Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheaters' Onion Pull-Apart Rolls

As I’ve mentioned previously, one of my favorite Christmas presents this year was the new Disney cookbook, Chef Mickey – Treasures from the Vault & Delicious New Favorites, by Pam Brandon and the Disney Chefs.  I’ve been dying to jump in and give some of these recipes a try.

I’m making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight, so I thought the Onion Pull-Apart Rolls from the Yachtsman Steakhouse would be a delicious accompaniment.  I looked over the ingredients and directions; not too complicated, but very time consuming.  Seriously, these things would take over five hours to make.  I’m sure I’ll try them someday, but not today.

So instead, I decided to try to invent a “cheaters” version.  As I’m not any more likely to be stingy with recipes than I am with food, I thought I’d share.

Cheaters' Onion Pull-Apart Rolls


2 Tbs. water
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 package refrigerated biscuits, 10 count


Place the onion in a small bowl and sprinkle with water.  Allow to sit for about 20 minutes to soften.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick spray. 
Remove the biscuits from the package and flatten them with the heel of your hand.  Spread half of the biscuit with butter and sprinkle with a bit of the onion.

Fold the biscuit in half and repeat. (Your hands are going to smell really onion-y by the end of this; sorry.)

Fold in half again and stretch into a rectangular shape.  Spread on some more butter and sprinkle with some more onion.  (Hey, I said it was easy.  I didn’t say it was low-calorie.)

Curl the strips of the dough into the muffin cups with the layered edges facing up.  Spread with remaining butter and sprinkle with the rest of the onions.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove and serve.

Who says cheaters never win?

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm on Top of the World

My Disney dorkdom has reached new levels.  Just when I thought I couldn’t get any geekier, I have found a way; a few, actually.

First, I was going through a typical day at work when I got a call from my husband.  “Teri,” he asks, “Did you contribute to a Disney guide?”

My reply (demonstrating my typical on-the-ball response time and quick wit) was something along the lines of, “Huh?”

Ray continues, “I was doing a search for your blog and Googled ‘Teri Sizemore’ and ‘Disney’, and I got a link to Amazon.  It says you’re listed in the 2011 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.”  I immediately flew out of my office and into my bathroom (I had been reading my copy of The Guide in the tub the night before. Don’t laugh; you know you do it, too.)  Sure enough, on page 11 I am given credit as a fact-checker.  I felt so cool!  I immediately posted about it to Facebook, and took my copy to Pippin rehearsal that night to show off to all of my friends.  I called my aunt, my mother, my hairdresser, my neighbors, my daughter’s principal; what do you mean I got carried away?

The second one I can’t claim a lot of responsibility for, but I love it all the same.  For Christmas, my husband made me a couple of t-shirts to wear to Walt Disney World promoting my blog:

Am I a big enough Disney dork to wear my own merchandise to the parks?  Don’t be silly; of course I am!

And naturally, my house was decked out in its typical Disney decorations for the holidays; my Mickey topiary in the front yard was sporting a Santa hat, I had a Mickey Christmas wreath on my front door, Disney stockings hanging from Disney stocking holders on the mantle, and lots of beautiful Disney ornaments on my tree.  And to top it all off, my husband even gave me the new Disney cookbook as a present as well.  Now I only have to decide which of the recipes I’m making for dinner tonight…

Have you found new ways to flaunt your love of Disney lately?  Please share them with me at!  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Disney Magic in the Real World

We’ve all come to expect some level of the Disney magic when we visit the parks.  But every once in a while, we get a surprise: Disney magic in the real world.

A few months ago, I was in a local production of Neil Simon’sRumors”.  One of my lines was: “Don’t make it sound like we’re going to Washington.  We’re going to Albany.  Twenty-three degrees below zero in the middle of winter Albany.”  Right after the show wrapped, where do you think work sent me?  That’s right: Albany.

Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting to encounter any Disney magic on this trip.  I’ve been to scores of bankers’ conferences and let me tell you, there’s nothing magical about them.  But this one was different.  You see, the keynote address was The Disney Institute: Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence. And believe me, the speakers truly showed what excellence was all about.

It started out with me sitting in the back of the room.  As I was an exhibitor, I didn’t rate a seat at one of the tables – those were saved for attendees.  But if the conference coordinators thought that my second class status would limit my participation, they were in for a big surprise.

You see, to get the audience involved Hugh and Mary (the presenters) kept asking Disney trivia questions.  Um hi; I’m Teri.  If there’s one thing I love almost as much as Disney, it is trivia.  They even threw in a few sports questions.  It was like the entire presentation had been tailored just for me! Now granted, these were really easy questions for any Disney fan.  I identified a photo of Roy O. Disney, I knew who Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was, and I knew the historical significance of Plane Crazy.  But Hugh and Mary were really wowed.  They are used to talking to normal people, not Disney dorks like me!

