Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend is a magical event designed for women of all ages. The weekend's events focus on the attributes every princess posses: commitment, courage, determination, fantasy, perseverance, and strength.

The weekend begins with Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo. It's located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.The event includes seminars, opportunities to experience the latest in running and fitness equipment, and race packet pick up.

There are several races for every age and fitness level. This year they had Disney The Princess and The Frog Royal Family 5K, Disney's Royal Family Kids' Races, and Disney's Princess Half Marathon.

Disney's Royal Family Kids' Races are for kids 13 and under. Kids can do a 1-mile run, 400m dash, 200m dash, 100m dash, or the Diaper Dash for crawlers.

Disney's The Princess and The Frog Royal Family 5K is the event the whole family can participate in. You get to discover all eleven nations of World Showcase before you finish outside of Epcot. There's even a stroller division! Sign up early for next year before it's full.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon start takes place just outside of the Epcot parking lot. Then runners and walkers proceed towards the Magic Kingdom Park. Along the route are friends and family members cheering you on. They have so many volunteers helping you at the beverage and food stations. Along the route you start seeing runners posing with characters for photos. Mickey and Minnie were behind Cinderella Castle. When you enter the Magic Kingdom Park, you will pass through Tomorrowland, Cinderella Castle, and Frontierland. Then you proceed down World Drive to make the return to Epcot. Participants go through Future World and past Spaceship Earth on their way to the finish line.

This was my first half marathon. Disney put the magic and special touches to this event like all of their other events. I will be there next year! Save the Date! March 4-6, 2011

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Picture This!


This article is for all you moms out there who are the picture TAKERS on your family vacations. You know who you are...the ones who would much rather be behind the camera than in front of it, the ones who dodge the camera, the ones who shove taller people in front of you in photos. I know who you are because I am one of you. I know that feeling of dread when someone takes out the camera or camcorder. I know that feeling of dread when the family vacation rolls around and knowing you are expected to be in those photos.

I am calling on all of you (myself included) to change your ways. Let me tell you why. What I know to be true about our family vacation pictures is that you can tell how I felt about myself physically based on how many photos I am in during any particular vacation. As our oldest child prepares to leave home in the next year or so, I sadly realize how few pictures I am in with her, our other kids, or my husband simply because I did not like the way I looked. I think this is true for most women whether they think they are too heavy, they had a bad hair day, they don't like the way their outfit looks on them (and on and on and on....)...I now so regret how few pictures over the years I am in. The reality is that no matter what I thought to be true in the years where I am not in the photos, the reality is exactly the opposite. As women, we are much harder on ourselves than anyone else is. 

I literally have thousands of photos of my family at Disney World over the years. Truthfully, there are probably no more than 100 of them with me in them. That spans 23 vacations over the past 16+ years. It is actually very sad and embarrasing when I actually see it in print. I can't tell you how many times my kids or husband have begged me to be in a photo with them and I simply say no. Why? Because I hate to be photographed. It's ridiculous really. I am not wanted by the FBI and I am not so grotesque that I would break the camera. But even if I were, I should still want to be in those pictures with my family. But I don't. I am afraid of looking like a dork, or fat, or a million other things that are utterly stupid. I know I am not the only one. I know there are those of you who are reading this and going "That is totally me".
What is wrong with us as women? Our kids certianly don't see those things that we think we see when we see a picture of ourself. They simply see their mom. The one who makes them cookies, who cheers them on at their ballgames or recitals, and who tucks them in at night. They just want to be in the picture with their mom. And what about our husbands? I am certain they don't see what we think we see either. They see the woman they fell in love with and married. Their partner in life and the mother of their children. What they want are FAMILY pictures to remember those wonderful moments in life. That means everyone in the photo.
So what brought me to this big epiphany? A few big moments in life, I guess. As I said before, our oldest is only a little over a year away from leaving home. Where have all these years gone and how did they go by so quickly? Turning 40 this year probably plays into it as well. As we age and especially as our kids hit their teenage years, I think we all become more aware of our own mortality. If something were to happen to me, what tangible memories will I have left behind for my children or husband? As you can tell, it certianly wouldn't include many photographs. Photographs and video images have the ability to take a memory and bring it to life. It can take you right back to that very moment in time no matter how many years ago it was. A memory in your head, no matter how bad you don't want it to, will eventually fade. 

