Running At Disney – What would you like to see?

RunDisney in the last few years has exploded in popularity, with more people running in more races than ever before (and those races are selling out faster than they ever have).  These are the races they currently have planned:

Wes and Kayla Marathon

First two weekends in January
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend (Disneyland)

runDisney princess
(picture available here)

Middle of February
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (Walt Disney World)

tinkerbell half

First two weekends in May
Expedition Everest Challenge Weekend (Walt Disney World)
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend (Disneyland)

First weekend in September
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

avengers-run

First two weekends in November
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Walt Disney World)
Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon (Disneyland)

This year, they do not have a Tower of Terror 10 Miler (many people are guessing it’s because of an expansion coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

I was thinking about what types of races I would like to see (in a serious way, as well as some fun runs that would never happen but would be amazing).  I asked a few people on Twitter as well, and got a lot of responses from a parody account called @runnDisney (notice the two Ns in the name).

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(This image is from Cava Del Tequila)

Tequila 10k – Starting in Epcot at the Mexico pavilion, runners have to consume a different shot of tequila each time they pass by (6 laps makes 6.18 miles, a 10k).

A cat friendly race – unnamed yet.  But anyone who can put a cat on a leash and then get them to a finish line without dying deserves a medal!

The Backlot Tour 5k, Maelstrom 5k, American Idol Experience 5k and Sorcerer’s Hat 10k – each time Disney closes an attraction, they should have a race first, in honor of / remembrance of the attraction.  Get tickets while the last!

If you were in charge of coming up with the next RunDisney event, what would your distance and theme be?  Please leave a comment below!

365 Days At Disney – how can you help?

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As the new year hits, many people think about resolutions, goals they want to accomplish for the year.  Here is mine for 2015.  By the end of this year, I plan to raise enough money to spend one year at Walt Disney World, moving to Orlando in May or June of 2016.

How can YOU help?

Donate: Obviously, if you have $36,000 you’d like to give away, I’m happy to take if off your hands.  Later this week, an online funding site will go live with my information and ways that you can donate any amount.  If enough is raised, this project will be a go.  If I don’t reach my goal amount, the money donated will be given to a great organization, Give Kids The World.

Spread the word: The way this is going to work is by reaching out to as many people as I can.  Do you have Facebook, a Twitter account, online blog, podcast, or other social media site where you’d be willing to share about 365DaysAtDisney?  The more exposure I get, the more likely funds will be raised.  I am available for emailed correspondence, interviews, etc.

An update on our family

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I still work for a school district in South Dakota.  My wife left her position there to open up an in-home daycare for the children of teachers (so we have the same weekends, vacations and winter and summer break).  Our daughters are now one and three years old.

An update on logistics

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If we start our 365 Days At Disney in the summer of 2016, it would not change anything with our eldest’s education, she won’t miss any school.  My wife is still very excited for the idea, but has realistically stated that it either needs to happen soon, or not until we are retired.  I’ve looked at apartments in Orlando as close to Walt Disney World as possible, and we as a family have created a budget that includes everything we would need to get by for one year.

An update on the end goal

I still plan to blog each day that I am at Walt Disney World, as well as vlog or start a podcast.  Later this month, I will be contacting several publishing companies about the possibility of a book, to see what interest there may be.  My wife has also said that she’d like to write about the family dynamics of spending a year at Walt Disney World, and how it (hopefully) strengthens us as a family.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or other ways you can help, please email me (365DaysAtDisney@gmail.com) or leave a comment below!

A Disney Giveaway (idea)

Last year (two days ago), I read about Disney’s January 2015 giveaway: head to http://www.disneyflipside.com, register and sign in, and you are entered to win a 5 day 4 night stay at Walt Disney World, airfare included (if you live more than 250 miles away), a $500 gift card, and one of those nights would be in the Cinderella Castle Suite!  That night I had an idea for a yearly Disney giveaway, so Disney PR – pay attention, this one’s a good one!

HomeMade Disney

    Every month for one year, The Disney Company will give away prizes for the best homemade video that fits into their chosen category.  Each month, the category will change…
January is “Winter Fun, Disney Style
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(photo found here)

February is “New Attractions, New Fun
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March is “Getting To Disney
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April is “The Magic of Disney
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May is “A Disney Surprise
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(this photo is a screenshot of this video, which so cute)

June is “Summer Fun, Disney Style
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July is “Patriotic Disney
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August is “Our Disney History
dis - history

September is “Fall Fun, Disney Style
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October is “Spooky Disney
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November is “Thankful For…
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December is “Holidays at Disney
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There will  be different levels of videos to choose from… corporate/business, professional videographers, semi-professional, and amateur.  The prizes given away will vary for each group.  A corporation, business or professional videographer that wins the monthly contest will be given $5,000 to give to a charity of their (and Disney’s) choice. Semi-professional videographers will be given a Disney vacation and new camera equipment.  Amateurs will receive a Disney vacation as well as a cash prize.

