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By James R. Warda

1.  It truly is the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Whether it’s because Orlando sits in some weird dimensional time shift or the laws of physics are suspended there, it is physically impossible to be somber at Disney World. In fact, even frowning is frowned upon.

2.  The minute you arrive, you become part of a fairy tale. Unfortunately, when you get home, it’s hard to come back to reality. In fact, I’m still trying to convince my boss that I’m King James and have a Princess Daughter. Though it’s not as hard to convince my daughter.

3.  Walt used to love walking through Disneyland in the morning  before anyone else had arrived. When we take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and walk down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, before the park has officially opened, we know why he did, and what he was probably feeling. 

4.  Watching old B-movies with our kids at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. After all, where else can you be harassed by carhops, dunk French fries in your shake, and tell your kids to stop poking each other in the back seat, all while enjoying the nuanced storyline of “The Giant Gila Monster”?

5.  The Kitchen Sink dessert at Beaches and Cream in the Beach Club Resort. Eight scoops of ice cream covered with fudge, fruit, caramel, nuts and candy bars – with an entire can of Whipped Cream on top. But don’t worry; I always ask for a diet drink.

6.  Every time you go to Disney World, something will happen that you’ll remember the rest of your life. On our most recent trip, my nine-year-old daughter forgot her purse – with her cell phone inside – on the monorail, which meant that life as we knew it stopped. After sharing our story with Security, they radioed the train we’d been on, and asked the conductor to drop it off at the next station, so another train could pick it up on the way back. Within half an hour, I was giving Alexandra’s purse back to her. While Disney had given her something even more important – the belief that magic does exist.

7.  Watching my family’s faces as they try the different Coca-Cola products at Club Cool, especially the ones they don’t like. As for me, when I drink “Beverly” from Italy, I end up looking like Yoda. Or Ernest Borgnine.

8.  The Friendship boats that take you between the parks and resorts. In fact, just saying “Friendship” makes you feel good. It’s definitely better than “Acquaintance Flotilla.”

9.  The miniature village and trains in the Germany Pavilion at the World Showcase. I don’t care how old the man, the minute he sees those trains, he becomes seven again. And he doesn’t even want a refund on his adult ticket.

    9-1/2.  Why a half? To remember that you can’t do anything halfway at Disney. You have to commit, like Walt did. After all, he’s the same man who bought a first class train ticket for Hollywood, to try to become a director, after his Laugh-O-Gram company in Kansas City failed. When his wife Lillian was asked later why Walt would buy such an expensive ticket when he had almost no money, she said it was because “he always liked the best way.”* And, all you have to do is ride “Peter Pan’s Flight,” watch “Illuminations,” listen to the detailed “backstory” behind the Tower of Terror, or sit wide-eyed on the Kilimanjaro safari, to realize that Walt’s commitment to perfection endures.

What are your reasons?


*“Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” by Neal Gabler, pp. 77. (2006, Vintage Books)

Copyright 2010, James R. Warda. All rights reserved. James R. Warda, author of Where Are We Going So Fast?, is a Speaker, Writer and Workshop Presenter on finding meaning in our moments. He has written and spoken for Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Chicago Tribune.

Ever wonder what those huge doors lead to at the rear of the Japan pavilion in EPCOT? Initial plans were set to build a huge version of Mt. FUJI encompassing a roller coaster but there were two major stumbling blocks. The first was a lack of funding (Disney does nothing on the cheap), and the second was its major sponsor. Yup, you guessed it KODAK!  Kodak would certainly have no part in building a monument bearing the name of it’s fiercest competitor. Another fascinating element of JAPAN (one of my personal favorite pavilions besides the UK, France, Italy, China, America, Mexico, Morocco, Canada, Germany, Norway etc.) is the giant Koi fish which instill a perfect vision of moving Japanese art. Whether its your first time or your next time, stop and see the Koi and say hi. They say hi back. Also be sure to listen carefully. Holding true to Disney’s intense attention to detail you may hear (warm weather permitting) a interesting tinkling and clacking sound. This  is the sound of a Shishi Odoshi or water hammer usually found in the rice patties of Japan. So the next time you are headed to the Sushi restaurant at the top of the hill to get your Ichiban draft beer while waiting for Illuminations, stop at the small bridge on the way down and listen to the water hammer. If you try just a little (depending on how many Ichibans in you are ) you will feel like you are smack dab in the middle of a tranquil garden in Japan.

See ya real soon.  Jerry


The “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion is now a thing of the past. The year long celebration began on October 1, 2006 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California was extended and ended in December of 2008.

The promotion enabled Disney Cast Members to award a million dreams to randomly chosen guests as part of the”Disney Dreams Giveaway” promotion. Many of these dreams were priceless experiences.

Ever imagine having the Magic Kingdomto yourself? The winners of this prize, the Spangler family from Ohio, did just that. These lucky VIP’s toured each land and enjoyed the attractions as the Disney characters greeted them. The Spangler’s were interviewed on Good Morning America and dined with Disney “royalty”.  They also served as the Grand Marshal of the daily parade and concluded their day with a special viewing of Wishes.

No doubt one of the most coveted awards was a one night stay in the royal bedchamber being that it is constructed inside Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. A comparable Mickey Mouse Penthouse at the Disneyland Hotel had emersed a lucky guest in Mickey decor with spectacular views of the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. These are just a few examples of the fantastic things Disney has done in real life, but my challenge is to let your mind run free. If you could imagineer your own “Disney Dream” , what would it be like?

My son Jacob would like a VIP bagde that would allow him full access to any theme park ride without waiting in line. My Daughter Caitlyn would like Epcot all to herself, her friends, and her family. My wife and fellow Disney blogger Melissa, says she wants an all access pass behind the scenes to Animal Kingdom so she can have first hand experiences with all the animals there.

Myself, I would like to be able to have a “ friends and family”  weeklong get together at The Wilderness Lodge with park passes for everyone. I have several friends and family that would never be able to go and experience the “Magic” without a little help. As a bonus, throw in a few guided behind the scenes tours, character dinners, free swag, line cutter passes, etc. Is that too much to ask? I would not, however, want the parks all to myself  because I think the people are a major part of the experience.

So the question is what’s your dream?

Here is the article from Opodo

People planning holidays in Florida this summer will be able to visit the Epcot theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort to enjoy live performances celebrating some of the biggest bands in rock and pop music.

The Sounds Like Summer concert series will be presented at the America Gardens Theatre from 12 June to 31 July.

Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees will get the season underway from 12 to 19 June, followed by Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles from 20 to 26 June.

Fans of the Rolling Stones will be able to see Satisfaction from 4 to 10 July, before Bon Jovi tribute act Slippery When Wet take to the stage from 18 to 24 July.

2U, a group celebrating legendary band U2, will perform from 18 to 24 July and Beginnings, who are inspired by American rockers Chicago, will bring the series to an end from 25 to 31 July.

Sounds Like Summer is one of a number of events set to take place at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, with the annual Main Street Electrical Parade also returning this year.

Opodo cheap flights, hotels and car hire – let the journey begin!ADNFCR-408-ID-19715551-ADNFCR