Of course, they were wise to me after just a few questions.  They would ask a question, my hand would shoot up, and Hugh would say, “Okay, can someone besides Teri answer this?”  It was scarily reminiscent of high school, let me tell you.  But how awesome was it that that they already knew my name?  And during the course of the presentation, they started announcing some trivia facts about me to the group: that I had traveled nine hours to get there, that I was there exhibiting as a flood zone determination expert, and even little tidbits of information about my love for Disney.  And I had told them none of this.  They had taken the time to secretly ask others about me while they were doing their presentation, just to make me feel special and to thank me for being a Disney fan. 

When the presentation was over, they took the time to seek me out.  Mary gave me a big hug, and Hugh tried to stump me with some “harder” Disney trivia questions. I think he was just trying to make me feel good, because they weren’t all that hard (like I’m not going to know who Yensid is; now come on.)  They even gave me a few souvenirs:  two small plastic figurines and a copy of Lee Cockerell’s Creating Magic.  I was so grateful, I nearly cried!

Non-Disney people ask us all the time why we love Disney so much.  While we all love the parks, the resorts, and the movies, I think most Disney fans will tell you that the real magic is in the wonderful people that comprise the Disney family – starting with Walt and continuing with wonderful cast members like Hugh and Mary.  I for one will never forget the magical time I had – in Albany.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Tis the Season

Looking for gift ideas for your favorite Disneyphile?  Here are some suggestions, “Twelve Days of Christmas” style:

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
 Booty from Club 33.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
 Two lithographs
And booty from Club 33.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts,
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Disney documentaries,
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts,
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
New Disney Jewelry,
Disney documentaries,
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts,
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Keys to the Kingdom,
New Disney jewelry,
Disney documentaries,
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Extra DVC points,
Keys to the Kingdom,
New Disney jewelry,
Disney documentaries,
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Vintage Disney swag!
Extra DVC Points,
Keys to the Kingdom,
New Disney jewelry,
Disney documentaries,
Mickey/Buckeye sweatshirts
Six Disney dollars,
Five days at Disney!
Four Mickey glasses,
Three cool pins,
Two lithographs,
And booty from Club 33!

Well, what are you waiting for?  Get shopping!
Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Hanging Out

Compromise is sometimes defined as an agreement whereby both parties get what neither of them wanted.  So often on trips to Walt Disney World, we spend so much time worrying about whether or not everyone is having fun, that we forget to enjoy ourselves.  I don’t think I fully realized this until my first solo trip to the World.  For the first time, I could be completely selfish.  So when left to my own devices, where I did I spend the bulk of my evenings?  You guessed it; the ESPN Club.

Okay, okay; bear with me here.  I realize that with no one else along, I could have a quiet, leisurely meal at a fine restaurant.  I could hit the parks and experience minimal waits by utilizing the single rider line.  I could even get in some quality shopping time (and believe me, I did).  But when I just want to hang out and relax, nothing beats the ESPN Club.

I’m not going to claim to be a sports expert.  Heck, the only sports I really care about are football and baseball.  But if you like sports even a little bit, this place can’t be topped.  

First, there are the bartenders.  They are awesome.  They work hard, serve efficiently, and keep the crowd entertained and energized. 

There is a good selection of beers on tap (Bud Light, Blue Moon, Yuengling Lager, Samuel Adams Seasonal), as well as bottled beer.  Of course, you can always go for a sissy old fruity drink, but you’re in a sports bar, dude!

The food is typical bar fare, but that’s exactly what I want with my beer and football.  There is a time and place for everything, and this is the time and place for nachos and wings!

Best of all though, is the atmosphere.  During baseball season, you will generally find two camps: Yankees fans, and everyone else. I may not be able to agree with a Red Sox or White Sox fan on much, but at least we can unite in our hatred for the Evil Empire.  (I’m just kidding, of course.  I don’t hate Yankees fans; I just enjoy sparring with them.  A lot.)  Now, football season is another story.  I DO hate the Baltimore Ravens, passionately.  And after a few beers, I’m pretty vocal about that.  It’s amazing that I always manage to leave the club unscathed, now that I think about it…

Do you have a favorite hang-out spot in the World?  Fill me in over at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Common Mythconceptions

There are a lot of interesting stories that float around about Walt Disney World.  I’m sure that you, being the dedicated fan that you are, already know that these are just urban legends.  However I know that I, in my quest for Disney trivia, have been suckered into believing a few of these at one time or another, so I thought I post a little refresher, just in case.

10. A guest was decapitated on Space Mountain – Okay, eeww, and no.  Can you imagine being on the train below his if this were true?  I’ve also heard rumors that it was actually a test dummy that Imagineering had stand up on the ride that was decapitated.  This I can neither confirm nor deny.

9. No guests are ever declared dead on Disney property – Legend has it that Disney hurries up and gets them off property before they are officially declared dead.  Anyone who has followed Disney in the news the past couple of years can tell you that this isn’t true.  Car accidents, bus accidents, monorail accidents – hey people; let’s be careful out there, okay?

8. While we’re discussing death, there’s always the lovely story about the cast member dressed as Mickey who fell/was thrown into Seven Seas Lagoon and was electrocuted because of the air-conditioning unit in his suit.  While I can’t guarantee that Mickey has never fallen into the lake, any CM can tell you that those lovely little costumes that they sport are definitely not air-conditioned.  Heat exhaustion might be a concern, but not electrocution.

