rental car steps for my WDW Today Reunion trip to Walt Disney World in early December. The best price I found used my Alamo Insider member discount combined with a discount code I found on Neither Priceline, Expedia, Hotwire, or Orbitz could beat the price, and I was happy with it.

Well, Reunion is just around the corner, so it was time to check rental car prices again. I heard a tip to check car rentals through buying clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco. I have seen the glossy travel brochures at these places but never gave them much thought. I’m a member at Costco, so I registered with Costco’s online travel services website and checked the rental prices. I was blown away: with a Costco discount I was able to reduce the rental price by almost 50%!

My only problem was that my Alamo Insider account was not linked to the new reservation I made through Costco. I called Alamo to remedy this but learned that once a reservation is booked, Alamo cannot add the Insider account number. Fortunately, the Alamo agent offered to re-book my reservation with the Costco code. That worked, and I got the Alamo Insider member discount on top of the excellent Costco rate.

The result was terrific: in total (including all taxes and fees), I’m paying $31.23 for a 3-day “intermediate” rental car from a big-name agency.

Please share your car rental tips in the comments. What is the best deal you’ve scored?

Epcot Late Arrival Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan

by on November 28, 2011

I am Type A to be sure, so the structure of following one of our Touring Plans is very appealing to me.  However, that’s not always the case with the people I travel with on a trip to Walt Disney World.  My wife, for example, is not always interested in having her every move dictated to her by the phone in my hand.  For people like her, there are the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans.

The idea behind the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans is to give a general idea of where you need to be at any given time, but not dictate every single ride in order.  For example, in the Magic Kingdom plans, one of the steps directs the user to go to Adventureland and enjoy the attractions in any order.  There’s no military precision of which attractions in which order.  It’s not my style, but I thought it might be worth a shot. 

On one of our recent trips, we tried this approach out as a compromise to my obsessive need to know where we are going next and my wife’s persistent desire to not have her vacation planned to the exact restroom she will need to visit.  Since it was time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, we chose the Epcot Late Arrival Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan for Parents and Adults.  That gave us the time to sleep in, then go and enjoy ourselves in the park.

The plan calls for you to arrive at Epcot at 11 a.m.  We did just that, arriving at the front gates around 10:45, giving us plenty of time to grab some bottled waters, breeze through security and enter the park right at 11 a.m.  The first stop in the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan is to go to Soarin’ and try to secure some FASTPASSes for my favorite ride in Epcot.  When we arrived at the Land Pavilion and trekked inside, FASTPASSes for Soarin’ were still available, but they were not valid until 7:00 p.m. that night.

No matter, as the Not-A-Touring-Plan had the answer.  If we wanted to skip Soarin’, the next step was to go to Test Track and get a FASTPASS.  This was a much better option, as FASTPASSes for Test Track had return times around at 1:05 p.m.  By the time we got over there, it was already 11:25, so  that was perfect for us.  We snagged the magic tickets, then went on to the next step, which was to tour Living With The Land.

This was the point where we started doubting the plan a bit, since we had just been in the Land pavilion, and now had to hike all the way back across Innoventions Plaza to ride the boat ride through agriculture.  The back and forth was not what we wanted, but we were determined to stick to it and give the plan a chance.  I’m glad we did, because things really started going well from that point.

We rode Living With The Land, then followed the plan back to Future World East, walking through Innoventions and looking around at the different attractions there.  By the time we played around in Innoventions, it was time for our Test Track FASTPASSes to be used, so we walked on to that attraction.  Then, according to our plan, it was time for a trip to Spaceship Earth, which was also practically a walk on attraction.  

By the time we exited the slow moving journey through time, it was almost 2:00 p.m.  Since we had enjoyed a late breakfast, we were just getting hungry at that time.  That fit in perfectly with the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan, because our next step was heading to Future World West and riding the attractions there.  The only thing we were interested in was Journey Into Imagination, which was also a walk-on.  So we rode that quickly, then headed to the next step, a tour of World Showcase beginning at Canada.

Grabbing some lunch at the Food & Wine booths near Canada, we began our counter-clockwise tour of World Showcase.  This was next to the last step on the plan, so we had plenty of time to enjoy it.  We began around 3:15 p.m., and kept going until around 7 p.m. that night.  The final step in the plan was staying to see IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, but we were too tired and ready for some other entertainment to do that.

So did this different approach work for us?  Absolutely.  I was very skeptical, I don’t mind saying so.  I love the structure of the normal Touring Plans, and was worried early in the day that we were wandering around and not finding something to actually do.  Once we got on Living With the Land, though, everything else we hit was basically a walk on.  How often can you say that at Disney World?  If you are less of a commando style touring person, then I would definitely recommend the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans.

