During my endless search for info on all things Disney related, I came across some pretty funny videos involving Tom Hiddleston, aka Loki from the Marvel films. For some reason, he has become a villain that people love, so it’s had a somewhat reverse effect on the whole “bad guy” thing for the movies. Maybe it’s because the actor who plays Loki, Thor’s not so nice brother, actually has a really good sense of humor in real life. I came across a lot of videos and outtakes on YouTube, but I thought this one was really cute. It’s from Comedy Central when they were advertising the opening of the latest Thor movie last year. If you’re not already like me, a Loki Fan, you just might be after this, enjoy!
*YouTube video from Anna Egle
The response we’ve gotten on our Festival of Fantasy Parade coverage has been nothing short of MAGICAL, and we thank you for following along. I know that not all our posts are being seen, thanks to Facebooks new policies for business and fan pages, so I decided to post some more parade pics here. Always be sure to check the site every day, we have new blogs posted every couple of hours. So, that being said, here are more awesome pics from the all new Festival of Fantasy Parade at WDW’s Magic Kingdom, courtesy of our photo contributor, Andy at WDW Shutterbug, enjoy!
Stay tuned to TMSM for more Festival of Fantasy coverage and photos! Don’t forget, we also have the full parade video on our site as well!
Walt Disney Imagineering released more photos from inside the mine of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. In the scene, all the dwarfs are hard at work and they have a chalkboard set up to keep track of different gems they find while digging.
When we finally get to ride through the ride, and the mine you will notice 4 different size gems and 6 different colors of treasures. The colors are: red, green, amber, purple, blue and clear.
So you may wonder, how many jewels will there be total in the mine? Well in the lyrics to Heigh-Ho it states that the mine is “Where a Million Diamonds Shine”. So does that mean there actually will be 1 million gems in the mine? I guess we will have to wait to find out.
Well we are getting closer to the deadline to submit your video for the TMSM Idol competition. We got a lot of great entries in the last 24 hours. Don’t be left out, record your video and get it in to us. The deadline to submit a video is Thursday, March 13 at 11:59 PM EST.
Today’s video features Alyssa singing “Let It Go”.
Don’t forget, voting begins at 12:00 AM EST on Friday, March 14th so be sure to tell all your friends and family to come back and vote each day of the competition.
If you remember, last week we showed you 2 shirts that were Frozen inspired and sold at TeeFury.com. This week they have 2 more shirts battling to win and be the top selling shirt. Both shirts are Star Wars inspired. The first features a couple of the well known Looney Tunes characters. I think the art of this one is good, i’m just not a big fan of Looney Tunes. The other features Yoda in a shirt pocket. How awesome would it be to have Yoda in your pocket?
A while back I got the opportunity to interview Mr. Lee Cockerell who worked for Disney from 1990 to 2006. He held several different positions while serving as a Cast Member until he retired as Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. While he was working as a Cast Member his responsibilities included the operation of 18 resort hotels, four Theme Parks, three water parks, four golf courses, a shopping resort, and a sports complex. Mr. Cockerell now runs a company that that specializes in leadership and management training with an emphasis on how to give world class customer service through great leadership.
So sit back, relax and enjoy this article with the one and only, Mr. Lee Cockerell
Corey Tucker: Give us the Lee Cockerell story in a nut shell, tell us a little bit about what you did before you went to work for Disney.
Lee Cockerell: I lived on a small dairy farm in Oklahoma without indoor plumbing except water through the 4th grade. I went to Oklahoma State University for two years and dropped out after two years and went into the U.S. Army. When I left the army I went to Washington D.C. and started as a banquet server at the Washington Hilton in 1965. I was put into a management training program after a couple of years and stayed with Hilton for eight years progressing to Director of Food and Beverage. I joined Marriott in 1973 and stayed with them for 17 years progressing to V.P. of Food and Beverage and left as a General Manager of the Springfield, MA Marriott to join Disney in 1990 to go to France to open Disneyland Paris as Corporate Director of Food and Beverage and Quality Assurance for all of the hotels and later promoted to VP of Resort Hotels. I was promoted to Senior Vice President of all hotels at Walt Disney World in Orlando in 1993. In 1995 I was promoted to Executive Vice President of all operations at Disney World a position I help until my retirement in 2006. I worked for 41 years and had a ball.