7, 6, and 5.  Had enough talk of death?  Great; let’s move on to ghosts.  Specifically, those 999 Happy Haunts residing in the Haunted Mansion.  First, let’s get one thing straight; Walt Disney is not one of the singing busts. The face people usually mistake for Uncle Walt is actually that of Thurl Ravenscroft.  That’s okay though, because people often give Mr. Ravenscroft credit for being the voice of the Ghost Host.  That’s actually Paul Frees, folks.  And one more HM myth: the alleged “wedding ring” of the Mansion’s serial bride that people claim to find outside the Mansion.  Have you seen that thing?  It’s huge! Her bracelet?  Maybe.  Her ring?  No effing way.  I believe that’s just a remnant of an old post in the ground, nothing more.

4. The spires on Cinderella Castle were not designed to be detached during severe weather.  That castle was built to withstand hurricanes, not get disassembled like a big Lego set in fear of one.

3. Speaking of the castle; Walt never had an office there.  He passed away before construction on the castle even began. Simple math.

2.  If you think you can burn enough calories walking around Walt Disney World to compensate for eating whatever you want, you either walk way more than me or want to eat way less than I want to eat.  I walk everywhere I can at WDW (I never boat between Epcot and DHS, or between those parks and the Epcot Resorts, I take stairs instead of elevators if it’s three floor or less, etc.), but even I seldom walk over 20,000 steps in a day.  That is a lot, I’ll grant you.  Depending on the size of your steps, that’s anywhere from 8 to 10 miles.  Depending upon your weight, the average person burns about 100 calories per mile.  Now as an example, one of those big old greasy Turkey Legs you see people munching on in the parks is conservatively estimated to be 1,100 calories.  That means if you walked all day, you wouldn’t even burn off one of those.  Heaven only knows how far you’d have to go to burn off a scrumptious Butterfinger Cupcake or Carrot Cake Cookie from DHS.  The good news, however, is it takes 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound.  So unless you go completely crazy, your jeans should still fit when you get home.  (Assuming that they fit when you left, that is.)

1.  One of the horses on the carrousel is officially “Cinderella’s Horse”.  I’ll admit, I held on to this misconception for a looong time.  I’d always keep a special eye out for that pretty steed in the second row with a gold ribbon on its tail.  But according to Disney Historian Jim Korkis, this was never actually meant to be Cinderella’s horse.  I believe it was a story invented to make a “Make a Wish” guest feel better about being stuck on one of the interior horses that doesn’t go up and down, but I can’t positively confirm that for you.  I guess it really doesn’t matter because the whole carrousel belongs to Prince Charming now, anyway.

I’m sorry if I sounded like Debbie Downer in this post, but I know that you want to make sure that the trivia that you bore – er, I mean regale your friends and family with is as accurate as possible!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Think Disney Needs our Help

If I were going to rate my interests, Disneyana and shopping would have to be near or at the very top of the list. I receive updates on a nearly daily basis regarding new items available for sale at So considering both of these statements, don’t you find it rather odd that I can’t even remember the last time I made a purchase there?

I’ve got to be honest; not a lot of what is there really grabs my interest. I take that back. Not a lot of what I can afford grabs my interest. Unfortunately, those beautiful Limited-Edition Giclees are out of my price range. And the stuff I can afford doesn’t generally catch my attention. But I’m telling you now, there are some things that if Disney offered them, I would snatch them up in a Peloponnesian minute. Here’s a quick list of a few things that I would love to see Disney put on the market:

1. Mickey Pumpkin Mold – If you’ve ridden Living with the Land at Epcot, you know what I’m talking about. I want one (or several) of the molds that they use to grow the Mickey-shaped pumpkins. I’m sure that Epcot cast members get asked where those can be purchased every day. Hello, Disney; you have a built-in market that’s been waiting for this product for decades. Since when does Disney pass up an opportunity like that?

2. Haunted Mansion TapestriesOuch, ouch! Oh sorry; I was busy kicking myself for not snatching these up when Disney did offer them. Do you remember them? They were wall-hangings depicting the portraits in the Stretching Room of the Haunted Mansion. I am furious at myself for not purchasing them when they were available. I found the one I really wanted on Ebay, but it’s listed at $525. Yikes! If Disney wanted to re-create these or something similar, I’d be most grateful.

3. Speaking of things I regret not buying, I recall at one time there was a Mary Poppins umbrella for sale. It had a parrot-head handle and the umbrella was screened with a beautiful picture of London. I’m regretting missing out on that one, too.

4. Back to the Haunted Mansion, my dining room and parlor would both look great if accented with some appropriate Haunted Mansion merchandise. I don’t mean a snow globe or a poster. I want to decorate those rooms as though they belong in the Haunted Mansion. Imagine the changing portraits staring at you as you eat a dinner similar to the one laid out in the Grand Ballroom. That would be way cooler than serving dinner on red and black Mickey plates, wouldn’t it? (Two more quick words to Disney on the matter of dinnerware: dishwasher safe.) Of course, I’d probably then be tempted to greet my guests in this little number:

It’s sad, but we all know I would.

