Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Swine Flu at Disney World. Or not. Who knows?

A school was closed in South Carolina as a precaution against a possible Swine Flu outbreak after a group of students from that school returned home from a class trip to Disney World with flu-like sypmtoms.

Meanwhile, in the face of good common sense and in defiance of the widsom of Vice President Biden, who recently said he would not want him family flying or riding public transportation at this time due to the outbreak, I just bought park tickets for my trip. I figure if we have to cancel, I'll just go for Star Wars Weekend in June and take my six-year old.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh Noes! First Swine Flu Case Confirmed in Orlando.

Not that I'm worried or paranoid or anything. Ahem. But . . .

Swine Flu Case Confirmed In Orlando

Posted: 10:41 am EDT April 28, 2009Updated: 11:33 am EDT April 28, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Eyewitness News has learned of Orlando's first confirmed case of swine flu. According to the chief medical officer for Adventist Health System, Loran Hauck, the case was diagnosed Tuesday morning.

"A case was diagnosed here in Orlando today on a tourist from Mexico who came to Disney attractions two days ago to visit," Hauck wrote in an email obtained by Eyewitness News.

No further details have been released, but Eyewitness News is working to learn specifically what days the tourist was at the parks and which park the tourist went to.

Details about the tourist, beyond being from Mexico, have not been released.

Eyewitness News contacted the Orange County Health Department late Tuesday morning. They said they were unable to confirm the report.

Disney told Eyewitness News late Tuesday morning that they have not received any confirmation about a swine flu case involving a guest.

I'm going there in two weeks for a girls only weekend. I've tried to do this three times but each time, I always take a kid . . . or three. I'm really excited to have a little break from the kids--it will be my first one. I'm going, I swear. And I will not panic, I will not panic, I will not panic . . . .

Source here.

Good thoughts to this person and his/her family. Get well soon.

Friday, April 24, 2009


My name is Chris and I suffer from Disnesia, the selective ability to overlook long lines, oppressive heat, and the hissyfit my daughter threw over a balloon in front of Mickey's Country House in favor of more pleasant vacation moments.

And no, I'm not looking for a cure.

It's probably true that no single vacation destination has the potential, despite admirable efforts on the part of Disney itself to mitigate these problems, for more small disasters than Walt Disney World. When you think about it, it makes sense: Crowds, crying children who've missed their naps, stressed out parents and worn out wallets. And then there's the heat, but not just the normal heat you're probably used to during the summer, but heat with humidity, the kind that makes being outdoors nothing less than miserable for several months out of the year. Despite this, when most of us describe a trip to Disney, we remember the good things far more than the bad. Talk to an older couple with grown children about the trip they took when their kids were little or your neighbor who just went for the first time and you get the same response almost every time: It was magical.

Obviously, there's one explanation for this: Disnesia. Now, I'm not saying there aren't perfect Disney vacations. In fact, I think most Disney vacations lean more toward perfect than disasterous, regardless of crowd levels or the weather. Most of mine have been great. But my last trip in December taught me something, and that is that bad, really bad, Disney vacations do happen.

The biggest part of our problem wasn't anyone's fault but our own: We took our then 22-month old twins and they just weren't ready for the abrupt change in their schedules, the most dramatic consequence being that they simply did not sleep much at all.  This meant, not surprisingly, that no one slept much at all even though we'd had the hindsight to at least rent a three-bedroom condo. Most of the problems were, in hindsight, quite comical, but when you're "that parent" chasing a screaming toddler around the Magic Kingdom, and you're paying a lot of money to do so, it can seem pretty miserable.

