The Happiest Unofficial Disney Website on Earth

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find lots of great tips on how to have the happiest Disney vacation ever. Explore the side listings to find different topics, free downloadable brochures for you to use in the parks, and great recommendations for websites and other useful items. I am looking for guest bloggers and questions I can answer so feel free to contact me using the above tab. I will be posting new material often so subscribe for free to get the newest Goofy information in your box. Happiness squared.

The Website With the Answers

Don't be Goofy. Do your research.

Don’t be Goofy. Do your research.

I have just subscribed to a very helpful Disney website and I wanted you to know about it. There are a lot of Disney websites out there but this one is one of the most useful I’ve found. It is called Disney Questions and the title explains it all. Readers submit questions about visiting the Disney parks and knowledgeable people answer the questions.

Most of the questions I have read have been ones I have thought of but never knew who to ask. I know a lot about the Disney parks and I have learned even more from this site. If you are planning to visit the parks any time in the next year I would sign up to get this blog in your inbox or like it on Facebook. It is sure to make your trip much smoother and that is my wish for you. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: If you are planning to visit Disneyland you can have a good time if you walk in without doing any research, but that is not true at Walt Disney World. Disney has made huge changes at Walt Disney World and much of it deals with your trip planning. Do your research by reading blogs like Touringplans.com and Disney Questions. Learn about MagicBands and Fastpass+. Figure out if you need dining reservations. G. I. Joe said that knowing is half the battle. That is doubly true at Walt Disney World. Do your research so you are not frustrated when you get to the parks. Remember, happiness is the goal. Do the research.

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Memory Maker Makes Photosharing easier

Photo0019FourBySixWhen I visited Disneyland in 2012 I tried out Photopass+, which was a new program that saved you money on Disney photos. My group had a ton of great pictures taken by Disney photographers, way more than I would have taken if I was not using Photopass+. For the cost of the program I received a disc that contained every photo taken by the Disney photographers, all our ride photos (individually they are around $15 each) and a large number of stock photos of Disney characters and the new characters at Cars Land. I felt that I got a great deal and it was fun to put those professional pictures in my album and share them with my friends.

Since Photopass+ started technology has changed so Walt Disney World has rolled out Memory Maker. It is very similar to Photopass+ but you can download the pictures to your computer, tablet, or phone since all the pictures are 100% digital. The photos also connects to My Disney Experience which is the program that allows you to customize your visit.

Right now you can get Memory Maker for $149, which is $50 off. I think this is a bargain. While you are at the parks you can focus on getting great pictures of your entire group and not have to worry about how much each picture will cost. Once you get home simply download all the picture and share them however you wish. It really is a great way to make memories. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: Even though Memory Maker is a great program I would still carry at least one camera with your group. There are lots of photo opportunities that do not have Disney photographers standing nearby. And of course there are always selfies. My selfies are usually awful but no one takes a bad selfie wearing mouse ears.

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When Are Muddy Paws A Good Thing?

IMG_4222Everyone knows you should wash your hands often, but if you are getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame you can enjoy having dirty hands. Many famous human actors and actresses have placed their hands in the cement but did you know that non-humans have been honored, also. Mickey Mouse, Shrek, and several more have been so memorialized. However, today is the anniversary of a silly old bear getting his day in the sun. Winnie the Pooh got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 11, 2006. I would love to see this star.

If you happen to be on the other side of the country, perhaps in New York City, you can go see the original Winnie the Pooh and his friends. They are living at the New York Public Library. I got to see them last September and it was a dream come true. I’ll now have make a trip to Hollywood and add to my Pooh Bear experiences. Happiness squared.

Goofy Movie: Disney has made a great many Winnie the Pooh movies throughout the years and I would like to recommend two. Pooh’s Heffalump Movie stars Lumpy the Heffalump and Roo. It is a sweet story of friendship and Lumpy is the cutest animated character ever. The other one is the 2010 Winnie The Pooh Movie. It is sweet and funny and all the characters shine. Plus, you’ll love Winnie the Pooh all over again.

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Farewell Mickey Rooney

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Mickey Rooney died April 6, 2014. He was 93 years old and had an incredible acting career that spanned most of his life. As I was looking through a list of his movies I learned that he was one of the voices of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney created Oswald so that means Mickey Rooney worked with Walt Disney in the early days, right? Actually, no.

In 1928 Walt Disney lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to his producer, Universal. If he hadn’t we wouldn’t have Mickey Mouse so it was probably a good thing even though it must have been upsetting for Walt at the time. Even though Walt wasn’t animating Oswald any more Universal made almost 200 Oswald cartoons in the 1930s. Mickey Rooney was the voice of Oswald from 1931 to 1932. He was 11 years old.

Mickey Rooney acted until his death and even though he missed working for Disney with Oswald he did act in other Disney movies. He was the voice of Tod in the Fox and the Hound and he had a part in Pete’s Dragon and the 2011 Muppets movie. Mickey Rooney had an impressive career and will be memorialized on the silver screen. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: In 2006 the Walt Disney Company made a trade and acquired Oswald the Lucky Rabbit once again.  Since then he has joined Mickey Mouse in the video game series Epic Mickey and some of his cartoons have been restored. In the parks you can buy Oswald ears (they’re really big) and Oswald T-shirts. At Tokyo DisneySea you can even meet Oswald. He must have nine lives. I wonder if he is part cat.