5. Most of all though, I wish Disney offered a wider range of clothes with a Disney theme. I once bought a black negligee at Mickey’s of Hollywood in what was then Disney-MGM Studios. Good luck coming across anything like that in the parks these days. Now one is hard-pressed to find anything but t-shirts and sweatshirts with a Disney theme. But I for one almost never wear t-shirts, and I can’t believe I’m alone in wanting Disney to design dressier clothes. (By the way Disney, charging $59.95 for a t-shirt and calling it “couture” doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a t-shirt.) Here’s what I have in mind:

1. Imagine the Ann Taylor dress below with a Hidden Mickey design:

Or this sweater in a deep apple red with small apples and mirrors embroidered on the hem:

My rule is, if I wouldn’t wear it anyway, I’m not going to wear it just because it has a mouse on it. But I will pay a premium for things I’d want anyhow that have the added bonus of a Disney theme.

6. Speaking of themes: Can someone please let Disney know the term “Disney Villain” is not synonymous with Nightmare Before Christmas? I like Jack and Sally as much as the next person, but it seems to me like they are squeezing out all of the Disney Villains. I need more Maleficent and Wicked Queen!

7. That reminds me: Halloween Costumes. I am 38 years old. There is no way I’m dressing up as Minnie Mouse for Halloween. Queen Narissa from Enchanted on the other hand:

Heck yeah, I’d wear that!

How about you? What items would you love to see Disney make available for purchase? Please, please, please, let me know over at I’d really like to hear your ideas!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just Who Is Living In Fantasyland?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Disney has revamped their plans for the Fantasyland expansion.  Originally, the plans called for a new Little Mermaid ride, as well as increasing the size of Dumbo the Flying Elephant and creating a circus tent to house it in.  Pixie Hollow, a character meet-and-greet area, was to be added for guests to interact with Tinker Bell and her fairy friends.  Additionally, guests were to be able to visit their favorite princesses in their own themed attractions: celebrate Aurora's birthday (that’s Sleeping Beauty, if you weren’t sure), dance with Cinderella, and frolic with Belle in Beast's castle, which would also include a new themed restaurant.

Disney immediately started receiving a lot of flak.  Many who reviewed these plans found them to be too focused on girls, without enough appeal for boys.   It appears the new Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Tom Staggs, agrees.  According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Staggs claims designers are attempting to rebalance the plans, which initially tilted heavily towards young girls by emphasizing attractions and experiences built around Disney’s stable of animated-movie princesses.  

Do the critics have a point?  Absolutely.  Even with the renaming of Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel to the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (I still haven’t figured out how much of a difference that’s supposed to make), Fantasyland is a little girl’s idea of heaven.  Heck, it’s my idea of heaven.  So I’m not surprised to find out it’s not necessarily appealing to little boys.  But part of me has to ask, “so what?

Now, before you get your panties all in a bunch, let me explain.  Yes, there is a severe princess bias in Fantasyland.  But there should be.  The princesses are the backbone of the Disney fantasy/fairy tale franchise.  They are Fantasyland.  Are they more appealing to girls than boys?  You bet.  Fortunately however, Tomorrowland is right around the corner.  I mean hello, you’ve been to Tomorrowland, right?  If that area isn’t designed specifically for 10-year-old boys, nothing is.  First, there’s Stitch burping chili dogs in your face.  If you are not a prepubescent male and you find that appealing, please keep that information to yourself.  I just don’t want to know. 

Next, there’s the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.  I’m sincerely hoping Disney isn’t trying to convince us that in the future all cars will only go 7 m.p.h.  If so, is it any wonder I want to escape to Fantasyland?  Everything else in Tomorrowland I’m willing to concede at least has the possibility of being as appealing to girls as boys, even if Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (teenage boys will love the acronym) and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin could be argued to be more boy-centric. 

If we’re really going to look at the big picture, I think society as a whole should be blamed for this sexual segregation, not Disney.  After all, we see nothing wrong with a girl liking Space Mountain, but get up in arms about a boy visiting Pixie Hollow.  I say that if the boy has the guts to admit he wants to visit fairies and princesses, more power to him!

Do I think Disney is making the right move with the change in plans?  For me, it has nothing to do with male versus female.  I’m far more interested in attractions versus character meet-and-greets.  My problem with the Fantasyland expansion has nothing to do with the theme; it’s that tons of money is being spent, but only one new bona fide attraction is being added.  If they want to ditch the princess parties and add some more E-ticket rides, I unequivocally vote yes, no matter if they are princess or pirate themed! Here’s a thought: many in the Disney community have been begging for more villain-themed attractions.  What better place for them than Fantasyland? 

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Might Just be Getting Cynical

A couple of years ago, I bought my husband a sweatshirt at JCPenney.  It was on sale, and curious to know how much of a discount I got, I removed all of the sale stickers when I got home to reveal the original price.  You can imagine how irked I was when I saw that the original price was lower than the price that was showing the tag.  They had marked the price up, in order to put it on sale and make me feel like I was getting a deal.  Needless to say, I was angry.