C.T.: As a child what influenced you to do what you do now and why?
L.C.: Nothing from my childhood influenced me to do what I did. I went to college and majored in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. I was a cook in the Army and then just got lucky and worked hard and my career unfolded one promotion at a time.
C.T.: Now for a question you probably all too often hear. How did you come to work for Disney?
L.C.: I was recruited by Sanjay Varma who was the Executive Vice President for Disneyland Paris for the Resort Division. He had reported to me at Marriott and now I was reporting to him. We are still good friends after all of these years.
C.T.: Were you a fan of Disney before you went to work for them?
L.C.: Of course…I had been to Disneyland four times but never to Disney World. I watched the Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday as a child and I wanted to be Daniel Boone or Davey Crockett. We got a TV in 1954 when I was ten years old.
C.T.: Explain what exactly you did as a Disney Cast Member.
L.C.: I was responsible for all operations so I hired the best expert executives and managed and supported them. I spent most of my time making sure we were hiring and promoting the right people, that we were training and testing everyone and that we were creating a leadership environment and culture where everyone mattered and they knew it. A place where everyone woke up in the morning and wanted to come to work vs. having to come. My goal was to create trusted leaders and that we had an inclusive environment.
C.T.: What do you think was your biggest accomplishment while working as a Cast Member?
L.C.: I developed Disney Great Leader Strategies which was the tool to train all of the managers at WDW to be better leaders.
C.T.: Tell us what it was like to help get Disneyland Paris up and going, and what was the general consensus from the locals to have a Disney theme park in Paris?
L.C.: It was the hardest role I ever had in my career. Doing business in five languages and hiring everyone whom have never worked for Disney was tough. Some locals loved us and some hated us. Bringing an American experience into a new culture is challenging. Today Disneyland Paris is doing a very good job and the locals for the most part love it.
C.T.: If there was one thing you could change about WDW, what would it be?
L.C.: Have no waiting lines….and drop the temperature to 70 degrees all year long.
C.T.: Do you think Walt would be happy with the Disney Corporation today?
L.C.: He would be tickled pink…and probably be surprised how it has branched out around the world into so many businesses.
C.T.: Are Walt’s original philosophies still prevelent throughout the coroporation today?
L.C.: Walt’s philosophy is alive and well…In fact it is better. Walt would be very proud of WDW.
C.T.: Do you think there is anything Walt would change if he were still alive?
L.C.: I am sure he would as he was never satisfied and that culture lives on at Disney today.
C.T.: While working for Disney, did you meet anyone who was ever associated with or worked with Walt Disney? If so, any good stories?
L.C.: I met people from time to time…. Tom Nabby was Tom Sawyer and hired by Walt. He was in charge of our Distribution Services. He had lots of great stories about being hired by Walt. Also Marty Sklar whom just retired with 50 years with the company. He can tell Walt stories all day long.
C.T.: What was it like at WDW on the day of September 11, 2001?
L.C.: It was the proudest day of my professional career to watch the Cast stay cool, calm and collected in evacuating the parks and taking special care of our Guests who were emotionally shaken. Real professionals all the way. I was in charge of the Emergency Command Center and directed all of the activites.
C.T.: How did 9/11 affect Disney?
L.C.: It affected Disney the same way it affected all organizations. Businesses plummeted and we had to react to get our costs down and we did it without any layoffs.
C.T.: Is there a story or situation that stands out to you where a Cast Member went above and beyond for a Guest to make their time at WDW more memorable?
L.C.: During 9/11 a bellman gave his car to a N.Y. fireman so he could get back to N.Y. to help with the rescue attempts at the World Trade Center.