The videos will be chosen by Disney based on how well they fit with the monthly category, how well they promote the spirit and ideals of the company, and how popular they are with Disney fans.  At the end of the year, the twelve winners will be put in a head to head contest, and one amateur video will be chosen to play during the Disney Christmas Parade and one professional video at the Superbowl.

What do you think?  If you were in charge of a year of Disney promotions, what would you choose to do?  Leave your ideas in the comments section below!

**I am in no way affiliated with Disney, and this is an IDEA, not an actual giveaway.**
Any pictures not credited are my own, from the Disney website or are available on public domain

Planning our ‘first’ trip to Walt Disney World

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A lot has happened in the last week: our family has been trying for a while to figure out the best time to make another trip to Walt Disney World, and we’ve decided that mid to late May will work best with our schedules. I call this a ‘first’ trip to Walt Disney World because there will be a lot of firsts…  We’re staying at the Fort Wilderness Campground (first time in a cabin at WDW), we’re sharing our cabin with my parents (hopefully a good first?), we’ve never been in May (we usually visit in January), and this will be the first trip for our daughters, who are one and three!

We have the room, park tickets, and airfare booked, but now it comes to the dining reservations and FastPass+ reservations.  I’m a planner, and as you can tell by the fact that I have a Disney themed blog, a pretty big Disney nerd, but knowing in December where we’ll want be and what we’ll want to ride 153 days in the future with a toddler and a three year old is pretty tricky.

There will be a number of updates coming with thoughts, tips, ideas, etc. while we plan for our nine day trip, including the use of MyDisneyExperience (the app), how to prepare a three year old ready for her first Disney trip, what restaurants and attractions to look for with kids, and more.

Have you been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland with a toddler?  Are there certain rides, restaurants reservations, or restrictions you think we should know about before we go?  What was your experience like?  Leave a comment below!

New Disney Resorts – Outsourced Imagineering

Disney Resorts

Over the last week, I’ve asked my Twitter followers (@365DaysOfDisney), as well as family and friends, a question about the resorts.  “If you were the Imagineer in charge of designing the next Walt Disney World resort, what theme would you go with?”  Over a dozen of you got back to me, and I took your ideas and added some of my own thoughts as well.  In no particular order:

Medieval Castle Resort@hkeller @DadforDisney

hotels - CastleThe main idea I heard from several people about a castle hotel would be that it is definitely NOT a girly-princess castle.  Rooms would have several themes to them, based on which section of the castle guests stay in.  One would be geared more towards a princess in a tower, while another would be for knights getting ready for a joust, etc.  A moat and drawbridge would definitely make this feel like a true castle.

1920s Hollywood / Hollywood Tower Hotel@ElaineMRoss, @HodgePodgePro, @Life_Of_Green, @Minnies_Girl
TowerOfTerror_MGM

Another popular idea for a new Disney resort would be to theme it to 1920s Hollywood, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, or both.  This resort would be placed near to the Hollywood Studios, to help guests immerse themselves in the life of the 1920s.  Imagine bellhops with maroon colored suits and hats, a la Tower of Terror, but helping you to your room in elevators that actually work.  Orchestral music and jazz from the 1920s would be piped into the lobby, and of course there would be flappers and a speakeasy onsite.

Film Noir Hotel@MickeyMutineers
hotels - film noirThis hotel would be similar to the 1920s Hollywood idea, with one twist.  Imagine hearing jazz music, seeing live dancing, going to the opening of a new film and drinking a classic martini, but everything would be in black and white.  Cast member uniforms, paintings, wall paper, decorations… everything in shades of gray.  The only color in the resort would be from the guests’ clothing (and possibly Stacy J Aswad on your television).  You’d truly be stepping back into the films of the 1920s.