I mention this because I feel almost as though Disney is currently doing something similar.  They recently announced that adult ticket prices were going up $3 (from $79 to $82 per day), and a child’s ticket would increase $6 (from $68 to $74).  That’s a 3.8% increase on adult tickets and an 8.8% increase on a child’s ticket!

Of course, to remove this unpalatable taste from our mouths, Disney almost immediately announced some discounts for next year.  There’s a Free Dining offer for select dates 10/01/1009/29/11, a $500 gift card option for qualifying bookings during selected times between October 2010 and February 2011, and even some room-only offers.  This leads me to wonder: did Disney raise their prices specifically so that they could try to lure people with new discounts?  Or did they offer the discounts to distract us from the price increases?

On the other hand, it’s very possible that this is just a “cost of doing business” sort of thing, and I’m reading too much into it.  That said, I didn’t get an 8.8% raise this year, or even a 3.8% raise; did you?  Do you think Disney is pulling a “JCPenney”, or do you think these are totally unrelated stories?  Let me know at!  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Room for 1,000? I’ll Volunteer!

Geez Louise; I’m out of the loop for one weekend, and I miss one of the best Disney rumors in a while.  I spent the entire weekend working on charity fundraisers, community theatre, and family obligations, so I didn’t read about this until Monday morning.  I’m sure you’ve already heard about it, but it was just too interesting to resist discussing.

According to, WDW Today, and Inside the Magic (I’m sure there are others discussing this, but those are the ones I’ve encountered thus far) a survey is floating around amongst Disney guests to see what they think of proposed Haunted Mansion and Royal themed rooms at Disney’s Moderate Resorts, along the lines of the Pirate-themed rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

When I first I heard of the Royal rooms, I was picturing something in the pink and purple Disney Princess color scheme that always seems to feature so prevalently in the Princess merchandise at the Disney Store.  I was, shall we say, less than thrilled.  Once I saw a proposed rendition of the room, however, I changed my tune.  Here’s a picture from WDW Magic’s forums:

To me, this looks like a scaled-down re-creation of the suite inside Cinderella Castle, and I would very much enjoy staying in one of these rooms.  Because let’s face it; a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite seems about as likely for me as a lottery win.

But we’re not kidding anyone; the idea that really got my heart racing was the Haunted Mansion room proposal. WDW Magic quotes the survey as saying, “Come spend the night with a few of the happy haunts who play in an enchanted bedroom inspired by the Haunted Mansion. Rest atop the floating Doom Buggy beds with a couple of friendly spooks and watch glow-in-the-dark, cartoon-like footsteps mysteriously appear as the evening sets in. A sliding bookcase creates a hidden passage to the bathroom and is the perfect hiding place for a hitch-hiking ghost. Oversized furnishings with curvy lines and bright colors add to the whimsy in the room. Guests will delight in finding the hidden special effects that play up the merry, rather than scary, room ambiance.”

On the minus side, this mock-up reminds me more of Dr. Seuss than Master Gracey.  I guess I understand, though.  I mean, it probably isn’t a good idea to have your five-year-old wake up in the middle of the night and have Phineas, Gus, and Ezra staring at him from the edge of his bed.  And I love the hidden passage to the bathroom behind the bookcase.  What a marvelous touch!

Of course, there are many unanswered questions, like: What would the cost beHow many of these rooms would be available?  And where would these rooms go?  This is entirely speculation on my part, of course, but I would think the pricing would be similar to that of the Pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach.  In other words, about $30 more per night than a regular moderate room.  I have no idea how many of these rooms Disney would create, but if I were Disney, I’d make as many of the Haunted Mansion rooms as the Royal, Pirate, and Nemo rooms combined.  I have a feeling they will be very popular. 

The most interesting question to me, however, is where Disney would put them.  As I listened to the WDW Today team discuss this, I was screaming at my MP3 player where I thought they should go.  Fortunately Matt, Mike, and Len agreed with me.  The mansions in the Magnolia Bend section of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort would be the perfect setting for the Haunted Mansion rooms (very reminiscent of the theming of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion), and Port Orleans French Quarter would be a nice fit for the Royal rooms.  After all, Princess Tiana deserves some nice digs, don’t you think? (Although my daughter Kira says that the rooms look more like Charlotte’s style than Tiana’s.)

Again, let me emphasize that this is all speculation.  Disney has released nothing on this themselves.  And we’ve certainly never heard anything from Disney on the last rumor I discussed that was based on a survey; that of a new World Showcase pavilion, in  (A quick note to Disney: I stand by my assertion in that post that World Showcase needs an E-Ticket attraction, and a Russia pavilion would be the perfect home for it.  I’m just saying…)

Do you think Disney should move forward with these rooms?  Would you pay extra to stay there?  Where do you think they should go?  Speak your piece over at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's a Rich Man's World

I wish I had as much money as Disney seems to think I do.

I’m sure it’s nothing personal, but the Disney Corporation seems bent on making me feel poor. I don’t generally think I am.  We’re a typical family; two incomes, a mortgage payment, two car payments, one daughter who’ll be going to college in a few years, and two dogs.  Granted, I’d probably have more disposable income to send to Disney if I didn’t have Ann Taylor and Williams Sonoma locations permanently programmed into my GPS, but we won’t go there.