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Have You Explored the Forbidden Mountain?

DSC00947Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, the biggest thrill ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened today in 2006. This attraction is the reason I never miss this park. I do like seeing the animals and the other attractions and shows but Expedition Everest is something special. First, it is themed so well that I feel I have jumped continents even before I get to the line. Secondly, the initial climb takes you so high you can see the other parks. I swear I can see my house from up there. Third, you go backwards which is something you don’t experience on many rides.

Expedition Everest is also an engineering marvel which I appreciate. Here are some fun facts to celebrate eight years of Yeti yells.

Five fun facts about Expedition Everest:

  1. The mountain is almost 200 feet tall making it the tallest of all the Disney mountains. In contrast, Disneyland’s Matterhorn is only 147 feet tall.
  2. The entire attraction takes up 6.2 acres and the mountain itself covers 1 acre. No wonder I feel like I walked all the way to Asia by the time I get there.
  3. The mountain is not Mt. Everest. It is a forbidden mountain, part of the story created by the Imagineers, meaning it is representative of mountains like Mt. Everest but it is not the famed mountain itself. Mt. Everest is actually in the background on the far right. It is the peak with no snow.
  4. More than 1,800 tons of steel were used to build the mountain. I am speechless.
  5. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive roller coaster in the world. Cool.

I always make a bee-line to Expedition Everest when I visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is so much fun. Close your eyes if you have to but don’t miss this thrill ride through the land of the yeti. You’ll be sure to see me there. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: I haven’t talked about FastPass+ yet because it is still having the kinks worked out of it and there are a ton of Disney websites providing first hand information about this new program. But, if you are using the Magic Bands and FastPass+ consider choosing Expedition Everest as one of your passes. Then you can just wander the park when it opens and not hurry over to Asia.

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Easter Egg Hunts Disney Style

Image from Disney Parks Blog

Image from Disney Parks Blog

As a child I loved hunting for Easter eggs. We always spent Easter at my grandparents’ house in Lake Havasu, AZ. My brother and I would wake up Easter morning and hunt for Easter eggs. The coolest part was that we didn’t just have one hunt, we had two. The first hunt was inside for candy eggs. Grandma kept these eggs from year to year so we never ate them. We also found our Easter baskets as we hunted for these colorful candies. After we found them all we would go outside. Our second hunt was for the real eggs that we decorated the day before. It was safer hiding them outside in case we didn’t find them all. That Easter Bunny is no fool. I love hunting for eggs and am thrilled that I can soon hunt for Easter eggs at the Disney parks.

From April 10 – 20 Guests at Epcot, Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland can purchase a map for five dollars and then hunt for eggs around the parks. When you find an egg you put the matching sticker on the map showing where you found it. Once you have found them all you can turn in your finished map and get a surprise. (I have no idea what the surprise is but I want to do this soooo bad.)

This sounds like a fun way to slow down and explore the park, especially for people who tend to run from ride to ride. The eggs are decorated like Disney characters and are really cute. And like Easter morning at my grandparents’ house if you are visiting the Disneyland Resort you can do two hunts for twice the fun. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: For more scavenger fun you can have an egg hunt in your hotel room. Buy some plastic eggs and put a small Disney surprise in each. Then hide them around the room and have the kids find them. This is a good activity when it is too early to go to the parks but the kids are wide awake and too excited to sit down. Okay, maybe I am describing myself.

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A Feast for the Ears

IMG_1257I was walking through the Magic Kingdom with my friend, Randy, in January 2012 and he brought up music. At that moment we were crossing over the bridge from Adventureland to Main Street U.S.A. Now I know that the music changes depending on where you are in the park and I often find myself dancing to the different tunes but Randy heard something different. See, he is brilliant in a technological way and he started talking about audio concepts I had never heard of and never thought of. It was cool to learn about different speakers and changes in the music. It opened my ears to something I had just accepted as normal.

Now, my hearing is okay, but things like Bose Wave radios and other high end music systems are wasted on me. I guess that is why I never thought to work in the audio world. But there are people whose job it is to make the music come to life in the parks, not just the overall park music, but at the parades and other live shows that happen every day. Disney Parks Blog has a fun interview with one of these stage technicians. I was amazed at how much fine tuning they do for each event. It looked like a fun job.

As you walk through the parks it is easy to admire the buildings and landscaping that makes each land special. Next time you are there take some time to listen to the music. It is chosen as carefully as the color of the paint on a door. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: If you want to entertain your ears, your eyes, and your whole body then check out the best show in all of Walt Disney World. Of course I am talking about Ye Haa Bob! at the River Roost Lounge at the Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. It is a spectacular treat to listen to and I can’t wait to hear him again.