C.T.: You wrote the book Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. Tell us a little about the book and what prompted you to write it.
L.C.: The book is ten strategies for being a great leader and manager. I wrote it because I felt that after 41 years of being a manager and leader in the best hospitality and entertainment companies in the world that I had some stories to tell that would help others with their leadership journey. My book is now in ten languages.
C.T.: Is there any advice you could offer to someone who may be interested in becoming a Cast Member?
L.C.: You have to be great to get a job at Disney. It is hard to get in. I recommend that if you really want to be there to take any job you can get and then show them your “Can Do” attitude and if you are disciplined and organized you can probably get into management one day.
C.T.: What exactly is the Disney Institute and what is your involvement with it?
L.C.: The Disney Institute is for training managers and executives from any organization in the world to become world class through learning Disney leadership, management and service excellence principles. I am on contract to the Disney Institute to do training and keynote speeches and workshops on leadership and service for convention groups at WDW and other locations around the world.
C.T.: Now that you’re retired from Disney, do you still visit the parks?
L.C.: I do from time to time and still love it.
C.T.: What were your feelings when you found out you were going to receive a window on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom?
L.C.: I was totally shocked and surprised. It was a very proud day for me.
C.T.: Working as a Cast Member for 16 years you probably accumilated some really coveted Disney memorbilia. What’s your most prized Disney piece?
L.C.: A friend of mine had a piece of sculpture made for me out of spoons. It is Mickey Mouse made from soup spoons, tea spoons, table spoons, dessert spoons and all of the handles of spoons. It is about 18 inches tall and spectacular.
C.T.: Which character would you say that you most closely represent?
L.C.: Tigger….High energy and always trying to have fun.
C.T.: If you could only choose one park, one attraction and one resturaunt, what would they be?
L.C.: Epcot of course as my son Daniel is V.P. there and they have great food and wine. California Grill is my favorite. It was the start of great food and service at WDW. Dieter Hannig and I had to go to Michael Eisner’s office to convince him to spend the money to build this restaurant. The California Grill was the mother of all of the great restaurants that followed. I love Rock n’ Roller Coaster….Fast takeoff and 90 seconds of exhilaration.
I would also like to mention that my website has lots of good stuff on it for current and future leaders at: www.LeeCockerell.com and my new Creating Magic iPhone and Android apps are doing really well with daily leadership and coaching on the go tips….Thanks for interviewing me. I am in Baghdad right now doing 13 leadership workshops for the U.S. Military and the State Department….Signing off from Baghdad. Our troops are awesome.
Here is a link for Mr. Cockerell’s: Creating Magic – Leadership and Coaching on the Go! app.
Since conducting the interview, Mr. Cockerell has released a new book titled:
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
I would like to thank Mr. Cockerell again for this opportunity for letting me interview him and I hope all of TMSM members enjoy it as much as I did giving it.
Last year, Disney released the film Planes, this summer we are getting the 2nd installment in the series called Planes: Fire & Rescue. While the main character is still Dusty, we have some new characters to introduce you to.
When world-famous air racer Dusty Crophopper (voice of Dane Cook) returns to hometown Propwash Junction after another victorious racing season, the former crop duster revels in his new career success until a fateful training run changes his course with a career-ending injury. Forced to shift gears, Dusty decides to train with the Aerial Fire Fighters at Piston Peak Air Attack Base as a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT). The heroic, often life-threatening efforts involved are admirable—but seemingly impossible to master—particularly if you’re a crop duster-turned-racer with an injury that can’t be ignored.
Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris), a veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter, heads up the Piston Peak Air Attack team. Haunted by a storied past, he’s a tough and demanding air boss with a wry sense of humor, and he’s not exactly enthusiastic about his new trainee Dusty. But Blade is a pro and does everything he can to bring the new SEAT up to speed.