Trip Planning Questions? Ask Us!

by on November 28, 2011 gets hundreds of questions about trip planning each month. In response to that (and to keep up with the ever-increasing incoming mail rate), we are trying out a new feature on our blog. You email your questions to and we pick the best, most interesting, or just most entertaining ones to answer here on the blog. And readers can weigh in in the comments section.

We pride ourselves on telling it like it is around here, so count on the tone of the articles to be somewhere between Slate’s Dear Prudie and Samuel L. Jackson.

Will it work? We don’t know, but we’re willing to try it out for a month and see what happens. All identifying information will be stripped from your mails before we publish them on the blog.

So bring it on – operators are standing by. Friend Feed – November 28, 2011

by on November 28, 2011

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and you’re ready to get fully into the holiday season. Disney sure is, as the parks are ready for the full court press on holiday celebrations. Let’s see what’s been going on with the podcasts, websites and other friends we sponsor here at in this week’s Friend Feed.

Ready to get in the holiday spirit? Take a listen to this week’s Disney Film Project Podcast, where the crew discusses Disney’s holiday films. There are a surprising number of them, so listen to the show and pick out your favorite to get the holiday season into full swing.

If you’re looking for a one of a kind gift or experience for you or a loved one this holiday season, then check out the new Dream Come True Holiday Experience at Disneyland that includes a visit to Walt’s Apartment on Main Street. It’s pricey, no doubt, but Disneyland Live makes it sound like a once in a lifetime kind of experience that may just be worth it. Go check it out and see if you are willing to pony up for this amazing experience.

One of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is stroll around at night and enjoy the environment. That’s one of the things that the WDW Today gang talked about on their show this week, when discussing their favorite things to do at night at Walt Disney World. The entire gang is on hand for this one, and there are some great suggestions.

Did you catch The Muppets this weekend? If not, you should have. It’s a great throwback to the original days of The Muppet ShowLou Mongello did his own version of The Muppet Show this week when he did a walk through of the Stage 1 Company Store in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you love old time Muppets gags, you’ve got to check this out.

This time of year is a great time to go visit things like the Stage 1 Company Store at Walt Disney World, but with holiday shopping you’ll definitely want to save some money.  The Be Our Guest Podcast is the place to turn, since the hosts had a great show this week on the best resort values at Walt Disney World. Check out the show to see which resorts will deliver the most bang for your buck.

One resort to keep an eye on is the renovated Disneyland Hotel. Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix gives a great visual tour of this revamped resort in this week’s MousePlanet Disneyland Update.

Did you know Disney was planning a resort development in the Washington, D.C. area? Neither did I, but it appears those plans are dead. Catch up on that news and more in this week’s MousePlanet Walt Disney World Update.

Kids are going to be excited this time of year to play with their new toys, and the Imagineers are just giant kids. They’ve been testing their newest toy, the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, over the past few weeks. The Betamouse podcast took a sneak peek at the play tests along with’s own Scarlett Litton, who witnessed some of these tests. Want to see the fun that’s coming to the Magic Kingdom soon? Listen to this episode.

Of course the thought of sorcerers and knights and such at the Magic Kingdom brings to mind the big part of Fantasyland, the princesses. The AllEars Newsletter has a great article this week about the bad rap that the princesses get. It’s a fantastic well-written article, just like you’d expect from the AllEars team. Subscribe now to get more great stuff like this.

If you’ve ever seen the Disneyland Tencennial special, you know what an amazing time it was for Walt and his Imagineers. Creating attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and more was a real sea change at Disneyland. This week’s WEDway Radio checks out this time in Disney history and lets us know all the details.

Speaking of Pirates, the longtime Disneyland attraction reopened to the public this past week, to lots of big demand from visitors. Catch up with all the news on that and more from Disneyland in this week’s Dateline Disneyland.

Happy Thanksgiving from!

by on November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving all! We know that you are knee deep in turkey and stuffing right about now, but we haven’t stopped bloggin’ over here! Take a break from the feast, pour yourself a glass of wine (or coffee, or water, you know) and let us know what you are thankful for from Disney Parks. Our blog staff took a little time to bring you theirs as well!

Katie Siloac

First and foremost, I wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting and reading this blog, sending love to us on Twitter and Facebook, and attending our meets. You keep going and we love you! This community has changed my life, literally given me the tag “kidanikatie” and this amazing position with! I couldn’t go a day without chatting with all of you. The Disney Parks have given YOU, and that, by far, is what I am most thankful for!

Brian McNichols

In 2011 I have a lot of Disney-related thins to be thankful for.  For one, I am thankful that I got to visit Walt Disney World twice in one year for the first time.  I am thankful for the awesome new Star Tours ride. I am thankful (as always) for those liter mugs of beer at Biergarten. I am thankful that I finally got to experience Stitch’s Great Escape, and I am thankful that I’ll never have to do it again. I am thankful that I was accepted into Touring Plans, and I am thankful (and honored) that you actually read what I write here. Most of all, I am thankful that both of my children got to experience Disney this year and that I was able to see it anew through their eyes. We can never reclaim the innocence of youth, but we can all be thankfuul that there is a place where that innocence can be remembered forever.