Geez, so that sounds like kind of a downer. But that is not my intention. I hope just the opposite happens! I want us moms to get excited about being in those vacation photos. Not only do I want you to get excited about it, I want you to actually DO it. Have fun in those photos and remember why you are doing it. For those very few vacation photos I am in with my family, they are some of my favorites. They chronicle the growth of my kids and of us as a family. They will forever be around.

There is a great service that Disney provides called PhotoPass – this is a great way to make sure mom is included in the family pictures!! :)
Disney’s PhotoPass presents Walt Disney World guests with a way to capture treasured moments. Using professional digital equipment, photographers take photos of guests throughout the theme parks. Instead of receiving a paper claim ticket, guests receive a Disney PhotoPass that links all of their vacation photos together into one online account for easy online viewing and sharing. Guests can use one PhotoPass for their entire vacation or get a new PhotoPass each time they take a photo. readers report that the quality of PhotoPass shots is highly variable, since some of the photographers are better than others. Occasionally there is a glitch and photos are lost by the system (or the photography equipment fails). So if it is really important to get an excellent shot of a particular event or experience, be sure to take your own photos, too!

Although Disney’s PhotoPass replaces the old photo system at Walt Disney World Resort, guests are still able to view and buy their vacation photos at Disney Photo Centers throughout property.

Better yet, instead of having to wait in line at a Photo Center for their photos, guests can view, share and order their photos online at At, guests can also add decorative borders and other Disney-themed elements to their pictures. There is no charge for obtaining a PhotoPass or viewing or sharing your photos online. The cost of ordering prints from is similar to the cost of buying the same photo at a Disney Photo Center.

Be aware that the photos are taken off the web site exactly 30 days after they are taken, so don't wait too long! 

You can purchase all of your PhotoPass photos on one CD. The CD grants you a copyright release so that you can print the photos yourself. It can be purchased at three Walt Disney World locations: Camera Center at Epcot, M. Mouse Mercantile at Grand Floridian and Toontown in the Magic Kingdom

Friday, March 5, 2010

To Reserve or not to Reserve at 180 days

To Reserve or not to Reserve at 180 days

I will admit it I am a last minute kind of girl. I usually wait until the last minute to do everything, but not when it comes to making dining reservations at Walt Disney World. 

I usually start to plan my vacations to Disney as soon as get home from a vacation. I begin dreaming of when I will return to the world I love so much. Disney allows guests to begin making reservations for dining experiences at 180 days from the vacation start. You may think to yourself I don’t know what I want for lunch today so how will I know where I will want to eat six months from now. I can tell you that there are many people out there, the die hard Disney fans who will be up at 6am Eastern time and on the phone to make those reservations. With the invention of the dining plan the days of walking up to a restaurant in a park is nearly impossible. I found this out first hand on Feb 13th when we had an unexpected visit to Epcot. We walked around World Showcase and checked with several restaurants; none had availability for lunch. I can’t say that you will never be able to walk up and get a table because it does happen but not too often. It may be possible during the slow times of year but if you go in the Summer, holiday seasons or during a period when “Free dining” is offered don’t expect to find any reservations available. Do you have to be up a 6am 180 days out to get reservations, no, but it will increase the chances you will get to eat at the restaurants you like at the times you prefer. 

I like the fact that Disney allows you to make reservations far in advance because that is one less thing you have to worry about the week of the trip when you are trying to tie up loose ends. 

If you are unsure about planning a trip to Disneyworld or Disneyland consult a travel agent like myself who specializes in Disney. I am here to guide you in the direction you want to go and to make your trip worry free. So call me to begin booking your Disney dream vacation and leave the dining reservations to me.