 

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Pirates Take over Shanghai Disneyland

#31One of the biggest goals in my bucket list is to visit all the Disney parks around the world (when they put one on the Moon, I’ll say around the Universe.) Shanghai Disneyland is being built as we speak and the more I hear about it the more I want to visit it first.

Most of the time I learn about cool Disney items by searching my favorite websites. My best friend, Rhonda, brought this to my attention. Most Disney parks have a pirates’ ride. Shanghai Disneyland is going to have a pirates’ land. Yo Ho! Yo Ho! Now we can all have a pirate’s life.

This post from Theme Park Tourist shows what this new land will look like. Like lands that so many parks are creating I think Guests will feel like they entered the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which will be awesome.

Shanghai Disneyland is set to open in 2015 and it may be years before I get to visit but I know I’ll love every part of it when I do. Who wants to come with me? Happiness squared.

Goofy Fun: If Pirates of the Caribbean is your favorite ride, like it is mine, you can help it win during the March Magic competition. Like March Madness different attractions from Disneyland and Walt Disney World will face off and you can vote for your favorite on Facebook. But there can only be one winner and I am rooting for Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

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The Cost of Running Disney

The smiles say it all

The smiles say it all

Due to my friend’s wedding I am not running the Avengers Half Marathon. As a trade off I am going to run some virtual races through a different company. I am looking forward to trying these out. But in 2015 I’ll be doing lots of Disney races so I’ve started to save my pennies.

Jamie left a comment on my post about signing up for the Avengers Half Marathon. Thanks, Jamie!!! She asked how much it cost to run the races. That is a great question. The reason I have never mentioned the price is because it changes all the time. So just remember, the prices I list today may be different at the next race. I’m going to discuss half marathon pricing on this post since that is usually what I sign up for. 5K and 10K races are less expensive and can be a great option if you are looking to save money. Disney gives out great medals for every race.

I copied this directly from the runDisney website. Pasta in the Park Party is the pre-race carbo-loading event. I’ve never been to it and don’t believe in carbo-loading anyway. The ChEAR Squad is for spectators. You get different treatment depending on what level you choose.

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

  • $195 by April 29, 2014
  • $210 between April 30 and June 24, 2014
  • $225 on or after June 25, 2014

Avengers Super Heroes 5K

  • $70 by August 20, 2014
  • $80 on or after August 21, 2014

runDisney Kids Races

  • $20 by August 20, 2014
  • $25 on or after August 21, 2014

Pasta In The Park Party

  • Adult with ticket – $135
  • Adult without ticket – $89
  • Youth with ticket – $115
  • Youth without ticket – $69
  • Under 3  – $0

ChEAR Squad

  • Bronze – $0
  • Silver – $39
  • Gold – $59
  • Platinum – $99
  • Under 3  – $0

All the races at the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend filled up on the first day of registration. I understand that you can still sign up if you join one of the charities that raise money with the help of runners. But everyone who registered in time paid $195 for the half marathon.

There are other costs when you sign up like fees and optional pins to buy. I do buy the pin because it is fun to fill my hat with race pins so my total cost is usually around $230.

Is this expensive? It is on the high end for the cost of a half marathon; most half marathons are around $100. Below I have listed a few races just to give you a range. These prices do not include any fees since they vary from company to company.

So a Disney half marathon may be the most expensive race you’ll ever run. Is it worth it? I think so. You run through the parks and get to see backstage. The entertainment is great and there are lots of photo opportunities with characters. The courses are flat so it is a good beginners course. Mickey and Minnie cheer when you cross the finish line and the medals are awesome. Plus when you are done you can visit the parks. Make sure you wear your medal so the Cast Members can congratulate you. I’d gladly join you if you want to run a Disney race. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: I only discussed the cost of the race registration. Unless you live near the parks you will probably have to include gas or airfare, hotel, park tickets, and food. Sign up for the race before you purchase your hotel room and park tickets. You’ll get an email that includes discounts for those items. The nice part is the discount works for everyone in your party not just the runners. It can be a huge savings.

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Things are Hoppin’ This Spring At Disneyland

Image from Disney Parks Blog

Image from Disney Parks Blog

If you are still dealing with ice and snow I apologize. Here in the northwest we are wet but warm and the daffodils are in full bloom. The Disney parks are also in full bloom. The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is in full swing. And Disneyland will soon be hopping with flowers and fun.

From March 28 to April 20 the Springtime Roundup will be happening at the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. The Easter Bunny will be there with his bunny friends and familiar Disney characters. There will be great music, food, games, and crafts. It will be a real happy hoedown.

I went to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree last fall when it was Halloween themed. I got to color a fun mask and play a game. The Cast Members didn’t even mind that I looked like an adult. I also got to interact with Mickey and Minnie without standing in a line. They just wandered around the area and danced with the kids. Mickey complemented my coloring skills and Minnie helped me pick up my mask when I dropped it. I took some great pictures. I’ll be sure to visit the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree anytime I am at Disneyland. It is a great place to relax and have a hopping good time. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: If you want to experience the Spring Roundup be sure to check your events guide that you receive when you enter the park. The band performs at certain times and the area closes before the park does. The guide will tell you the times so you won’t be disappointed that you missed all the fun.

 

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