Ryan Kilpatrick

I’m thankful for new experiences at Walt Disney World that are not just attractions.  From new restaurants, new entertainment options and new ways to tour the parks, I am really excited to see Disney trying all sorts of things for all kinds of guests.

Stacey Lantz

I’m continuously thankful for Walt Disney World being my home away from home.  The day to day gets tough and Disney is my escape.  I’m thankful for every amazing meal I eat on property, every attraction that gets my adrenaline pumping, every character I get to hug, and every tear I shed during a fireworks show.  I’m so glad that I get to share my passion for Disney with others through Touring Plans.  In 2011, I made the most amazing memories with family and friends in the Disney parks.  I look forward to 2012 and many more dole whip floats.

Todd Perlmutter

Looking back over 2011, I’ve made a lot of transitions and great strides that I’m very thankful for, and much of it surrounds my love of Disney and the Disney Parks.  Last year put me on the track of becoming a runner with the goal of running in Disney Races.  This year that goal became a reality, and I’ve run 3 different races: the Beauty and the Beast Royal Family 5K, the Expedition Everest Challenge, and the 2nd leg of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay.  From 5K to 8.3 miles, and as promised here on this blog I’m on target to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this upcoming January.

I’ve also watched my friendships within the Disney community grow and evolve in ways that I don’t think I would have imagined at this time last year.  And when I consider that, if it wasn’t for my connection with the parks and my desire to share and experience them with others, I might not have many of the friends that I do today.  This blog and the connection it allows for me to make with all of you, the new friendships I have made through it, and those it will help me to forge in the future.  These are the things I am thankful for.

Tammy Whiting

I am thankful for Disneyland’s constant improvements.  Be it all the construction at California Adventure, or the Disneyland Hotel, Disney isn’t content with the status quo, Disneyland is growing and getting even more exciting every day.

Tom Bricker

I am thankful that Disney didn’t see the potential revenue-machine in selling reindeer at Santa’s Reindeer Round-Up in Disneyland. I fear my wife would have purchased a whole fleet by now if they did sell them, and I’m pretty sure the upkeep on reindeer is expensive.

Caroline Baggerly 

I am thankful that in 2011 Disney is requiring credit cards for many dining reservations .  Mostly, I am thankful for the Magic that Disney continually creates.  Disney Magic is inspiring, uplifting and hopeful.

Kristen Helmstetter

I’m most thankful for the Disney community, but as far as the parks go I’m thankful that strolling around World Showcase with a pineapple margarita from La Cava in hand in to find a spot for Illuminations never gets old.  I thankful for pretty much everything in World Showcase, especially Illuminations.  And I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to experience it several times this year with amazing friends.

Evan Levy

Kona Coffee; Dole Whip rule. An Epcot’s pretzel’s worth its weight in jewels.
When the gate drops and all yell, “Let’s Go!”; Heading for the Pirates’ Yo Ho Ho.
Banana bread pudding; lots of meat, watching the fireworks from a window seat.
The Toys and their mania? The highlight of the day. Where else can grownups just get to play?
I’m thankful for Disney even when I’m not there, just thinking about it makes everyday chores easier to bear!

And to kick us into the holiday season, a thanks from blogger Erin Foster to the tune of “My Favorite Things”!

Disney’s Our Favorite Thing

The ghosts in the mansion, the castle with Wishes,
A pirate! A princess! The V&A dishes!
A stroll in the park while the Dapper Dans sing,
These are a few of our favorite things.

A cruise through the jungle, a ride on Space Mountain,
The hotdogs at Casey’s, the splash of the fountains,
A snuggley hug beneath Donald Duck’s wings,
These are a few of our favorite things.

Goofy and Duffy and Minnie and Mickey,
Popcorn or Dole Whip? We’re not very picky.
On Toy Story Mania, we toss all the rings.
These are a few of our favorite things.

When there’s taxes. When there’s homework.
When our life’s a chore.
We find our escape at this magical place,
And that’s what we’re thankful for.

The luau at Poly, the Wilderness geyser,
Teacups! The speedway! H2O moisturizer!
The festival roses that bloom in spring,
These are a few of our favorite things.

Cheddar cheese soup and Maelstrom in Norway,
A gingerbread house! And cupcakes on your birthday!
An African rock where young Simba is king,
These are a few of our favorite things.

Gary Sinese and the preshow at Soarin’,
Bright yellow ponchos come out when it’s pouring.
Tink and her friends in their bright fairy ring,
These are few of our favorite things.

When it’s snowing. When we’ve worked long.
When we’re tired or bored.
With our Disney parks days, we’re refreshed for the year,
And that’s what we’re grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving Readers!