But whenever Disney comes out with a new and exciting travel option, I always find myself wondering who in heaven’s name (outside of lottery winners and Hollywood moguls) can afford these things.

Take for example, the 12 Night Northern European Capital Cities Cruise that Disney Cruise line offered earlier this year.  It sounded incredible.  Departing out of Dover, England, the Disney Magic sailed to Scandinavian ports such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm, then on to Warnemunde, Germany, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The Disney Magic spent the night in St. Petersburg, allowing Disney Cruise Line guests time to experience the “Cultural Capital of Russia” or use the second day to book a shore excursion to Moscow. I think this sounds incredible.  Unfortunately, so does the price.  Prices started, started, at $3,649 per person for a category 11 stateroom, double occupancy.  And this doesn’t include airfare.  So not counting incidentals, for a couple to just fly from Cleveland to London (find your own way from there to Dover; I didn’t see any flights), take the cruise and fly home, we are taking a starting price of $9,176, plus tax.  That’s, um, not in my budget. Neither are the consolation gifts I’d have to buy Kira for leaving her at home.

Equally tempting and yet totally out of my reach are some of the Adventures by Disney options.  These sound fabulous.  There’s the 6-night England and France Family Vacation (Cities of Knights and Lights) that includes a stage show, visits to Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Notre Dame Cathedral, Versailles, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.  I would love this.  But for Ray, Kira, and I (including airfare from Cleveland to London and then from Paris back home) we are talking a starting price of $14,793.  (You didn’t really want to go to college did you, Kira?)

What actually prompted me to think of this, however, was the latest ABD trip announced by Disney.  The 7-night Egypt Family Vacation includes a camel ride past the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza, 3 nights in Cairo, a 3-night Nile cruise, and a tour the temples of Philae, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Karnak and Luxor, plus the tombs of Ramses VI and King Tut in the Valley of the Kings. For nothing but the ABD trip and airfare for the three of us, the starting price is a mere $14,777.  (I better not mention this one to Kira.  She might actually choose this over a year in college.)  Also included in of this one, however, is the service of an armed guard.  Disney requires that your group have an armed guard accompanying you at all times.  Doesn’t that just make you feel warm and cozy inside?

I’m not saying that Disney’s prices are out of line.  I’m sure that if I could ever afford them, I’d feel that they were worth every penny.  I’m just saying that Disney is tempting me beyond what I can bear, here!

Am I just out of touch with the cost of vacations these days?  Can you afford these?  And if so, would you like to pay for me to come along as a babysitter for your kids?  Let me know over at!  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mea Culpa

Stitch Kingdom recently posted to Facebook that the intro to my article “Let the Memories Begin” looked suspiciously like a news blurb they had written earlier.  Upon reviewing them side by side, I admit that they are correct, and that I worded my intro much more similarly to their press release than I ought to have.  My sincerest apologies to them, and to all of my readers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What Do You Miss?

I’m missing Walt Disney World right now.  Big surprise, right?  Of course, non-Disneyphiles don’t get it, but you do.  Odds are, you are missing WDW right now, too.  Here’s what I’m pining for the most:

  • Disney Service – I spend my whole life seeing to other people’s needs: my boss, my customers, my husband, my daughter, my extended family and friends.  At Walt Disney World, there is an entire staff of people dedicated to taking care of me.  What’s not to love about that?  And while other places pay lip service to customer care, Disney takes it seriously.
  • Lack of Responsibility – I admit it: I take my work laptop and cell phone with me to WDW, but I don’t handle work issues unless they are extremely urgent.  And no cooking, no dishes, no laundry, no housework = absolute heaven!
  • Disney Dining – Whether I’m in the mood for ice cream for dinner or a seven course meal with wine pairings, Disney has me covered!
  • Shopping – I could spend an entire WDW vacation doing nothing but shopping.  Once again, I’m sure you find the surprise overwhelming.
  • Family Time – One of Walt’s original reasons for building Disneyland was to provide an atmosphere where the entire family could have fun together.  Walt Disney World delivers. I love having all of that time with Ray and Kira!
  • Entertainment – Rides, shows, street performers, parades, fireworks: if you are bored at WDW, you have no one to blame but yourself.
  • Florida – I love the state of Florida.  I’m too scared of reptiles and annoyed by insects to ever move there, but it is my favorite place to visit.  Sunshine, sand, and palm trees all add up to sheer bliss in my book.  And drinks with little umbrellas in them, of course.
  • Immersive Experience – You’ve heard the expression about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts?  That describes Walt Disney World to a T.  The landscaping is great, the ambient sights and smells are wonderful, the attention to detail is impeccable, but no one individual aspect of these defines the Disney experience.  It’s the way they all come together you to envelop you in a wonderful world separate from the rest of the planet that makes all of the expense, planning, and logistical concerns worthwhile.

So why are you wishing you were in Walt Disney World right now?  Let me know over at!  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Who Has Time to Wait for a Prince to Come?