Rooms around the World@WickedDreamer, @OzGoofyPrincess
Several people suggested having a hotel that was based on the countries of Epcot, but could also contain extras.  With the Around the World Resort, you would be able to spend time at Epcot, and then stay in the country of your choice that night.  Buildings in the hotel (think All-Star resorts with its multiple buildings onsite) would be themed to Canada, England, France, Morocco, Japan, Germany, Italy, China, Norway and Mexico.  Imagine staying in a room themed to the German Alps, with polka music, staff in lederhosen, and a German restaurant in the lobby.  Or eat sushi and wear a kimono as you relax in your multi-level suite in a Japan themed hotel, with great local items available in the hotel gift shop.

Star Wars Resort@eliskfc, @MicKyaraben, @Minnies_Girl, @smurflufe
Ewok_village
A Star Wars resort has the ability to include incredible amounts of detail from the many lands visited in the current six movies, cartoon series, etc.  It would also have the ability to expand as the next three movies come out in the coming years.  As @smurflufe wrote, imagine rooms, halls, or even entire buildings  themed to Coruscant, Endor, Hoth, Naboo, Tatooine, Dagobah, or even the Death Star.  Arcades, restaurants, quick service dining, and pools would all be themed to the lands of Star Wars (and the Princess Leia slave costume swim suit sold in the gift shop, of course!).   @MicKyaraben thought that Endor would be a great resort in itself, with tree house villas for guests to sleep in, connected by rope bridges (and of course an elevator hidden in a tree for handicapped guests).

La Belle Époque and Art Deco styles@Minnies_Girl, @sarahkbheff
These two styles flow chronologically into each other, as la belle époque was popular from the 1870s until about 1915, and art deco is considered to be from the 1920s to the 1940s.  This resort would include two buildings, one of each style, similar to the decades at Pop Century.  One hotel with bright rich Victorian style, the other with a modern (1920s) technological influence, with great contrasts between the two.  The art deco style, with its sharp lines in black and white accented with pops of color would fit in well with Hollywood Studios theme, and would be placed nearby.

Magic Kingdom Lands@mellowmickey et al
As you can guess by the name, this resort would have sections from each of the Magic Kingdom’s lands – Fantasy, Adventure, Tomorrow, Frontier, and even Main Street.  Restaurants and quick-service dining venues would be similar to those already available in the Kingdom.
ToonTown Hotel@ModernMouseJosh
As a part of the Magic Kingdom, this hotel would feature all of the classic characters from old movies and cartoons, and some more current ones as well.  Everything would be larger than life, cartoony, and as you stay at the hotel, cast members would even help you create your own cartoons with you as the star.
Tomorrowland Hotel
@MCHutsell3
This hotel would feature the future from the point of view of the 50s, 60s and 1970s.  50-70 years ago, great prospects of the future existed: flying cars, hovercrafts, skyscrapers a mile tall, people living in space or underwater, etc.
Small World Hotel@WickedDreamer
Similar to the Epcot Around the World Hotel, this one would include tributes to cultures all around the world… creepy dolls and catchy music for an extra price.

Marvel Hotel  – @MCHutsell3, @eliskfc
The name explains it all.  This resort features the Marvel superheroes, and, as you can guess, everything is “plussed”: huge water slides at the resort pools, a theater that plays all of the Marvel movies, a gift shop selling the basic needs, clothing and comic books, etc.  Spiderman, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and other heroes would be on hand to greet you, and may even ride the resort’s rollercoaster with you!

Fab Five Resort@OzGoofyPrincess

hotels - fab fiveA classic tribute to the most important Disney stars: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, etc.  They get love at the parks, but who wouldn’t want to leave the parks for the night but still feel immersed in the theme as they stay in their resort at night.  There would be a large restaurant in the center of the resort that has Meals With Mickey.  Not just breakfast but also lunch and dinner.  The new feature- midnight snacks with special friends.  You’ve had a great day at the Magic Kingdom, and you can now head back to your resort to have an ice cream sundae with Chip & Dale, a slice of pizza with Goofy, or nachos or popcorn with the three cabelleros.

Mary Blair Hotel@socaldork
Mary Blair is very well known for her designs of simple shapes and bright colors.  This hotel would feature large open areas with mobiles hanging from the ceiling that are inspired by her works.  Walls covered in blown up representations of her works would lead guests to the Blair gallery in the atrium with prints of Mary’s works available.

Farm country@mattersley
Many of the guests who come to Walt Disney World are not from areas of the states or the world that are too agricultural.  The farm theme would include suites that immerse guests in country home living, with woods, knick knacks, dry-brushed furniture, etc.  A petting zoo would bring children in to see cows, goats, pigs, ducks and other farm animals.