Outgoing and spirited super scooper Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen) is skilled at skimming lakes, scooping up more than 1600 gallons of water and dousing angry fires. A former cargo hauler from Alaska, Dipper is an avid air racing fan with a major crush on headline racer Dusty, so she’s head-over-wheels with excitement when the new SEAT shows up at Piston Peak.
Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi) is a heavy-lift helicopter who can hoist dozens of trees or a huge tank of fire retardant. The American Indian’s wisdom is vast—he’s chock full of fire folklore, and his connection to nature allows him to sense fires before they’re even spotted. The former lumberjack became a firefighter to help others, and no mission is too big for Windlifter.
A jolly old ex-military transport plane, Cabbie (voice of Dale Dye) used to drop airborne utility vehicles behind enemy lines in Korea. Now he drops smokejumpers at Piston Peak—it’s a lot like combat, but nobody’s shootin’ at him. With a payload of 10,000 pounds and a maximum takeoff weight of 74,000 pounds—Cabbie can carry the smokejumpers up to 2,000 miles away.
The Smokejumpers are a fearless team of grounded firefighters, led by the strong and sassy Dynamite (voice of Regina King)—so named because you don’t wanna set her off. Pinecone (voice of Corri English), equipped with a rake tool to clear brush and debris, is an easygoing southern soul. Avalanche (voice of Bryan Callen) earned his name after triggering a massive slide, but the bulldozer—who coincidently lacks an “inside voice”—claims he was nowhere near that snow bank. Tough and over-eager Blackout (voice of Danny Pardo) once accidentally sawed down an electrical line, cutting power to the lodge for weeks and sending shockwaves through his short-term memory—at least he thinks so. Drip (voice of Matt Jones), an outgoing dude who’s always leaking oil, uses a skid-steer claw to clear fallen trees and brush.
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of the Interior (voice of Fred Willard) has many responsibilities, but none is more important than overseeing the National Parks. This rugged outdoorsman loves being in nature; he spends most of his time away from his office in Washington, visiting the National Forests and Parks and helping to spread his message of conservation.
Harvey and Winnie
Harvey (voice of Jerry Stiller) & Winnie (voice of Anne Meara) met many moons ago when Harvey was the manager of an RV tire store and Winnie was his showroom model. The loving couple travel to Piston Peak Park, where they celebrated their honeymoon 50 years ago.
Nick “Loop’n” Lopez
By 1978, Nick “Loop’n” Lopez (voice of Erik Estrada) was America’s favorite helicopter cop, featured on TV’s CHoPs, a show about two California Helicopter Patrol choppers. Nick, the troublemaking macho young officer, got the nickname “Loop’n” from his signature inside loop, which no other helicopter could perform.
From our friends at the Disney Parks blog.
Big news for Disneyland Resort guests today … Disneyland Today is growing! Beginning today, the official source for in-park social media updates and information, Disneyland Today, will expand to cover the entire Disneyland Resort.
Joining forces with DCA Today, Disneyland Today will now answer questions and provide real-time tips and updates for the Downtown Disney District and the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort, in addition to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks.
So be sure to follow @DisneylandToday on Twitter and Facebook.com/DisneylandToday on your next visit to the Disneyland Resort.
Over the last year or so I have learned that though Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both Disney Theme Parks, they are in fact VERY different universes. Walt Disney World is pushed as a tourist destination. Disneyland is a much more intimate locals theme park that gets visited by tourists. Shortly before my first trip to Disneyland in August 2013 I went searching through social networking sites to find some Disneyland based groups that would have locals in the know. Thanks to the two or three amazing groups I found on Facebook, I felt I had a better understanding of the “mentality” of Disneyland, as well as some awesome tips and tricks to help me through my trip. Prior to finding these groups I had no idea what “The Mad Tea Party” was, or why it was such a big deal, I had no idea how different the parks were, or what a Disneyland Social Club was. Until today honestly, I had a concept of what the Social Club’s were but didn’t really delve into understanding them because well to be honest they were a West Coast thing, and I am an East Coast girl.