My original plan was to make today’s post about the evolution of the Disney Princes throughout the years.  I was going to call it Prince and the Evolution.  (Get it?  It’s a play on Prince and the Rev – forget it.  It sounded much more clever in my head.)  But then I decided: why limit myself to just princes?   After all, royalty is rather hard to come by these days.  So instead I’m going to review some of Disney’s animated leading men throughout the years to see if we think they’ve grown over time.  I won’t cover all of them (because Pinocchio and Dumbo just aren’t romantic leads in my book, and Donald’s pursuit of Aurora Miranda doesn’t quite qualify, either).

The Prince (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937) – Dude, you didn’t even get a name. You don’t fight the villain, you get hardly any lines, and the dwarfs get billing over you.  But I guess when Snow White has an evil stepmother plotting to kill her, she doesn’t have much time to screen potential princes.

Prince Charming (Cinderella, 1950) – Well, at least you get a name, sort of.  And you and Cinderella get a little time to know each other before the wedding.  But once again, it’s a good thing that stepmothers are so hard to live with.

Peter Pan (Peter Pan, 1953) – He’s trying to simultaneously juggle Wendy, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily and the mermaids, and can’t understand why any of them would get upset.  We’ve all dated this guy and it’s true; he’s never going to grow up.

Tramp (Lady and the Tramp, 1955) – One of the first signs that we get from Disney that a guy doesn’t have to have a fancy pedigree to be a keeper.  Too bad he’s not human.

Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty, 1959) – Finally, we get a guy who likes the girl for who she is, is willing to stand up to his father (with whom he actually has a good relationship), defeats the villain, and has a sense of humor. He even has a great horse.  We are heading in the right direction!

Thomas O’Malley (The Aristocats, 1960) – Sure, he’s good with the kids, but Duchess: he’s an ally cat.  Do you really think he’s going to be a faithful, responsible mate?  I’m just glad you are financially stable in your own right, honey.

Robin Hood (Robin Hood, 1973) – He really is a fox.  This may have been my first crush, that’s all I’m saying. 

Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988) – I’m not really sure who the romantic lead is here – is it Roger or Eddie Valiant?  Either way, a woman appreciates a man who can make her laugh.

Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid, 1989) – Yes, he gets bamboozled by the scheming witch, but what guy hasn’t?  He makes the right choice in the end.  Another prince worthy of the title. 

Beast (Beauty and the Beast, 1991) – Well, at least we know she wasn’t into him for his looks.  Or his witty repartee.  Or his ability to make a good first impression.  And does he have a name?  And why, in all of the Disney marketing, has he reverted back to beast form? But I guess considering Belle’s options, I can see why he was her choice.

Aladdin (Aladdin, 1992) – At last, it’s the guy who marries to get the title.  He worked hard for it, though, and showed his worth as “a diamond in the rough”.

Simba (The Lion King, 1994) – I know he had it rough for awhile, but with Nala by his side I think he’s got a good chance.  Nala is the one in this story who is really worth her weight in gold, in my opinion.

John Smith (Pocahontas, 1995) – He’s adventuresome and brave (and apparently a lot less prejudiced than the actor who voiced him) but other than that, I just don’t see a whole lot to recommend him.  It is possible that my feelings about the actor have influenced my opinion of the character, however.

Phoebus (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996) Quasimodo is the title character, but I guess “leading man” status goes to Phoebus.  He was brave and loyal, but I always felt a little guilty about rooting for him to get Esmeralda.

Hercules (Hercules, 1997) – In the end, it’s good to be the son of a god.

Li Shang (Mulan, 1998) – Brave, strong, intelligent, handsome, fair, and good under pressure: “Sign me up for the next war” indeed!

Tarzan (Tarzan, 1999) – I hate to sound like a snob, but unless you are legitimately stranded in the jungle, I fail to see how this guy can hold any appeal for you, outside of a sociology experiment.

I think it’s best if we skip ahead 10 years (because if anyone in say The Emperor’s New Groove is your idea of a leading man, we need to have a little chat) to:

Prince Naveen (The Princess and the Frog, 2009) – This was a beautiful film, I loved Tiana, Facilier was a good villain, but Naveen was the weak link in the chain for me.  Yes he was handsome, but if he’s going to be that useless, he’d better be a whole lot more charming.

That brings us to Flynn Rider in the upcoming Tangled.  What kind of leading man will he be?  There’s no denying that he’s a hotty hotsome.  But he also seems pretty darn full of himself.  Can he pull it off, a la Puck in Glee , or are we going to end up with a version of Gaston that manages to somehow redeem himself in the end?  Let me know what you think over at!  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Let the Memories Begin

A recent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts offers up a service mark with the name Let the Memories Begin. There is no additional information (that I know of) beyond the service mark itself, but it certainly does lend itself to a marketing slogan.  Of course, only time will tell.  That said, it brought to mind some of my favorite Disney marketing campaigns of the past.  I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, so I thought I’d share.  I was going to rank them according to my favorites, but I found it impossible to choose.  I hope you enjoy them!