A Runner’s Hotel
Disney is becoming popular for its many different RunDisney events… marathons, halfs, 10Ks, 10 milers, etc.  So why not a hotel that is made with runners in mind.  This hotel would have a sports theming to it, similar to All-Star sports (but we’d class it up a notch), but would have tracks around it, multiple running paths with various distances, and timers, chips, and other goodies available.  At the end of each trail or track would be a basket with bottles of water, packets of Gu and energy supplements, and other running needs (with sponsorship by various athletic companies)

Villains Hotel@singleriderline
hotels - Villains

The Villains Resort would use dark colors, blue, purple, black, green.  It would be made out of cold materials, and while open and spacious, would have a gloomy mood with dimly lit chandeliers and a stain glass window featuring villains from various Disney movies.  Sections of the hotel would be from different periods and areas of the world, such an elephant graveyard for the Lion King’s Scar, an old castle dungeon for Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent and Snow White’s Queen Grimhilde, or the Jolly Roger for Peter Pan’s Captain Hook.

Venetian Resort@eliskfc, @singleriderline
hotels - Venetian

This resort was an actual resort that was going to be built by Disney Imagineers, alone with an Asian and a Persian resort.  Situated on the Seven Seas Lagoon between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Contemporary, it would have had gondola rides, motorboats to take guests to the Magic Kingdom, and, of course, the red tile roofs typical of Venice.

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So… if YOU could design the next Walt Disney World Resort, what theme would you go with? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

The Magic, the Memories, the Maelstrom

Epcot_Maelstrom_entrance_sign

Maelstrom, a high-seas Norwegian adventure, left this world at aged 26.  Maelstrom resided in the Norway pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.  Last rides occurred on October 5th, 2014, less than three weeks after the announcement that Maelstrom would not be with us much longer.  The cause of death, it seems, was myocardial geladum (beware the Frozen heart).   “You are not the first to pass this way, but you may have been the last”

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Born on July 5th, 1988, in Epcot Center as SeaVenture, Maelstrom was a 4 minute, 27 second boat voyage through the mythological history of Norway.  In its 26 years with us, Maelstrom was beloved by millions around the world, and brought joy to both the young and the young at heart.  Maelstrom was married for over two decades to a film highlighting Norway’s adventurous attractions, including skiing and hiking, as well as intrinsic icons like Kjerag mountain and oil rigs, which also passed on October 5th.

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(picture from TouringPlans.com)

It will be outlived by Dὃkkálfar and Ljósálfar, who continue to live in the hearts of the Norwegian people, and also by a gift shop, which will most likely have new additions, but will hopefully continue to sell the Essence of Norway (Geir).  Maelstrom was predeceased by its close friend and neighbor, El Rio del Tiempo, (1982-2007), the Wonders of Life pavilion (1989-2007), and Journey into Imagination (1982-1998) among other friends.

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Services will be normal Epcot park hours, 11am-9pm unless otherwise noted.  Memorial donations can be made out to the Norse Federation.  As always, “the spirit of Norway will always be adventure.”

Please leave memories in the comments section below.

RIP Maelstrom

If you’re a part of the Disney online community, you probably heard rumors a few months ago that Maelstrom, the boat ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, might be getting a Frozen overhaul.  Two days ago, the Disney Company officially announced that Maelstrom will be closing, and that a Frozen attraction will open in early 2016.

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(picture found here)

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(interior of Maelstrom from Yesterland)

While there are still a lot of unanswered questions, it appears that Maelstrom’s last day will be October 5th, 2014 (only twenty-three days after their announcement).  On October 6th, the Norway pavilion itself will remain open, but the ride portion of the area will be closed.  Guests with Fastpass+ reservations to Maelstrom after that date will be able to choose something else.

Anna Elsa

(picture found on the Disney Parks Blog)

From Disney fans I’ve talked to online, it sounds like people are excited about a Frozen attraction, but don’t think that the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase is the right place for it.  There are many questions floating around – will the new ride use the same path? What will happen to the Norway giftshop? (if someone wants to buy me a $600 Norwegian sweater, I’m okay with that)  How will a Frozen attraction effect the rest of the Norway pavilion?

How do you feel about the closing of Maelstrom and the opening of a Frozen attraction?  Does it take away from World Showcase’s educational and cultural history?  Are you excited that the Disney Company is trying to bring new, younger people into Epcot by mixing modern movies into the park?   Please leave comments below!