While roaming around Disneyland on our first day my husband said “what’s with the biker style Disney vests?” I very quickly said “Some West Coast Disney Social Club thing, it’s beyond my understanding” and the topic was left at that. Over the following months the topic would randomly come up in the West Coast based Facebook groups, and I would watch, or in my standard sarcastic manner crack jokes about “wearing uniforms” and “in park dance offs” and would then explain as a WDW girl the concept was just foreign to me. Over the last few weeks news outlets have started picking up on the Social Club phenomenon, and those articles have started getting posted and shared in Disney forums. As I started seeing mention of Social Clubs in East Coast Disney based groups, I also saw a lot of misconception about what these groups were, and why they existed. So this week I thought I would write about Disneyland Social Clubs and perhaps spread a positive light on them while helping people understand what they are. Disneyland Social Clubs are at their deepest roots, a group of people showing their Disney Side as a group, in and out of the parks. They tend to be made up of Annual Passholders, Disney fans of all ages, sometimes even families with children. The first Disneyland Social Club was the “Black Death Crew” with groups like “Walt’s Misfits”, “Main Street Elite”, the “Neverlanders” and “Wonderlands” forming over time. Rhiannon Mim a member of the Wonderlanders, was wonderful enough to talk to me about Disneyland Social clubs, and what they are truly about. Each group tends to take their name from areas of the park, attractions, movies, even characters in Disney’s history. Many of the groups have vests using a “rocker” style patch system, with the clubs name on top, the clubs logo in the center (some clubs allow members to customize the logo some), and a bottom rocker stating where “home” is (usually Disneyland). Rhiannon explained to me that she “likes to think it’s that bottom rocker that brings all the clubs together. We all call the same park home. That patch is our family. We wear it to show we are family. A crazy kind of Disney obsessed family.” The vest unite members like a sports team uniform, or a frat/sorority t shirt does, and provides members the ability to wear Disney trading pins too. Another way to look at social clubs is that each club is a community within the city (Disney) they all live in. The Social Club vest really is just a symbol of a members love of Disney, allowing them to show the “community” they are a part of, while still allowing them to uniquely show their love for their “city.”
There is somewhere between 20-90 Disneyland Social Clubs depending on the source you are researching and when it was published. But as Rhiannon explained, even though there has been a boom in new clubs being created lately, the different clubs all have a common ground, their love of Disney. It’s not uncommon to see members of different groups hanging out together or greeting each other warmly in the parks. The concept of these clubs after all is to be social and share their love of Disney. The Social Clubs do not have turf wars, or well choreographed rumbles full of pixie dust and jazz hands in the middle of the parks. They do have die hard Disney fans that come together to help others, form friendships, create “families of choice”, and in some cases like with the Pix Pak (a group of Pixar fans) quiz park guests on Pixar trivia and award correct answers with “Up” style buttons. Rhiannon told me about how in July 2013 the Neverlanders organized a Social Club meet-up to show the parks that the Social Clubs are all united. “There were two photographs taken, one in Disneyland and one in California Adventure, where over 100 members of at least 5 different clubs gathered to show unity. We wanted it to be an outward symbol for all those who really didn’t understand what we were about.”
