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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Delivering the Magic

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to share yet another way you can help spread the Disney magic to others and maybe help make a little magic for your friends and family.

During my recent Marathon trip, a good friend surprised me with a Mickey Mouse cooler filled with snack and water -- delivered to my room!  (Marie -- thank you!!!)

This wonderful gesture reminded me of the fantastic offerings of the Disney Florist group -- and they offer much more than just flowers!

From holidays to birthdays to celebrating special events, the Disney Florist group has many options to help make your trip to Walt Disney World a little more magical right from the start.

Just think, your kids are coming to Walt Disney World for the very first time -- what better way to start their adventure than arriving in your room to find a special gift basket (shown above) complete with mouse ears (already embroidered with their names), autograph books and pens and more!

This is just one of the many services of the Disney Florist group.

Now these items don't come cheap.  The gift basket shown above runs a little over $100.  Other items can be far more expensive while some items like the snack pack I mentioned earlier run about $40 each.

While this might sound expensive, for those wishing to sprinkle a little extra pixie dust (and perhaps save some time not having to purchase things in the parks), the extra expense might be worth it.

Better yet, you also can have some of that Disney magic delivered to you!

Not all items are available for delivery outside Disney, but quite a few can be shipped to the U.S. and Canada.  Just check the description for the item you're interested in to see if shipping is available.

So the next time you want to share a bit of the Disney magic - you now know where to go!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Reflections of Magic

cinderella castle reflection
Welcome to another Photo Friday!

This week, I was looking through some of the photos from the Marathon 2012 and happened to accidentally rotate this picture the wrong way.  I was stunned at what I had accidentally created.

Look carefully.  This image of Cinderella Castle actually is it's reflection as seen from the Liberty Square bridge.  I rotated the image so that the castle is upright instead of upside down as it would normally be seen.

I see this as a reminder that sometimes you have to look at things differently in order to see them at all.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tip Tuesday: The Great Piggy Bank Adventure

Great Piggy Bank Adventure
Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week I wanted to highlight another great interactive activity for kids -- the Great Piggy Bank Adventure.

Located in Innoventions in Epcot, the Great Piggy Bank Adventure sponsored by T. Rowe Price, helps kids understand the importance of setting savings goals, the importance of saving versus spending, inflation and how (and why) to diversify investments.  While these financial lessons are fairly simplistic, they're important lessons for kids to learn.

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure consists of three stages.  Each stage includes an interactive game for up to four players.  Each game requires players to work in teams to save as much money as possible towards their overall savings goal. 

All the while, your "savings" are stored in a piggy bank that players carry from station to station.

What I like about the Great Piggy Bank Adventure is the way Disney has combined a financial lesson with interactive fun.  Best of all, the adventure doesn't stop at Innoventions.  You can play at home here:

There are several new exhibits coming soon to Innoventions.  As more information is announced, I'll have updates here on DisneyDaddy.

Until next time!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday: A different view of Wishes

Wishes from Narcoosees
Welcome to another Photo Friday!

One great benefit of another trip to Walt Disney World is more great Photo Friday moments!

This week, I'm sharing a shot I took from the deck outside Narcoosee's at the Grand Floridian. 

So here's the story behind this photo:  I didn't have a tripod, but there was the deck railing.  I carefully set my SLR on the rail, set the shot to manual (ISO 1600, Iris at F/14 and shutter at 3.2 seconds), kept the shot very wide and just started taking shots.

Some of this is just luck, some of this is getting down the timing.  I was watching for when the shells were fired into the air and took the shot then, knowing that I was exposing the shot for 3 seconds.

And here's the end result!  Now just think about what you can do if you can find a nice steady place to set your camera... but that's a story for another time.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Toy Story Midway Mania secrets - Dino Darts

Toy Story Mania screenshot
Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!
I'm fresh back from another trip to Walt Disney World and I'd like to start off with sincere thanks to everyone who supported me during the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 8.  I'm proud to say that I finished the race (in a little under 7 hours -- not a great time, but who cares!).
Now on to this week's tip!
I managed to get in a few runs on Toy Story Midway Mania and was working on beating my top score when I recalled that I haven't shared any tips for achieving higher scores at the most popular attraction in all of Walt Disney World.
Well it's time to rectify this oversight.
Let's start with one of the easier (but not the easiest) tip:  racking up big points during Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts.  This is the second scoring segment in the attraction.  Obviously the point is to pop balloons with darts you shoot. 
When the game begins, you'll see some long squiggly balloons like lava rivers on the front of the volcano worth 1000 points each.  There are six total that appear, first a single in the center, then two on the left and right (seen above) and finally all three in a row.  Quickly pop each of these balloon sets as they appear.  If you can pop all six, here's what you'll see next:
Toy Story Mania screenshot
See those balloons erupting from the top of the volcano?  Just start shooting at the top of the volcano and hit as many as you can as they erupt.  They're worth 500 points each and they're tightly packed together right at the top so you can hit them easily without having to move much.