Our trip was so bad that my husband and I both vowed on our last night in Orlando that we wouldn't be back until the twins were at least two years older. I felt fine with that. I was done, for the time being, with Disney. It was always going to be there, the economy was bad, and we owed my in-laws a trip out West. Secretly, as the words were coming out of my mouth, I was already hatching a plot for a girls only trip the next year like the Disney-obsessed woman that I am. And then the next morning as we packed up to go home, I decided I would take our older son next December as well. He'd been so patient during the trip and there were so many things he didn't get a chance to do because my husband and I were busy wrangling the twins. I casually mentioned this to my husband, who rolled his eyes or did some other husband-like behavior that showed his disbelief and we left it at that.

It probably took all of two weeks before I decided that the whole family would all go back again in December. If you haven't guessed, I'm the Disney trip planner in the family. I started remembering the good things that happened, how much our daughter loved running around in Ariel's Grotto, how her twin brother, when he wasn't pulling her hair in the stroller, enjoyed It's a Small World. I vowed that I'd be better informed this time and rationalized that the kids would be older. And then my daughter discovered (I have no idea how this happened. Ahem.) Disney princesses and well, it's was all over. We were going back to Disney.

I think this is what Disney does best, creating the sort of moments that somehow stick in your mind more distinctly than the bad ones, even on a trip that was just plain rotten. The good ones, well, they're really good. Either that, or there's something in that confetti they're sprinkling everywhere.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Change in Policy.

You don't have to sneak your snacks (or contraband Pepsi) into the parks anymore--as of December 2008, bringing in your own food is no longer prohibited. While this policy was never really enforced, being allowed to bring in lunch or snacks eases the shame those of us with highly developed super-egos feel when breaking the rules, one guilt-ridden Cheeto at a time. It also means that those who follow a special diet or who are trying to save pennies while vacationing can bring their own food without worry. This is a welcomed change.

Coolers, glass containers, alcohol and items that need to be heated are still prohibited. Also, microwaves, barbeques, half hogs, and Grandma's favorite cast iron skillet.

Monday Morning Disney Fix.

Who wants to work when you can plan a vacation instead? Hey, it doesn't mean you really have to go. A few good links:

The mother of all Disney travel boards: No question, no matter how inane, will go unanswered.

For a smaller, very friendly Disney travel forum, try the Passporter boards.

Want to own or just rent a piece of the Mouse? Start here.

A good blog for all things Disney.

Weekly wrap up of what other Disney bloggers have to say.

Not a forum, but a good source for Disney resort information. Includes up to date menus from most table service restaurants on-site.

The most Disney of Disney weddings. What fun!

And this. This is just gratuitious and has nothing to do with Disney.

There, that should keep you sufficiently distracted on this Monday morning.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rumor has it . . .

that Disney is seeking bids for construction of a Little Mermaid attraction at Disney World similar to the one being built at Disneyland California.

Little Princesses and lovers of busty mermaids everwhere rejoice.

Crowd Levels.

If you've ever been to Disney World, you know that crowd levels can have a direct effect on your enjoyment of the parks. For some of us, picking the best days to go to the park is practically a sport. One way to do this is by finding a good crowd calender online, which predicts crowd levels based on past attendance and various other factors. A blog post from the people who put out everyone's favorite Disney guide, The Unofficial Guide, explains how they predict crowd levels. As you'll see, they have it down to a science. One interesting assertion that is proving true this month: That the economy hasn't made the crowd levels at Disney World decrease. In fact, Disney's Buy 4/Get 3 Free and other promotions have actually packed the parks.

If you go to this site, you can check out their crowd calender to see what their predictions are for the coming months. I've used it for the last few years and found it to be very accurate. Crowd levels are available for free 30 days in advance. To see estimates for the entire year, you can use your most current Unofficial Guide for admission or you can purchase a yearly pass (it's a few dollars).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Retro Disneyworld.

20,000 Legues Under the Sea. Another attraction that is long gone. Did you ever ride it? I only did once. It was so-so.

When I was in college, I dated a guy who worked on this attraction at Disneyland. He didn't have any behind-the-scenes gossip, although he did admit to crashing it once.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maleficent: Admit it. You know you like her.