Each club has it’s own prospecting process for new members, but “the important thing to remember is everyone who has a patch on their back represents every other patch in the club. That’s why the prospecting process can be so selective.” The Wonderlanders have their own approach to new members. “We asked each of them individually to prospect because we all just clicked. It’s funny we never really had to go looking for Prospects, along the way we’ve just made some amazing friendships who we knew would fit right into our family. Then there’s also the formal part of prospecting. Before a member becomes a prospect, we hold a vote. Then that prospect has a 3-month prospecting period just to give everyone in the club time to get to know one another on a personal level, so we know without a doubt that’s someone we want to be a member of our club. Then at the end of that period we officially invite them into the family!” The Wonderlanders currently have 16 members and 7 prospects and range from the ages of 3-55, with these numbers including 4 former, and 4 current cast members. The Wonderlanders usually have at least one member in the parks almost every day of the week, with more on the weekends, but officially we have one meet a month. The one member in the park daily occurrence is not something that is scheduled, these guys and gals are just die hard Disney fans who go to the parks as often as they can. When I mentioned I couldn’t find all the Social Clubs on Facebook, Twitter etc. Rhiannon explained “Social Clubs aren’t about being an online presence. We’re present in the parks in person. This is where we enjoy ourselves and love to get together.” The thing that has impressed me the most about these Social Clubs is what they are about and how the members I have met carry themselves. Recently a discussion about Social Clubs and gangs in one of the West Coast based Facebook groups had several Social Club members very calmly explaining how though “gangs are technically large groups of people with common interest etc.” and that they prefered being called a Social Club or even just group because they stood for more than what most people envisioned when they heard the word “gang”. As Rhiannon explained to me in the interview “We strive for integrity in our members. If we see trash on the floor we pick it up. I always use Cast Member’s names and make sure to be respectful and thank them for their work, and we often write guest compliments. If we see a family trying to grab a photo we offer to take it for them. A Wonderlander favorite, if we’re in line and we see someone with a birthday button we’ll sing them Happy Birthday” The goal for Social Clubs is to help make magic happen for other park guests. From giving extra fast passes to a family that could use it, to Rhiannon, a photographer, making a simple offer to take a photo for a family so they were all in the shot helps make other guests visits more magical. Recently one of those offers to take a family photo turned it into a mini couples photo session in front of the castle when she found out that the parents were celebrating their anniversary. The goal is for everyone in the Wonderlanders to be welcoming and friendly to park guests. Says Rhiannon “We are all so outgoing and love meeting new people at the parks. We practically sing and dance everywhere we go…I guess that’s standard Wonderlander behavior! We do this clap in line and sometimes we’ve managed to have the entire queue join in!”
A good majority of the Social Clubs also try to help local charities. The Wonderlanders first community project was the Children’s hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Walk where they walked with a group representing a child that has passed away at CHOC. The family does the walk every year to remember the child and to thank the hospital. They also recently went to a children’s hospital where they decorated for Valentines Day, did Valentine’s crafts, and interacted with the children in the hospital. Other clubs participate in other fundraisers and assist other charities in manners that work best with their membership. But as each group reaches out to help others, they do it showing their love of Disney, and their Disney Sides as they go.
I would like to thank Rhiannon Mim for allowing me to speak to her about Disneyland Social Clubs. I would also like to close with two quotes made by Rhiannon in the West Coast based Facebook group that made me realize, it was time to open my eyes to this amazing #DisneySide concept of family. “Come up to the Wonderlanders and we’ll sing you a song. We’re a club…not a gang” “I love Disneyland. Sometimes I go in a vest. That’s all there really is to say.”
“We’re going to Disney World!” Don’t you love announcing that to your family when your trip is booked! It’s exciting! So, in the midst of planning a trip, you must decide, do we drive, or do we fly to Orlando? I’ve done both. I love Orlando’s Airport, the gift shops, the tram, the places to eat, etc. It’s great. But, there’s something to be said about driving to our Happy Place. It takes longer, but it’s cheaper to drive, at least for my family. So, we usually opt out of flying, and we drive instead. It’s 18 hours in the car for us to get to WDW, yes, 18 hours! So, you might ask, are they nuts? Not really, we just plan ahead and find things to look forward to about the long trip. I’ll share a little bit of how we do things when we’re road tripping to Disney World!
When traveling with children, you have to be ready to make things fun if possible, and get creative. I tell the boys the night before to pack their favorites for the trip. I let them have their own travel bags, which they stock up with coloring books, video games, movies, snacks, and whatever else they want, within reason, because we need room in the car for those Disney souvenirs that we’ll be buying! I did something new the last time, we brought the laptop computer and had a little travel bag FULL of Disney Movies to help pass the time! So, we were getting our Disney fix in ahead of time, by watching some of our favorite films in the truck!