Toy Story Mania screenshot
Two comets on the left and right sides of the screen will appear with balloons in the center of each.  As you pop the balloons, the comet will descend a bit each time.  Pop each comet balloon three times to make it fall to the ground.  This is much easier and quicker if you have a partner who can shoot one comet while you shoot the other.  If you can get both sides to fall, you get the big payoff:
Toy Story Mania screenshot
Two huge balloon comes crash to the ground, made up of balloons worth 2000 points each.  Just start shooting those yellow balloons and don't stop until time runs out.  You'll probably have only a few seconds so be watching for them as they come into the screen.

So there you go --- just one of several ways to score some big points on Toy Story Midway Mania!  I'll talk about some other easy ways to rack up big points in a future post.

Until next time, good luck and good hunting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Remember where you parked!

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday -- from Walt Disney World!

While I sit here at the Boardwalk Resort allowing my feet to recuperate from Sunday's full marathon.. (I did finish, so my thanks to all the well-wishers), I did want to bring you a quick tip I happened to think about after overhearing at the Friendship boat dock by Epcot's International Gateway trying to determine who to best get to Animal Kingdom.  Here's the hitch - the time was 7:45 p.m.  Animal Kingdom had closed about an hour ago.  I can only assume this family had parked at Animal Kingdom, park hopped to Epcot for the afternoon and was trying to get back to their car.  I also can only assume they decided to park hop using Disney transportation as opposed to driving their own car so as to avoid paying a second parking fee (or so they maybe thought).

So here's the tip for this week, and this comes from the "a little bit of planning makes a huge difference" department.  If you're planning to park your car at one theme park and will be hopping to another park, you should go ahead and drive between each park.  Once  you pay for parking at one theme park, you won't be required to pay additional parking fees at any other parks on the same day. 

So just drive and don't worry about trying to get back to a different park.

The only exception to this might be between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom - just keep an eye on when the monorails stop running -- one hour after regular park hours end (NOT after evening Extra Magic Hours end).

Until next week!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 WDW Marathon: LIVE

Keep watching as I broadcast live from periodicaly from the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Tracking runners and how you can be part of the team

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

Well I'm in the final days before the Walt Disney World Marathon.  The bags are nearly packed and I've got all my running gear ready to go.

There are a few last-minute things to take care of.  One of those is to setup runner tracking - and this is something you can do.  If you'd like to get updates on your runner(s) in either the half or full marathon, go to this link ( and create an account (or sign in if you already have an account).  Once your account is created, enter some search information for your runner and then select which method(s) you would like to receive updates.  You can get information by text, email, Twitter or Facebook.  I've signed up for email, text and Twitter (which then automatically rolls to my Facebook page).

Runner tracking is a great way to keep up with where your runner(s) will be on the course and when you might expect to see your runner, if you're cheering from the side of the road.

Also, if you want to get more information about the marathon, including general course information, and details on where and when to arrive on race morning, be sure to download the official race program.

As you probably know, I'm part of the WDW Running Team and we're running to raise money for the Dream Team to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  If you want to support the team, even if you can't be at Walt Disney World, you can always make an online donation.  I have a personal goal to raise $250 $500, so I hope you'll make a donation to help me bring some magic to some kids facing life-threatening illnesses.  If you do make a donation, please be sure to include my name in the notes section.

Finally, I will be attempting to do some live streaming during the full marathon on Sunday morning starting sometime around 4:30 a.m. and periodically throughout the race.  Look for a special post here on the DisneyDaddy blog this weekend!

Well, that's all for this week folks.  Depending on if I survive the marathon on Sunday, I may or may not have a post for you next Tuesday.  Until then (to quote Walt Disney), keep moving forward - something I will be saying to myself a lot on Sunday!

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