Too Excited to Sleep:

When you Wish Upon a Star:

Remember the Magic:

Magic Happens:

Talk to Me in That Special Way:

Voice of Experience:

Be Our Guest:

Be Our Guest # 2:

Waiting My Whole Life:

Happiest Homecoming:

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Dear Disney Fans, defines the word rumor as: “a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts”. I mention this because some Disney fans appear to be confusing “rumor” with “fact”. Fact is: “a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true”.

A few Disney fans seem to be taking umbrage when rumors reported on unofficial Disney sites don't pan out. I'm not going to mention any other names, but I for one certainly mentioned some rumors that have been floating around. And let’s be honest; the only “inside scoop” I have is the internet and a few friends that used to work at Walt Disney World. I'm sure people more established in the Disney community have far better resources at their disposal than I do. To put it bluntly, I'm a complete nonentity; just another Disney nut. But no matter how good a Disney blogger’s contacts may be, I can't see how anyone can get upset with them if their stories don't pan out. Nor can I imagine calling into question their honesty, integrity, or intelligence for sharing with us what they've heard.

Just because I heard rumors that Disney may be considering a new pavilion in World Showcase doesn't make it so. And it doesn't make me a liar if there only eleven countries represented there from now until eternity. Or just because someone else may have mentioned that Disney was planning to add a fifth gate to Walt Disney World doesn't mean that he's an unreliable or untrustworthy. If he could have predicted that the economy was going to tank, maybe we should consider him as a candidate to become the next Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve.   Even if said fifth gate was reported as a “go”, anyone with half a brain can see why the worldwide economy over the last two years might have made Disney reconsider this idea.

Long story short; Disney plans have a tendency to be “written in Jell-O”.  Attractions come and go, plans change, and finances get redirected.  If you want the official story, only read the Disney press releases. If you choose to consider some unofficial sources, please remember that it is not their fault if Disney changes its plans.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That was Then, This is Now

Do you remember the rumors floating around a couple of years ago about Disney’s Night Kingdom?  This was allegedly a proposed 5th park at Walt Disney World that would be open in the evenings.  Plans called for this niche park to officially throw open its doors in October of 2011, just in time for the start of Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary celebration.

"Why did you call 'Disney's Night Kingdom' a niche park?" you ask. Well, because -- just like Sea World’s Discovery Cove (which only allows in a thousand visitors each day) -- DNK was to restrict the number of guests that can enter this park every afternoon. Only 2000 people would be allowed into WDW's 5th theme park at any one time. And yes, I said "afternoon." Disney's Night Kingdom's operating hours were to be 4 P.M. to midnight. Guests would arrive through a relocated version of the Adventurers’ Club (oh, how I wanted that to return!) and experience everything from riding a zip line over a pool of crocodiles to strapping on a pair of night vision goggles and wandering out into a pitch-black African savanna, where they’d be able to observe up-close lions and hyenas as they go through their nocturnal hunting routines.

So what happened?  Well, the economy tanked.  These rumors were floating around in February 2008.  Then they disappeared completely.  You see, Disney was planning to charge $250 - $300 per person for an evening in the park. Yikes!

So why do I bring this up now?  Because at Disney, a good idea never dies; it just gets recycled.  Just this week, Disney announced a new program they are starting soon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Per Disney, this “new adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will have guests trekking into the savannah.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be offering a new, immersive experience that’ll take a small group of Guests on personalized, guided treks along some unexplored areas of the Harambe Reserve.  During the excursions, you’ll be able to spend more time observing the wildlife on the savannah and have a chance to learn about the animals and their behaviors from one of our Disney guides. Adventurers will also trek through an undeveloped forest area of the Harambe Reserve and then board a unique vehicle specially designed for the rest of the quest.” 

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

No pricing has been announced yet for these excursions, but Disney is definitely intimating that the cost will not be included with regular park admission.  And it should be significantly less than the $250 - $300 Disney’s Night Kingdom was supposed to cost. 

Now if only we could find a way for them to bring back the Adventurers’ Club, as well…

Friday, July 16, 2010

Completely Off-Topic

Today’s post is completely off-topic and totally self-centered.  I usually write about Walt Disney World, as that is where my brain always is (whether my body is or not) but today I’m focused on my upcoming performance in Gypsy. We open tonight at the Bellevue Society for the Arts in Bellevue, OH.

If you’ve never seen Gypsy, it is a Broadway musical based on the life of the Burlesque Queen, Gypsy Rose Lee with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Gypsy focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life. The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee's sister, the actress June Havoc.

The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including "Rose’s Turn," "Everything's Coming up Roses", "You'll Never Get Away from Me," and "Let Me Entertain You." It is frequently considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form, often called the "book musical".

I’m playing Mazeppa, one of the three strippers who introduce Gypsy to the world of burlesque.  I don’t sing extremely well, I really don’t dance, and I absolutely do not play the trumpet, but I’m doing all three in my big number “You Gotta Get a Gimmick”.  Here’s a little YouTube clip that was recorded at rehearsal a couple of weeks ago.  I really hope you get a good chuckle out of it, at least.

Anything to get me one step closer to my dream of being a Streetmosphere character at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!