Our journey begins by getting up early in the morning. When I say early, I mean EARLY, around 3:00 in the morning. We pack the truck the night before, so we just have to collect those last few things, and get the kids all set up and ready to go, then hop on I75 South, and taking it straight down to Georgia. It’s fun because it’s still so dark outside, and traffic is clear, so it gives us a good jump on our trip before the rest of the world is up and on the road. The kids fall back asleep, so they really don’t get too interrupted. By the time daybreak hits, we’re usually driving through the mountains in Kentucky, enjoying the scenery. That’s a good part, the scenery. We don’t have mountains where we live, so seeing them is a beautiful sight, all through Tennessee as well. Then comes Georgia. Oh boy. Georgia takes for-ev-er to get through it seems. Not sure if it’s because we’re almost to Florida or what, but it takes so long to see those Welcome to Florida signs! Getting through downtown Atlanta can also be a challenge. They have extra lanes, and you really have to watch the signs, or you may take a wrong turn. Seems like we always hit Atlanta during rush hour, and the freeway is like a parking lot. That’s also frustrating, because we’re just so darn eager to get to Florida, it’s a bummer. Time to bring out more movies or activities to do while stuck in traffic!
One thing I do love about Georgia, is that the further we get through the state, the sooner we go on what I call “Palm Tree Watch!” Just like with the mountains, we don’t have palm trees where I live either, so seeing our first palm tree is a big deal. It means we’re getting much closer to Disney, and that’s exciting!! Yes, I always start taking pictures once those beautiful palm trees come into view, I can’t help it! Once we get to the Florida state lines, we start watching for Disney billboards. It’s fun if you get the kids involved, and watch for certain signs or landmarks, to show that we’re getting closer to Mickey Mouse. They like it, and it makes things a little more fun. The second longest part of the journey is hitting the Florida Turnpike. Not only does it cost money to drive that way, but the road seems to take forever too. We have Disney on the mind, nobody’s got time for that turnpike business!
Once we get closer to Disney Property, we see a ton of Disney signs, and we finally have our eyes on the prize! Getting to Disney Property is like crossing the finish line, and it’s the best feeling. After being trapped in the car for so long, just stopping for potty breaks and food, it feels great to pull up to our Resort, get out and stretch our legs, and start getting into Disney mode! We’ve made it, Yay!! So, we spend the week in our Happy Place, have a wonderful time, and before we know it, it’s time to get back into the car and head for home. The ride home is nowhere NEAR as fun as the ride down. Everyone is tired, no one wants to go home, and the car is even more full than before, due to those souvenirs I mentioned earlier. It’s a downer!
The last time we drove home from Disney, we decided to take a different route. Instead of heading back up I75, we took the scenic route and drove towards the coast. We drove through states we haven’t been to before, took our time, stayed at a hotel in West Virginia, and made it more of an adventure. The mountains on this trip were even more beautiful and scenic than they were on the way down to Florida. We even stopped at what locals said was the World’s Biggest Flea Market” and walked around. They had fried “everything” on a stick, lots of booths and things to see, and it was a break from being in the car. That was fun. So, the kids got to see new states and new scenery, we made stops, and tried to make the painful ride home from Disney a bit more enjoyable. It’s no fun driving home from Disney World, so you just need to find different ways to make things a pinch more fun for everyone.
Road tripping to Disney World isn’t for everyone, but it seems to work for us. It saves money, which is good, that means more to buy Disney goodies with! It also gives us some added family time. I mean, we’re trapped in a car together for hours, it gives us time to talk and be together while we head to our favorite place. To me, that’s a good thing. I can’t wait until our next trip, till it’s time to get up and 3 in the morning and head out, knowing all the magic that waits for us at the end of our journey! The trip is as good as you make it, and if you keep in mind all the positive aspects, you can have a good time road tripping to Disney too!